We are in NY because Karen goes to a big eyeglass convention each year for her family business Philadelphia Eyeglass Labs. The convention is called Vision Expo. Funny story about all this to tie back to our project: we would not have made A Dark Souvenir if it wasn't for Karen's family's eyeglass store. We met Jesper Bystrom, one of the "Swedish couple" that appears in the movie, through the family business. Jesper used to be a eyeglass frame sales representative! He used to sell frames to Karen's grandfather when he ran the company, and then to Karen and Karen's mom after that.
Karen always thought Jesper was cool, and then we happened to bump into him at a keg in a basement of a house party in West Philly (in a building that probably should have been condemned). As the floor beams creeked out dust above us, I met Jesper and his wife, Eleanor. We found out that Eleanor was an artist and student at PA Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA).
Eleanor, Jesper, Karen, and me became fast friends. We were sad when they were moving back to Jesper's hometown of Stockholm, but understanding that they wanted the extensive benefits of their nanny state childcare and healthcare system, we wished them the best and said we'd hope to visit someday.
That day came when we were looking for honeymoon destinations. Jesper and Eleanor offered to host us for a few days in Stockholm, show us around, then let us be romantic newlyweds. We were happy to have local friends set us up and show us around, and we didn't mind spending time with good friends for a portion of our honeymoon (we even traveled to St. Petersburg together).
The footage from A Dark Souvenir's beginning is from our honeymoon, and the toast that Jesper and Eleanor made for us at the start was also real footage of us at a genuine smorgasbord in Stockholm! We enjoyed so many different kinds of cured salmon... mmmm.
I'm sitting here in the lobby of our hotel in NY, as Karen went to the conference and I'm trying to get some work done before meeting with Five Mualimm-ak later regarding Broken On All Sides and Incarcerated Nation Campaign. Started reflecting, trying to figure out how to divide my time working between (1) some work for clients at Alpha Center, (2) some promo for A Dark Souvenir, and (3) some Broken On All Sides work--- this is what came out! Now off to some other work.