John Mitchell was unlike anyone else.
I’m sorry if I sound trite in my grief over his death, but there it is.
I must start by saying that Mitchell always told it like it was. I remember him meeting Elliott Gould with a loud, cringe-inducing yet apropos: “You’re much BIGGER than I expected!”
He was a multifaceted, complex man. I only knew one small part of him: a great film lover in our community. He was an instigator and a provocative force behind the late, great repertory theater the Oak Street Cinema. Few knew of his behind-the-scenes impact on Twin Cities culture (which was significant indeed) although many experienced him holding court under the lights of the marquee and at other film venues such as the Walker, discussing cinema, poetry, psychology, life. The Oak Street was infused with his spirit: brash yet graceful; smart yet inclusive; and above all, humane. He had an acerbic, dead-on wit, but always followed it with his singular laugh – a boisterously loud bellow that embraced you in its sheer joy.
Mitchell, you will be missed.