Bob Black, owner of Dahl Violin Shop, can't help himself -- he's worried his business won't be seen in a frame of "The Convincer," a movie now shooting in Minnesota.
Black's a glass-half-empty kind of guy, while his wife, Debbie Black, is very glass-half-full.
She said Bob has been tormenting himself by saying, With our luck, we'll wind up on the cutting room. "Bob!" she told him, "the movie's about a violin. How are we going to get cut?"
The movie is about lying and the desperate actions Midwest insurance salesman scheming to get his hands on a rare violin.
The process used by director/screenwriter Jill Sprecher and her sister, screenwriter Karen Sprecher, in deciding that this Minneapolis violin shop would be a movie location was painstaking. Reps from the movie "have been coming in and out of the shop for a month and half, I think," Debbie said. "They kept coming back and taking more pictures. One day a bunch of them came ON A BUS. I said to Bob, 'What do you think's going on?' He said, I don't know, I left the room. He went across the hall and let them do what they wanted."
In the end, they may have selected this charming violin shop on S. 10th Street downtown because, "It's like taking a step back in time," said Debbie, who's clearly enjoying the present. "We were sitting down the hallway from where they were filming, and one of the tech guys comes to my husband and says, Bob, we need you. Bob went down there, and Greg Kinnear wanted Bob to show him an instrument for his daughter. So Bob did."
The purchase hasn't been finalized yet, and, even if it isn't, Debbie said, she's still got wonderful memories. "He was just adorable," she said of Kinnear. "He's much better looking in person, not that he's bad looking on movies or on TV. He was really good looking. Ohhhh, he was cute."
Kinnear did a favor for Debbie's sister Sheryl Jensen, director at the Duluth Playhouse. "She is now in the process of doing 'Rent.' So I said, 'Greg, could you do me a favor and write something to the cast for me.' So he did. He wrote: To the great cast of Rent. Break legs, Greg Kinnear."
Someone else from the cast, which includes Leah Thompson, Alan Arkin and Billy Crudup, also touched Debbie's heart. "That's Bob Balaban," Debbie said. "I forget what he's been in." (Balaban's movie credits are exhaustive, but I enjoyed his performance in the profane movie version of "Prince of the City.")
Balaban's playing the violin store owner, according to Debbie. "He was the neatest guy. He's really good friends with Al Franken and his wife. We're just normal store people [and Balaban said] Hi, how are you? Come have breakfast with me. ... Come have a snack with me. He just like hung out with us! Just sweet as can be."
Debbie said the movie crew's appreciation for the violin shop has reignited something in Bob. "Bob's been in that location forever. When Bob was 8, he would go down and apprentice with Mathias Dahl, a celebrated [late] Minnesota violinmaker. Like about two days after he was 18, Bob bought the shop.
"Bob has kind of lost seeing the shop how other people see it. Everybody [from the movie] kept telling him how cool the shop is and what he's done, what he's accomplished. So this kind of brought a spark back to my husband."
Many events create sparks for Debbie, but she puts her time with Kinnear and Balaban right up there with meeting Muhammad Ali as "the coolest thing in my life besides my grandchildren."Rest in peace, Darcy
When WCCO-TV news photog Gordy Leach was bidding me adieu after Friday's on-set news conference for "The Convincer," I told him I was not looking forward to next week because we'd have to say our final goodbyes to Darcy Pohland.
"Don't know where the funeral is going to be, but they're going to need a bigger church," Leach said.
Everybody loved Pohland, who died in her sleep Thursday night. She had missed worked Thursday, according to FOX9.com, and colleagues at WCCO reported that she had not been feeling well in the preceding days and had even fainted. Leach said most eyes were wet at a newsroom meeting, where the staff was informed of Pohland's passing. A couple hours later, everybody had pulled themselves together well enough to start telling Darcy stories. She was a fine reporter and a sunny, colorful soul even when she wasn't wearing pink (her favorite color) or the colors of the Gophers or Vikings.
My deepest sympathies to Darcy's family, especially her brothers, Jeff and Todd, who must feel absolutely whipsawed. On Feb. 6, their equestrian model mother, Toby Lane Pohland, died unexpectedly and, now 27 days later, they lose their sister.
Rest well, Darcy, as we take comfort in the idea that you have been reunited with your Mom.How soon they forget
Word has it that former Sen. Norm Coleman recently stopped by Chris and Rob's Chicago Style Eatery on West 7th Street in St. Paul.
After Coleman requested two hot dogs with mustard and sauerkraut, the kid on duty asked for a name to go along with the order. Coleman softly identified himself as Norm, confirming what my source knew already -- even if the kid did not.
When I called the eating spot Thursday, I got an employee who couldn't confirm the sighting.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9 Thursday mornings.