DEADCENTER 2008: THE NAKED AND THE DEADCENTER (PART 2)

Friday – Interview with the Vamp…noodler

Sheriff Bart: “A man drink like that and he don’t eat…he is going to die.”
The Waco Kid: “When?”

The stay-out-until-3AM lifestyle has led to some dicey mornings at festivals like Sundance, where screenings can take place as early as 9 AM, but the deadCENTER organizers – bless their enlarged, arrhythmic hearts – know better than to schedule movies before 1:30 in the afternoon, so my experiments with temperance were happily delayed.

I did, however, have a 1:00 interview with Okie Noodling II director Bradley Beesley scheduled, which would end up being the first interview I’d ever conducted. After some welcome phone prep by red carpet veteran Mark Bell, I thought I’d be able to get a good 15-20 minutes out of him. We (me, Beesley, and producer Lucy Kreutz) actually ended up going about 45 minutes, drinking coffee and discussing noodling, pro sports in general, and his next project; a doc about the Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo. It’ll be up as soon as I have 18 spare hours to transcribe my tape recording.

An invitation was also extended to yours truly to go noodling on Sunday with Beesley and some of the guys from the movie. After some hectic calls to The Wife and Southwest Airlines (though perhaps not in that order), I was set to give it a go, but we couldn’t get a definite that the trip would actually happen, so I had to decline. I comforted myself with the knowledge that at least there wouldn’t be a story on FT titled “Contributing Editor Pete Vonder Haar Slain by Monster Catfish.”

Though as epitaphs go, I could (and probably will) do a lot worse.

Interview over, I had a full slate of films to check out, including Year At Danger – Steve Metze’s eye-opening look at military life in Iraq, “Henry May Long” (review pending), and the Comedy and Horror shorts programs. Like last year, the shorts were shown at the IAO Gallery. Unlike last year, we were subjected to torrential rains for most of the evening, meaning no tailgating was to be had.

However, the weather did little to mute anticipation for the debut midnight screening of “Christmas on Mars,” the long-in-production movie from Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne. Losing track of time (for some reason) I loitered around the gallery and caught a few of the Midnight Shorts, including “Drag King” from FT’s own Don Lewis. It got a great reaction from the crowd, their enthusiasm no doubt bolstered by the free Stella Artois.

Most of the gang had boogied over to the “Christmas” screening, so I availed myself of the clearing conditions and hoofed it back to the Colcord, hitting the sack around 2 AM, which would be my earliest night by far.

Saturday – “Auntie Em! Auntie Em! It’s a twister! It’s a twister!”

In the words of Roger Murtaugh, Ralph “Papa” Thorson, Jim Hart, and about a thousand other movie law enforcement types, I’m getting too old for this shit.

I had every intention of getting up before 9 AM on Saturday, but the jolly, candy-like snooze button on my hotel alarm clock was tragically easy to hit. I still loitered around my room for an hour or so, and may have succumbed to a nap if not for one of Oklahoma City’s more charming traditions: the noontime Saturday air raid siren. Thinking I had about 30 seconds before death by tornado, I tore open the curtains to see…a harmless blue sky. Irritation slowly overtaking relief, I called the front desk:

Front Desk: How may I help you?
Pete: Yeah, what was that?
FD: What was what?
Pete: That siren, is it a tornado? The Cubans? I saw “Red Dawn,” just tell me where the munitions locker is.
FD: [chuckles] No sir, that’s just the alarm that goes off every Saturday at noon.
Pete: …What in hell for?
FD: To let everyone know it’s noon.

One day I’m going to write my own film festival book, and it will contain potentially vital information that the official festival materials might leave out. For instance, the chapter on Sundance would let everyone know that the seats in the Yarrow’s press tents cause spinal occlusion after 80 minutes, while the chapter on Houston’s WorldFest would point out that the closing night party doesn’t actually take place in Houston but in a city some 50 miles south. Finally, the deadCENTER chapter might, I don’t know, mention the freaking AIR RAID SIREN that goes off every Saturday at noon and instruct people not to crap themselves thinking the Luftwaffe is en route.

The coverage concludes in Part 3 of deadCenter 2008: The Naked and the deadCenter>>>




Posted on June 20, 2008 in Features by
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