Mason County News
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$100,000 Collected to Save the Odeon!
Wednesday, February 1, 2012 • Posted February 1, 2012

The Odeon in Mason Texas is the oldest small theater in West Texas. Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings you can see a recent Hollywood movie for just $4.00. In addition to movies, The Odeon Preservation Society, also brings in well known musicians, dancers, artistic lectures and other cultural events which are of interest and entertainment to our community and its surrounding counties. Earlier this year, the Odeon Preservation Society was notified that the distributors of movies were no longer going to make ‘film’ and by the end of this year, all movies would be on a digital format. This information had the Odeon and the community to face the need to generate $100,000 in order to procure a projector and screen that met the new industry standards. As of last week, $70,000 had been raised…and as they say…”the clock was ticking’.A request was made from Carol Conlee to Jaston Williams for help. Actor Jaston Williams is co-author, star and producer of GREATER TUNA, TUNA CHRISTMAS, RED, WHITE AND TUNA and TUNA DOES VEGAS. And Jaston loves small town Texas. “I got my start in small town Texas. I want to give back.” He knows the importance of keeping an old theater open in rural Texas and has heard many sad stories across the nation where theaters were lost, closed because of lack of funds. Jaston and his business manager, Kevin agreed to come to Mason for a weekend to create an attraction and focus on saving the Odeon.This past Friday they arrived and were surprised and delighted on what Mason has to offer but especially they commented on its people. Mason has a high level of artistic integrity in the area. For a small town, there are many well read people. The warmth of the old west architecture on the Square combined with the natural contemporary homes nearby. But the warmth and hospitality of its citizens is what Jaston and Kevin feel in love with. Mason’s secret is the quality of its residents. Jaston and Kevin arrived first at Cocoa Luna and then on to KHLB our local radio station. Then to Mason County News to share stories and contacts with Gerry Gamel. A quick trip to Mason High School for sound checks, Sandstone Cellars to taste their wine and see their wine collection and local art gallery. The Board of Directors of the Odeon then met and greeted them at the home of Kay and Dennis Evans. Bill Worrell’s studio on the Llano was the next stop to view his private collection and current work. And then the day ended at Tres Lunas for a restful night.Saturday was a gift to Mason from Jaston. It was a very full day and he worked very hard for our benefit. The way the world is projecting all that is ‘bad’ at us, the remedy we need the most is laughter. There was a four hour workshop on writing stories and comedy. My notes reflected: To have No Fear…to allow God’s energy to write through you….build a character, describe..give lots of information about the person and move them into humanity….the key is to be real with your writing. And that so much can be said, can be implied, and can be understood by the use of one word or syllable.By four, Craig & Carol Conlee, Linda and Bob Laury, Martha & Riley Kothmann, Don Pullum, Scott Haupert and Bridget Langdale were setting up for a VIP Cocktail Party inside the Odeon, close to the stage & screen. The set up and display of wonderful foods and wine were first class. About 125+ people came to meet Jaston and Kevin and to give their support to the Odeon. Due to the size of the crowd, Jaston could hardly mingle among the group. It was noted that at that point in time, the Odeon still needed $20,000 to reach its goal. Harlan Stai spoke up and challenged the group that he would match all donations given at that party up to $10,000. A little after six in the evening, we had reached our goal!People left to head for the High school for Jaston’s one-man show “Blame it on Valentine, Texas”. This play looks at the spectrum of William’s life from childhood to fatherhood. Jaston’s stories are full of witticisms and dig that cause eruptions of deep laughter buried in our bodies. Laughter is great medicine for the soul, and Jaston helps us to laugh, especially at ourselves. Following the show, Jaston stayed for a short question period. A person in the audience asked, “Have you gathered any material for your future shows while you have been here in Mason?” And he replied….Hmmm and smiled.

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