Imagine, if you will, a group of artists, drawn together by common interest and the desire to create.
Imagine them in studios, laboring to produce something that represents and preserves a specific moment in time. Imagine each playing a specific part, ensuring that the disparate becomes something cohesive and engaging.
Imagine them using the term “scene” a lot.
Now imagine that I am not talk about musicians.
Over the years I’ve made much of the rise and fall, the triumphs and tribulations of Augusta’s music community. But music was never my first love, not really. To quote the legendary critic Pauline Kael, I lost it at the movies. And while Augusta’s music community is currently in a bit of a lull, there is a group of performers and writers and craftsmen of every ilk that, year after year and, yes, movie after movie, have built a tight and talented community that are making movies.
What’s surprising – and a little sad – is that this community remains, for the most part, unheralded. Certainly there has been the occasional premier and the annual gathering for the Poison Peach, but the movie makers in Augusta, because they do not traffic in bars and guitars, haven’t developed the sort of widespread following our musicians have. It’s a shame because much of what they do is a little bit of a miracle. Take, for example, Christopher Forbes. For years he has been producing, on average, three or four feature length films a year. His specialty – war films and Westerns. His budgets – micro at best.
And yet, not only does he continuously corral local talent into a repertory company of sorts, he has occasionally looked West and wrangled real Hollywood talent. It was Forbes behind the camera when David Carradine shot what would become his final onscreen performance.
But Forbes is not alone. Much of the talent that he taps have, in turn, produced their own films. Writers become actors. Actors become directors. It’s a tight-knit community that continues to grow and evolve.
Some might even call it a scene.
Here’s come other things that have caught my eye of late.
Lupin – I don’t understand why more people aren’t talking about this incredible caper series, now streaming on Netflix. Inspired by the French Arsene Lupin gentleman thief novels, the series revolves around a like-minded absconder who, also inspired by Lupin, does both right and wrong – usually at the same time. While I understand the subtitles may throw some people off – this is a French production – this glossy and wildly entertaining series is well worth strapping on those reading glasses for.
The Smile – If I am being completely honest, I probably lost some of my patience for Radiohead some 20 years ago. I’m all for evolution, but I still yearn for that great guitar band that sound-tracked much of the 90s for me. Fortunately, it looks like there is some relief in sight. The Smile is a Radiohead spinoff featuring lead singer Thom Yorke, guitarist Jonny Greenwood and Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner. It’s easy to pigeonhole the group as Radiohead as a power trio, but the truth is much more complicated and satisfying. So far, the band’s output has been limited to a few songs performed on last spring’s Glastonbury live stream and a recently released single entitled “You Will Never Work In Television Again.” “Television,” in particular, is a real rocker rife with New York-style noise and the sort of lean-in spirit the marked Radiohead’s landmark The Bends. While I suspect Yorke and Greenwood will soon return to their more atmospheric day jobs, it’s great to hear them whip up some furious noise once again.
Films to be Buried With – Although best known to American audiences as the rough-around-the-edges footballer Roy Kent in the successful series Tad Lasso, actor and writer Brett Goldstein has, since 2018, hosted this addictive film fan podcast. The concept is simple. His famous and semi-famous guests are dead and must put together a list of movies, movies that define them, into the afterlife. By answering questions about first films, guilty pleasures, sexy films and more, they manage to say as much about themselves as their taste in movies. It’s charming, funny and, when you least expect it, revealing.
Steven Uhles has worked as professional journalist in the Augusta area for 22 years, and his Pop Rocks column ran in The Augusta Chronicle for more than 20. He lives in Evans with his wife, two children and a dog named after Hunter Thompson.