In Tune with Columbia - Music a Mainstay
in Fun-Loving Missouri City
Kansas City to the west and St. Louis to
the east are the big dogs in Central Missouri but right at about the half
way point between the two, on the state-traversing I-70, lies Columbia;
a medium-size city that often outshines its larger neighbors when it comes
to entertainment value.
A perfect case in point is the True/False
Film Fest, the prestigious and internationally-renowned documentary film
festival that will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013. If you’ve
never been to True/False you can be forgiven for the mistaken idea that
this might be a stuffy, ho-hum event. To the contrary, the always-bustling
college town throws one of the best and most unique say-goodbye-to-winter
parties in the entire country during True/False. You might say that True/False
is like the first blossom of spring where all of Columbia and folks from
all over the world come out to admire it.
Held over a long four-day weekend, usually
in early March, True/False is first and foremost all about the documentaries.
Festival-goers have a chance to view dozens of new docs in advance of their
theatrical runs; films like Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and Searching for
Sugarman, very popular docs that only recently began showing widely,
are just two of many titles that previewed at True/False in 2012. The approximately
40 titles shown in 2012 offered subject matter for all tastes running from
whimsical (including lots of “shorts”) to thought-provoking to tear-jerking.
But here’s where the real fun beyond the act of simply viewing a film comes
These movies are not shown in multiplexes.
About a dozen venues in downtown Columbia, all within walking distance
of one another, screen the films, and many of these places are not normally
used for this purpose. So you may see a film in a majestic old theater
or a funky little movie house, in a church auditorium or really anyplace
where a screen and chairs can be set up comfortably. Nobody sees just one
film so festival-goers mingle on the streets between venues (and in Columbia’s
cornucopia of good-eating and drinking establishments) and this is where
you not only meet new friends but become part of the group True/False conversation
that’s busy creating buzz for the best films. Many principals of the films
come to True/False too; they love it because this festival is purely for
the films and not for deal-making, so you may find yourself rubbing elbows
with someone like director Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, Where in
the World is Osama bin Laden) who attended in 2012 in conjunction with
his film Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope.
There are side parties, meet-and-greets,
a closing-night party and a colorful, offbeat parade. And music is everywhere.
Buskers set up on street corners, in front of popular eateries and adjacent
to where films are being shown and you can enjoy all of this even if you
never see a single film.
But there’s more music inside the film
houses where performances occur before every showing. Columbia has a thriving
local scene and here’s a chance to hear the city’s best as acts like Richard
the Lionhearted, Jerusalem & the Starbaskets and the Believers get
plenty of stage time. But just as the films of True/False are sourced from
all over the world, so are the musical acts. A typical list of performers
includes eclectic acts like Brooklyn’s Pearl and the Beard, Maine-based
act the Toughcats, St. Louis folkies Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine,
Salt Lake City’s Bramble and swingin’ Kansas City blues act Grand Marquis.
Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine
Richard the Lionhearted
Probably the most talked-about act of 2012 was Les Trois Coups, a kooky
and very entertaining band from France that made their first American appearance
in Columbia. With a lead singer serving up manic faces to go along with
lyrics sung entirely in French, a sax man wearing a mask and an extremely
lively stage show, the band left their audiences bemused beyond belief
even though relatively few understood what they were singing about. And
such is the nature of the True/False experience; expect the unexpected
as there’s a fun surprise around every corner.
True/False 2013 takes place February 28
through March 3 and you can find additional info at www.truefalse.org
If you can make it to Columbia sooner, like this September 21-22, you can
enjoy more good music during the Roots ’n Blues ’n BBQ Festival where
Al Green, John Mayall, Rodriguez (the subject of Searching for Sugarman,)
Marty Stuart and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are scheduled to
appear. Columbia is truly a fun-loving city and there’s always something
going on; for more info on what’s to do in Columbia click over to www.visitcolumbiamo.com
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