one of my film festivals, the one where i wonder if i can get away with wearing a black tee four times before washing it and barrel around the city arguing with twenty-year-olds about terrence malick, is almost over. this year i bowed out of the front-of-the-house crew and joined a smaller, lonelier team of rats; i've been clambering up into theater bowels all over town. it's a hurry-up-and-wait job, and i spent half of my first shift suspecting i'd made a terrible mistake; then i got to crawl up to the projectionist's booth at the beacon, a week to the day after liz phair and billy corgan sang me back to high school there. the humbler venues are somehow even better: the velvety dust! the ankle-mangling stairs! in a dark tech corridor in chelsea i turned from photographing a strip of old celluloid to see a senior staffer wrinkling her mouth at me. "it just looked really cool," i said. "it is a crumpled piece of film," she replied.
the other film festival, the one where i'm a moviegoer who exchanges an occasional secret wink with ushers and security staff, picks up this afternoon. i'm considering a late thriller tonight, meeting an old front-of-house friend tomorrow afternoon, and dragging joe to a collection of horror shorts tomorrow night. horror shorts! i tried them for the first time last year; the ebb and flow of brain chemicals is a bit like when joe handed me a nominally roasted scotch bonnet pepper in the dominican republic in march. "hey, you want to do something really stupid?" we each ate one whole and felt our eardrums vibrate for the next half hour. i had to sit down. a documentary saturday afternoon, and one last documentary, maybe two, on sunday.