Beer and Pavement

A True/False Diary, part 2

Posted in Film, Live by SM on March 9, 2011

Saturday is typically the big day to attend. Starting at 9:30 or 10:00, you can fit in a 5k run, 4-5 films, a rock show, and an after-party in the wee-hours of Sunday. I did all of those except for the run. Next year[1].

Hula & Natan; Sat, Mar 5 10:30AM; Windsor Cinema
Hula & Natan was supposed to be a laugh-out-loud riot. It was at times, but how funny can you be when you live just outside the Gaza Strip? Still, the two mechanics demonstrate an odd-couple affinity for one another, much like the tape-recorded drunks in Shut Up Little Man! and that created a lot of funny material. Interestingly, one of the most poignant scenes of the film occurred when the protagonists went out to a hill overlooking Gaza. Several Israelis were camped out there watching the territory get bombed and even cheering[2]. Hula was disgusted as he regularly did business with the Palestinians and could see them in a humane way.

Habana Muda; Sat, Mar 5 12:30PM; Little Ragtag
I’ll admit it. I didn’t want to see this film. However, it was easily one of my top-3. The filmmaker beautifully told this story of a Cuban family looking to make their life better through a Mexican man’s generosity[3]. The catch is that the patriarch of the Cuban family was preparing to marry the Mexican, go with him to Mexico, and work to support his family back in Cuba. It is easily one of the more complex love triangles[4] I’ve witnessed. Luckily, in the hands of filmmaker in full control of his craft, Habana Muda captured the humanity, love, and desperation of the situation like few films can.

The Burger and the King; Sat, Mar 5 3:30PM; Blue Note
From True Vision recipient James Marsh came this interesting biography of the King of rock ‘n roll and fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches[5]. Although not the film we wanted at that moment, The Burger and the King demonstrated just what kind of influence Marsh has had over documentary film over the last couple of decades.

The Redemption of General Butt Naked; Sat, Mar 5 5:30PM; The Hive
Terrifying penises. Lots of terrifying penises. I’m not even kidding. Still, this was not what I thought it would be. If it is possible to believe that a man has changed after being directly or indirectly involved in the killing of 20,000 people (mostly while naked[6]), then this is the film that can do it. A top-3 pick for sure.

The Arbor; Sat, Mar 5 8:00PM; Little Ragtag
This was a really interesting method of telling a story. The filmmaker used actors who lip-synched audio from interviews with the subjects, intertwined with scenes from the play The Arbor. The issue was that the filmmaker should have chosen to tell either Andrea Dunbar’s story or her daughters, not both. I left before it ended because I was tired of hearing how Dunbar’s biracial daughter continued to use drugs, prostitute herself, and have babies. Like mother, like daughter, I guess.

Mojo’s A-Go-Go; Sat, Mar 5 10:00PM; Mojo’s
The Arbor made me antsy. I needed some rock ‘n roll, and that’s what I got. I already wrote about this show in my music post, but you should know that the lineup was excellent. Haii Usagi filled the space expertly with keyboards, MacBook, and drums. Netherfriends are developing into a solid rock band that just make you wan to dance. Kings Go Forth are leading the way in this soul revivalist time we’re living. I had to laugh at all the people who scoffed at the $10 cover[7]. They missed out.

Super Secret Party; Sun, Mar 6 1:30AM; ???
I’m really not supposed to tell you anything about this party. It’s not open to everyone[8], but I was invited to see the band Believers play their debut set. I’ve written elsewhere that this was maybe the most enjoyable set of music I witnessed, buskers or otherwise. Seriously, the band was just great. Sure, to the lazy ear, it sounds like Vampire Weekend or whatever, but there’s not all that shitty-ass pretension or  Graceland schtick. Despite the connotations they conjure, Believers are original, engaging, and sure to be among my favorite local bands in the coming years, but you didn’t read it here. The party was pretty great, too.

Sunday was a bit slower, as can be expected. Two consecutive nights of after-parties did me in. So, I took it easy as I somehow fit in films 12, 13, and 14 of the fest.

Secret Screening Black; Sun, Mar 6 10:00AM; Little Ragtag
Again, there’s nothing I can really tell you about this one. Just know that our government cannot be trusted. This might be the one film to sneak out and win the Oscar a year from now. Watch[9].

The Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975; Sun, Mar 6 12:30PM; Forrest Theater
Since I already saw this on Friday, I decided to take a well-deserved break and pick up some lunch and actually take it easy for change.

Here Comes Everybody: Journalism in 2011; Sunday, Mar 6 2:00PM; Columbia Art League
I was so ready to get in a fight with all the journos on the panel, but I ran out of time and had to run. To summarize, journalists are scared as shit they won’t have any jobs in the future. Join the club.

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth; Sun, Mar 6 3:00PM; Forrest Theater
Pruitt-Igoe was a famous housing project in St Louis. It failed miserably for several reasons (white flight to the suburbs, lack of care, detrimental welfare laws, etc.). But what has been missed over the decades since its demise are the stories of the people who lived there. A pretty conventional doc utilizing archived footage, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth was a nice companion piece with films such as The Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975 and The Barber of Birmingham (a short on a civil rights era barber who also happened to be a foot soldier in the movement).

Moving Windmills: The William Kamkwamba Story; Sun, Mar 6 5:30PM; Little Ragtag
I had no interest in this film, but gave my ticket up to a friend. Instead, I decided to hang out with “Team Booze” or the group of guys in charge of delivering beer and spirits all weekend. I sipped on some DIPA’s[10] as the films moved along. After noticing several people exiting the theater, I used my press pass to get inside for the Q & A. The poor filmmaker was taking a beating as this was a work-in-progress and the audience didn’t necessarily understand which suggestions would be beneficial.

Life in a Day; Sun, Mar 6 8:00PM; Missouri Theatre
We finished the night with an experiment in crowd-sourcing. Thousands of filmmakers (amateur and professional) filmed their day on July 24, 2010. The producers and directors sorted out 4500 hours of footage from all over the globe to piece together a surprisingly coherent narrative of the human experience. It was a bit cheesy for my taste, but an appropriate ending for the fest.

All I can say is that I can’t wait for next year’s fest. Even if we were to somehow move[11], I think we’d return for the True/False Film Festival every year. I believe this so much that I’ve collected nearly every blog post I’ve written about the festival over the last five years on a page in this blog. Expect the content on that page to grow. Now, I have to wait another year for T/F to shake me out of my winter doldrums.

1Probably not.
2I don’t care which side you align yourself in the Israeli/Palestinian cluster-fuck. People are being bombed. You don’t laugh and cheer. It’s pretty sick to think people get off on dying and suffering.
3It’s so interesting to think of a Mexican as the rich guy someone from another country goes to financial assistance. I recognize that Mexico, like any country, has wealthy people. However, I’m not sure many Americans would admit to knowing this. They have a very warped sense of the world, particularly of our neighbors to the south.
4Aren’t they all complex?
5There’s a lot of butter used to fry up one of these mothers. It’s a wonder the man lived as long as he did.
6General Butt Naked and his “men” (read: “boys”) would often fight in the buff. From the video footage and images of these fighters, one can imagine just how terrifying that could be. I mean, it’s crazy to fight naked and there’s nothing scarier than crazy.
7Give people a laminated piece of card stock to wear around their neck and they think they can go anywhere. The issue might have been that there was another T/F-sponsored show around the corner that was free to pass holders. I’ll have suggestions to fix this in my last T/F post, if I ever get to it.
8Although they call the party “Super Secret,” plenty of folks seem to know where and when it was. Still, not everyone got in. I felt pretty special getting waved into a party two nights in a row. That’s never happened to me. Thanks, Mary.
9Although I’ve revealed nothing about the film for you to confirm my prediction, you’ll just have to trust me. Maybe I can say something after its official premier happens.
10Founder’s Double Trouble. Good stuff, that.
11Always a possibility when married to an academic.

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True/False Bands

Posted in Film, Intersections, Live by SM on March 8, 2011

Besides being the premier documentary film festival in the country[1], True/False features a somewhat eclectic bunch of bands to not only serve as buskers, serenading audiences waiting for films to begin, but they often rock out at after-parties and showcases throughout the weekend, all over town. I was asked to blog some of these bands. I didn’t see every band, nor did I attend every show, but what I saw was overall pretty enjoyable. Here’s the rundown…

Busking is when musicians practice and/or perform in a public place, often for tips. One of the unique aspects of T/F is the presence of buskers all around town and particularly in theaters. I saw 14 films over four days. Before every one of those films some busking occured. And I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for busking. So, my reviews are all pretty positive, but for various reasons. Here’s what I saw/heard:

  • Bramble might be the quintessential busking band of this year’s fest[2]. Lovely harmonizing, acoustic layers, and ancient percussive methods carry a Bramble song to the heavens.  Not jarring, but certainly not forgettable, Bramble put audiences at ease before learning about bloody mobile phones, the Black Power movement, and troll hunters. Support them on Kickstarter and keep your eyes open for a return to your favorite film festival.
  • Columbia’s own Nature Walk take their sound from the Ozarks, rocking a traditional Americana groove and exploring both the darkness and hope in nonfiction film. The band set up much like Bramble, but the aesthetic was very different. Where Bramble was of the sky, Nature Walk tasted of the earth, making the experience feel all the more authentic and taking us all home to the backwoods and hills of southern Missouri.
  • I witnessed Jeremy Freeze of Jerusalem & the Starbaskets provide two very different performances. Before To Be Heard, the gruff-looking one-time-Columbian played a somber set of country standards and originals. It was dark, Jeremy mumbled, but it seemed to set a serious mood for a pretty serious film. The old folk behind me complained a bit, but sometimes that’s what a festival likes this needs to keep it strange and abnormal. Of course, those old fogies missed out on the real fun as Jeremy spent most of his set before Shut Up Little Man! tuning his electric guitar and hollering out something about “fucking documentaries” and “fuck yeah, True/False.” He played one or two songs, tried to leave his guitar where the filmmakers typically stand after a screening, and walked off with 15 minutes to kill before the film. A volunteer convinced him to come out. Once Jeremy realized his tiny amp was all the way at the other side the stage area (maybe five feet away), he opted to just sing a couple of covers a cappella[3]. Evidence here.
  • Richard the Lionhearted is another Columbian band playing the fest. Their brand of is the kind where every song just sounds familiar. That’s comforting. They also may have been the largest band (six-piece) in the fest’s smallest theater (Little Ragtag).
  • Pearl & the Beard were often cited as the most impressive of the buskers. The Brooklyn three-piece may have also been the most versatile as they could quiet the crowd with soothing harmonies and fill a large venue like the Blue Note with the raw power of their voices. Seriously, this is one of the bands we could see some big things from in the coming years.
  • Lizzie Wright was a most unlikely busker for The Redemption of General Butt Naked[4], but she was a welcome change-of-pace, nonetheless. Imagine a chipper Joanna Newsom singing Moldy Peaches songs about robot love and you’d land somewhere near Lizzie’s aesthetic. She’s new to Middle Missouri. I look forward to hearing her play around town.
  • Mexi-Americana super-cute trio(?) David Wax Museum pulled a Arcade Fire and worked their way through the crowd at some point during their set[5], but what else should buskers do? Just stand around? The energy in their songs necessitated some movement if we were all just going to sit there. The NPR-darlings came to us from Boston and I hope they make it back next year as well.
  • Dubb Nubb were billed as the “only twindie-pop band in America” and they weren’t lying[6]. The twins were the other act that sang like Joanna Newsom, but they harmonized, creating an effect only heard on Newsom’s overdubbed aural masturbations disguised as 30-minute “songs.” I digress. Dubb Nubb were quite good at aping Newsom’s vocal stylings[7] over acoustic guitar. I enjoyed it. My Joanna Newsom-loathing wife did not.
  • Robert Sarazin, more of a storyteller than busker, closed the fest as is (becoming) tradition. He brought the house down with accompaniment from Maine’s Tough Cats before Life in a Day. The festival thrives on such personalities placing their own mark on the festivities and Robert has this talent of warming up the crowd for a grand send-off.

There were other events throughout the weekend, but I had my limits. I made some, but had to skip others. Here’s what else I saw/heard:

  • Mojo’s A Go-Go featured one of the most diverse lineups you’ll find anywhere[8]. Despite that diversity, the upbeat, danceable nature of the three bands fit perfectly together. Haii Usagi opened the gig with their version of electro-thrash, calling up the ghost of Brainiac, sans vocals and guitar[9]. I once dismissed them as sounding too Animal Collective, but that was lazy on my part. Haii Usagi bring the bleeps and blips that drives and veers as opposed to superficially just addressing your need to dance the night away. I’m happy they’re local as it should afford me more opportunities to see them again.
  • Also on the Mojo’s lineup was Chicago and Emergency Umbrella band Netherfriends. I saw them play an EU showcase a summer ago and Pitchfork last summer. Since that time, the band has really worked out the kinks. Danceable indie rock is not an easy thing to pull off without sounding fleeting, but Netherfriends is figuring things out. Netherfriends plays like Animal Collective[10] with soul and seemingly stuck in the seventies. This was truly a fun set. It was nice to see.
  • The night’s headliner was Milwaukee’s Kings Go Forth, another in a long line of soul revivalists flooding the indie scene. This band was good at what they do and caused the crowd to dance up a frenzy like few I’ve seen in this town[11]. Honestly, I don’t get this new obsession with soul music and I’m not sure Kings Go Forth really changed my mind, but they certainly were entertaining.
  • The other set I witnessed Saturday night (or Sunday morning) was that of Columbia’s Believers at a party I’m not allowed to tell you about[12]. There was certainly a palpable energy in the room created by the band as they ripped through a set that left folks wanting more (always a good sign). They’re like Vampire Weekend with balls, White Rabbits with irony, and The Walkmen if they wanted to sound like they’re from this century and not the last. This was a set that made me smile and that doesn’t happen that often anymore. This really was the best set of the fest. Too bad only a few witnessed it.

For those who think True/False is just about the films, you’re sadly mistaken as the music aspect is slowly growing into a major event of its own. I feel bad for those fest-goers who pay no attention to the buskers or avoid the rock shows and showcases. However, it just means there’s more room for me to attend, a practice I will surely include in future True/False fests.

This post originally appeared in The CoMO Collective, a site I am collaboratively working on with a few other Columbian bloggers. The only difference between that post and this one is that this one has some revisions and footnotes. So, consider yourself lucky.

1That’s right. I said it. Name one that’s better. All I know is that every filmmaker who comes through talks about how much they love our fest or they say it’s the best documentary film festival anywhere. They don’t have to say that. I think that because it is primarily focused on documentary film, it gets about as much mainstream attention as docs typically get.
2Before this year, I would have tagged Brody Douglas Hunt as the quintessential T/F busker, but sadly, Brody didn’t make it out this year.
3I suspect he was a bit tipsy, but it was a happy tipsy. Nothing wrong with that.
4I described this film with two words on Twitter: terrifying penises. That’s all you need to know.
5This made it really hard to eat my burrito.
6What I mean to say is that they’re actually twins, possibly identical. I don’t know that they’re the only “twindie” act in America, but they certainly looked alike.
7Who would have guessed that folks would copy Joanna Newsom’s voice? I guess it shows that’s she’s more influential than we may have once expected her to be.
8Typically, “diverse” lineups include a bunch of white dudes and a hip-hop act. This was not the case. It’s possible to have diversity without hip-hop. Now, had they included some women on the bill, that would have made the lineup more diverse.
9This is something I would have assumed was impossible, but Haii Usagi made me think “Brainiac” the whole time. Really, that’s quite a feat.
10Sorry. This time the reference was meant as a compliment and was particularly apt. I recognize compare bands is lazy, but it’s also an effective way to communicate. Besides, I’m barely professional at this.
11We don’t dance here. I’m not sure why.
12It’s not just a secret, it’s a super secret party held at a secret location. You know you’ve been in a town for a long time when the the person running the door takes one look at you and says, “Zac, you’re okay to go in.” (Thanks, Mary!) I was on the list thanks to my role as T/Fweeter and music blogger/guerrilla journalist.

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A True/False Diary, part 1

Posted in Film, Live by SM on March 7, 2011

I am still recovering from four days of docs, drinks, and dancing[1] at this year’s True/False Fest. The following is a rundown of all the things I saw and did over that time. Last night, I had trouble just remembering which films I had actually seen, but it’s all coming back to me.

Blood in the Mobile; Thu, Mar 3 5:30PM; Big Ragtag
What a great way to start the fest. Of course, it made me feel a little guilty for using my phone so much[2], but it was a strong start to an excellent weekend. Maybe one of the most powerful moments of the entire fest happened when the filmmakers ventured down a coltan mine in the Eastern Congo[3]. It’s the most claustrophobic I’ve felt watching a film since the director’s cut of Das Boot many years ago. Plus, it was interesting to see the contrast in the mines, the surrounding miners camp and Nokia headquarters in Finland. Two characteristics that seemed to run throughout the fest were Scandinavian filmmakers and a focus on African and African-American subjects.

The Jubilee (w/ Benda Bilili!); Thu, Mar 3 7:30PM; Missouri Theatre
The first film made us a little late to fully enjoy the fest’s newest event, the Jubilee. While my partner searched out some food, I grabbed a Schafly APA and enjoyed mingling with drunk, middle-aged folk. We settled into the beautiful Missouri Theatre. What I witnessed was the maybe the best rockumentary[4] I’ve seen in a while. The film had holes and there was a bit a cheese involved in the happy ending, but second-straight film set in the Congo was a lot of fun. I particularly loved the representation of the disabled as capable[5].

Secret Screening Purple; Thu, Mar 3 9:30PM; Forrest Theater
I can’t really tell you much about this film. The fest has an agreement with a few bigger festivals (Hello, SXSW!) that they won’t reveal the titles or specific details about certain films so that those fests can claim premier status. What’s interesting is that many films have their first screenings at True/False, but for whatever reason, other festivals get the credit. It’s an aspect of the industry I don’t get. However, I feel lucky enough just to get a chance at seeing these films and will respect the arrangement by not telling you too much about these films. That said, SS Purple was a pretty cool film and featured maybe the best soundtrack I’ve heard in a T/F film.

The Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975; Fri, Mar 4 3:00PM; Big Ragtag
We reserved two screenings for this one as I had work commits that could have caused me to miss out on my first Friday film. I was on the road at 5 AM, drove three hours out, sat for three hours, and drove back. Luckily, I made it in time. Ironically, halfway through the doc, a tornado warning caused the volunteers to stop the film. The audience all wondered why bother to stop as they called their loved ones. We weren’t going anywhere.

The Black Power Mix Tape was another Scandinavian film about African(-Americans) and told me more about the Black Power movement than I’d previously known[6]. It was a rather unbiased and factually-based look at the movement, bringing home the idea that every major social movement needs an extreme presence to push through. Every high school in America should have this film in their media centers.

The Woman With Five Elephants; Fri, Mar 4 5:00PM; Forrest Theater / North From Calabria; Fri, Mar 4 6:30PM; The Chapel
We made the mistake of not eating on Thursday and we wouldn’t make that mistake again. These were “extra” films we chose to fill the time slots[7]. The second of the two films overlapped the next, so we chose to attend a parade and eat.

March March; Fri, Mar 4 5:15PM
Said parade was rained on, but that didn’t dampen the marchers. The best part was that we were able to get our kid out of preschool in time to check out the parade. I’ve never made it out to see the March March, but I’m glad I did this time. It’s a ramshackle affair where anyone can join and those who do dress in the most original costumes.

To Be Heard; Fri, Mar 4 7:30PM; Little Ragtag
I’m a little weary of films about schools. These films (fiction or nonfiction) are often preachy, devoid of reality, and/or circle-jerks over an egotistical teacher. Rarely do these films focus on reality or the lives of the students. To Be Heard actually gets it right. Smart, savvy subjects and some really great poetry dominate this film. It wasn’t all uplifting, but the film’s reality was a welcome addition to the “inner-city-schooling-achievement” film genre.

Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure; Fri, Mar 4 10:00PM; Little Ragtag
My partner called it a night as she had been traveling all week and I settled into one of the Ragtag’s infamous couches for what promised to be the funniest film of the fest. I don’t know that Shut Up… lived up to that promise, but it did bring up some interesting ethical issues. Basically, two young guys record the drunken arguments between their neighbors and eventually turn those recordings into an underground phenomenon. Questions arise as to who owns content that’s been taken under dubious circumstances. The film was more interesting than hilarious, but it was still good for a few laughs.

@CTION! Party; Friday, Mar 4, 10:00PM
I don’t normally do parties at T/F[8]. I tend to just focus on the films, but this year’s involvement in the fest made me want to check this event out. Basically, it was a lot of free booze and multiple rooms with multiple DJ’s letting folks get their grooves on[9]. One room featured soul and 80’s revivalist soul and the other featured music for young folks and a hipster stench. I thought this would be my last stop of the night, but I ended up at an after-party where chatting up T/F staff and filmmakers was actually possible[10]. Plus, Hellbender provided some beer. That’s always a good reason to show up for a party.

There is a second half of this post-T/F diary. However, I will be posting something about the bands I saw in the meantime[11]. So, be on the lookout for two new posts in the coming 48 hours.

1I don’t actually dance anymore, but I saw and heard a shit-ton of great music. I just liked the alliteration.
2I was the unofficial fest Tweeter. While someone on the fest’s core staff was technically in charge of all the social media efforts and did his own share of Tweet, I had access to the Twitter account and was constantly Tweeting the events of the weekend. It was fun, but I will want to prepare much earlier in the game next year if they allow me to participate. Still, it afforded me a lot of access to the fest, which made it the best of the six I’ve attended.
3Coltan is one of the main minerals used in constructing cell phones. The mining of this mineral is being exploited to fund warlords in the Congo.
4I mostly say this because it feels as if the fest has ignored a film genre I happen to love. Maybe there’s a way to highlight new and old rockumentaries in future fests. Keep that in mind as I will post suggestions for next year’s fest later in the week.
5Too often, we are presented with images of the so-called “disabled” as unable to do pretty much anything. While I don’t think the fest has done a ton to dispel this myth, this film and 2005’s Murder Ball suggest otherwise. In Benda Bilili!, the subjects overcome numerous obstacles (in addition to their inability to walk on their own) to support families and become rather successful musicians.
6For one thing, the leaders in the Black Power movement were not nearly as violent as the media and history books would want you to believe.
7This means that there were two extra seats for those waiting in the “Q.” You’re welcome.
8To be honest, I don’t do parties too well. I prefer less-structured get-togethers.
9Despite my unanimous selection has my high school senior class’ best dancer, I don’t really dance much these days, unless it’s with my two-year-old.
10I actually didn’t talk to any filmmakers at this event, but I did talk to To Be Heard‘s Pearl.
11This was the main reason I received a press pass. So, I should probably follow through with that commitment.

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My True/False Preview: 5 Things

Posted in Film by SM on March 3, 2011

While I am not the most experienced, not most in-the-know person attending this year’s fest, I do have five of these buggers under my belt. So, that has given me some insight into a few things you should keep in-mind for this year’s edition. Here are my top-5 things to remember as you enjoy 3-4 days of docs, drinks, and dancing:

  1. Plan your Q carefully. The Q is what non-ticket-holders use to get into films they really want to see. The key to the Q is to show up at least an hour ahead to get your number. Once the numbers are passed out, you’ll have 45-50 minutes to kill. It used to be that one could get into almost any film on the Q, but that’s not the case as the fest has grown. I’d suggest Q’ing it up for films in the larger venues such as the Missouri Theatre, Blue Note, or the Windsor Cinema on the Stephens campus.
  2. Take your own food and water. On paper, the schedules look spacious. It appears there’s a lot of time to grab a bite between screenings. However, after staying to hear some Q&A from the filmmakers and enjoying the walk from Stephens College to the Missouri Theater, passing crowded eatery after eatery, you’ll come to realize that there just isn’t time to eat. Take some food with you. I suggest any kind of sandwich that fits under the “pocket” or “wrap” category. Also, take a water bottle and rehydrate whenever possible.
  3. When you do have time to eat, I’d suggest breakfast at Uprise, Booches Burgers for lunch (and hangover cure), Kaldi’s for that afternoon caffeine jolt, and happy hour sliders and beers at Sycamore. Sure, those are some decadent options, but it’s a festival. Be festive!
  4. Don’t carry all of your tickets at once. It’s too easy to lose that manilla envelope your tickets come in or accidently let one ticket slip out as you pull from your stash. I always organize my tickets by day and leave the rest in a safe spot at home, ready for the next day’s onslaught of nonfiction.
  5. Enjoy like there’s no tomorrow. If you can see ten films this weekend, go see eleven. If you are done with the films for the day, there’s sure to be a party or band showcase you can attend. Don’t worry about overload. You can rest next weekend. Besides, like Xmas, True/False only happens once a year.

Those are my “things.” Some other Middle Missouri bloggers have other ideas. Most are captured at Capturing COMO. Show-Me Eats has your menus all picked out. That and there are a million and one Twitter hashtags in use for the weekend:

I’ll recap here after the weekend is through. You can also go to a new spot, CoMO Collective, if you want more T/F reflection.

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My True/False Preview: Events

Posted in Film by SM on March 2, 2011

Some people actually attend True/False for the parties. I typically don’t, but an upgrade in passes and a request to blog this thing has me scheduling in some non-cinematic events. Here’s a rundown…

The Jubilee
This is a new event that coincides with Benda Bilili!. Columbia’s best bartenders will be serving drinks, which just means they’ll be pouring me beer. We have a tight window to make this one, but I think we can sneak in a drink. I’m mostly looking forward to seeing folks spiffed up for the event (more on my own attire later).

March March
The current plan is to run from our first Friday film to our kids’ daycare and back to the March March location. Basically, it’s a parade where everyone marches and they all dress for the occasion. Hopefully, the rain their calling for doesn’t fall.

Reality Bites
Directly following the March March, there will be refreshments in the Missouri Theater, the endpoint for the parade. We used to be able to attend this party with a Simple pass. This year, we’ll return with the necessary Lux pass. Various local restaurants serve up some of their finest appetizers to washed down by some Schlafly Beer.

@ction Party
My first T/F featured my stint as a volunteer, getting the opportunity to clean up what’s supposed to be Columbia’s best party of the year. I’ll come late as a I have a late film to catch, but it will be fun to check out for the first time from the party-goer side.

True Life Run
OK. We’re not doing this. We talked about it, but it never happened. Besides, I haven’t worked out in two weeks. I’m not ready for such an event. We may have to make time to cheer on those brave enough to party all night and run all morning.

Filmmaker Fete
It was suggested that I get into this. I don’t know that there’s room in my schedule, but the food comes from my favorite restaurant in town (Sycamore) and it’s loaded with filmmakers. We’ll see if I get the call or just stick to my film schedule.

Mojo’s A-Go-Go
After a film, I’ll sprint over to Mojo’s for a rock show of the highest order. It’s maybe the hottest ticket in town and I have one. Kings Go Forth, Netherfriends and Hai Usagi make up one of the most interesting lineups of the last year. It should be a good way to end my Saturday night.

Some Party
I’m not at liberty to really say anything about it, but I’ll be partying into early Sunday morning. I’ve already said too much.

Closing Night Reception
I once chose a film that was not the closing night film and sort of felt like the fest didn’t really have any closure. This riot in the Missouri Theater lobby is a good time to recap the weekend and stuff our faces.

Plus, bands, lots of them.
Besides the Mojo’s gig and possibly that party you know nothing about, I will see lots of bands. It’s basically the reason I have a press pass. The bios and a few tracks can be found at the T/F site, but I look forward to hopefully catching some of these bands busking as we wait for films. Among those who have me most intrigued are Believers, Bramble, Malone, Run On Sentence, and probably another band whose blurb and mp3 don’t do their busking justice. With somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-16 films and the events listed above, I’m sure to hear something I haven’t heard before and I’ll like it.

Oh, and friends
I have lived here for five and half years. That has not always been an easy time. It’s felt like five years of transitioning. That is, until recently when I started to feel a part of this community. I will see a lot of friends this weekend. It sort of boggles my mind how many people I know in this town. I never knew this many people in any town or city I’ve lived. It’s kinda cool and makes me appreciate living here that much more.

I’ll have one more post for Friday that will accompany these in creating a BICTBAP Guide to True/False. Then, after the weekend is over, look for posts featuring the events, bands, and films of the 2011 True/False Film Festival.

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Posted in Film by SM on March 2, 2011

I was working on a post for today in order to keep up with my three-a-week goal. However, things got busy. So, to hold you over, I’m posting the following pic and will continue my T/F preview later this evening. I’m posting on Wednesday, just later on Wednesday.

I'm legit, I guess.

My True/False Preview: Films

Posted in Film by SM on February 28, 2011

It’s True/False week here in Middle Missouri. T/F is a documentary film festival that makes life worth living in these parts. This year, I have upgraded passes and will see even more nonfiction films than ever before. I have more to say about this in coming days, but here is my rundown of the films on my itinerary. These are not reviews. They are just preliminary thoughts on each film, sort of my first impressions based on short descriptions and trailers. It will be interesting to see how close or far off I am in my assessments before even seeing one film. Anyways, here it goes…

9a. Blood in the Mobile; Thu, Mar 3 5:30PM; Big Ragtag
Electronics are made out of precious metals that have to come from somewhere. At some point, all of us mobile phone lovers have to recognize this. This film will probably make me sick that I’ve ever made a cellular phone call.

7a. The Jubilee (w/ Benda Bilili!); Thu, Mar 3 7:30PM; Missouri Theatre
We’ll hit the MO just in time for a drinky-drink, but  Benda Bilili! is on our list. There’s nothing that says “True/False” like a film about paraplegic musicians from Kinshasa. Even if the film sucks, the environment will be electric, thanks to the booze served at the Jubilee.

34a. Secret Screening Purple; Thu, Mar 3 9:30PM; Forrest Theater
Any film about punks piques our interests. This will be our third film and third theater of the night and we usually don’t start seeing films until Friday. It should be a fun year.

8a. The Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975; Fri, Mar 4 3:00PM; Big Ragtag
This was the must-see on our lists this year. I feel the Black Panther movement has  received a bum rap in recent years. It’s time to hear their story. I have high hopes for this film, but I suspect it will just let me down. Either way, I will be on the road right before this screening. I’m hoping to make it back to town in time to make it. If now, we reserved Sunday tickets as well.

42a. The Woman With Five Elephants; Fri, Mar 4 5:00PM; Forrest Theater
This was a filler. I suspect it will be boring and we’ll skip it so that we can eat. That means it will be the film of the festival and I’ll regret it as the filmmakers collect their Oscars a year from now.

26a. North From Calabria; Fri, Mar 4 6:30PM; The Chapel
We reserved this one because my wife has Polish roots and spent some time there. As is usual for this sort of film, I suspect it will be interesting and intimate, a worthwhile watch.

39a. To Be Heard; Fri, Mar 4 7:30PM; Little Ragtag
This was a priority on the feminist watch list. It’s about some female slam poetry from the Bronx. That alone should be a nice pairing with The Black Power Mix Tape.

36a. Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure; Fri, Mar 4 10:00PM; Little Ragtag
This one looks like it could be ridiculously funny…or mental masturbation. Still, I’m interested in hearing the story behind this DIY, punk enterprise of cassette tape recordings of two drunk neighbors. That late on a Friday will either encourage me to wait it out or skip out for the @ction Party.

20a. Hula & Natan; Sat, Mar 5 10:30AM; Windsor Cinema
No 5k fun run for us. All I read about this one is that it’s a comedy set on the Gaza Strip. Let the hilarity reign over the most fucked up region in the world!

19b. Habana Muda; Sat, Mar 5 12:30PM; Little Ragtag
This was not my pick. I read it as being about a threesome, but others read something more sinister and troubling than that. So, I’m in.

13b. The Burger and the King; Sat, Mar 5 3:30PM; Blue Note
Who doesn’t want to see a film about Elvis’ diet?

29b. The Redemption of General Butt Naked; Sat, Mar 5 5:30PM; The Hive
The title alone should interest you, but I can’t figure out what it has to do with anything. Basically, it’s about a Liberian warlord who turns his life over to God. That sounds fishy to me, which typically means T/F gold.

4c. The Arbor; Sat, Mar 5 8:00PM; Little Ragtag
In the description, this one sounds like a snooze-fest, but the trailer presents a lot of mystery and intrigue.  The combination of archival interviews and dramatic interpretations of actual events provides something I can get behind. I’m really interested to hear this story.

31c. Secret Screening Black; Sun, Mar 6 10:00AM; Little Ragtag
I’m certain this one was featured in a This American Life a while back, but that’s a secret of course. It features anarchists (with the assistance of the FBI) setting each other up to throw molotov cocktails at George Bush or something. Sounds like a party.

8c. The Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975; Sun, Mar 6 12:30PM; Forrest Theater
See above. I’ll see it here, if I don’t see it Friday. If I see it Friday, some lucky person in the Q will get my seat.

28c. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth; Sun, Mar 6 3:00PM; Forrest Theater
From a regional standpoint, this looks to be an interesting take on the failed public housing experiment in St Louis. It’s also timely when investigating the failed American dream in these times of economic desperation.  I suspect the film will either be enormously intriguing or a bore. I predict the former.

25. Moving Windmills: The William Kamkwamba Story; Sun, Mar 6 5:30PM; Little Ragtag
A friend dragged her feat and didn’t score any tickets. I might give up my ticket and pass for one screening so that she can get away for 90 minutes.

23b. Life in a Day; Sun, Mar 6 8:00PM; Missouri Theatre
The closing film is an experiment in crowd sourcing. It should be a fun way to end the weekend.

That was a brief rundown of what I will see this coming Thursday through Sunday. On Wednesday, I’ll tell you what else I’ll be doing over the weekend. If you’re attending, tell me what you plan to see. What do you know about any of these films? If you want to know more, check out the T/F site.

(Sorry. There are no footnotes. I was lucky enough to find time for this post let alone numbered ramblings.)

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