We Used to Meet Every Thursday Thursday Thursday In The Afternoon

I missed last year’s festival (after attending in 2007 and 2008) because my wife inconsiderately decided to have twins in July. She’s put up with a lot of s**t from me in the course of my writing career, but asking if I could go off for a weekend of movies and Australian levels of alcohol abuse less than three weeks before our babies were due was a bit much, even by my standards. So I was understandably excited to be returning, knowing the amount of planning that goes into deadCENTER each year, and the (to coin a phrase) “metric fuckton of parties.”

Executive Director Cacky Poarch’s mother picked me up at the airport, and in the course of our drive to the Colcord Hotel, she managed to take us a scenic shortcut through OKC’s barrio region (construction of Devon Energy’s downtown skyscraper would be a running joke for drivers all festival long) and also grievously insult my “profession.”

Okay, not really. It was kind of funny, however, to hear her say she “doesn’t listen to film critics,” then profusely apologize for the sentiment for the next two days. Speaking as someone who’s gotten emails calling me some variation of “f*****g d******d” for just about every review I’ve ever written, it’s safe to say she’s not the only person who holds that view. After all, The Last Airbender still opened with $57 million.

After checking in, there was time for get in a quick workout (don’t laugh, I had to do something to counter the coming physical abuse). And then it was off to the official opening night party at the OKC Museum of Art.

Yes, they have museums in Oklahoma.

This particular shindig is always a useful gauge to determine which out-of-towners actually make a habit of checking the Weather Channel. It was a balmy 90° on the roof, and still no shortage of guests forgot that an all-black ensemble goes poorly with Southern summers. Happily, there an ample supply of beverages (including Stella Artois, official beer of every film festival everywhere) and plenty of interesting folks to distract one from the sweat running down their thighs.

Speaking of sweaty thighs, it was at the Museum that I was reunited with some of the finest Oklahomans any Texan would admit to being friends with. In addition to Cacky, Kim “Kimmishioner” Haywood, programming directors Melissa Scaramucci and Kevin Ely, and Supreme Allied Overlord of Internet Promotion Ian Peterson, who behaved like anything but when he joined yours truly in trying to steal beers from the roof.

But enough about that; it was finally time for movies. Forced to choose between the pastoral mermaid pic (Ondine) and the agitprop piece about gay marriage (8: The Mormon Proposition), I opted for the latter…mostly because it was playing right downstairs. I’ll mostly concur with Whitney’s review. The Mormon Church’s support of Prop 8 was a huge factor in its passage, and the facts of the matter are damning enough without amateurish technical trickery and clumsy emotional manipulation.

Fox on the run

I stuck around for Biker Fox. For those who aren’t regular readers of, Biker Fox is the nom de fame of one Frank DeLarzelere, a Tulsa, OK resident notorious across the region for his colorful cycling ensembles, heroic skullet, and brushes with the law, not necessarily in that order. This look at his daily life starts out amusing enough, but gradually grinds you down as you realize DeLarzelere isn’t merely “colorful,” he’s actually pretty f****d in the head.

There were plenty of BF stories (my favorite was how he gave an autographed photo to Spike Jonze), along with others that were even less savory, at the opening night after party, which I’m proud to say was closed down by myself and the Kimmish, who helpfully have me a ride back to the hotel.

In her car. Jeez, people.

Read more of Pete’s adventures at the 2010 deadCenter Film Festival in Part Three

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