Friday, March 20, 2015

Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling of THIS AIN’T NO MOUSE MUSIC! - Madison-Cultural Center, The City of Hapeville, & The Tennessee Valley Art Association

From filmmakers Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling of THIS AIN’T NO MOUSE MUSIC!:

According to weather reports, we expected non-stop rain to greet us in Georgia and Alabama, but we met with just gray skies and pleasantly cool weather. We launched our Southern Circuit Tour for THIS AIN’T NO MOUSE MUSIC! after lunch in Atlanta with Teresa Hollingsworth at the appropriately folk art-filled restaurant R Thomas. The first stop of our Tour was just an hour away in the historic town of Madison. The screening was held in the beautiful and carefully preserved heritage grade school that now serves as the Madison-Cultural Center. We were particularly impressed with the theater. The Q & A needed no prompting, as people peppered us with questions after the film. Many of them stuck around for the reception after.

Madison-Morgan Cultural Center
Maureen at Madison-Morgan Cultural Center
Southern Circuit THIS AIN'T NO MOUSE MUSIC! Poster in Madison
Madison Theatre

Stop Two was Hapeville, GA, just an hour back down the road, a town whose economy serves the huge Atlanta airport nearby. The screening venue was a re-purposed charming white wooden church. A couple of local restaurants provided snacks and wine before the film. One woman walked in wearing an Arhoolie hoodie. A man told us he’d spent probably $1000 at Chris Strachwitz’ Down Home Music store back in El Cerrito, CA. By the end of the reception, the place was packed and required extra chairs to accommodate the very diverse audience. We were met afterwards by a standing ovation. Regulars kept saying it was the best film they’d seen and the first time they’d witnessed a standing ovation at one of their screenings. Needless to say we were delighted. A lot of people bought the DVD, as well. We got a downpour of rain that night, but it didn’t last too long.

Church in Hapeville
Audience at Hapeville
Audience members wearing Arhoolie hoodie
Hapeville audience members

Next day we drove four hours to the town of Sheffield, AL, right next door to both Tuscumbia, the birthplace of Helen Keller, and Muscle Shoals, the site of the legendary Fame and Muscle Shoals Sounds recording studios. We visited both before the screening at the beautifully restored Ritz Theater in downtown Sheffield. The hors d’hoevres at the reception were especially delicious. There was time to have good conversations with folks before the film. The BluRay looked particularly good on their nice big screen. The theater board members commented that even though some of their crowds have been small, the Southern Circuit Tour films have had a big impact on their audiences.

Helen Keller Water Pump
Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller
Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals
Maureen outside Muscle Shoals Sounds
Chris finds a Southern Circuit Poster
Maureen outside the Ritz Theatre
Sound check at Ritz Theatre