The weekend after I traveled to Des Moines (to see my younger brother, younger sister in law, and nephew) and to Madison (to check out the 2012 Wisconsin Film Festival), I made it to the Twin Cities...for this year's Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival.
That's right...the area that gave us James Arness and Peter Graves (to say nothing of Prince) became the second one to officially see "The Entertainers," that documentary about the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest (an event that's coming up next weekend).
The Minneapolis-St. Paul get-together has been taking place every year since the early 1980s (if not the late 1970s); this year's version ran from 4-12-2012 and finished up on 5-3-2012. The organizers treated moviegoers from everywhere to 300 films...and, as was the case at Madison's Wisconsin Film Festival, the Twin Cities fare ran the gamut from full-length features all the way to shorts.
70 of the 300 movies shown in Minnesota's biggest metro area were documentaries.
And all the motion pictures presented at the Gopher State festival were run at Minneapolis' St. Anthony Main Theater, overlooking the banks of the Mississippi River.
Festival organizers scheduled "The Entertainers" for 9:20 PM on Saturday, 4-28-2012...as well as for 3:30 PM the next day.
And both sets of audiences ate it up...as well as the live music "Perfessor" Bill Edwards, Ethan Uslan, and I were able to provide after each showing of the film.
In fact, the audiences liked "The Entertainers" so much that they voted it the International Film Festival's best documentary.
Meanwhile, I was eating up my stay in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
It's a great, great place to walk around in...especially the underground walkways situated around and through downtown Minneapolis. With the walkways, you get a climate-controlled environment where, in winter, you don't have to worry so much about freezing your hind end off (and don't have to worry about facing the same demise as a Popsicle in the summer months).
The restaurants in the MSP area are no slouches, either. Just like in Madison, they have Qdobe restaurants...and I had a chance to eat late-night tacos again as a result.
The last place I ate at in Minny offers a $12 burger. (And let me tell you, that burger DOES have an act!)
So does the hotel they put us up in. It used to be the local Milwaukee Road train station, but now it's the Renaissance Depot Hotel. They did a great, great job transforming this historic station into a hotel...and it's got so much Milwaukee Road memorabilia it'll make your head swim. (Oops...I mean it'll make your wheels turn!)
Speaking of act...now comes the next one in this journey.
The question isn't "Will it play in Peoria?" (After all, "The Entertainers" will be shown there on 5-25-2012 at 8:00 PM; the free showing will be one of the events at the OTPP Contest itself. And the contest will take place in a new venue: The Sheraton Four Points Hotel.)
The real question is: "How will they like it in Peoria?"
I'm going to the city that gave Richard Pryor to the world...and when I get the answers, I'll sure enough let you know.
I'm Jim Boston, and thanks for reading this blog!