Thursday, February 10, 2011

ABEL RAISES CAIN in Orangeburg, SC

When you're on tour and crossing state lines on a daily basis, it's easy to lose track of time and place. Every morning, my dad wakes up and asks me, "Now, where are we again?"

We're having fun driving around listening to big band music on satellite radio. The swinging old tunes from the 1940s follow us everywhere. Many of them take my dad back to the days when he was on tour playing drums as a teenager. Over the first few bars of Count Basie's "Jumpin' at the Woodside," he turned to me and remarked that he's only played that song 150,000 times.

I relished the irony when "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" came on because it seems there's no shortage of churches and gun shops along the back roads of the South.

Dilapidated structures are especially eye-catching to me. I know we're on a tight travel schedule, but I feel compelled to pull over and document their sad beauty.

The problem is that I'm experiencing some technical difficulties. The dying battery in my camera (which is actually an old iPhone that I inherited from my boyfriend and co-director, Jeff) only holds a charge for 30 seconds. So this adds a certain excitement and sometimes frustration to the journey. I have to jump from electrical outlet to car charger and remain plugged in if I want to grab more than one shot.

When it's not possible for me to stop the car or recharge, the abandoned gas stations, crazy billboards and colorful landscapes pop out at me and then blur as they grow distant in my rearview mirror.

When we arrived in Orangeburg, SC, of course we were lost. Google Maps can either be dead on or deadly. Luckily, we found our way to the museum director's house where we were staying that night, but we still managed to take the scenic route.

Ellen Zisholt's home is loaded with old radios, sculptures, paintings, masks, knick knacks and other cool stuff. I loved the room that I stayed in.

I admired Ellen's artistic taste and vision. She had the idea to screen films in the Planetarium itself at the I.P. Stanback Museum & Planetarium. Another unique presentation of the film while on the South Arts tour, ABEL RAISES CAIN screened on a domed ceiling! Audience members reclined horizontally while viewing the film. I was mesmerized by the image that wrapped in such a way that, when there was any sort of camera panning motion, it seemed as if the room was spinning. It was like a ride at the amusement park!

The Planetarium was packed almost to full capacity at about 85 attendees. Ellen and her colleagues (students, faculty and staff) went out of their way to make the event a success, including a post-screening party with punch and nachos.

But the night wouldn't have been complete without a trip to IHOP. I haven't eaten at one of these since I was a teenager. This wasn't just any IHOP... a few months back, a famous food fight occurred here between two women and someone shot video of it that went viral. We would have gone to Applebee's, but on Thursday nights, they turn it into a nightclub and supposedly hundreds of people wait on line to get in. It sounds unbelievable, I know.

Truth is stranger than fiction as we travel deeper into the South!
Location:Orangeburg, SC