Sunday, June 7, 2009

"Crossroads Film Festival Post-Game Report"

This was the first column I ever wrote where I threw the rules away. It's about 95% true. I just don't remember what's untrue now.

I’m a dedicated film nut, so I spent most of last weekend at the Crossroads Film Festival. I had planned to write a coherent account of it, but since the first three nights ended at Hal and Mal’s, I’ve discovered that most notes I have are illegible. I’ve decided to write down what I remember. If you were there, some of this will seem familiar. If you weren’t, maybe you’ll want to give it a go next year.

Thursday night, Parkway theater. Saw “Leo.” Had the guy from “Shakespeare in Love” in it, with Elisabeth Shue, the one from the babysitting in Las Vegas movie. Not so good. Too long. “Up, Up, and Away,” a short film, two minutes long. Much better. Not too long.

Went to Hal and Mal’s for a pale ale. Had more than that. Had political discussion with folks from another free newspaper. Fell in love with a bartender.

Friday night at New Stage: “The Blues.” Five selections from really cool directors, like Wim Wenders and Mike Figgis, and some guys I haven’t heard of. The bit with Bobby Rush and B.B. King was great, and I loved Wim’s piece. Martin Scorsese is going to be doing one of these. Which means he won’t get an Oscar for it.

To Hal and Mal’s for a few beers. Had a few more than that. Had non-political discussion with people I don’t really know, got interviewed by NPR, ate many tamales, and fell in love with a waitress.

Saturday was New Stage for a bunch of short films. “Transit” is about the lack of public transportation in Hattiesburg. “The Uncle Tom Sho’ Featuring Negro-Rigged Jeopardy” is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Yassuh!

“Last of the Mississippi Jukes” was standing room only. I got an early seat down front. The crowd applauded the performances in the movie. Almost all musicians in movie were in the theater. When they were introduced, the audience gave a deserving standing O. Morgan Freeman was there, trying to deflect a microphone: “I actor, not speaker.” The blues musicians were celebrated like gods.

Back to Hal and Mal’s for blues jam and several Jack-and-Cokes. Had several more than that. Watched fantastic jam with several great acts, David Hughes, who made the movie, and Chris Thomas King, who played bluesman Tommy Johnson in “O Brother.”

Got to shake Morgan Freeman’s hand and talk with Chris Thomas King. Had no food, fell back in love with the first bartender. Swore I’d go to the Subway Lounge afterward. Got lost and went home.

Sunday, woke with hangover, went back to bed. Woke with hangover again, went back to bed. Got up, went to the 5:00 show, the “Screener’s Choice.” Loved “Mboutoukou,” a student film set in Africa and “People in the City,” a music video set to Air. Talked with Ken Stiggers, who made “Uncle Tom Sho’.” Watched the first movie of the last block, but it was too French. Went home. Got rained on.

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