Hello from Oxford, Mississippi, home of Robert Faulkner, John Grisham, and Ole Miss, or, the University of Mississippi. I have made this my last stop on my four day cross- country drive. Oxford is a quintessential Southern university town. Amidst magnolias, a thriving music scene, and pretty sorority girls are Confederate cemetaries, Greek Revival mansions, and the barely controlled chaos of SEC college football. I arrived here at around 7PM, and after checking in to my hotel decided to take a look around. After I found myself on the grounds of Ole Miss, I realized I was last here twenty years ago, when I worked on a movie here called The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag,
the only movie I was ever fired from (although I prefer the term "replaced"). It's not as scandalous as you might think, I was simply too young and inexperienced to handle the responsibilities of being the main set grip, and the DP noticed. I got rattled, and then I got replaced. I later worked with this same DP about sixteen years later as his Dolly Grip and we had a nice laugh about it. In any case, I find myself here again. I don't remember much about my time here before. I remember some cool bars, seeing some band called Insane Jane
, and picking up a girl for a date in front of a white columned sorority house (apparantly I had a good time while I was here). There's something about the feeling of a Southern college campus that you don't get anywhere else. At least I don't. All these schools: Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Georgia, are connected by a common history and a (usually) friendly rivalry. Notice I didn't include Auburn in this list because they don't count. It's a history of proud tradition, sometimes incredible cruelty, loss,and Southern gentility, and it permeates the air of these little towns built around big schools. I've worked on the grounds of USC, UCLA, even Harvard, but I don't get the same feeling I get here. It was here, during the Civil War, that the medical school building was used as a hospital for the injured from the Battle of Shiloh. The dead were buried in a mass grave near what is now the coliseum. It was also here in 1962, around a hundred years later that James Meredith, in a show of incredible courage, became the first African- American student to be admitted to the University of Mississippi. But enough history. I think being here reminds me of my own days at the University of Alabama not too far up the road. Or maybe I'm just happy to be back in the South. In any case, It's a satisfying end to a good trip.
So tomorrow I'll finish up the last leg of my trip and prep on Thursday and Friday to shoot Monday. I'll try and give regular updates as to what's going on but internet at my house in Georgia is spotty at best. A buddy of mine who is Key Gripping a series in Atlanta is renting my house so he'll have a roommate for a couple of months. Maybe I'll get him to do a guest post or something. Till next time.....
Great post D !
I spent eight weeks BB'ing a low-budget feature ("Heart of Dixie") we shot in Oxford back in the late 80's. Beautiful town, beautiful sorority girls, and a sense of history -- and the past -- unlike anything I'd experienced before.
Or since, come to think of it...
Over those two months I got to know some of the locals and see the South behind the cheap cliches, and if it wasn't all sweetness and light, I had a richly memorable and fascinating experience on that job.
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