Thursday, November 17, 2011

Further On Up The Road with World’s Largest

Another storied Carolina University, Hank Williams’ hometown and a quintessential small southern city were the next stops on World’s Largest’s Southern Circuit journey. The trek to Clemson took one canceled flight, four airports and eleven hours, but I was able to squeak in under the wire for the Q&A. The students’ thoughtful, production-related questions made me glad that I did. Add a visit to a real neighborhood bar with faculty Amy Monaghan and Jonathan Beecher Field, and all road weariness was vanquished.

I got to Montgomery, AL right on schedule and in plenty of time for Capri Theatre director Martin McCaffery to take me sightseeing. And to exactly my kind of sights – offbeat attractions like the aforementioned Williams’ grave and a proud civic monument to the “father of modern gynecology”. But the highlight of the tour for me was actually the Capri itself. The classic mid-century American cinema is a gem of a venue - where true film buffs want to go and filmmakers want to screen.

I went from a big city to a small one with a Sunday matinee in Winder, GA. Downtown Main Street looked like a shot from World’s Largest – sleepy historic buildings, chain store sprawl still held at bay by the railroad tracks running through town. It also belied the modernity of the Winder Cultural Arts Center. The state-of-the-art facilities were an impressive reminder of how harnessing technology is one way rural communities can remain relevant. The importance of that continuing relevance was a constant of the discussions both on stage (expertly moderated by WTV21 producer Christopher Childs) and at the post-event reception.