Friday, April 22, 2005

Strawberry milkshake: $2.39. Chili-cheese fries: $1.99. Hanging out after midnight at the Steak N’ Shake with Mario Van Peebles, Jason Patric, Guy Maddin, and Roger Ebert: Priceless.

Having been invited to the traditional late-night snack at Steak N’ Shake, it was surreal to waltz in and see Mario Van Peebles sitting at the booth with his arms laid across the back like he was waiting on someone named Sanchez to come in and proposition him for weapons on the black market. Sitting beside Guy Maddin, I had a very pleasant chat with him about a good many things. I asked him doing some of his own photography as I noticed he was also the cinematographer for Heart of the World. He said he just happened upon doing his own photography. The very first day of shooting for his very first film, the director of photography didn’t show up, so he had to just learn how to do it himself. Now, he can’t imagine not being a part of that technical aspect. We also talked about the moment last night when someone had the balls to say they thought Tati’s Playtime “sucked”. We respected him having the guts to say it but would he have done the same for a film when one of the filmmakers was present. It’s a shame that someone should hate a Tati film, but I guess that’s what makes loving a Tati film special. His critique of the film was shallow though. A person who depends on rather conventional cinema gives rather conventional criticism. Maddin said that he had a similar experience one time at a screening for one of his films which features a lot of ballet, someone launched a tirade from the balcony about how awful the film was and how it was a disservice to ballet and that not only was the choreography bad to begin with but it was poorly shot. Ouch. Those ballet dancers are tough. I guess you have to be to bounce on your toes.

So riding back to the hotel with Mario Van Peebles goes down as one of the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Explaining to him what a blog was . . . not so much. I did however tell him that though I have not seen Badasssss! I was responsible for it playing in Athens, Georgia where I’m from since I convinced the manager at the Georgia Theater to get it. I think I was out of town when it actually played. Van Peebles’s advice for watching it was to drink a glass of red wine and go in with really low expectations. I guess that’s why he’s not a publicist.

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