Cine-vanning in Florida
By Bill Daniels
It was late spring and just starting to get really hot in the Dirty American South. I was 2-weeks out on a 2-month screening tour with my hobo graffiti documentary Who is Bozo Texino?, driving a big counter-clockwise circle around north America. I’m driving my good old 1965 Chevy van, very primitive but very reliable. Out of the 45 shows I had planned, the show in Pensacola, Florida sounded like it would be a blast. My buddy Mike Brodie was planning a big event with a photo exhibition of his freight-riding photography to go with my film screening. The show was indeed wild. It was packed with punks and tramps and circus freaks and sex workers. Many had driven in from New Orleans, and they were a beautiful and colorful bunch of flowers. After the show we all went to the beach for a wild party. People were playing music, dancing naked around the fire, swimming— it was a magic sight beneath the moon. A freight train parked right next to us and everyone ran and drew on the side of the train. The party lasted until noon. I was still wasted, blissed-out, and now sunburned when I asked my local friends about the drive to Tallahassee, the town of my screening that night. “Oh, about 5 hours” they say, “And don’t forget about the time zone difference, it’s really 6 hours.” Oh No! Time zone difference?!?! I realize there is no way I will make it. But, I might make it to the end of the show for the Q&A. I jump in the van and push the pedal to the floor. The Chevy has not had a working speedometer for many years, so I am driving according to the temperature gauge, going as fast as I can with out blowing the motor. It’s already hot in Florida, and I’ve got the van’s heater on the help cool the engine. We call this a “Hell Ride.” I call the venue on the cell phone, “I’m going to be a little bit late…. Can you stall the show a bit…?” They have some cartoons they can show first. Great. The van and I are sweating and maxed out. I make it to the theater and running up I can hear the music from the credit roll just finishing. Say what you will about Florida, but it has two time zones.
Published in Ekran, 2008 (April/May)