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Monday, May 10, 2010

April 30th, 2002 - Back East Pt1

I believe this is where my hate of New Jersey started. And something I remember from right after we first got to NJ: Rick and I are walking back from where we grabbed lunch and we see a girl, maybe 18, walking the opposite direction from us.

She's crying, and pulling a suitcase behind her. Rick and I watched her walk past. I mean, what were we going to do?

Anyway, the entire night in New York is just one giant surreal thing in my mind. Bizarre. I guess that's New York.
April 30th

We got home from the Back East Picture Show. It took place from the 25th to the 28th of this month. Things started bad. Should have taken it as an omen and gone home right then.

Rick and I left for it on Wednesday night. I had made reservations at an Econo Lodge about two miles from the actual hotel we’d be staying at for the next couple of days(by then it was booked up for that night because we’d planned on coming down on Thursday).

My plan was to get the lay of the land, put some flyers out at the theater, etc. Try to get some people to come to our showing.

What happened was that we got into town within 3 hours. It took us about another hour to find the goddamn hotel. The guy I called didn’t speak much English. He was no help. We finally stopped at the Doubletree and I checked to make sure my reservation was fine and got directions from that guy.

After a small misdirection,we got to the hotel. It was a dump. You at least expect an Econo Lodge to be decent, but this was in a crappy part of town. Tons of construction, lots of litter and crap all over. The rug in our room was stained and burned in places. I didn’t want to put my head on the pillow, the room was that crappy.

We figured to get up early and get over to the theater. I set my alarm for 9:30am.

We get up and roll out. I buy a map of Jersey City at the hotel. We head toward what we hope is the theater.

Construction prevents us from taking certain roads. We keep getting detoured to other roads. We find some of the roads we’re supposed to be on, but they’re not going where we want.

I ask a couple of people where the theater is and they’re like “That’s in Hoboken, right?” as if it’s forty miles away. The paper I have says it’s about three miles away.

It takes us, no shit, two hours to find the theater. No shit. And it was only three miles away.

It’s raining like a bitch, we’re pissed off about what a crappy city Jersey City is, and finally we stumble into the theater.

Hudson Street Cinemas is a two-screen theater. Small and quaint. I meet the guy putting the festival on who seems fairly nice, but he’s asking me questions about how did I do the sound for my movie. I don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about. It’s called a microphone, chief.

He wants to know if we’re going to the seminar or something. I tell him we just want to go get something to eat. We’re hungry and tired from being lost.

We get some lunch at a little crappy steak joint. They don’t serve fries. They serve some onion-covered potato thing. A thimble of bitter cold slaw. The burger is okay.

We head back for our screening, dreading it. You see, they’ve not only given us a bad time slot, but they’ve put us opposite the Director’s Lounge where everyone can go get free drinks and schmooze with the other filmmakers.

Five people come to our showing. Two of them told us beforehand that they would be leaving a little early to go to the Lounge. So then we had three people.

Great, I’m thinking, as I watch the movie for the millionth time. How can we win an award when only three people are watching it?

After the movie, they took a few pics of us. We rushed off to the Lounge. Had some drinks, chatted with some people. Everyone was very transparent with their “What can you do for me?” attitudes. Passing tapes and business cards.

At least we find out that there will be judges voting for the best movies, not the audiences.

That night we go to bed early. I need the sleep. I figure we’ll party the next night. We’ve been passing out cards with invitations to a screening of HH in our room with free drinks.

Friday rolls along. We head to the theater, where it seems no one is taking part of the showings. No one seems to care. Where are all the filmmakers?

We catch a movie called Peroxide Passion. Not bad. Some good acting performances by the leads, but some of the directing is off(or it could be the editing, it’s hard to tell without seeing what they had to work with).

I’m bored. Kinda pissed. We can’t find where people are hanging out, if they even are, so we can’t pass out some more invitations. We want some people to come to the screening in our room, but we’re getting a bad feeling.

I make Rick watch Living In Oblivion. He didn’t find it as funny as I did. He’s real jaded. He gets into these little bitter moods. I can feel it too, but I repress it. Time to get pissed later.

We get some dinner and go to the theater to see what it’s like. Tonight they’re screening the movie that the guy who put on the festival shot, but it’s not in the competition.

There’s a decent crowd out front. Danny Aiello walks by. Some other actors whose faces you know but names you don’t. We decide not to go to the screening. I’m not feeling like watching any of these fucking “filmmakers” movies, ‘cause they didn’t come to mine, did they?

We head back to the bar that hosted the Director’s Lounge. We get some drinks. We head back to the hotel at about 11:30pm. I get the room ready, get some liquor ready.

No one shows. No one. Rick’s pissed. I’m pissed. What the fuck are all these people doing?

Rick and I take the Path, a subway that runs into New York. We get out on 14th street and catch a cab, telling the guy to take us to any happening bar. The guy has no idea what we’re talking about. (He doesn’t seem to speak fluent English; go figure)

Finally he drives us to some strip with a couple of bars on it. We head into one called Bar515 and get some beers. After a while, two girls wander over and ask us what the badges around our necks are. We tell them. One girl is named Rebecca I think, and the other girl is some Hungarian girl who doesn’t speak much English.

Rebecca’s a wanna-be actress. She’s pretty with a good body, but I don’t think she’s got the intelligence to be a good actress.

Bar515 closes at 4am, so they ask us if we wanna go to another bar with them. We’re wasted. We say sure.

They take us over to some theater that’s hosting a Neil Simon play. Some mook is letting some people in the back door, but they won’t let us in, even with the girls. Another guy comes up and Rebecca talks to him. He hands the big black bouncer a hundred dollar bill and we’re in. Let me tell you that I have no idea why that happened.

We’re ushered up some dark stairs into an even darker room. Little black couches, bluish neon lighting around the walls. I get five drinks, which come to thirty six bucks. Rick has to pay for it, ‘cause all I got is plastic at that point, and they won't take credit cards.

We hang around chatting on the couch and then suddenly the girls are gone. They went through some door that is opened and shut periodically to admit certain desirables, of which we are not.

That clinches it. We finish the drinks and get out of there. Where ever we are, it’s close to Times Square, because that’s where we end up.

It’s like Vanilla Sky. There’s no one there. A lone hot dog vendor. We get a hot dog for Rick and a pretzel for me.

Then we head home. We get off the fuckin’ path at the wrong place and have to hoof it about a mile. It seems like ten miles when you’re drunk.

When I get back I call my wife and tell her to go ahead and come if she wants to. The festival isn’t anything like I expect.

I go to bed at about eight a.m.

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