Saturday, February 13, 2010

Music City, USA


29 and holding:  sweet Jesus, it's cold here in Nashville.  

First stop:  The Ernest Tubb Record Shop, where I elbow out some Swedish tourists to nab Conway Twitty Rocks.  Then across Broadway to Hatch Show Print, where massive Vandercook presses roll out smack-your-face, hard-edge posters that tout everything from strip shows to academic conferences, and ballyhoo everyone from Mother Maybelle Carter to Thomas Mapfumo.  

Tool down Music Row, headed for Vandy: Past Great Escape, Chet Atkins Place, Roy Acuff Place.  (Blaring out of the Pontiac's speakers: "Lonely Blue Boy"   recorded:  7/24/61 @ Owen Bradley's studio, 16th Ave S., Music City, USA  Vocals:  Mr. Harold Lloyd Jenkins; on guitar, Grady Martin; on piano, Floyd Cramer; and on drums, Jack Nance -- later in life, best known as the star of David Lynch's ERASERHEAD.) 

Beneath Vanderbilt's staid chilly red brick exteriors, lots of heady conversations. Legendary writer Peter Guralnick waxes poetic about Sam Cooke's producing work; a demure English prof offers insights on Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, and Latin American cinema; Eric, an expert dancer, still young, talks about having to hang up his toe shoes.  And film prof Will Akers (who could be a stand-in for Sam Shepard) regales me with an old Hollywood story that would make Robert Mitchum blush.  

The students ask about film schools, narrative through-line, crew dynamics, music post-production, shooting with the RED camera . . . and how to land a job.  Sitting at the bar with Laura and Demelza, I hear tell that my new doc short will screen at the Nashville Film Fest.  

(Bless you, Mr. Brian Owens.)

Barbeque at Jacks, then back to the airport, where the lovely young Ethiopian women behind the counter ring me up while chatting about Goo Goo Clusters.