Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back from Beyond

Sorry to be incommunicado. After two great (but as yet unblogged) screenings, I ducked back to DC for some work and kid time, back on the road - and the blog - tomorrow.

But first some updates. Charleston SC got off to an inauspicious start. Dropping Kathy off at the airport, already a sad event, I evidently triggered the ire of an underworked airport policeman. Despite there being NO other cars in the airport, this gentlemen took quick and vehement exception to my waiting in my running car in the loading zone for for Kathy to check her flight status. As I had her purse and computer with me, I did not want to drive off and circle, but asked his forebearance for two or three minutes. No such luck, and quicker than you can say Do You Have A Brother That Works For the DMV? I found myself in possession of a $230 ticket for disobeying a police officer! Now I had somewhat resigned myself to getting one ticket on this long journey, but I thought it would be for speeding, not civil disobedience. And I wasn't even singing We Shall Overcome as he was writing me up.

Thankfully, the rest of the Charleston leg was much better. The town itself is delightful and gracious, with a lovely waterfront and gorgeous old antebellum houses. It's a bit like New Orleans, but without the voodoo or 3 gallon drive-thru daquiris. The screening went swimmingly - Mark Sloan and his staff at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art were a pleasure and the screening was well attended. The Q&A afterwards was lively and I think everyone went home happy. I know I did.

From Charleston it was a relatively short hop to Augusta GA, where the film screened at the beautiful old Imperial Theater, lovingly helmed and kept up by Charles Scavullo. Other filmmakers here have written about Charles and the town, but it definitely lived up to it's reputation. Confederate memorials and slightly-less-than-life-sized statues of James Brown live side by side, there are a few great restaurants, and the old downtown has a retro charm. I went back to my lodgings after a good screening and a nice post-screening dinner with Charles, a local filmmaker and teacher, and a charming French couple who landed in Augusta 3 years ago for the husband's job and seemed bemused to find themselves still there. At that point the evening got a little less fun, but no less picturesque, as my room was apparently 3 inches above the local VERY POPULAR bar which hosts an equally popular karaoke night every Saturday. Until 2 am. Believe me, I know.

You haven't really experienced the South until you are sleeping in a four poster bed with toilet paper in your ears desparately hoping that one of the revellers below you will choose SOMETHING other than Shania Twain sometime in the next half hour.

But all's well that ends well. Got a few hours of sleep, made my flight home, and now, three days later, I'm ready to do it again.