Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – NXNE Wrap Up Part One

What a week! Here is the first of a two part NXNE wrap up.

Thank you Mr. Doug Thompson for stepping up to the plate last week with your incredible Ringo stories. We need you here a lot more.

Thank you Nadia for the very kind words about the NXNE Film Festival. So sorry I couldn’t spend more time with you be it on a street corner or a film line-up,  but we both seemed to be covering a lot of bases.

Now some quick family notes as there were a couple of birthdays and of course Father’s Day that took place during NXNE. To my Dad Barry “Bucky’ Carpenter, Happy Father’s Day. Sorry I did not get the chance to see you but you are the one that taught me how to work a room. Also, all my love to Kari and Kyle (my kids) for their Father’s Day calls. Once again, sorry I didn’t get the chance to see you. Birthday greetings to Kyle who turned 23 last Saturday night, missed you that day as well. Luv to Wendi-Jane for gathering the kids for pre-Birthday celebrations last Sunday night and for putting up with all of my running around for the last couple of weeks. If anyone knows the work involved with managing the Film Festival it is Wendi-Jane as she steered the ship with Ambrose Roche for ten years prior to my involvement. Pictured: Cam and Wendi

Last but not least here’s to my incredible Mom Barb Kelly who will turn 75 this Friday. The woman is a legend. From fighting for woman to become members of the Balmy Beach Canoe Club to being the first woman on their Board of Directors, representing Ontario and the BBC at many Canadian Lawn Bowling Championships, running euchre tournaments and “meat rolls”,  and having a kind word (and buying a beer) for every band member or business associate I have ever introduced her to, my sister Kelly and I salute and thank you. Love you Mom. Pictured: Bob, Cam and Barb

OK, let’s talk NXNE. When people ask me the main difference between NXNE and CMW (and I have attended every edition of both) it seems to always boil down to street versus hotel. CMW centres around The Royal York (and previously The Westin Harbour Castle). Most of my action takes place in the hotel lobby and the hotel bars. NXNE (although based at The Hyatt) takes place on the streets and many of my chance encounters seem to take place between John and Bathurst from Queen to King. Whether it is running to intro a screening or catching a band late night it all seems street oriented. With the takeover of Yonge-Dundas Square NXNE brings the festival to the people.

As best as I can recall (no notes) here’s a recap of the week.

Monday. Things start as always with Film Programmer Ambrose Roche at The Friar & Firkin on John Street early afternoon. This is our unofficial office as it is located right next door to The National Film Board where we will screen the majority of our films. We compare notes, check on our screening copies and put out any last minute fires that always seem to pop up. We come up with a rough schedule of who will do intros and who will do Q & A’s for films with directors in attendance. We grab a pint and watch England grab a point in their first Euro Cup game.

That evening we kick things off with “Genius Within-The Inner Life Of Glenn Gould”. It would have been Glenn’s 80th birthday this year and we are honoured to have the film. We then show a video from the Irish band “Preachers Son”, play “Happily Dysfunctional – The Story Of Transistor 66 Records” and “Going Deaf For Nothing”. Although a lot of people have not yet arrived for NXNE we have good audiences for both. Director Steve Ward from Winnipeg discusses the  Transistor film with Ambrose after the screening and we are off and running.

We check in with Dr. Carlton Evans from “The Disposable Film Festival” in San Francisco and he has arrived in town so we decide to meet his crew at The Shanghai. After a quick get together we hurry over to Cherry Cola’s to wish Cherish a happy birthday at midnight but alas the club is closed. He head over to the Bovine for a couple and then it is time to streetcar home.

Tuesday. We begin again at the Firkin as I have scheduled a meeting with my old boss at Chrysalis Records in New York,  Mike Bone. Mike is only in town for a day so I am thrilled he found the time to spend a little time with me and Moe Berg (who signed to Chrysalis Records under his watch). Bone is a true original and rock’n’roll legend and it was great to sit around a laugh for a couple of hours. We do a triple screening at 4 PM (“Randy Parsons – American Luthier”, “Dan’s Chelsea Guitar” and “Persecution Blues – The Battle For The Tote”). None of the directors are in town so there is no Q&A but once again we are pleased with the attendance. Next up is the Danko Jones documentary “Bring On The Mountain” and we are happy to have Josh and Jason Diamond in town to talk about the world premiere of the film. These two rock and roll brothers flew up from New York for the screening and did a great job at the Q&A. It is a fascinating look at the career of Danko Jones and the Diamond Brothers also have a Danko short film “The Ballad of Danko Jones” screening tomorrow. After that Dr. Carlton Evans presents the latest Disposable Film Festival to a large and happy audience. Ambrose takes him out for meetings with distributors and I head  over to the Shanghai for a chicken fried birthday steak with Evan Meisner from Gloryhound who will be playing The Bovine two nights later. The band just signed with E One in Canada and it looks like the beginning of a beautiful relationship. As we are both headed to the east end we dropped head to Betty’s on King for a late night Guinness.

Wednesday. Today things pick up as we have nine films at The NFB and a special screening at The Royal. We kick off the day at 1 PM with a repeat of “Preachers/Dysfunctional/Going Deaf”. We decided this year to do multiple screenings of some films so folks would have a couple of chances to see them. At 3 PM we have two shorts from Oscar nominated Jerry Levitan. Along with the classic “I Met The Walrus” we have the Canadian premiere of the new animated Yoko Ono narrated  (and written) “My Hometown”. We follow this by the making of the Amos The Transparent video for “Sure As The Weather”. The one take video was directed by Gavin Michael Booth and this short movie explained the process of making the video. We finish our little block with “The Ballad Of Danko Jones” which is a 24 minute film from The Diamond Brothers and features Lemmy, Ralph Maccio, Elijah Wood and Selma Blair, as well as the Danko Jones band. We have a good crowd but during the Q&A I can hear a lot of people in the hall and when we are done I am happy to see a line up down the hall, down the stairs and out the door for our next screening “Ages & Stages – The Story Of The Melligrove Band”. I knew this would be well attended but did not quite expect. I handle the intro (nice to see CBC Radio 3 host Grant Lawrence in the house) and then Ambrose hosts would I heard was a lively Q&A with director Brendan McCarney and members of the band. A house party is scheduled right after the screening (which I heard rocked with a half a dozen bands playing) but I headed north to The Royal Theatre. We were thrilled to be offered the world premiere of “ Embracing Voices – The Woman Behind The Music Of Jane Bunnett”. The world famous Canadian artist also wowed the audience with a brief performance prior to the screening. After a quick intro, director (and friend) Elisa Paloschi and I headed for a well deserved drink across the street at “The Wilson 96” (615 College). What a charming little bar that has both live music and can also screen films. Check it out if you are ever in the ‘hood. Local writer Jennie Punter handled the Q&A after the movie and I headed off to the NXNE Kick-off party at The Roxton. Good times with a lot of local and international artists as well as Michael Hollett, Andy McLean, Mike Tanner, John Kastner, Yvonne Matsell and the ret of the team that brings NXNE to you every year. We will call it a semi-early night and head back home before checking into the hotel the next morning and really ramping things up.

Thursday to Sunday next week.

Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com.

Don’t forget to stop by  at The Shanghai Cowgirl (538 Queen Street West) as of this Friday to see the great new Joe Strummer portrait.

Cameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, NXNE, The Daily XY and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

One Response to “Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – NXNE Wrap Up Part One”

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