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Friday, October 24, 2008

Concord, NH: Enthusiasm chasm


I started off my day in Concord doing an hourlong interview on the WKXL AM 1450 ("Thoughtful Community Radio") show "Movies Are My Business" (archive will one day be posted here). I enjoyed talking about the film to a film buff - host Barry Steelman - and getting to sound off on film-specific things, rather than the same old music and religion snake oil I've been peddling for three years. I thought I'd done a good job, but two hours later, listening to the interview on the car radio in the NHTI parking lot, I did in fact doze off and woke to the sound of a chiropractor talking about his business. So I now have the distinction of having actually put myself to sleep talking about my film.

After meeting my NHTI Film Society sponsor, Steve Ambra, I went back downtown for a haircut and then a few hours with the Obama campaign, where the lowlight of my afternoon was my phone conversation with an "undecided" voter (he sounded too brittle with anger to be anything other than a McCain supporter) who claimed to be concerned about something he was just reading about Obama refusing to release his birth certificate to prove he was an American citizen eligible for the presidency. I refered him to Snopes and resisted the temptation to share David Sedaris's take on the undecideds.

On my way to the screening (big success, with friends and family in the audience and a warm reception to film, remarks, and violin performance), I stopped by the big fancy McCain / Sununu headquarters on Main Street to take the Republicans' temperature. If attendance is any indication, they're cooked.

Speaking of the election, here's a Mamma & Obama in 2008 update: (pdf)


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Paul Festa’s first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006, 51 min), captures the responses of 31 artists to the apocalyptic music of Olivier Messiaen (with Justin Bond, John Cameron Mitchell, Harold Bloom; screenings: Grace Cathedral, Barbican Centre, Library of Congress; “Remarkable”The New Yorker; “Stunning”Chicago Sun-Times; “Sublime”Globe & Mail; numerous awards). Festa performs the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes, in his award-winning second film, The Glitter Emergency (2010, 20 min), a silent-film drag ballet comedy (“Enormous visual and musical inventiveness…full of pleasure and joy...Festa gives a bravura performance."—Film Threat). He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010, 80 min: with Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, Peter Coyote; screenings: Geary Theater, KQED; “Intriguing...entertaining...a valuable record”—Variety). Performances as violinist and actor: ODC Theater, Center for Performance Research, Kunst-Stoff, TheatreFIRST, North Bay Shakespeare, Albert Fuller's Helicon Ensemble (Merkin Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall). US, Boston, NYC, SF, LA and DC (Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on the “Betts” Stradivarius) premieres of Messiaen’s Fantaisie for violin and piano. He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, and several anthologized essays, and has written for The Daily Beast, Salon, Nerve, and The New York Times Book Review. Current projects include a novel and Tie It Into My Hand (2014, ca. 80 min), a documentary feature that has screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at ODC Theater in San Francisco (with Alan Cumming, Gary Graffman, Peter Coyote, Mink Stole, Robert Pinsky; "A fascinating exploration of the artistic life, as rollickingly entertaining as it is insightful and stirring."San Francisco Bay Guardian). Education: Yale (B.A.; prizes, honors, distinction), Juilliard (Cert., Adv. Cert., scholarships). Residencies: Yaddo, MacDowell, ODC Theater, Centre des R├ęcollets.

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