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Train Penny Blues Film Still, 16mm Film Still, © 1998, Chris Pearce
Train Penny Blues Film Still, 16mm Film Still, © 1998, Chris Pearce

“Train Penny Blues”, 1999, 16mm

An ode to discarded things, which all have the same quality of pathos for me, if it’s a book, lost jewelry, or a broken lighter. This film is also in homage to the ground covered by concrete. We all know you’re still down there.

Did You Know? (movie trivia)

  • This film was shot mostly 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. The field was part of my shortcut to work from the bus stop. In the morning I would leave pennies on the train tracks and then pick them up flattened on the walk back at the end of the day. The field was filled with wild grass and wild sunflowers, like a little piece of state park in the midst of the city. There were praying mantis’, ants, jack rabbits, you name it livin’ in that field. It’s all covered in concrete and buildings with dogs, cats, and people living in them now.
  • 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. 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 New York State. She found and collected those bits and pieces on her travels. The collection transformed into art.