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Jerry Davich: ‘Garage Daze’ local film illustrates dreams versus reality

High school janitor Lucas (Andrew McKee left) with his co-worker Joey (Ross Bauerle II) perform late-blooming coming-of-age comedy 'Garage Daze.'

High school janitor Lucas (Andrew McKee, left) with his co-worker Joey (Ross Bauerle II) perform in the late-blooming coming-of-age comedy "Garage Daze." | Photo by John Metzler

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Updated: August 23, 2013 6:23PM



At what age should you let go of your dreams and simply settle for reality or, worse yet, mediocrity?

This question is posed cinematically in the new film, “Garage Daze,” written, produced and directed by Stephen DeLeon, a 30-year-old independent filmmaker from Portage. The film, his second, was shot entirely on location in Porter County, with a cast and crew from our region, including a role by Lake County Recorder Mike Brown.

“It’s truly a homegrown effort,” DeLeon told me on my latest Casual Fridays radio show (found online at http://lakeshorepublicmedia.org/local-programs/casual-fridays/).

“Garage Daze” premieres Friday at 9 p.m. at the Art Theater in Hobart, following film trailers for upcoming indie movies from other Northwest Indiana filmmakers. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the theater or online, at www.garagedazemovie.com.

“Garage Daze” is the story of a former high school garage band whose members find themselves in their late 20s and early 30s. Let’s just say their lives are not turning out the way they once dreamed.

“Our entire lives we’ve been told we can do whatever we set our minds to, we can be whatever we want when we grow up,” says Lucas (played by Andrew McKee) in the film. “Our teachers, our parents and afterschool specials crammed that idea down our throat. Did we fail or did the American Dream fail us?”

Lucas is the only band mate still living in their hometown, and he’s had enough of his life as a high school janitor. Deciding the last moment of true happiness he experienced was when he had a band, he decides to stage a fake 11-year class reunion in hopes of persuading his former band mates to restart the band.

“It’s a coming-of-age story about late bloomers like us who’ve taken a bit longer to figure out what we want in life,” DeLeon told me.

Lucas makes a major mistake when he accidently invites the entire class instead of only his band mates. He and his friends must now face their demons, not only from their current lives but from their past as well.

The film’s plot peaks during a local battle of the bands. Will their band have its encore, or will they discover the past should remain “the past” for a reason.

“Do we chase our dreams or just go with the flow?” asked DeLeon, echoing a universal question for every generation.

The film features Steve Budkis as Charlie, Andrew Reed as Vic, Dolores Field as Lane, Jessica Tuomi as Laura, and Brown as Coach Clem.

“The role wasn’t very challenging because I’ve had numerous intense football coaches over the years,” Brown said. “Getting in front of the camera is challenging because you have the pressure of everyone else depending on you to deliver right then and there.”

“Our talented film crew was so impressive to watch and it was just great to be a part of the making of a movie.”

Watch a video of DeLeon explaining the film’s plot, premise and promise here, at www.post-trib.com, created exclusively for this column.

I’ll be at the film’s premiere tonight and I hope to see you, too.

Bacon Fest controversy

Portage City Councilman Patrick Clem contacted me numerous times to set the record straight about Saturday’s inaugural Bacon Fest in his city. He’s upset over a quote in a previous column from Pastor Mike Hendon of Victory Christian Church in Portage.

Hendon told me: “This isn’t costing the city any money, and it is not a drain on our resources. Mayor Snyder and the City Council have been great in helping us pull this off.”

Clem adamantly disagrees, telling me, “The City Council had nothing to do with helping out and putting more debt on our city. Victory Church never came before the City Council.”

Clem said church officials initially asked the city’s Redevelopment Committee to use Founders Square Park for parking on the day of the event.

“Now it appears the church is using Founders Square for the event … costing our city taxpayers’ money,” he said, noting the costs for electricity, police and cleanup.

“This is the mayor’s way of allowing a fundraiser for a private sector and on the backs of our city’s taxpayers. The bottom line: I think it’s wrong. There is no revenue going back to the city, and it’s nothing but pure expense.”

He has nothing against the church, but feels it’s his duty to protect his city’s resources and taxpayer dollars, he repeatedly pointed out.

Bacon Fest’s creator, Mike Signorelli Jr. of Valparaiso, said Clem’s response is “typical city politics” at work, reflecting its Republican mayor, James Snyder, and all-Democrat City Council.

“We got taken to task Wednesday from some city officials and ran through all the red tape without issue,” Signorelli told me. “We’ve been incredibly administrative and used our paper trail to confirm everything.”

He also noted the city’s police department will take part in a dunk tank, the city fire department will be on hand, and the mayor is still behind the event, featuring live music from local and national acts, attractions for kids, vendor booths and, of course, “special bacon-themed menus from the best of Northwest Indiana’s restaurants.”

How will this all play out on Saturday? Will the city — my city — embrace its latest attempt at a themed festival? Or will this controversy spoil the event before it even hits the pan of public opinion? I have no idea, but I’m still curious if it sizzles or fizzles.

Department of Corrections

In a previous column regarding the Indiana Bureau or Motor Vehicles, I misspelled the last name of the agency’s top administrator, Commissioner Scott Waddell. I regret the error.

Viral video of the week

This week’s Viral Video of the Week is for all you bowlers, showing an Australian man pitching a classic “7-10 split” using — what? — a baseball. Yes, a baseball. Watch it here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x4UT5ZCEEk.

For more on these issues, listen to Jerry’s Casual Fridays radio show today from noon to 1 p.m. on WLPR, 89.1-FM.



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