Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Screening #5, Remembered.

#5: The Imperial Theatre, Augusta, GA
After a night's rest in an old un-haunted house, we drove into Georgia via backroads and antique shops, barrelling into the quiet-ish streets of Augusta in time to check out one of the better-curated junk stores I've ever seen. Hotdog saucers next to Hamburger soap dispensers, etc.
It's hard to have a sense of a place after only a few hours of being in it, and for what it's worth Augusta felt like the daylight twin of Old Charleston. Mostly empty, mostly silent, broad streets and a James Brown statue.
The screening took place in the beautiful Imperial Theater, which we quickly repurposed for a much smaller projection/crowd than its 250-odd seats would have offered. The 16mm Eiki projector we've been carrying in our rental car was set up 100' from the screen, a 1/4" cable running out of the back into the mixing board (run by a long-haired fellow with a Styx tour t-shirt, I think). It's a good strategy for touring in places where experimental film/video audiences aren't built in - move the projector close so the crowd clusters in closer, making for a community of viewers who stick around to ask questions afterwards...
The strategy worked, the films lit up that silver screen, and my minor terrors at appearing in mask-and-red-underwear (for the live narration of THE RED AND THE BLUE GODS) began to subside. The after-conversation was equally grand - the 30-odd folks who came out that night seemed taken with TJUBA TEN especially, inquiring into the terms of ethnography and representation, trying to sort out how and where we (the filmmakers) located ourselves in the work.
We had drinks at THE BEES' KNEES afterwards with some local filmmakers, talked about film film film and how to keep it alive. The quick answer is that we needn't worry - "the death of film" is good for film.
Somehow, Brigid and I ended up at THE FOX'S LAIR in the later hours - Benjen retired to his room while we went downstairs to take in the best Prince cover songs I'd ever heard. Michael Jackson as well - perhaps the purple suit and long locks of the singer/guitarist brought the magic out. Not perhaps - it did.