Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Da dum. Da dum. Da dumdadumdadum.

You haven't heard from me in a couple of days because I resting my bones in anticipation of the full onslaught the Poughkeepsie Journal - meaning me - will launch on the Woodstock Film Festival starting Wednesday afternoon.

The film fest opens Wednesday night, I will pick up my press credentials and schwag Wednesday afternoon and after racing through a few duties at the office, head up to Woodstock for three days of non-stop blogging, yukking it up with the cinema elite and getting completely exhausted.

I am out a my mother-in-law's in Eastern, Long Island and picked up the local weekly paper, the Southhampton Star, oops, I meant the East Hampton Star, only to learn yet ANOTHER big piece of cinematic news.

Capt. Frank Mundus, who fished often out here in Montauk, and who was said to have been the inspiration for "Quint," the salty dog of a sea captain in "Jaws," played by Robert Shaw, died Sept. 10 in Hawaii..

Rest in peace....

to quote another cinematic legend, that's all folks, (for now).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman - RIP

There is NO way we can talk about cinema, movies, etc., without taking a moment to remember Paul Newman, who died Friday after battling cancer.

Please take a moment to read his obituary on the Poughkeepsie Journal Web site.

My favorite Paul Newman movie, hands down, was "The Sting." But I have to say that his portrayal of the tragic attorney Frank Galvin in "The Verdict" was, in my opinion, one of the finest examples of acting I will ever enjoy.

But my strongest memory is from being a kid, and rolling my eyes everytime my mother and three sisters would exclaim how big a crush they all had on Mr. Newman.....

You can read more about Mr. Newman by clicking here.

We should also remember that his movie, "Nobody's Fool," was filmed partly in Beacon, and a long-time, well-known race car driver, Newman raced often at Lime Rock, the race track just over the northern Dutchess border, in Lakeville, northwestern Connecticut.

The film fest - parking, box office, Billy Joel, schwag, eating, etc....

One thing I love about the WFF is that each year that I have been covering it, I think, the box office and their base camp has moved around. The Colony Cafe has remained for the last few years as the media center and hq, but the box office has moved around, somewhat. This year it is just a few doors down from the Colony Cafe, on Rock City Road, just off the village green.

I went up there yesterday and they've got some great WFF schwag for sale - some nice satchels, t-shirts, hats, mugs, posters...and a $5 bin with stuff that I figure is left over from last year, but all very nice goods just the same. It's worth a visit.

And I appreciated hearing Billy Joel's classic album, "The Stranger," playing while I was hanging around.

If you are going up to the film fest, or simply visiting Woodstock, the best place to park is at the municipal lot directly across from the Colony Cafe, on Rock City Road. This parking lot offers a short walk to several of the film fest venues, including the Woodstock Community center, Woodstock Town Hall, and, a longer walk to the Tinker Street Cinema, but a lovely walk right through town all the same.

The Landau Grill serves a nice burger, and Sunflower Natural Foods offers just about every kind of health food you could ask for. Oriole 9 is a good place to eat from what I hear, though I have never dined there, and Taco Juan's is a Woodstock staple, offering some hearty Mexican food.

That's all for now.

Talk soon.

Blogs, blogs and more blogs

Laurent and Meira, who run the Woodstock Film Festival, have their own blog, which we are more than happy to link up with here. The countdown continues to the 2008 WFF...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

He's Johnny Cash

A documentary about Johnny Cash will be screened at the Woodstock Film Festival this year.

It's called "Johnny Cash's America."

I watched it last night and it was simply fantabulous. Everyone from Johnny's boyhood neighbor to his sister, to Al Gore to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander from Tennessee, to Snoop Dogg and Kris Kristofferson are interviewed. These folks really take a topic that has been explored six ways from Sunday and cover new ground. A great movie.

Click here for show times at the film fest. Click here for more info on the film.

Dandy Donovan

I interviewed the singer Donovan a couple weeks back and asked him what, in his opinion, is the reason behind his long, long legacy and success over decades.

His reply was priceless:

“I’m a pretty hot songwriter. I’m one of the best.”

And humble, You forgot humble, D-man.

Donovan will be all over the film fest. Check it out by clicking here.

Also, check out the Poughkeepsie Journal this Sunday, Sept. 28, for the whole story, adn the kickoff to our print coverage of the Journal.

Click here to view some psychedelic footage of Donovan, a true flower child, hippie and pied piper for the time of peace and love.

Bela is back

Banjo player extraordinaire Bela Fleck will return to the Woodstock Film Festival next week.

Bela will play a concert with Abigail Washburn Oct. 2 at the Bearsville Theater to open the fest, then his excellent film, "Throw Down Your Heart," will be screened Oct. 2 at the Bearsville Theater; and Oct. 3 at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck.

This film offers tons of excellent music that Bela made during his visit to rural and cosmopolitan Africa, the nation from which the banjo is originally from. The film was made by Bela's brother, Sascha Palladino. The two collaborated in the past on "Making Music for Two," a doc about Bela's album and tour with bass player Edgar Meyer. "Making Music for Two" took home the 2004 WFF prize for best short documentary.

The thing I really loved about "Throw Down Your Heart" was how Bela, a true maestro, has no ego, and seems in true awe of these African musicians, who themselves are phenomenal.

Be sure to check this blog next Thursday morning, where I will be posting info about Bela and Abigail's concert. I'll also be talking about the show and the film when I am on WDST FM next Thursday morning.

Thanks, Bela!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Would you buy a used car from this guy?

Ladies and Gentleman, Greg Gattine from WDST.......

The fine folks at the WDST "Morning Show" - Host Greg Gattine, News Director Franz Kaisik and Producer Carmel Holt - have been kind enough to have me as a guest on their Woodstock-based radio station each Thursday morning since June 2002. Some days are better than others, some time they skewer me, sometimes I skewer them. Sometimes I finish my spot busting buttons with pride, other times I hang up the phone and think, "oh my god did I realy just say that on the radio???""

I've always said they have the upper hand, getting up at something like 3:30 a.m. and pounding cups of coffee for hours. I don't even drink coffee!!

Anyway, on Thursday, Sept. 25, I will be making my usual live, call-in appearance on WDST, and the Woodstock Film Festival is likely to come up during our discussion. So tune in if you can - 100.1 in Ulster County; 106.3 FM in Poughkeepsie; and 102.3 in Newburgh; and like the commercial says, "anytime on wdst.com."

The same goes for next Thursday, Oct. 2, where I will be giving a full report on the Bela Fleck opening night concert.

What's that old saying, tune in turn on......???

The Beatles and Bowie

Two films I am looking forward to seeing this year are "32A" and "All Together Now." "32A" features a score written by Gerry Leonard of High Falls, who plays guitar for DAvid Bowie and Rufus Wainwright. Gerry will unfortunately miss the film fest, as he is on tour right now with Suzanne Vega. "32A" also features a Bowie tune and in case there is not ENOUGH David Bowe at the WFF this year, three of his band members will perform at the Colony Cafe Friday, Oct. 3 - Earl Slick on guitar, Gail Ann Dorsey on bass and Sterling Campbell on drums.

For those Beatle fans in the audience, "All Together Now" is a documentary of the Cirque De Soleil show "Love," which is built around psychedelic re-mixings of classic Beatle songs. "All Together Now" will be screened Friday, Oct. 3, at the Bearsville Theater.

That's all for now. Check back soon. And I'll see you in Woodstock.

The adventure begins!!!!!

Yup - It's that time of year again - brisk temperatures, the first tinges of fall foliage and the Woodstock Film Festival.

The 9th annual WFF opens Wednesday, Oct. 1, with a concert by banjo maestro Bela Fleck, whose movie, "Thrown Down Your Heart," will be shown at noon Oct. 2 at the Bearsville Theater and at 9 p.m. Oct. 3 at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck.

I've seen this film and it's very, very, very good. Bela is never one to let his ego get in the way of some real fine music, despite his incredible talent as a banjo player. This film is no exception. How can you go wrong with communal jam sessions, ancient music and African villages.

I'll be at the concert and I will be just about living at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock, which is base camp for the WFF, throughout the entire fest, attending screenings, panel discussions and of course, movies, movies, movies. And I will be blogging about it all, right here, as it happens, or maybe a little bit after it happens.

This blog was widely read last year and we're hoping for the same success this year. Please check back here often, as I'll be posting from here in on, with much more frequency during the film fest. Please feel free to post your comments, criticisms, analyses, or otherwise. If you are at the WFF and take photos, and would like to share, pls send them to me at jobarry@poughkeepsiejournal.com.

You will literally be able to track my every move throughout the WFF, from Wed., Oct. 2, through Sunday, Oct. 5. I will be eating, drinking, sleeping, then eating some more, the Woodstock Film Festival. I am exhausted already, but very excited. I LOVE movies, I just love them.

My favorites: "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart; "Star Wars: Episode IV" with Mark Hamill, which is really the first one; "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet; and "Marie Antoinette" with Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power, made in 1938.