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Tomorrow (7/22) from 3-5PM, my husband Jim Carpenter will be signing his new book of short stories, Surviving My Happy Childhood, at Leelanau Books in Leland. However, tomorrow from 3-5PM, I will be in the Dutmers Theatre in Traverse City watching the French romantic comedy Romantics Anonymous (Les Emotifs Anonymes) in my role as a jury member for TCFF 2011. Of course I'm torn, but tomorrow, jury duty trumps wife duty.
This year TCFF will hold its first Awards Show at 6PM on Saturday, 7/30, at the State Theatre. As a member of the New Foreign Cinema Jury, I have to start watching the sixteen films four days before the festival actually starts in order to see all the films in competition in my category. And I have to vote on the winners, so we can get the results in to festival director Deb Lake a full day earlier than previous years. "Have to," I repeat to my friends with my best what-can-I-do sigh. "Unfortunately on the very day I had hoped to support Jim by hanging out at the bookstore while he signs books and reads a couple of his wonderful stories."
I explain that Michael Moore wants all films and filmmakers to get a fair shake. That's why he requires jury members in each category to watch films on the big screen -- not DVD screeners on TVs or computers like they do at most festivals . And I agree with him entirely, convinced it really does make a difference seeing a film the way it was intended to be seen -- in a dark theatre on a real screen.
So starting tomorrow at 10AM you can find me and fellow jury members, Jake Ziegler and Tracy Kurtz, watching films on the NMC campus at the Dutmers Theatre, TCFFs newest 35-seat venue. First up, Black Butterfly, about the short, tragic life of poet Ingrid Jonker, known as the "South African Sylvia Plath." Followed by the award-winning indie drama Face to Face from Australia. Then at 3PM, Romantics Anonymous. It's a full day, but that's why they call it jury duty.
Of course, if you're not busy at 3PM tomorrow, maybe you could stop by Leelanau Books and check in on Jim..? Maybe stick around, listen to him read a story. I was at his first four signings and can attest: Jim is a fun and entertaining reader. Everyone says so, not just his wife.
(Break a leg, sweetheart! Tomorrow dinner's on me.)