Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mobile, with the road calling

It'll be 11 a.m. shortly, so I'm going to be kicked out of my luxurious (and free) hotel room in Mobile soon. It's too bad, because the room is a dream--gigantic new bed with lots of pillows, a panoramic 12th story view of surprisingly appealing downtown Mobile--so they may have to drag me kicking & screaming.

The visit to Mobile has been great, but too brief. It seems like a city with real promise, with a formerly abandoned downtown that's fighting hard to make a comeback. If the show was any indication, I like their odds. A crowd of about 80 filled a two-tiered theater in the public library building just a few blocks from my hotel. They weren't the most raucous crowd, but many of them stuck around for the Q&A (or was it for the delicious pound cake at the reception?), and I ended up selling out of my tour DVDs after the Q&A was over. There was such a parade of locals who wanted to talk more after the show that I didn't get to eat quite as many of the treats they had at the reception as I would've liked, but I still managed to stuff my pockets on the way out the door. (They even had a threaded 8mm projector as the centerpiece at the reception!) Every show on the tour has really had its own character, but this was definitely another high point.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Charlie Smoke, who seems to be the motor of this Mobile arts renaissance. Not only did he (along with Bob, his boss at the Arts Council) take me out to a local oyster house for another great meal--one of many I've had on the Circuit--but he also gave me a really thoughtful & eloquent introduction, took me out for drinks afterward, and even regaled me with a gift bag including a box of chocolates from a local chocolatier. It's really great to feel such enthusiasm about our visits to these cities & it's even better when you can see that enthusiasm translate to the audiences.

But now time to pack my bags...