The Train Penny Blues, 1998-99, 16mm (HD video transfer)

DIDN’T YOU KNOW? (movie trivia)

This film was shot in the area between Union Station and the South Platte River in the late 1990’s when it was still an abandoned field with train tracks running through it. A requiem for earth covered by industry and civil development. We know you’re buried down there.

The title comes from a habit I had, while commuting to work, of leaving pennies on the train tracks in the mornings and then picking them up as flattened copper ovals on my walk back to the bus at the end of the day. The field with the train tracks was part of my shortcut to the animation studio from the bus stop on the back side of Union Station. The field was filled with the wild grasses and sunflowers you can see in black and white in the film. It was like an abandoned wild scrap of park in the middle of LoDo. There were praying mantis’, ants, jack rabbits, a whole eco system, living in that field. Currently it’s all covered over in concrete, apartments, and office buildings that were built during the LoDo revitalization project in the early 2000’s.

The train cars were photographed at the old Forney Transportation Museum in the building that’s now the LoDo REI. You can see the brick of the outside walls in the film.

The cave of rosaries and statuettes is one of the spontaneous shrines along Hwy 160 between Walsenburg and Alamosa made by people in the area as a memorial (possibly a sculptural requiem for lost family). I bet it’s still there now. Like actual film, some things will reliably withstand the tests of time.

The butterfly and flower animation at the beginning of the film was a collaboration with Jodie Emmett who now makes jam and runs a sheep farm in Eastern New York State. She found and collected those bits and pieces on her travels and donated them to this collection of scraps transformed into art.