Monday, May 04, 2015

Michael Graziano of Resistance visits Union College and The Tennessee Valley Art Association

From Filmmaker Michael Graziano of Resistance:

I've now passed the halfway point on the tour and it's been great.  After Madison, GA I headed, to quote Daniel Day Lewis from "Last of The Mohicans", east toward Kan-tuck-kee to Union College in Barbourville, KY.

Union College is a small liberal arts school tucked into a residential section of an Eastern Kentucky hamlet. Barbourville has a sleepy, all-American feel that is nicely disrupted/punctuated by a number of large murals on the sides of downtown buildings. I especially like this rendering of a wistful, if a bit haggard looking, frontiersman surveying a verdant Appalachian valley (Daniel Boone maybe?). This tile work inexplicably graces the exterior wall of a Subway sandwich shop. Another notable example is comprised of a large silhouetted face off between two founding fathers. I stared at this for a while, wondering about its genesis and why the owner of a blue sedan had chosen to park so closely to it, thereby ruining what could've been a great photo. Lincoln seems to loom (ever so slightly) over Washington. Washington, for his part, appears a bit surprised by this and has an upward articulation that suggests both a 'bowed up' confrontational posture and an unsteady weight-shifted-to-the-back-of-his-heels-I-don't-like-the-looks-of-this-guy attitude. I wonder if this was intentional?  Did the artist intend to give Lincoln (a Kentucky native) the upper head? We may never know...

The screening was on campus and was well attended by members of the school and the broader community. The film played well and we had wide ranging discussion after.

From there I traveled south to Sheffield, AL. Sheffield is part of a cluster of small and medium sized towns in North Alabama including Florence, Tuscumbia (home of Helen Keller) and Muscle Shoals (home to a number of influential musicians and musical acts). The film played in a wonderfully restored old theater in Sheffield called The Ritz. The Ritz, along with all the other theaters in the area, was at one time owned by the Rosenbaum family. A highlight for me and a nice connection to film history was seeing the Frank Lloyd Wright designed former home of said Rosenbaums - family of renowned film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum. The hosts from the Tennessee Valley Arts Association were the picture of gracious hospitality and the screening unfurled accordingly. I have three stops left and will report back on those soon.