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Monday, September 07, 2015

FLASHBACK - Greendale Film Q & A: Lincoln Center, February 13, 2004

Neil Young
Photo by Dr. OffTwins

A TW flashback from the Greendale film society screening at the Walter Reade Theatre in New York City on February 13, 2004. (Thanks to Pete C. -- who attended the event in 2004 -- and brought the memories back to our attention.)

This weekend on Thrasher's Wheat Radio, we played a portion of the Question and Answer session that related to the socio-political message of Greendale and Neil's response regarding "The Family". [To download, right click on link, save target as, pick destination folder: the file will download. Next UNZIP file and select your preferred digital audio player and play files: Neil-Young-Lincoln or Neil-Young-Lincoln Center-Greendale-Q-A-February]

Topics include:

    Why Greendale? 
    Does Digital Still Suck? 
    Your other records could have been movies too... 
    Trapper asks about Lenore Any political pressure?

Photo by Rusted Sister

Here are a couple of shots by Rusted Sister & Dr. OffTwins showing Neil trying to suppress the standing ovation, Neil taking a question and Rusted Sister dancing with the devil. Nice hat, Bernard!

Also, check out Dave Zimmer's account of the event on Rust, cross posted from Lee-shore. A hilarious account of a fan regaling Neil with stories of his children's conceptions to various Neil songs and concluding with the complement that "Neil is better than Viagra"!?!

Last night (Friday) I went to a screening of Neil Young's Greendale film at the Walter Reade Theatre in NYC. A friend at Warner Bros. had kindly added me to the guest list. My wife had to cancel out at the last minute to take my son to a party, so what was to have been a pre-Valentine's Day date
became a solo trip. On the off-chance that Neil wouldn't be mobbed after the screening, I brought along a 11 X 14 glossy C-print of a striking Bluenotes-era shot of NY with Old Black (his trusty Les Paul guitar) that was used on the cover of BAM Magazine for the interview I did with him back in 1988.

Picked up my ticket (stamped "First Class") at the guest table, then chatted for a bit with "Suite" Lorraine K. A half hour later, after settling into a seat a couple down from Alan Light, the editor of "Tracks," a guy from Film Comment stood at a microphone in front of the screen and introduced "Bernard Shakey." As he sauntered down the far left aisle, I noticed he was wearing the same jacket I had on -- the Deja Vu brown leather "Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Established in 1969 " one from the CSNY2K tour. He also had on a floppy Dr. Seuss-like brown leather hat, pulled low. The audience erupted with applause. Neil cracked, "I can tell you're going to be a tough crowd tonight. Hope you
enjoy the film."

I won't take up bandwidth with comments about Greendale, other than to say that it was a sensory delight and added appreciation for as well as depth and understanding to the music. Hearing/seeing the climactic "Be the Rain" in the context of the film reinforced my feeling that CSNY could do a killer
arrangement of the song if the group does indeed tour this year. There was a Q & A with Neil as soon as the film ended. He fielded roughly 20 questions, from a Film Comment guy and the audience, about Greendale, bootlegs, digital sound and other things. One guy stood up and told of the
birth of his children in relation to when he and his wife had been to Neil Young concerts, adding, "You're better than Viagra!" Everyone laughed.

The Greendale "after-party" -- which I thought was going to be a somewhat small affair -- ended up being loaded with Film Comment and film festival guests, many of whom hadn't even been to the screening. Just as I was thinking that Neil probably would not venture into such a crush scene, I
looked over and there he was ... off in a corner of the room, hat still pulled low, talking to a woman, with Elliot Roberts next to them. Winding my way through the crowd to where Neil stood, waiting until a couple of other people had said a few words, I leaned in with a greeting. There was a
flash of recognition: "DAVE! How ya doin' ..." He said he'd received the copy of 4 Way Street (the book) I'd sent to his home, but hadn't had a chance to read through it yet. I reminded him about the 1988 BAM interview I'd done with him and reached into my bag, pulled out the C-print and asked if would mind signing it. One of the actors from Greendale saw the photograph (by Aaron Rappaport) and said, "Johnny rocker!"

Neil smirked, kindly took the black Sharpee pen I handed him (after I first dropped it, then luckily retrieved it from my bag). He paused for a moment to look at the print again, then signed his name large with a flourish in just the right spot. The Greendale actor saw how Neil had shaped the loop in
the "g" in his name, and said, "There's a heart trip happening there." "Heeeyyy," Neil said and handed me back the Sharpee. I thanked him and then noticed (as did Elliot) the crowd that had gathered behind me. Others pressed in as I stepped back. A nice series of moments. It was time to head home.

My wife (who has become quite a Neil/CSNY fan herself) was thrilled when she saw Neil had signed the print and noticed the "heart trip." Happy Valentine's Day!

LOL, Dave Z.

You really gotta love these folks! ;) Thanks Rusted Sister and Dr. OffTwins!


Greendale Review
From New York Press an incredibly perceptive review titled "Good Folk: An edifying tour through Neil Young’s country – and Ours" by critic Armond White:
    "Whatever version of Greendale you encounter, it earns a place alongside the more ambitious expressions of small town living: Winesburg, Ohio; Our Town; even Altman’s Popeye. It’s both recognizable and idiosyncratic through Young’s scrutiny of our most mundane habits and setting them to music that kicks in even when the imagery perplexes. Greendale presents contemporary American crisis as seen through the characters of a white farming community. In Greendale, Young locates the unofficial territory where his outrage and his hope are not so strange. His defiantly unfashionable position gives voice to those Americans who lately feel completely unenfranchised–enraged by al Qaeda and Tom Ridge and isolated from Fox Cable News as well as the Nation. That this community has rarely been seen on the screen in our so-called indie era is a sobering realization. But it gives the Greendale movie surprising charm. The hominess of Greendale should be less troubling than Are You Passionate?. Its assessment of how folk-art expression (pop music, home movies) compliments our political and spiritual ideas and amounts to a revelation. Not many contemporary artists have responded to the post-9/11 question of how to make relevant art. Young proposes an answer by emulating the simplicity of folk art: the forcefulness of style, technique, purpose that can be felt in every version of Greendale. Two authentic moments stand out. On "Sun Green," Young sings, "No one could explain it/It just got great reviews." That sizes up the current tendency to praise superficial product regardless of its content or intention. Young critiques the political acquiescence that has infected every aspect of popular culture, replacing actual thinking, ever since the late-80s triumph of capitalism (what some people like to call the fall of communism). And the glorious "Grandpa’s Interview" offers a daring bromide: "It ain’t an honor to be on tv/And it ain’t a duty either"–blessed curmudgeonliness. Greendale’s a modest movie, but it’s also heroic."

More on The Inconvenient Truth of Greendale.

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