Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No shirt, no shoes, who cares?

PhotobucketPass the cheesecake -- I just recently found out about this grand online documentary by Joe York on Oxford, Mississippi's late great Hoka Theatre, "Sorry We're Open." For anybody who ever passed through Oxpatch in the halcyon daze of the 1980s and 1990s, the Hoka was one of the best places in town to pull in for a spell; a highly ramshackle former cotton warehouse-turned-alternative movie theatre/hangout and restaurant, run in a charmingly relaxed fashion. Like many Oxonians I spent many a night there, eating cheesecake and checking out "Pulp Fiction" and "The Piano" for the first time, watching cowpunk bands and dealing with the er, temperamental projectionist Barton. York has made a swell short documentary that features many familiar Oxford faces and a salute to a now-closed, now-demolished piece of Oxford history. (It's hilarious to see my old editor/boss Chico interviewed credited as a "Hoka Archivist/Conservationist!") I've lived many a place and many a country, but in my memories Oxford is the friendliest place I ever called home. The Hoka was a big part of it. "I never felt bad at the Hoka," as Ole Miss's Sparky Reardon says.

• A wonderfully-written piece by Stephen Rodrick in New York magazine about Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle and his extremely devoted fans, one of the best pieces of music writing I've seen in a while.

• Another excellent magazine article, this one about the late writer David Foster Wallace and the work he left behind. As good an answer we may get to the question of why he killed himself last year and a requiem for an extraordinary talent (plus welcome news of his final unfinished work "The Pale King," which will be released next year).

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