Late afternoon, and it was back to downtown Greensboro from the hotel in the suburbs. Through some freak of parking karma, I got the parking spot right in front of the film festival venue. I would later betray myself as unworthy of this. Our hosted dinner was right across the street, so it really couldn’t have worked out better. I was at Table 16 a few minutes early, and tried to call my brother just to confirm an inaudible voice mail from last night. I hung out with Don Moore and then when Amber Rhea and Rusty Tanton showed up we went inside.
Table 16 is a nice restaurant, the servers were good and they were accommodating, but from the moment I walked in the door I felt like I was in a parallel universe where everything was slightly off. Some were little things to not being able to tell how to walk down the hall to the bathroom – one path was through the server station and the other looked to me like a dead end. I sort of vacillated like an idiot until I was able to make it through. The worst thing was that we weren’t all seated at one table, so Don, Amber, Rusty, Mark Welker and I were at one table while titular host Jason McHugh was at the other. I had wanted to talk some technical filmmaking procedures with Farrah Hoffmire and Mitchell Davis, and they were at the other table with Kerri Glover and the host. That part was really a drag. Nothing against my table, which was 4 people I really like and enjoy but having segregated conversations really boned up the value of the whole deal to me.
Around dessert time for our table, the other table was already done. At this point, Jason realized that he was also hosting us and apologetically sat with us for a while. It was a nice gesture and I think he is a genuinely nice guy and I appreciated it. I’m not sure it was necessary because I think the main idea of the hosted dinners as I understand them is to have someone there to keep the conversation rolling and to take the hit of social awkwardness should conversation flag. At that point, we’d been talking for almost two hours so that ship had sailed. Because the getting out of there process was slower for our table, we missed the first four or five things at the film festival.
They had $1 PBR at the gallery, so I bought Dan and myself one and settled in for the haul. By the end of the evening I would have metal folding chair ass fatigue. I found the films a mixed bag, exactly as one would expect. Some of the material began as films, some were vlog type material. I liked a few of the vlogs but in general most of it wasn’t my thing. That’s not a big surprise, because statistically 90% of everything will fall outside my taste range unless Andy Coon arranged a film festival focussed specifically on my tastes. I will make sure, though, that every vlogger in that film festival is listed in AmigoFish. I had never heard of any of them other than Alive in Baghdad which really pushes the edge of the definition (but like I said I couldn’t care less about the definitions anymore.) The films I had a slightly better success rate although the ones that were the most traditionally “arty” types were some of the ones I cared least about. I found that the silly ones were also mostly pleasant enough viewing but also completely ephemeral. It was fun, I voted my heart and really did cover most of the numerical range. I tried to avoid the trap of our current threat alert chart where there can only be two real choices for where to set the number. I gave no 10s, and no 1s, but I did rate some 3s and some 9s. I had a really bad reaction to one film, and found a few that really inspired me.
The downside of something structured like that is that it was kind of long (see previous ass comment) and it also meant I was in a room full of people I like but that I couldn’t talk to. At the intermission I called my wife and then said my goodbyes to some of the people like Donna Fryer and her husband. I met Ed Cone’s wife for the first time, but really didn’t have an opportunity to talk to her at any length. That part was a little frustrating. I think if all the people with multiple entries in the festival were limited to one, it would have been the perfect length and then we could have had more schmooze time.
After it was over there was a weird moment. Janet suggested we go out somewhere, there are bars all over the place within a block or two walk including the one we were at last night. I agreed (my quote was “We’re already dressed up, let’s make something of that.”) and somehow that all dissipated within a few minutes. I truly didn’t understand that. I was in the market for about 30-60 minutes more shenanigan, and getting one drink around the corner would have been perfect. After the Charleston contingent left, I said goodbye to Mark and then executed my dick-like maneuver of the evening. Jason plus Saskia and Brandon (from Current TV) were going somewhere and I asked if I could tag along. They said yes and then I found out they weren’t going to a bar called Andy’s but Andy Coon’s house. I’m sure hanging at Andy’s house would have been fun but it would have a lot of overhead getting there, and then there is a different level of awkwardness leaving someone’s living room than a bar. So, having just weaseled myself into their plans, I turned around and bailed on them. If it is any consolation, I acknowledge that I’m a scumbag. I would have actually bought the Current TV folks drinks and then told them what left me a little creeped out by the enterprise had we gone to the bar, but that is off to the same parallel universe that Table 16 resides in.
So, instead I jumped in my car right in front of the venue and made a getaway like some kind of furtive fool. I managed to complete the trifecta box of never once getting out of Greensboro and onto I-40 the same way twice all weekend. I wasn’t aiming for that, I was trying to do the same thing every time but the crazy access roads and weird signage led me a different way every time. At least I did better this time than when I turned the wrong way on Lee Street and drove west all the way across town before catching the interstate. That was not my gold star navigational moment.
This concludes my coverage of my weekend. As always, it was fun and full of interesting people and good times. I thank all the organizers and everyone that hangs out with me, talks to me as if I’m sensible enough to deserve your time, and generally makes my weekend worth the carbon footprint of a 180 mile drive. I may get pissy now and then but I’m full to the brim with love – if y’all don’t soak some of it up it’s just going to spill.