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Friday, April 2, 2010

Hamburgled and hungry-OMG! This little "shack" is the flashpoint of upcoming Michael Moore documentary AND IT'S RIGHT UP THE STREET FROM ME!

This is so amazing to me!

Top Hat is flashpoint of upcoming Michael Moore documentary

Controversial activist and filmmaker Michael Moore has taken on a new fight, having found juicy inspiration in Ventura’s own former cheap eats shack, Top Hat Burger Palace. When Moore attended the Ventura Film Festival in 2009 (prior to its rebirth as the Ventura Film Society), he became a regular at Top Hat. It was then that he was introduced to the restaurant’s ongoing struggle to remain open. On one particular day in July, Moore realized that such problems weren’t limited to Ventura, but had become a growing problem across the country.

“I was eating a hamburger — double patty with cheese, a side of fries, two sodas. It’s Americana, you know? It’s fading,” Moore said as he disassembled a hamburger in his office, pointing to the tomato and lettuce as symbols of freedom and justice. “I want to put the fresh freedom on top of the crispy justice and then eat them together. One serving the other. All in my belly. That’s America.”

Moore followed his nose to other businesses in Ventura, uncovering a pattern of openings and closings that he believes emphasizes his warning of America’s declining taste for the historical. Standing before the fence that now bars entrance into the Wagon Wheel, a historic former hotel off of the 101 freeway in Oxnard, Moore and Stephen Schafer of the San Buenaventura Conservancy held a press conference to announce the film.

“Our battle is far from over to save these old, mostly useless artifacts of a culture that has long come and gone and, some would say, overstayed its welcome,” Schafer said as Moore fidgeted with coupons behind him. “With Michael’s help, we will finally have the strength in voice we need.” Schafer and Moore then shook hands and posed together.

However, Schafer became critical of Moore after all references to the Wagon Wheel were removed when rumors of replacing it with a Burger King began to circulate.
“The focus of this documentary is on the struggle,” Moore said, spreading mayo on a toasted sesame seed bun. “If they reopened it with a Burger King inside maybe one of the rooms had a grill and another a deep fryer — I think it might help. Make it drive-thru accessible, perhaps. I’m just brainstorming here.”

Last week, Moore quietly attended a screening of a six-minute short produced by a student at Brooks Institute before leaving to visit the old Top Hat location, where he was confronted by an assembly of protesters who had gathered in the adjacent parking lot. The crowd, chanting, “Burgers and lies!” gathered around Moore, who then led them on a march to the stairs of City Hall where he gave a fiery and winded impromptu speech.

“There’s a town in Michigan completely devoid of hamburgers,” Moore said as he wiped his mouth with his wrist, sweat on his brow. “The place is sad, like a ghost town. Strangers ride bikes all day and night. People are power-walking around, skinny as you can’t imagine and breathing easily. These people are hungry.”

“I’m feeling very burger-deprived,” said Ventura resident Ryan Elliott, a robust man wearing a bowler hat and holding a sign that read “Hamburgled.” “We’re all so grateful for Moore. Someone needed to stand up and flame-grill the politicians.”
Moore’s film I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday for a Hamburger Never will open in select theaters this summer.

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