FREEZE! TRY AGAIN has made it into its first festival, and I couldn't be happier to say that means a trip back to the Midwest.
Anytime I think about traveling through this country I remember the first time I drove through Indiana in my own car [not a tour bus hauling ass to the next stage in the next city]. I had to stop the Subaru on the side of the road, get out and just take the wide expanse of this country in.
People complain about the landscape - it's flat, its uneventful, it bores you to tears - but the first distant rainstorm I saw in South Dakota made me think differently. The first thunderstorm in Oklahoma changed my life. When you grow up on the fringes of this country and are lucky enough or maybe even just predestined to attend a school like NYU it is easy to think you understand the Midwest from afar and never have to go there. Stereotypes exist for a reason, but they negate other possibilities and moments that renew your faith in humanity as a whole.
I have had the interesting fortune to end up on the side of the road many times in many differnt parts of this country with some kind of car or bus-related mechanical failure. In LA, your mishap becomes a traffic jam - in Massachusetts, it becomes a topic of conversation like a curiosity one might see in a sideshow at a county fair. In the Midwest, people pull over. A truck driver pulled over to help Stephanie and I. For a moment we both thought he was going to back into us - that's how city-twisted our mindset was at the time. And when the car broke down in Illinois and the slightly befuddled yet kind-hearted man looked at my Japanese car apologetically before calling up to Chicago for a part he didn't keep in stock [why would he? this was probably the only 15 year-old Subaru he was going to see all year], the man seemed more concerned about putting us out than he was about the guy who had to drive 6 hours or so roundtrip to pick up a part. I sat listening to the receptionist and the mechanic bemoan the fact that you couldn't feed the bears out the car window in Yellowstone any more - such a shame, they thought.
I thought about the Ranger talks I had listened to in Yellowstone a mere few days prior and was sorely tempted to let my bossy-aggressive-childish [hopefully] old self come roaring out, to self-righteously tell them just how wrong they were. But there was something so sweet about the memory - it spoke of a time before we realized all the harm we had done to this planet and to every big and little living thing that suffers us like little children, no matter what we do.
I'm looking forward to a perception/perspective shift, surrounded by filmmakers and people who live in a mostly flat [but not always, especially not in South Dakota] part of this vast crazy country. If ghosts really exist, you'll find them in the Black Hills. If you think that Deadwood doesn't have a history you can feel, you need to go there right now. I'll be counting the minutes until then I leave you with this: