So here’s a new challenge: buy local, pay cash.
This is about as simple as it sounds: buy local products from local merchants, and pay them in cash. That keeps as much of your money in your community, or the community you’re visiting if you’re traveling.
I am not advocating spending less, nor am I advocating cutting up your credit cards. You can do that too, but that’s not part of this. Nor is making your own clothes (hard) or trying to grow all your own food (even harder; ask a farmer). You don’t have to go without if what you want isn’t locally available, or if the locals are gouging (full retail is not gouging). Chains owned outside the local area are only marginally better than shopping on-line; the profits all leave the local area.
I’m still using my Amazon card at Amazon (3% rebate!), and yes, I’m still buying from Amazon when I can’t get it from a locally owned merchant. I’m still using a different card at restaurants that aren’t locally owned, and when traveling (don’t carry too much cash when traveling).
Some wag will now say “why bother? The merchant won’t discount for cash.” Doesn’t matter. It’s called “doing the right thing” and “community spirit” and “supporting the family down the street”. Getting the rubbish 1% back at a cost to the local community of 2% to 5%, and more if you don’t pay off each month–it’s worth doing this.
Have fun with that.
Here’s one of those “I wish I’d written this” comments, in this case to an article about inequality being a natural consequence of capitalism.
Day 5 we usually end early, and this year was no exception. When I need Coke™ before noon to keep going, or Advil™, that’s my clue to pack it in. We usually get through the 3PM slot, but this time we bailed after the noon block.
9AM: We Always Lie To Strangers The filmmakers for this are really good. The story meanders between the Presleys (no relation, I think) and the Lennons (Sisters, and brothers, not John) as two of the more influential families in Branson, Missouri. I will admit to a prior bias against Branson, as being filled with narrow-minded bigots (they might say “God-fearing patriots”), but I will allow that the individuals portrayed seemed generally friendly and more open-minded than I would have expected. The Presleys are fairly right-wing; the Lennons are decidedly Liberal. I think a lot has changed in the last twenty years or so; see this article. While the shows were still hokey and folksy in a way that doesn’t interest me, one big take-away from this film is that the locals seem to have embraced (or at least largely come to accept as necessary) gays and other “non-traditional” community members as part of the town’s structure, so that the line “we always lie to strangers” mainly refers to the facade presented to the 7.5 million tourists each year. Good film, worth watching.
Noon: The Forgotten Kingdom Winner, AIFF Audience Award for Best Feature. A fairly simple story about a guy who has to bury his father, meets an old girlfriend, pursues her, gets fobbed off by the dad, hits the road, rebuilds a widow’s roof with this weird kid…ok, maybe it’s not such a simple story. Lots of simple individual stories woven into a whole around the protagonist. Some of the elements were a little obvious: the ring and the alley, and the horses after the storm, for two. But it watches almost like the trials of Hercules mixed with a little Leah/Rebecca and some Lear. Another good film, worth having watched once, but there are others I’d rather see again (e.g. Sparrows Dance).
A beautiful day in Ashland to close out the Festival. Now a long nap, until the hills start mumbling in anticipation of AIFF 2014.
In Ashland, the euphemism “scattering rubbish” is used by the police to describe a number of illegal acts involving the public emission of certain bodily fluids and substances.
I mention this because, by some freak chance of scheduling, we had three films today in which a female character used the toilet on-screen, full body in view of the camera–covered, or at least fig-leafed enough to maintain a PG rating.
But seriously, what’s up with that? In Sparrows Dance, it was an integral part of the story; her toilet malfunctions, which leads to the rest of the action. In Buoy, it could have been replaced by any other action by the character to demonstrate a lack of interest in the conversation she is having on the telephone. In Congratulations it was used for comic relief.
Anyway, here’s the blocks from today:
9AM: Double-header of Sparrows Dance and My Name is Your First Love. My Name was a cute piece about a young teen who falls, hard, for the older girl next door. Really liked this one, especially the reactions by the boy’s putative girl friend.
Sparrows Dance is right up there as one of my favorites this year. Quirky and a little weird, it’s about an agoraphobic woman who has not left her apartment in months. She has (as mentioned above) a plumbing emergency, and so needs to interact with the outside world. Great rom-com with a little freakiness for spice. Highly recommended.
Noon: Secret Screening. I can’t talk about this, other than to say it was a documentary that will have its official world premiere later, at another festival. Amazingly good, definitely one of the best docs I saw this year. Looking forward to seeing more from the same film makers.
Buoy: I need someone to explain the draw of this. A woman has a long, long phone conversation with a man about their mutual past (a long, involved past relationship). The content of the conversation just wasn’t enough to draw me in. It didn’t have the novelty or interest of My Dinner with Andre.
6PM: Congratulations Excellent date-night rom-com-dram-rom with a guy, his intended (maybe), mother, best friend, and old girlfriend. Proposal gone wrong leads to relationship trouble. Nothing really novel here, but excellent acting and story. Very happy we went to see this, highly recommended.
9PM: The Moo Man This is one of those documentaries that hits all the right notes: relevant, excellent story, great subjects, beautiful cinematography, magical music. Made the point about the subject (loss of local farms) without getting preachy. May lead to a desire to open a dairy farm in rural Britain, or at least to drink a lot of milk. Highly recommended.
That’s all for tonight. Back at it again tomorrow. Save me the aisle seat!
It’s supposed to rain on and off all day today. I think I prefer snow during the festival, because it’s easier to stay dry. With rain, members can press against the storefronts to try to stay dry, but the alley to Varsity 4 & 5 and the sidewalk at the Armory will be threads of wet viewers.
I should talk about food somewhere in here. Good places for a quick bite; if you tell them you need to be out in 40 minutes, which is the shortest practical window for a sit-down meal, they will get you out in time:
• Thai Pepper: Stick with the satay bar upstairs. Had great lamb satay, a short rib special, and a Rickshaw (sort of like a Sidecar). Highly recommended.
• Taroko: Skip the sushi, as it can take a while. Most of the kitchen menu–the cooked stuff–is relatively fast. We had the salt and pepper calamari, J-Pops, and Mongolian beef. All excellent, highly recommended.
• Louie’s: Pretty standard bar food: burgers, fries, lots of fried stuff. Good cheap recession burger. Recommended.
• http://www.ashlandspringshotel.com/larks-restaurant/: Surprisingly, these guys can get you in and out at lunch pretty quick. They are tuned, as many restaurants in town are, to getting late-arriving theater patrons out to their shows, so doing the same during this festival is not a stretch for them. Also highly recommended.
We’ve been meaning to try Boulton and Son’s sandwiches, and to see if The Deli Downstairs can keep up with the need for lunch speed.
Off to the shows!
This afternoon and evening were rather rougher than the morning.
3PM: Short Docs. Lots of emotional stuff here. I’m not a big fan of films that push obvious emotional buttons: kids with cancer, Alzheimer’s, generally anything that gets an emotional gasp from the older women in the audience. It’s not that I don’t care–far from it–it’s just that if it’s a normal part of the human condition, and there’s nothing obvious to be done about it, I can’t get attached to it. Give me a cause to rally around, and I’m there. But I need to be led to the water to drink. So this block, which had a lot of emotionalism and not a lot of practical application, and not a lot of novelty, didn’t have a lot for me. I did awfully enjoy Cutting Loose, a look at British prisoners who work in the prisons as hairdressers, and this competition they have each year. Black Cherokee was also a fine offering; the principal is probably the purest artist around, totally uninterested in making money off his art. Other than that, okay films, but nothing that one needs to rush out to see.
6PM: Double bill, Pit Stop and Palimpsest. Pit Stop was a rather conventional film about a complicated series of romantic relationships. If one ignores the homosexual aspects, it’s just a series of break-up and new romances. The most unusual aspect was the couple that was divorced but spending a lot of time together (sharing a house when both were interacting with their child), the ex-husband even weighing in on his ex-wife’s new date. A reasonably done film, but pretty conventional in the end.
Palimpsest was a departure from the norm. An unusual story about a man who does house tuning by listening to various objects in the house that emit low-level noises–appliances, mostly–and makes suggestions for replacing or changing them to alter the mood of the home and its occupants. Yes, it’s more subtle than that. Quirky. Recommended; I might want to see it again to see if I was missing bits of the story.
9PM: This is why I need to drink. The first story, Karaoke!, was an okay film about avoiding problems.
It’s the feature, Between Us, that’s the cause of my need. Two couples trade off in having horrible, gut-wrenching problems in their relationships. Yes, it’s emotional, but it’s the canonical train wreck that one just can’t stop watching. No one’s relationship can possibly be this bad, and yet this probably happens all the time. Highly recommended.
Day 4 tomorrow; luckily, a late start.
Save me the aisle seat!
9AM: Joe Papp in Five Acts Joe Papp founded New York’s Shakespeare in the Park organization, brought free theater to New Yorkers, and oh yeah, was the original producer for shows like Hair and A Chorus Line. This film, while mostly about his life, is also an incredible view into a slice of New York City history from the 1930s through the early 1990s. A Must See for anyone interested in theater or contemporary history, and Highly Recommended for just about everyone else.
Noon: Family Shorts. This year, the festival moved the Family Shorts block to the Ashland Street Cinema, which is okay but awkward–now, mid-day, we’re getting in a car to schlep back and forth. It’s not far, but in Ashland terms, it’s like leaving the Magic Kingdom to go to EPCOT just to see “Body Wars“. Yeah, Elisabeth Shue, but that’s a big schlep.
The other thing is that some of the best animation is in this block, and it’s a toss-up as to whether is belongs here or in Animation Shorts. Girl and Fox, sure, Tuurngait, absolutely, Eyes on the Stars, I’m with that. But Dripped, an homage on the life of Jackson Pollock? I’d argue that Ernesto, a short about a kid who is (almost) losing his teeth, and Floyd the Android are much better fits for the Animation Shorts block than for this one–from the audience responses, I suspect that the humor went way, way over the heads of the tiny tots but right between the eyes of their parents.
Very good block of films; go see it if you can.
Coming up next: Short Docs. Maybe a nap before then.
Save me the aisle seat!