Friday, April 23, 2010

THE ROAD TO FITZGERALD

As I pulled out of Spartanburg, I passed a Cadillac decorated in Coca Cola logos.
The main drink of the South is iced tea - real ice tea, not the nasty stuff with long shelf life that one may purchase in delis and groceries.
On the highways I spotted a giant yellow lights on black sign (Jenny Holtzer style) that spanned over the highway and read:

"Highway worker safety week
April 19 to 23 drive carefully."

I crossed over the Seneca river, the Tucaloo, and the Tyger river twice. Hope this all spells good luck for the screening.
For entertainment I was playing the one CD I have with me, fortunately, it is Guy Lesser songs, which I can listen to over and over as the music is beautiful and the lyrics super smart. I took some breaks to hear local radio and become as one with the road.

After 6 hours driving I am now in Fitzgerald, GA. The Southern accents are more pronounced.
“Tea on the Axis of Evil” is listed on the marquee in the town square – under “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”. The cinema was built in 1936 and seats 600 comfortably. They are in the process of restoring an organ to replace one that was in the former theater on this spot, which burnt down in 1932. The organ they are restoring is from Illinois and was donated by a fellow who convinced his family to buy it for him from a theater was supposed to be demolished when he was 13 years old. Now he is in his 60s and a musicologist professor whose house cannot house the organ.
The manager of the theater, Jon, seems to love his job, so he is a font of local information.
After dinner I decided to personally invite everyone in the restaurant to attend my film. As I went from table to table my confidence flagged. Some of the residents have been taking their propaganda raw. When one of them blasted the word "terrorist" at me. He seemed to think that I was a potential suicide bomber. I felt a bit jumpy as I walked home to my empty antebellum-style b&b (the Dorminy - Massee House is antebellum to WWII but is built in the neoclassical style one associates with pre-civil war).
For tonight I am alone in the house, my phone cannot find a signal, and to get internet I had to wander into the town square, where I am now sitting in the half moon and village lights in a trellised area across from the Grand Theater, which has an open internet connection.
When I went home to get my computer, the place was lit up like a nativity set at Xmas. I had to pull the shades in my room to miss being pierced by the vanity light from the lawn - a pleasing effect from the outside.
In the morning I will go to the public library to round up audience, then borrow Jon's bike to find vegetables and movie enthusiasts. Hope to have a crowd for the film tomorrow.