Hearsay: Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Come to Play

Embargo in SoDo was the site of one of several after-parties thrown by the folks behind the inaugural Lone Star International Film Festival last year. At one point at the uncomfortably packed bar, an acquaintance with whom I was scream-chatting asked me if I had caught the jam session a few minutes earlier. Of course not, I said. I’m pinned to the back wall, I can barely see over the heads of the people who keep backing into me – and not apologizing – and there’s so much ambient noise I can’t tell a guitar lick from a cry for help. Oh, I was informed. I “missed it!” A famous Fort Worth native, blues-y rock-’n’-roller T Bone Burnett (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), had jumped on stage to play with two other Fort Worth-born stars of similar musical predilections, saxophonist Johnny Reno and … someone else. I forget. In any case, the bottom line: Some old, famous Fort Worth musicians were blues-rocking together. “Nope,” I said. “Missed it. My loss, I guess.” Of course, with all due respect to the aforementioned artists – and also to my acquaintance and, grudgingly, to blues-rock itself – I could have cared less. I understand that Fort Worth has a rich history of early American music. Besides T Bone and Johnny, Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, Stephen Bruton, Delbert McClinton, Julius Hemphill, Charles Moffett, King Curtis, Prince Lasha, Ray Sharpe, Ronald Shannon Jackson, and Willie Nelson are just a few of the blues, jazz, and country legends who either grew up or spent some of their formative years here. I understand that, to international visitors like the kind who peopled last year’s LSIFF, the Fort’s music history and any present-day celebrations thereof may seem exotic. But what about the rest of the attendees, people from as close by as Dallas who still think of Fort Worth as just cows and blue collars or people from here who spend a lot of time trying to broaden the city’s image to include some not-so-blue-collar’d and bovine qualities? I think that as blown-away as some visitors may have been with the blues-rock bonanza at Embargo, they would have been even more wowed by the eternally hip indie-rock, hip-hop, and fusion that Fort Worth has to offer, all written and performed by the kind of people who write, direct, act in, or pay to see the kinds of films feted at LSIFF. Long story short: The line-up for this year’s fest – screenings are Thursday through Sunday – marks a healthy step in the right direction. Along with veterans such as Denton’s Brave Combo, the Fort’s Red Young, and Austinites Rob Roy Parnell and Anson Funderburgh, several Cowtowners that are hip in any zip code are playing: the John Mayer-ish Josh Weathers Band, the alt-country Lifters, the Beastie Boys-y Rivercrest Yacht Club, and bombastic folk-rockers Telegraph Canyon. Non-musically, more than 60 indie films – features, shorts, and docs – will be screened. Locally themed music flicks include Teen A Go-Go, director Melissa Kirkendall’s doc about the teen scenes that popped up throughout the country in the early 1960s, and They Came to Play, director Alex Rotaru’s doc about the most significant piano competition in North America, the one that takes place in Fort Worth, the Van Cliburn. For more info, visit www.lsiff.com.
Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com.

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