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Edward James Olmos

The theory of “Six Degrees of Separation” states that we are all somehow only six steps/connections away from anyone or anything in the world. I think another way to look at this is to just accept that life is filled with funny coincidences!

Surprisingly, working here at the Artesia Historical Museum, we see odd coincidences pretty regularly! One of these coincidences happened to me about two weeks ago — we were brainstorming about an upcoming event when a very nice man stopped by the museum looking for me. The nice man turned out to be former Artesian Joe Bullock (now of Las Cruces), whose book “Walking with Herb” is about to be made into a major motion picture!

But that’s not the coincidence. Joe and I talked for a bit about me writing a piece about the upcoming film production for the Artesia Daily Press (which you are now reading), and he mentioned that the writer adapting his book into a screenplay is Mark Medoff. Mark is best known as the author of “Children of a Lesser God,” which won the Tony award for being the best play

George Lopez

of 1980 — it was also made into a movie in 1986, in which (here’s the coincidence) my uncle John Basinger played a small supporting role! What are the odds of this?!

“Walking with Herb” is a sweet story about an average man (and amateur golfer) who receives a message from God on his computer screen one day, telling him that he has been chosen to deliver an inspirational message to the world: The seemingly impossible is possible if one’s faith is strong enough.

God tells Joe that he is to play in the Masters Tournament the following spring, and that if his faith is strong enough, he will win.

The film is in pre-production right now, and stars Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell and George Lopez. Filming will begin shortly — and part of it will be done in Artesia! The golf club championship sequences will be filmed at the Artesia Country Club and should take about four days in September.

Director Ross Marks is an alumnus of New Mexico State University, where he now teaches in the Creative Media Institute.

Mary McDonnell

He plans to use an all-New Mexico crew, including some of his past and present students, and he expects to need 40-50 local extras for the Artesia scenes (more on this later on — stay tuned). The film is expected to be released in late December.

This is very exciting stuff for Artesia and a worthy project for our town to be associated with. In the meantime, check out the source novel by Joe Bullock — it’s an upbeat story with a good message and a happy ending.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a happy ending.