Tuesday, March 17, 2009

SONG OF THE SOUTH

It was a rainy night in Georgia, rendering the streets of Augusta quiet and misty. We pulled up to the Imperial Theatre and a sense of pride overwhelmed us. This historic cinema, in a nod toward modernity, was displaying an electronic crawl across its marquee -- "RANDOM LUNACY Tonight!"

A gracious couple, exuding Southern gentility at its best, were the first patrons to arrive. They shared some of Augusta's stories. Another old theatre just across the street had premiered THE THREE FACES OF EVE. More imortantly to us, the Imperial had once found Charlie Chaplin himself selling war bonds from its very stage.

Our host, Charles Scavullo, added the footnote that none other than Frank Sinatra had graced this theatre as well. We felt that Poppa Neutrino was in pretty good company!

We enjoyed a decent turnout for a rainy Sunday night. Once again a lively Q&A, complete with the usual fireworks from an audience member who took exception to Poppa's free-wheeling life; she particularly didn't like the fact that he was uninsured. Later we learned that she sold insurance for that company with the quacking duck (Afleck?)

Afterwards, Charles brought us to his office, where he surprised us by pulling out of a desk drawer an old Rory Gallagher LP. WOW! Having familiarized himself with our bios, he knew that we'd made a film, SONGS & STORIES, about the legendary Irish blues guitarist. Like so many other Rory fans, Charles wanted to share his memories of the electrifying performer who'd put Ireland on the rock and roll map. Ironically, Charles had caught a Rory performance at New York's famed Bottom Line, many years prior to when we would storm that venue with our cameras and guerrilla crew to capture the tribute concert celebrating one of rock's great heroes.

Therefore it was only fitting that before we left town the next morning, we stopped in the center of town to snap pics of ourselves alongside a statue of the godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown, who himself was a local Augusta legend.