Monday, February 05, 2007

Karl Staven day 1 Alabama

Southern Circuit tour day one. Montgomery, Alabama was reached from Philly via a plane trip down to Charlotte and then a second leg to Bama. Despite the second leg being delayed by an hour I’m in fine shape to make the initial screening and do so. After calling Martin (the main man at the initial venue) from the hotel that I managed to find, I follow the printed directions on my itinerary and drive around in the dark reading words on the paper as it passes underneath streetlights. Suddenly I see ahead, on my right, on a theatre marquee, “Karl Staven Animation.” I don’t know how many of you out there reading this have come across your name on the marquee of a theatre but it is not a regular experience in my world. Thanks to Martin for having someone actually use one of those long poles to place actual letters in an actual space on a strongly backlit marquee. Too bad I left my camera in my hotel room.

Unfortunately my initial presentation is happening as the Superbowl unfolds. (For those of you who didn’t watch, one football team dominated another). Fortunately there is a small group of folks in Montgomery who not only don’t care about the Superbowl but who are actually interested in watching unknown animation. Then there are also the folks who arrived to see the Dixie Chicks flick but decided to stay anyway rather than drive home without some entertainment (and they didn’t leave during my presentation - how about that).

The Capri is an attractive classic single screen theatre that has managed to survive in our era of multiplexes due to the devotion and knowledge of its director, Martin McCaffery, and the benign nostalgia of the property’s aging owner. When the property owner meets his maker the family will most likely raise up a Rite Aid faster than you can say "maximize profits, baby.” Hopefully Martin will have managed to salvage one or more additional theaters by then.

The initial sound/image check went well (i.e. everything played when inserted in the dvd player). I had purchased a small portable dvd player before I left just in case any of the venues had problems reading some of my home burned dvds but the Capri’s system didn’t exhibit any dislike of my material. At least not until the actual show.

And then the show happened. No problemo (despite some minor technical problems that arose playing my assortment of dvds). Maybe I’ll tell you about it later but tis late now and I hope to post this initial blog before I sleep, perchance to drive in the morrow.

Getting back into the rental car after the screening I turned to find myself blocked in by a man asking me to roll down my window. Turns out he wanted money from me because he was just robbed and he needed to get gas and he had a baby seat in the back and he was a family man and several other things that implied calamity but his gas tank looked pretty full and there was no family to back up his tale of woe so I politely declined to give him money. First time I’ve been approached for money in a car by someone else in a car.

All in all I survived two plane rides (always figure I’m going down in flames at some point), had a nice conversation with a true film supporter (Martin, of course), and made it through my initial performance. Onto the next day.


Karl Staven 2/4/07