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Mike Gillis follows his dream of screening a film at the Strand Theatre

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Cast and crew. Front: Ellie Jones. Second row, left to right: Morgan Nelson, Brelynn Beck, Elana LaTorre and Sarah Randolph. Third row: Cassie Lampkin, Mike Gillis, Hannah Krapac.

For 34 years, Mike Gillis dreamed of creating a movie to play at the Strand Theater in Vicksburg, and today he is making that dream come true.

Since September, Gillis has worked alongside Strand owner Jack Horne, and local actors Cassidy Lampkin, 17, Brelyn Beck, 16, Ellie Ahna, 10, and others to film, direct and star in a short film about overcoming heartbreak.

“It’s about a young lady named Riley, played by Brelyn Beck, and she has her heart broke for the first time,” Gillis said. “She goes to the dance studio and is just all tore up.”

The movie tells the story of Riley’s broken heart healing with the help of her dance partners and a gentle custodian. She discovers that heartbreak isn’t the end of the world and reinvests herself into doing what she’s always loved: dancing.

“I don’t want to share anymore,” Gillis said. “You’ll have to come to the premiere to see how it all ends.”

Gillis has a long history of working in media as a novelist, videographer and more, even winning a national award with his work on the screen play for “When I Loved You.”

A few of his most recognized films are “Change of Hearts” and “Around the Next Corner.”

“This is going on my 16th year, and I’ve worked in the industry for about 20 years on my own,” he said about working in film. “My first feature-length film was ‘When I Loved You,’ and it starred Cassie Lampkin, who is also in … ‘Trieste Adagio.’

“We were finalists at the Los Angeles Film Festival, [for “When I Loved You”] and that was a great honor. It’s like being nominated for an Academy Award. I was very happy, and I am very happy with this right here. I think we’re going to do very well.”

With his new short, as-yet-unnamed film, Gillis hopes to expose the actors and the local public to the world of film making and appeal to a youthful audience to teach them that heartbreak is not the end of the world.

“I think that this production will show that there’s people that do go through things,” he said.

“I shoot a lot of things here in Vicksburg. Most of my shots are here in the state, and I hire local actors. It brings some culture here to Vicksburg so people can see how things are done in the movie industry.”

Though the short film is not yet complete, Gilles plans to premiere it at the Strand Theatre (717 Strand St.) in early January and invites people of all ages to enjoy the film for what could be a life changing experience.

“If I can change one person’s life with this then my job is done,” he said. “These girls and all of the actors have been working so hard, and I’m so proud of all them, and they deserve to be seen.”

Entertainment

Local artists opening for rapper Fredo Bang Nov. 27

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Organizer Lil Sleepy, left, and rapper Rob G, one of the local artists in the show. (photos courtesy the artists)

Multiple local Vicksburg music artists will open the performance for rapper Fredo Bang on Nov. 27, at the Claiborne County County Convention Center.

Among the artists selected for the show are Rob G, Dizziboi, Platinum Diesel, Devon 24k, and Dyme Charity. Opening for a nationally recognized rapper like Fredo Bang gives them a great chance to increase their exposure and expand their audiences.

Vicksburg native Lil Sleepy is responsible for organizing the big event and recruiting local artists.

“This is basically what I do, and I try to keep it going as a traditional thing, just like the graduation parties and the New Years Eve Bash I throw,” Lil Sleepy said.

DJ KG (photo courtesy the artist)

The event will be hosted by MC Skooter, Bri, KC, Dixiee and Jada Jay. Local DJs KG, DJ Trap, and DJ 100 will be there as well to entertain the guests.

“It’s a great event, and every year it’s getting bigger,” DJ KG said. “It’s giving local artists what they need by having them perform when a known rapper will be in attendance.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased on Eventbrite, or at Roe’s Rims and Accessories on Clay Street, Supreme Bladez Barbershop at 2713 Halls Ferry Road, or Headquarters Barbershop in downtown Vicksburg. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $75 for the VIP booths.

The event is expected to have a great turnout just as it did in 2018, which was the last time Fredo Bang performed in Port Gibson.

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Vicksburg Daily News presents ‘Festival On The River’

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Credit: Tobi Lee and the Mustang Sally Band

Vicksburg Daily News is pleased to announce “Festival On The River” will be held this coming Saturday, Oct. 24, in downtown Vicksburg. This event is presented in conjunction with the City of Vicksburg and the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

Daytime activities will be held at and near the Levee Street Marketplace, 1001 Levee St., from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Food and merchandise vendors will be on hand displaying unique items for sale. The Vicksburg Warren County Tractor Club will be on hand with antique tractors. Garry James will be picking on the porch for your musical entertainment.

Beginning at 5 p.m., come up the hill to the Washington Street Park, at 1001 Washington St., for an evening of musical entertainment. DJ Shaggy from KHits 104.5 will be your host on the stage powered by Cook Tractor Company. Also appearing will be “The Blues Experience” featuring Calvin “Dr Who” Carson and Mark “Duvelle” Doyle and three-time Josie Award winning group Tobi Lee and the Mustang Sally Band from Nashville.

There is no admission charge for either of these family-friendly events. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets, along with your mask, and be prepared to socially distance. The street will be closed to traffic during the concert.

For vendor information, contact Mary Landers at Levee Street at 601-638-7191. For all other inquiries contact Tommy Parker at 601-218-1524. 

We hope to see you there. Come join us, and let’s show the world #Vicksburgisopenforbusiness!

Visit Levee Street Marketplace on Facebook and Festival On The River-Vicksburg, Mississippi, for updates this week.

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Eddie Van Halen dead at 65

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Eddie Van Halen in 2007 (photo by Anirudh Koul from Montreal, Canada - Eddie Van Halen Shredding His Guitar @ "Eruption" - Van Halen Concert, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5141962)

Rock ‘n’ roll guitarist Eddie Van Halen, co-founder of the eponymous band Van Halen, is dead at 65.

Van Halen died after a decadelong battle with throat cancer at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica Tuesday with his wife, Janie, son, Wolfgang, and brother, Alex, at his side, reports TMZ.

Van Halen formed the band in 1972 with his brother, Alex, on drums and David Lee Roth as lead singer. Sammy Hagar joined the band in 1985 on lead vocals after Roth left.

Considered by many to be one of the best rock guitarists in the business, Eddie Van Halen’s guitar was the basis for the band’s many hits, among them “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Unchained,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Panama” and “Jump.”

Van Halen was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

“He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on stage and off stage was a gift,” his son, Wolf, wrote on social media Tuesday. “My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss.”

“I love you so much, Pop,”

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