My Evening with Sissy Spacek
I noticed the movie first. “Hey!” I thought. “Terrence Malick's 'Badlands' is playing at SIFF!”
Only when I bought tickets (for $35/$40) did I learn that “Badlands” was an afterthought to one of the major events at the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival: “An Evening with Sissy Spacek,” in which the Oscar-winning actress accepted SIFF's lifetime achievement award and sat down for a two-hour Q&A with Time magazine's Richard Corliss. The screening of “Badlands,” which starred Spacek and a young Martin Sheen, came later, and, by the time it did, a third of the audience had left. Sad.
I had a good time at the event but questions arise. Why Corliss? Why not a local critic, like John Hartl or Moira MacDonald? One of the best, most entertaining interviewers I've seen is both local and a movie critic: Warren Etheredge of the Warren Report. Why not him?
The audience portion of the Q&A can be a drag—particularly in Seattle. The people raising their hands are generally the people who shouldn't be raising their hands: folks who don't want to ask anything but want to pontificate and blab and unenlighten and waste our time. Thankfully, we didn't get many of those. We got oddities: geeks bearing gifts. They spoke tentatively, then brought out some odd, hand-made doo-dad—a ceramic flying pig dangling on a string, for one—then brought it up to Ms. Spacek, who, to her credit, acted more graciously accepting these things than I do accepting a gift I want from someone I love. She showed her chops right there. She deserved her lifetime achievement award right there.
Did you know, under the name “Spackle,” that she sang a late '60s bubble-gum song called “John You've Gone Too Far This Time,” about how John Lennon in 1969 was no longer the mop-top we all loved? I didn't. Someone menioned that the song is hard to find online but it's actually pretty easy. And pretty awful. It should as least be catchy.
More catchy was this clip we saw as part of her career retrospective:
After the Q&A, but before the “Badlands” screening, Michael Upchurch, who, with John Hartl, has been covering SIFF for The Seattle Times, came up and mock-chastised me: “Where was your present for Sissy?” he asked. Exactly.
Here's a portion of the Q&A. Apologies, but we were sitting halfway back so the volume isn't the best and the hand-held jumpiness is like out of a Lars von Trier film. Hope no one gets nauseous.
Apologies, too, Sissy, for not bringing you a gift. Next time.
(TURN UP THE VOLUME FOR THIS ONE...)