Meet the new Ragtag executive director

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 8:18 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tracy Lane will be leaving her position as director of Orr Street Studios to become the new director at Ragtag Cinema.

COLUMBIA — Movies have always been an influential part of Tracy Lane's life.

As a toddler, she remembers the day Audrey Hepburn sparked her passion for film and a dream to live big in New York as she watched "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with her aunt.

"It was my first impression of New York, and I remember thinking it was glamorous," she said.

She spent the rest of her childhood as an awkward art geek listening to music the other kids didn't know and dreaming of breaking away from her farmhouse in Marceline to the Big Apple.

After three years of big city living in Los Angeles, the small-town girl found some middle ground between farm life and the big city in Columbia when she began college at MU.

Though her life has gone in different directions through the years, her loyalties stayed with Columbia as she works to promote not-for-profit art in the area.

She worked at The Blue Note through college, as a one-time director of the Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival, as the account executive in advertising for the Columbia Daily Tribune and most importantly, as a mom.

The past three years she has worked as the director of Orr Street Studios, co-director of First Night Columbia and development director of the True/False Film Festival.

On May 17, Lane will begin a new journey in film as she takes over as the executive director of the Ragtag Cinema.

Here's a selection of the question and answer session between the Missourian and Lane:

The Missourian: Why did you apply for the position at the Ragtag?

Lane: I had a really great experience with the organizers of True/False, and this was an opportunity to become more involved with the organization. I've always had a love for film. It's exciting to have a career opportunity that connects me with it.

Q: Describe when you learned you got the position.

A: I was running around town in a frenzy trying to find 400 spoons with my daughter for her PTA ice cream social. Then, I got the phone call, and it totally changed my state of mind. We went to Sparky's and celebrated.

Q: How did your daughter react?

A: She was excited. She thinks the Ragtag is the coolest place on Earth, next to Sparky's. She wants her own desk there.

Q: What changes do you plan to make at the Ragtag?

A: I'm not really eager to make any changes. My first goal is to get to know the staff better and see firsthand things that could use improvements. I hope to incorporate more music experiences at Ragtag.

Q: How does music play a role in your life?

A: Music has always been an emotional backdrop for family. I relate different genres to different people in my family. I relate classic country to my grandparents. Some of my fondest earliest memories are going square dancing Saturday nights with them. My mom was always into soul. She actually took me to my first concert at age 4 — The Jackson 5.

Q: What genre does your daughter relate to you?

A: I did a musical retrospective of my life for my 40th birthday with songs that were meaningful to me. After I asked (her daughter) Lane Bascom what she thought I listened to most, and she said country surprisingly. I don't really listen to modern country. I guess I listen to anything not on the radio.

Q: Let's check out your iPod. What are you listening to now?

A: I listen to a lot of female singers. Right now I have a playlist of women from all over the world. I like to listen to music in languages that I don't speak. It's great background music, and I can interpret it however I want, no matter what mood I'm in.

Q: What is on your bucket list?

A: I have this in my wish book. I want to learn to play the cello. But not just play it, but play it well. I want to go to Italy and see Stevie Wonder in concert. I really want to raise my daughter to be gracious and grateful. I want to raise her so these traits are meaningful and purposeful in her adult life.

Q: You seem very close to your daughter. What are your Mother's Day plans?

A: I'm going to spend the day with my daughter. We are cooking and serving dinner with my friend at Loaves and Fishes to the homeless. It was actually a coincidence that this fell on Mother's Day because it's actually part of a rotation with other organizations. It seemed special when we realized it was on Mother's Day.

Q: You've had an interesting career path. Do you have any regrets?

A: I have no regrets. I think that mistakes are the greatest learning opportunities. You gain some knowledge from every experience. If you can look at it in that light, you can look at it without regret.

Q: What do you hope to learn from working at the Ragtag?

A: I hope to learn more about promoting independent film. Since it is a genre of film I have always enjoyed, I am excited about the opportunity to find ways to promote these films to a broader audience. I think there is a large sector of the community who are not aware of these films or our theater, and I hope to find ways to bring Ragtag and the films we offer into their lives.

Q: How do you plan to get more people to watch films at the Ragtag?

A: When films are programmed by Paul Sturtz, I will look for opportunities with local organizations in the community with direct connections to the film's topic that may impact them to get involved.

Q: Any last thoughts about the transition from Orr Street Studios to the Ragtag?

A: I'm excited to get started but at the same time sad to leave Orr Street. I wouldn't change anything about life right now. I'm really excited about where my career path has led. I see Ragtag as long-term.

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