The North Carolina Museum of Art has been screening films for years now, but I had never bothered to actually attend one until last night. I had always pictured a room somewhat like a college lecture or lab classroom, with elderly couples sitting around eating cheese and dozing off 10 minutes after the lights go out. Last night, walking in to watch a showing of 4 Laurel & Hardy shorts, that’s pretty much what I experienced.
Not that I’m slamming it. I’ve lived in Raleigh for about 7 years now, and have always noticed their stellar lineups each season. Last nights show was the last of the Winter Film Series, which included CITY LIGHTS, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG, THE MAN WHO LAUGHS, even a print of THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE! It’s the closest to a true repertory house that Raleigh will ever come, especially when the next closest competition is the local art-house theatre that shows something akin to SPACEBALLS every third Wednesday.
I guess getting this blog with Chud kind of forced me into going. I want to give everyone an idea of the cultural happenings that are open in a city like Raleigh, which isn’t as big as, say, Atlanta, but is big enough to have a pretty impressive choice of entertaining time-wasters. Which brings us to the Museum on a Friday night.
Walking into the screening room, I notice that the room is already about 70% full. I sit down next to an old guy reading EB White’s ONE MAN’S MEAT, and Laura Boyes, Film Curator for the museum comes out to the podium for an introduction. She goes through a brief but funducational history of Laurel & Hardy, and gives a brief summary of the 4 shorts that would be playing (THEIR FIRST MISTAKE, THEM THAR HILLS, TOWED IN A HOLE, and TWICE TWO). The crowd was appreciative and responsive. There were no crying babies or teenagers there just looking for a place to make out. At some point I started smelling popcorn, which surprised me, because last time I checked they didn’t have a concession stand at the NCMA.
All in all, it was a good show. Next week begins the Spring Film Series, which has an adaptation theme and will be introduced by local authors most nights. The only two exceptions are ON THE TOWN, which will be introduced by one of the dancers in the film, and JANE EYRE starring Orson Welles, which the curator Mrs. Boyes will be introducing. What can you do, it’s her show?