The short summary: Lines snaking around the corner, a sold out 1,000 seat hall, a smashing, post-screening set by the Kinksmen. A night that would have been perfect had Carlene been able to come.
More detail: I was, frankly, terrified. Fletcher Hall is big, about 958 friends bigger than I have in the Triangle. And Full Frame is packed with fantastic docs, including two playing at roughly the same time, both films that are, frankly, a bit more socially important than “Do It Again.”
Adding to my anxiety is that two days ago, the Full Frame folks told me 400 tickets were told. Then, we stopped getting updates as advance, Internet sales were ended. The buzz is incredible, we were told. Don’t worry about it. Well, that’s just not how I work. I worry.
Still, it was hard to feel good until Rob called me on my cell – I was backstage watching soundcheck – and told me to meet him outside. That’s where I saw the line, which started near the front door of the Carolina Theatre and ran down the block, around the corner and up as far as I could see.
They filed in around 7:50 and I was starving, forcing me to scarf down a somewhat stale scone, a scone which caught the eye of Peter Holsapple, the dB I had enlisted for our Kinks musical tribute.
“A scone?” He said, before adding sarcastically. “Well, Durham is known for its scones.”
Inside, Rob and I staked out some space in back and watched the hall fill up. So many friends were in there. Brooke. Mary. Peder Zane. Menconi. Suzanne. Wendy and Troy. And so many strangers. This was a good crowd, laughing easily, short on the bathroom breaks, into it. The Q & A was tight, even as I began it with a short tribute to my pregnant wife who was unable to come. (I asked audience members to email me a video clip of my Carlene chatter – send ‘em along!)
Then finally, Sadie gave me the signal from the front row, and I announced the Kinksmen. For me, this was the highlight.
I got a beer and the boys blasted through a few songs on their own, including “I’m Not Like Everybody Else.” Holsapple came out to sing “Days” with his dB’s compatriot Chris Stamey taking the harmonies and then Stamey did “Tired of Waiting For You” with Holsapple returning the favor. Mitch Easter, wearing a medallion around his neck that I thought could hypnotize a Buick, smashed through “Til The End of the Day.”
People got up and danced as the Kinksmen kicked into a medley of “You Really Got Me/I Need You/All Day and All of the Night” and then it was over.
I don’t know which of the industry folks I invited actually came. (One very nice film company rep. at the filmmaker party got sort of tongue-tied as he tried to explain why he couldn’t make the show… and I felt bad because, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t want him to feel bad and it didn’t matter. I just told him, “no biggie, there are so many great films here.”)
At the party, I sought out Sadie – celebrating her 27th birthday! – and Liesl and Stephanie and Ariel and Ted and Lee and the Full Frame folks who made the night so perfect, allowing us to worry about really nothing as they handled every detail, no matter how mundane.
And I thought of seeing Stamey, after the gig, a guy who I know has high standards and is certainly no yes man, telling me how much he truly loved the film. And a slew of midnight Facebook messages from friends and strangers who wanted to share how much they enjoyed “Do It Again.” Now we’re stuck with that slightly sad hangover experienced after Rotterdam, the question that now becomes can we ever top Full Frame?