Well, it was 20 years ago today…

… that Mr. JaPan earned his right of way:

Amongst all the movie paraphernalia that decorates the walls of the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters hangs one modest document of distinction, earned with the turning of tassels on Illinois Wesleyan University’s Eckley Quadrangle the afternoon of Saturday, May 22, 1993. Little did I know, sitting with my art school peers and graduating class on that pleasantly breezy day, I would end up in a similar-sized college town barely 50 miles away within six months, only to remain there ever since. Even less did I know, with movie-making a career consideration throughout my school years, I would eventually become a film culture journalist and arts proponent without really becoming a movie maker. Where I am today, professionally or cinematically, could not have been foretold through my essential IWU experiences throughout those four years and I have little regret with how it all played out.

At certain moments on certain days, I can’t help but flash back with a casual smile. The Argus, after hours … even later nights at the School of Art … midnight rendezvous at the Hot PlateLizards From Afar, rocking the Quad on Saturday afternoons … The RadioActive Doghouse, rocking for the weekend on WESN FM … literary discourse wafting from within the walls of the English House … coffee to snap the senses awake, courtesy of the Dugout … meetings of the buzzy minds across the street at Mugsy’s … skimming of the stacks instead of studying in Milner Library at ISU … basking in the sun with Big Questions in mind while visiting the French countryside during J-Term … yelling ridiculously as our more-successful-than-not Fighting Titans sports teams competed … dreaming of the movies we were going to make but never did, simply because we had plenty other things to do, my friends and I. Ulp.

I invariably pass by the IWU campus along Main Street if I cut through Bloomington-Normal en route to visiting dearest Ma JaPan. Despite the addition of several buildings and revamping of others, my alma mater Wesleyan always feels like the comfortable, tree-shrouded hideaway of learning it became for me back in those semi-serene, pre-grunge Nineties. Marking this milestone on C-U Blogfidential may seem an awkward fit of nostalgia, but soon I hope you will connect the contextual dots while reading future articles relating to this era in my life, starting with that monumental act of moving on at age 22.

One tick on our collective timeline, which just so happened to involve Hollywood-funded cap-and-gown action on a different downstate Quad later that same summer, will be recounted in the next studious issue of C-U Confidential digest – FIRST NEWS! WINK! WINK! – set to hit Champaign-Urbana this fall. Look for it!

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. See? It’s all connected.

p.s.2 Not really sure why B-N has managed to creep onto CUBlog so much lately. Go here, check here, and look for at least one more at this time next week.

p.s.3 Do you remember what happened on the Main Quad at the University of Illinois 20 years ago this summer? More importantly, were you there? Write us and spill those memories, gang!

Comments closed.