Normally, we don’t have a February 29th. So, that may explain why Wednesday is the new Thursday for True/False, another day we rarely get to enjoy. Usually, things don’t get started until Thursday, but Wednesday was a busy one in CoMo. Yes, crews are always prepping venues up until the last minutes, but this Wednesday had a different vibe. It really did feel as though True/False was underway, one day early, a day we only receive every four years.
Ticket & Pass Pickup (5:00 – Box Office)
Have you ever seen a cooler space than the True/False box office? No, you haven’t. Rebecca has documented it well in her photo essays, but you need to see it for yourself. Installations are everywhere. Even the floor was a sight to behold. My words won’t do it justice. You just have to stop in at the corner of Broadway and Hitt to see the best interior of any building in CoMo for yourself.
Of course, I didn’t go there for the aesthetics. Although, they didn’t hurt. Nope, I was there to pick up passes and reserved tickets. T/F has always maintained an efficient ticketing process, but this may have been the best setup I’ve seen in the seven years I’ve attended the fest. The space didn’t hurt, but the efficiency of the ticket and pass reclamation was so smooth and pleasant, I could hardly believe it. I mean, usually in these situations, one build up anticipation which soon turns to anxiety as volunteers stumble to move the line and retrieve your packets. Not this year. My hat goes off to the staff and volunteers running the show. The box office experience was easily the best I’ve had yet.
And in just the other room, the merch is – as always – loaded with must-haves. T-shirt designs by some local artists/crafters really give the merch that authentic feel that can only be found at True/False. I walked away with a hoodie (now I have a green one!) and a t-shirt designed by our own Ben Chlapek. It also didn’t hurt that the merch was under control thanks to the guidance from Butterfly Tattoo’s Amanda Vander Tuig.
Also in the merch area was the music crew. Amanda Rainey greeted me and chatted for a bit. A little later, Justin Nardy showed up with a stack of his hand-printed posters featuring the bands at this year’s fest. The music merch section looks way more formidable this year and should be a place for me to lose more money.
Based on a True Story Conference (6:00 – MU campus)
I was supposed to register for this conference with T/F tie-ins at the J-School, but I spent too much time chatting with the many fine people at the box office. So, this one will have to wait, but I’m excited to catch a panel or three over the next couple of days. More to come on this conference…
I arrived in time for part of the Q&A, but Ashley and David did not. Their flight was slightly delayed, causing them to miss their Mo-X shuttle. So, they eventually Skyped in for the Q&A after the film while riding in a van from St. Louis. For all the intrigue and questions the film conjures, their stories in relation to the film only add more. This is why we stay for Q&A as often as possible throughout the fest.
This is the unofficial official start of the fest and it’s hard to believe that any showcase will outdo the one at Eastside Tavern last night. Three bands – two local, one from Milwaukee – whipped the crowd into a pretty good frenzy for Wednesday.
Enemy Airship opened the night and one could say the entire festival.If I wanted to hear Broken Social Scene, I’d probably watch them on Pitchfork TV, but this was a close enough facsimile. I certainly don’t mean that in negative way. The band is fun, even danceable, especially as compared to their previous incarnation, Nonreturner. The set was topped off with a particularly earnest cover of New Order’s “Age of Consent”. It’s too bad no one could hear the keyboards.
Another local, Hott Lunch, played second. I had heard a lot of good things and the band did not disappoint. From punk to classic rock, this band was all over the place aggression, hitting all the right influences. I’d like to hear them focus in on one thing, but they do so many so well. Maybe that’s not so bad. Either way, it was an enjoyable set.
The closers were CATACOMBZ. With a light show few have witnessed in Eastside, the band beat the audience into submission and told them to dance without directly telling the so, yet they obeyed. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a band come in and just move the entire crowd into convulsions.
It was an excellent start to the fest. I can’t wait to actually sit down and watch a film. That will start around 4:30. Expect a full report tomorrow…