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The Making of Cannibal! The Musical, by Jason McHugh


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Chapter 19 - Spring Break in the Mountains

Journey to the Center

Lake City is the way out of the way mountain town, where the Packer case was tried, as it was the nearest town to where the remains of the miners were discovered.

We had arranged to shoot in the Lake City courthouse, which was the actual site of the real Packer trial, it had since been turned into a monument to the legendary case. This was Al Packer Holy Land, and Packer really put his town on the map. He was the OJ of the 1800's and he made Lake City a bonafide tourist attraction.

In fact one of our freaky cameos (the "you're all doomed" guy) plays the part of Alferd Packer every summer in this court room re-enactment the town performs. We had a good shoot in the courthouse with Trey's Dad playing the judge and lot's of trippy locals both young and old working as extras.

These locals definitely had the deep knowledge of everything Packer; I suppose it was in Lake City that we felt the deep notion of how our work could really benefit our society.

Lake City is also the spot where our crew discovered the joys of thrash karaoke while taking over this small mountain bar. We had many bold singers in the group; Trey loved to do over the top Neil Diamond covers that would get the house going. Many talents frequented the stage with silly covers but when Dian sang his Rage Against the Machine style version of Prince's "When Doves Cry" I was actually moved. I really thought I had seen it all by then, but I wasn't counting on crazy drunken locals. This local freaker named Donny who we later became friends with, was getting crazy with his very own rehearsed yet spontaneous version of Stairway To Heaven that finished with him doing a strip tease down to the pickle while standing on the table of two older couples. Matt was taking photos for a class and caught Donny for a couple of artsy action photos.

While in Lake City we made sure to pay homage to the graves of the men in our story. There was a special memorial for those unfortunate miners. This memorial was the second biggest tourist spot of the town, the courthouse being the first.

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