John-Andrew O'Rourke

Director // Writer

John-Andrew O'Rourke

Director // Writer

Latest Posts

Shawn the Ex-Crip

S
Hands

Have you ever noticed that hotel front desks are almost always an ungodly height? For a desk, at least. And only on the outside – the attendant’s side is usually pretty normal. You might think this is just an aesthetics or security thing (it’s much harder to jump over something tall), but I think the reason is much simpler: elbows. I rarely walk into a hotel in a state other than utter exhaustion, so I’ve always been appreciative of being able to prop up my arms and lean on the front desk as I hand over my credit card “for incidentals” and await my room key.

I struck this same pose in December of 2018 on the second night of our stay at the Holiday Inn in Phoenix. It had been another long day, complete with hiking 1,300-foot Camelback mountain on an empty stomach and then loading a trunk full of film equipment, so I was ready to get back to the room, have dinner, and go to bed. That plan had been foiled when my key wouldn’t work, so there I was, patiently awaiting a new one.

The gentleman behind the desk checked my ID, scrolled through the guest list, and began programming a new card. As he went about his business, I languidly scanned him. The plain white tag on his mint-green vest told me his name was Shawn. He was clean-shaven, wore thick-rimmed glasses, and sported a unique tattoo on the bridge between the thumb and index finger of his left hand. I looked more closely, but couldn’t quite make out the design.

“What is it?” I asked, gesturing.

“The three crosses at Calvary,” Shawn replied. “When I was 10 years old, I gave myself this tattoo because I knew that I would eventually get out of the gang life, and I didn’t want any gang marks on my body.”

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Coco’s “Remember Me” is Even More Moving in Spanish

C
Pixar's Movie Coco

It was a spur-of-the-moment kinda thing. Instead of going with a friend or sibling, I drove to the AMC Showplace 17 in Indianapolis on my own for an evening screening. I had the whole row to myself, and aside from the three young ladies sitting directly behind me, I was alone. The lights dimmed, the trailers rolled, the customary Pixar short film played, and then the main event began. Coco.

I was not prepared.

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Deformed Gifts

D
Christmas Gift

My fondest Christmas memory is not of something I got as a kid. It’s not a song, a scent, or a snowfall, not a tree, lights, or a star. It’s not even of something that I gave.

No, my fondest Christmas memory is of a Play-Doh cup.

Allow me to explain.

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John-Andrew O'Rourke Director // Writer

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John-Andrew O'Rourke