Thursday, February 26, 2015

See What Happens When You Show a Movie in a Bar?

You pack the place, that's what!

It was standing room only at Ed's (No Name) Bar in Winona, MN, for the 2-17-2015 showing of "The Entertainers." 

And one of the movie's two directors, Nick Holle, joined us just in time.

Faye Ballard, Nick, and I received a warm, warm welcome from the audience that included festival director Crystal Hegge, Dave from the Upper Mississippi Jazz Society, and Ed himself (the man who runs said venue).

"The Entertainers" really went over with the overflow crowd at the bar located at 3rd and Franklin Sts.

About 95 minutes after the film rolled, Nick, Faye, and I fielded questions from audience members. (And we had a ball!)

Then the crowd switched from the barroom (where the documentary was actually shown) to Ed's (No Name) Bar's concert room...where a 1970s (or maybe 1960s or 1980s) Kimball studio piano was located.

Faye and I really went at doing "St. Louis Blues," E. Warren Furry's "Robardina Rag," and "Santa Lucia."

Then Faye showed the stuff that made her a frequent Regular Division finalist at the documentary's subject event, the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest and Festival (now held at the Embassy Suites East Peoria in Illinois). 

The contestant-turned-contest coordinator's selections were her trademark tune "Mack the Knife," "Sailin' Away on the Henry Clay," and "Pork and Beans."

Then the university office systems coordinator (Faye) and the factory machine operator (me) teamed up to do "Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey."

The audience ate it up so much that they asked Faye to fire up an encore.

She did...and it was none other than "The Entertainer."

I ended up doing the last tune in the mini-concert...and it was a rag written in 1954 and recorded the next year by Fritz Schulz-Reichel (its author) and by Johnny Maddox, "The Crazy Otto."

I felt very comfortable...I felt the fun...I had real fun.

And most important of all, the people who crowded into Ed's venue had a blast, too.

When's the next screening of "The Entertainers" going to take place? Where will it happen?

Wherever it is, I hope I'll be able to make it there...and I hope you can, too.

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