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How To Observe Martin Sheen And Emilio Estevez Day

By Steven Pate in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 17, 2011 6:20PM

2011_08_sheen.jpg It's the middle of August and we all know what that means in Illinois: Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez Day approaches. If you didn't realize it was coming up on Friday, don't feel too bad. Governor Quinn only announced the designation last week to coincide with the Chicago International Film Festival's Summer Gala, where the two will be guests of honor. The question naturally arises, how does one properly observe Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez Day? We have a few suggestions.

Board a boat, complete a mission that does not (nor will it ever) exist
Martin Sheen will be collecting some hardware on Friday as the recipient of the 2011 Chicago International Film Festival Silver Hugo for Career Achievement, and he's been on television and the big screen for decades. It is possible that these days he is most identified with his role as President Josiah Bartlet for seven seasons of The West Wing, but it was 1979's turn as Captain Willard in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now which bumped his name onto the A-list. Sheen's bright but world-weary eyes stood in for ours, watching the in the horror, chaos and carnage of war while on a covert mission to terminate a rogue Army Colonel during the Vietnam war. In observance of this special day, why not take a water taxi down the Chicago river, and terminate a beverage from the on-board bar, with extreme prejudice? Just remember: "Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right. Unless you were goin' all the way."

Get into a tense situation
Sheen's son Emilio Estevez kept his father's birth name, and bears a pretty strong resemblance to the half-Spanish, half-Irish actor. With apologies to a certain Shermer, Illinois high school weekend detention epic, Estevez' greatest performance was as Otto in the 1984 classic Repo Man. In Alex Cox's masterpiece, a wholly original blend of punk culture, half-baked science fiction, apocalyptic pulp, So-Cal detective story and conflicted paean to car culture, Estevez stumbles into a job as a car repossession specialist and into an adventure involving a 1964 Chevy Malibu. As dictated by the Repo Code, a repo man spends his life getting into tense situations. We'll leave it to you how best to orchestrate an automobile-related tense situation of your own but will offer two words of suggestion: Summer dibs.

Abolish something
Governor Quinn officially signed a bill to abolish the death penalty in Illinois earlier this year, but it wasn't before he received (and returned!) a call from Martin Sheen. Sheen is known for his political activism and has been public in his opposition to capital punishment. There are lots of anti-death penalty documentaries and films worth watching, but consider watching the Sheen-narrated Confessions of an Innocent Man. Or better yet, consider becoming involved with the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Watch The Way
$200 will get you in to the Chicago premiere of The Way, part of CIFF's Gala event at AMC River East on Friday. Directed by Estevez, The Way depicts the story of a father (played by Sheen) who journeys to Spain to collect the remains of a son who died while attempting the ancient pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago de Compostela or "The Way of St. James," and decides to complete the journey his son began. A red carpet and the presentation of Sheen's award precede the screening, with a post-film discussion and Q&A, and a reception at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers across the street to follow. There's often a surprise guest presenter (as when Tom Cruise showed up to bestow the lifetime achievement award to Steven Spielberg), so there could be a surprise in store as well.

Ixnay on the Arliechay
Here's an easy one: take the day off from Charlie Sheen jokes. Seriously, those are the least funny jokes you could possibly be telling anyway.