Tag Archives: Muscle Shoals documentary

Behind the Scenes + Muscle Shoals + Shuffling with the Swampers

CarrboroMusicFest20138th Annual Carrboro Film Festival
Sat & Sun, Nov. 23-24
Single Day – $10/ Two Day Pass – $15
Carrboro Century Center/The ArtsCenter
Carrboro, NC
info@carrborofilmfestival.com
carrborofilmfestival.com

Just watch what happens when Nic Beery and Jackie Helvey get a handful of people in the same room at the same time. Especially when those people – Chris Beacham, Scott Conary, Tremayne Cryer, Catherine Devine, Pat Dillon, Mike Harris, Tim Scales, Rah Trost and Alison Weiner – make up the 2013 Carrboro Film Festival Committee. Some of them even sit on the Carrboro Music Festival Committee. I want a playdate with this group and I’ll bring the wine and beer.

The 2013 festival features 73 short and feature-length films from across North Carolina, including some international submissions. If you’re looking to brush up on your visual effects, screenwriting, or story creation skills, you’ll find a handful of workshops and panels tucked into the screening schedule. Unlike previous years, the committee decided to honor all the selected films so there will not be filmmaker awards handed out this year. Nic and Jackie graciously fielded my questions, and as a more-than-willing-to-suspend-disbelief movie lover, I had aplenty.

dpm:  Since its inception in 2006, what are some of the more memorable moments of the festival?

Nic:  Some of the more memorable moments have been the first festival when more people came to the fest than we ever imagined. In fact we filled the theater and have every single year. That’s a true statement to the quality of independent films made in this region. The other memorable moment is frankly the films. They move us, make us laugh, cry and cheer.

Jackie:  Of course, my proposing a film festival to the Arts Committee in April of 2006, and seeing everyone’s eyes light up as they said “YES! What a great idea!” That was the absolute best! My favorite moment at the actual festival was when the Carrboro High Marching Band came marching into the Century Center, exactly in synch with the entry film. Perfect timing; that was SO great! My photo of Barbara Trent that first year, with her Kay Kyser Award on one shoulder and her Oscar on the other, that was way cool too!

dpm:  How many people review the submissions, how many were submitted this year and how has that changed since 2006? Does each year bring a new sense of validation for the festival?

Nic: We have a committee of 10-15 people and we all review the films. This year we had hundreds of films to watch and review. We will be screening a whopping 73 films this year. Each year makes us acutely aware of how starved area residents are for great art in all forms, and The Carrboro Film Festival is honored to present such a wide variety of art on screen each year.

dpm: What are you most excited about for this festival? Any big surprises?
Nic: The committee is most excited about our expansion to two days. This is a big step, feature films and short films from around the world and around the corner.   We also introduced online ticket sales, festival passes, two venues, The Century Center and The ArtsCenter. On top of that we have three great free workshops and an after party open to all at the Open Eye.

Jackie: Expanding to two days and adding the ArtsCenter as a venue, and adding feature films, longer than 20 minutes. I’ll be running the ArtsCenter venue on Saturday and the Century Center venue on Sunday, so this will be new adventure for me.

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Get out there and support these guys, I say. There is nothing like that moment when the lights dim and you never know what’s going to happen next.
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muscleshoalsSince we’re talking movies … I liked, no, loved Muscle Shoals so much, I watched it twice.  Almost back-to-back if you don’t count running out to pick up Thai for supper.

If you have not seen Muscle Shoals, go now!

Now.

Don’t make me come out there.

There’s a sense of mystery and magic almost from the get-go.  The Tennessee River that runs right up against Muscle Shoals, AL was known by the Native American Yuchi Tribe as “the river that sings.”  Lore had it that the flowing waters sounded like a woman singing, sweetly most times, loud and angry when in a rage.  It’s just proper mojo, as they call it, that the music would make its way landward.  Right into a cinderblock building that would become FAME studios and later into Muscle Shoals Sound Studios where in 1969  Boz Scaggs would record a 12 minute/30 second version of Fenton Robinson’s  “Loan Me a Dime” with Duane Allman sitting in on guitar.

The shoals are gone today, thanks to the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and their dam work and residents claim they can not longer hear the singing river. But the music that was born from Muscle Shoals lives on, deep and abiding.
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ShuffleShufflin’ with Muscle Shoals
I’ll Take You There (Mavis Staples)
Loan Me A Dime (Boz Scaggs)
Brown Sugar (Rolling Stones)
When a Man Loves a Woman (Percy Sledge)
I Never Loved A Man the Way That I Loved You (Aretha Franklin)
Kodachrome (Paul Simon)
Freebird (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
+ Land of a 1000 Dances and a thousand more songs!

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Break an Egg + Shufflin’ wit da Chefs

At some point in the mid-’80s, my rock stars went from cutting records to cutting onions. I was star chef-struck and proud of it. My sister lived in New York City, so instead of theater tickets, we’d plan and save in order to lunch at one of the top-rated restaurants. First was La Côte Basque, followed by the original Bouley, and then La Grenouille, where I had a coq au vin that near ’bout made me cry outloud. While living in London and attending culinary school,  (yeah, yeah, yeah, I can already hear you commenting on the irony of a cooking school in England) several of my classmates and I pinched enough pence to eat at Aubergine, newly opened by the temperamental Gordon Ramsey, yet unknown outside of London. The food was exquisite, but the screaming from the kitchen all but ruined the experience.

Chefs were just on the verge of becoming celebrities, and my list of memorable meals and chef meetings is long and satisfying. My first real high-profile face-to-face encounter with a chef was at the Fancy Food Show in Chicago in 2001 at a seminar by Charlie Trotter. I waited two hours in line to talk to him and get a book signed. I never got to eat there before they closed and sadly, Trotter died on Nov. 5 at age 54. At another food show in NYC, I finagled my way into the bathroom line behind Sara Moulton. Damn near dogged Rick Bayless until he knew my name.  I was a mostly rambling mess while Anthony Bourdain signed Kitchen Confidential, until we started talking about The Ramones and agreed that any day you woke up and Keith Richards was still alive was a good day. Lesson learned after I nursed a rather pitiful years-long crush on David Rosengarten imagining “if he only knew me ….” and “if I could only have dinner with …” then when I got to spend an entire day with him, which included taking him to Allen & Sons (lunch) and Lantern (dinner),  could barely put one intelligent word in front of the other.  Picking up the dinner check, I realized that I was signing off on my “if only” fantasy and went into brief mourning as the perfect crush melted faster than chocolate in a hot car.

It almost goes without saying at this point: the food scene in Chapel Hill/Durham/Raleigh is becoming legendary. That’s evidenced not just by our own extraordinary rock star chef talent in the Triangle, but by the growing handful of high-profile chefs and restaurant owners who now stop here on book tours or to give cooking lessons where once we were in the flyover zone between Atlanta and NYC. I actually felt heat rise when I heard about these upcoming book signings and chef appearances.

LionelVatinetIf you’re unfamiliar with La Farm Bakery in Cary, well, shame on you. Lionel Vatinet is a master, and La Farm products are available at all area Whole Foods. Get thee toward a croissant.

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JohnBesh

New Orleans Chef John Besh, owner of nine restaurants, has won so many awards it’s hard to keep track of them, from being named one of the 10 Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine in 1999 to claiming the 2006 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast. Besh is all over Food Network, competing on Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters, and even appearing in a season one episode of HBO’s Treme.

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JohnCurrenceCity Grocery owner and chef John Currence, while maybe less well-known except among rabid foodies, actually began his food career as a student at UNC, washing dishes at Crook’s Corner when the man in charge was Bill Neal. He returned to New Orleans, working for the Brennan family of restaurants before opening City Grocery in Oxford, Miss., in 1992. Also multi-award winning (2009 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef in the South, e.g.), Currency is contributing editor for Garden and Gun.

A Passion for Bread with Lionel Vatinet
Mon. Nov. 18, 7pm, Free
The Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth St., Durham
919-286-2700 | http://www.regulatorbookshop.com

Cooking from the Heart with John Besh
Mon. Nov. 18, 6:30-8:30pm, $59
Sur La Table at The Streets at Southpoint, Durham
919-248-4705 | http://www.surlatable.com

Cooks & Books Lunch Reception with John Currence, Author of Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey
Sun. Nov. 24, 3pm, $85 (includes autographed book)
The Fearrington Granery, Pittsboro
919-542-2121 | http://www.fearrington.com
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ShuffleShufflin’ wit da Chefs

Mississippi, You’re on My Mind (Jerry Jeff Walker/Jesse Winchester)
Congo Square (Sonny Landreth/Mel Melton)
Mr. Bojangles (Jerry Jeff Walker)
Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (Edith Piaf)
It Don’t Matter to Me (Bread)

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muscleshoalsJust in case you were wondering, and I know you are … I plan on spending the weekend watching the next 3 episodes of Treme and the documentary Muscle Shoals. Maybe even the new Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me if it arrives. I predict happiness.  Not just because it’s my birthday, but because I’m going to do exactly what I want. Nothing more, nothing less.