Wednesday, April 30, 2008

These (red alligator skin) shoes were made for...

I got me a new hat in Mobile today, but what I really wanted was in the next aisle:

I didn't know jack about Mobile before today, and it really seems like a fascinating place. As all the other filmmakers have noted, there's the same French influence as New Orleans, and some very similar architecture, like the wrought iron balconies. Coming into town on I-165, it seems like you're coming into the Land of Oz. The emerald tops of large trees peek over the elevated roadbed on both sides, and a couple of post-modern skyscrapers beckon on the horizon. Here's another view of one of them:

Then there's the ubiquitous "revitalization"--seems like a lot of cities on the circuit (and back home in Durham) are experiencing the same thing. I have heard from a lot of folks on the tour a variation on the theme that downtowns are going from abandoned to $400,000 condos in the blink of an eye. Seems like everyone is in a big hurry to get to the final chapter of Richard Florida's book without the intervening steps. There's a new independent movie theater being built in downtown Mobile right now though, so who knows what the scene will be like in a couple of years.

Charlie and Bob from the Mobile Arts Council were terrific and generous hosts, showing me around and pointing out many interesting sites, like the former Masonic Temple with the Jayne Mansfield sphinxes out front. Charlie and Bob are an even more dynamic duo, having built some incredible excitement in the community for Southern Circuit--the screening was packed, as it has been for all their shows so far, and they're drumming up support for next season's run too.

A special treat was the dinner at the legendary Wintzell's Oyster House (your choice of Fried, Stewed, or Nude) and our fabulous waitress, Ms. Pinky. As she said a couple of times, the food there is so good, it'll make you want to push your grandmother in the creek. I have no idea what that means, but I'd agree.

Plus there's all the signs on the wall. Like the man says, "Give a book a bad name and it becomes a movie!" (click to embiggen)