Monday, March 05, 2007

Steve Ross - Days 1 and 2

After a fairly tiring day of travel - Athens to Columbus, Columbus to Charlotte, Charlotte to Montgomery, AL - I am in my Malibu navigating the Montgomery roads to get to my first of many motels on the tour. Quick check-in at the Best Western and off to the Capri Theater to meet my contact Martin.

Neurotic New Yorker that I am, I come with multiple DVDs and a DVCAM copy of Liberia: A Fragile Peace; I have the 16mm print, a VHS copy, a DVCAM copy and two separate burnings of the DVD of Fishers of Dar. Just to be sure, I also bring my own video deck (Sony DSR-11) which can play the DVCAM. The Capri is one of only two venues on the tour that "offers" to play 16mm. Truly it seems that 16mm film projection is going the way of the eight track tape. Sad. Sad.

I arrive at the Capri. After being told that the 16mm projector really hadn't been used for years and the sound was questionable, we resolve to test out my deck. All goes well. The video projector at the theater is a beaut and we are all set. Martin and I dine next door, and then the show is on.

A nice-sized audience (Martin had me prepared for the worst) of 60-70 are in attendance. The screening goes off without a hitch. A nice Q&A follows.

I had never seen this double feature before. I am struck how well that they work well together. After watching the whole of Fishers of Dar and the various views of this fisher society and economy, one turns to Liberia: A Fragile Peace where the first shot is of the garbage-laden shoreline in Monrovia. Kind of tells the story of the two countries.

Off this morning for the five-hour drive from Montgomery to Jackson, MS. Yesterday, as many of you know, Hillary (and Bill) and Barack and numerous others, descended on Selma to commemorate Bloody Sunday (March 7, 1965) when Dr. King led the march in Selma on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Today, ironically, I am driving over the very same bridge. I remember back in the 60s and early 70s just having a sense of fear about traveling in this part of the deep South. This was not exactly a tourist destination for hippie boys from the North in those days. Today, on a sublimely clear and beautiful day, the town of Selma, one day after the big doings, was a beautiful Southern town on a normal work day. Live oaks and Spanish moss and a real sense of history.

With Dylan's memoir, Chronicles, on the CD player and a sense of the connection of former freed slaves to the formation of Liberia, there was a lot to think of on this drive.

I am writing from Jackson where the films will be playing tonight to an audience at Milsaps College.