I spent the last week or so in and around Florida for the final Space Shuttle launch. During that time, I spent more time than I wanted to in a small town called Titusville, not far from the shuttle's home at Kennedy Space Center. You might think that Titusville would be an interesting subject for a "disintegration of small towns due to the end of the shuttle program" documentary, but as a friend pointed out, it was kinda disintegrated to begin with. The best thing Titusville had going for it was good launch observation spots along the water.
Anyway, SpaceFlightNow's Steven Young turned me on to this hilarious "unofficial Titusville Tourism video," created by native Titusville teen Ryan Williams. Apparently, this video sparked a huge local scandal. Local lawmakers and TV news stations reacted to the "youtube sensation" with much outrage. There was a part two. I hear the city council even produced a "response video," though I can't find it.
And then, as if he was reading my mind, Boing Boing reader Ryan Kerrison emailed right out of the blue:
I'm a huge fan of Boing Boing and in particular your space related posts. I was recommended by a couple of my friends at Vimeo to send you a short film I recently finished called Welcome To Titusville. I was in Orlando this past April for the Florida Film Festival with a feature documentary I made last year and while in the area I made this short about the local town who are affected by the Space Shuttle closure.
[Video Link.] So, turns out I was wrong. Potshots notwithstanding, there is an interesting story to tell about how the end of the 30-year shuttle program has affected this Florida community, and Ryan tells it in that short film. Really a must-watch, with some great local people who have personal stories to share.
As an aside, I had one of the most repulsive culinary experiences of my life in Titusville on this trip. Some hours after STS-135 took off, my travel companion and I were trying to grab a fast bite near KSC on a tight schedule. The one open spot with veg options ended up being the Titusville Denny's. Short version: if you like veggie burgers that taste like poop and sawdust, and you like them fried to a charcoal crisp in rancid hamburger drippings, this is the place for you. For others: try to stick with Dixie Crossroads.