My Day with the Moxie’s Leading Man

Geoff Pickle, Web EditorI can very clearly remember the first time I went to Moxie Cinema.

I was a freshman in college and didn’t know where downtown was, not to mention its art-house theater. It took this Arkansas boy way too long to find parking in the “big” city, but when I got there, I was taken by the Moxie’s atypical style as I watched Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” for a class project.

The seats weren’t overly comfortable (that’s now changed), but it was such a unique experience I was willing to overlook it. The movie was decent; the memory of the theater is better.

While the Moxie is in a new location and under different ownership these days, I nonetheless was excited to get a sneak peak into its inner workings.

Executive Director Mike Stevens was my guide.

For Springfield Business Journal’s Day in the Life Series, I followed Mike around May 12, trying not to be too much of a bother and doing my best to blend in to the surroundings. After all, the simple act of observing can change the outcome.

I do believe, however, I got a nice snapshot of his typical day.

What stuck with me the most is Mike’s disposition. He’s a relaxed guy.

He has a lot on his plate, running the day-to-day functions of the theater and, with his wife, taking care of two children – one of whom is 18 months old. But he has a constantly calm demeanor. I have to think that had a hand in why he was picked for the job when the original owners, Dan and Nicole Chilton, sold the independent theater to nonprofit group the Downtown Springfield Community Cinema in 2010.

The Moxie has a different feel than big-box theaters. Movies I’ve watched there tend to be thinkers rather than action-centric romps. It follows, then, the Moxie’s leader would be cool, calm and collected, to borrow a cliche.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of Mike.

Mike keeps his attire casual with yellow pants and red shoes.

Mike keeps his attire casual with yellow pants and red shoes.

 Mike’s office has a hand-drawn picture of Ryan Gosling in the film “Drive,” one of my favorite movies.

Mike’s office has a hand-drawn picture of Ryan Gosling in the film “Drive,” one of my favorite movies.

 During a meeting with staff member Ashley Fillmer, Mike keeps the discussion informal but on point.

During a meeting with staff member Ashley Fillmer, Mike keeps the discussion informal but on point.

The Moxie may serve beer and wine, but the theater doesn’t allow “general rapscallionishness.”

The Moxie may serve beer and wine, but the theater doesn’t allow “general rapscallionishness.”

Mike takes a little after-work time for a drink and conversation at Missouri Spirits House for a Downtown Springfield Association mixer.

Mike takes a little after-work time for a drink and conversation at Missouri Spirits House for a Downtown Springfield Association mixer.

For more on my day with Mike, check out the full article, photo gallery and short documentary.

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