You should get out more

May 21, 2007 20:41 UTC

“You should get out more.” That was the advice my wife gave me a few days ago when I was whingeing to her about how frazzled I got rushing from breakfast to screening to press conference to interview to screening to press conference to bed at the Cannes Film Festival. Not for the first time, she was right.

When covering the moviCannes7.jpge marathon, the temptation is to get so lost in cinema that you forget Cannes has much more to offer. A walk along the palm-lined Croisette boulevard at night shows a different side of the Riviera resort. The place is abuzz with tourists and locals soaking up the glamour and atmosphere of the festival, movies are shown on a giant screen on the beach and the thump of music from parties by the sea lasts into the early hours.

The other night I popped along to an event held for Finnish band Lordi, where the rockers dressed as monsters gave an ear-splitting rendition of ”They Only Come Out At Night” and “Who’s Your Daddy?” The only drawback was a packed bar and small bottles of beer costing 10 euros each. On the walk back to the hotel, I joined hundreds of onlookers to watch U2 sing a couple of hits on the red carpet outside the main festival cinema. It’s the kind of starry showmanship that Cannes thrives on.

At the weekend Ealing Studios held their bash for “St. Trinian’s”, the revamp of the successful schoolgirl comedy romp. Stars Rupert Everett and Colin Firth were there early on to meet and greet, models with ponytails, short skirts and indecently long legs circulated, and the drinks were free. The party was interrupted only by a stunning firework display across the water.

The drawback of course is late nights, and yes, I’m back to the old chestnut of sleep deprivation. Getting up for and sitting through the emotionally raw and harrowing “A Mighty Heart” this morning was a true test of the constitution.

Audio: Seinfeld on his flight as a bumble bee, golden age comedians

Reuters Staff
May 21, 2007 20:32 UTC

So how did comedian Jerry Seinfeld take to hurtling down a wire from a great height at the Cannes Film Festival, where he’s promoting his animated film, “Bee Movie”? It wasn’t so bad in practice, but… here Seinfeld’s reaction here. You can find the flight of Seinfeld the bumble bee on video here.

Correspondent Bob Tourtellotte, covering the festival, joined reporters interviewing Seinfeld after the flight. Here are some of his comments.

Seinfeld on Seinfeld; he was asked whether he’d come back to television here

Two very different Route 66 museums only a few miles apart

May 21, 2007 17:02 UTC

Elk-City5.jpgHow many museums does Oklahoma need to celebrate Route 66?

The answer, it seems, is two. There is the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City in western Oklahoma, with a rustic, old fashioned feel to it, even though some of the exhibits are clearly new.

These include half a pink Cadillac placed in front of a screen showing film taken from the front of a car travelling along old RoElk-City1.jpgute 66. The film starts rolling when you hit the gas and it’s as shaky as youd imagine a handheld film shot from a moving vehicle would be.

There is a also a firemans pole you can slide down, though there seems little to connect this with Route 66.

European Jaguar Club in Elk City, Oklahoma

May 21, 2007 16:22 UTC

jaguar_club.JPGThe pull that Route 66 exerts on the popular imagination isn’t felt only in the United States. Far from it. According to the staff at the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma, most of the visitors they see coming through their doors hail from abroad. 
On Saturday, it was a stopping point for a cross-country rally sponsored by a Jaguar Club from Europe. 

In all, 66 cars — all shipped to the United States by boat — had entered the rally. The two-person teams in each car had paid 6,000 euros each (about $8,000) for the excursion, which began in May 9 in New York, where their cars arrived by boat, and will end on May 30 in Los Angeles.

Jean Van Der Elt, 60, and his wife Isabella, 43, from Ghent, Belgium, were making the coast-to-coast trek in in their red 1956 Jaguar 140 XK — one of three Jaguars the Van Der Elt’s own. 
So far, the 66 cars in the rally hadn’t had suffered any serious mechanical breakdowns during the jaunt — “just the kind of things you expect with an old car,” Jean said.
“There’s always something,” Jean said. “Overheating. Carburetion.It’s a little warmer here than in Belgium.”

Snapshots from Oklahoma

May 21, 2007 16:14 UTC

texas.jpgSnapshots, clockwise from upper left: Oklahoma’s soil is strikingly red and provides an interesting background for wild flowers; Jean Van Der Elst and his wife Isabella were tracing Route 66 west, along with 65 other vintage car owners from Europe; a crucial moment in the the Team’s trip: Getting Route 66 hats!; Giant windmills outside Weatherford — the self-described “wind energy capital of Oklahoma”; At some point as the Route 66 Team headed east, rivers started having water in them again. This is the Canadian River in central Oklahoma; Lee French, his wife Vicki and granddaughter Dai, in a 1955, two-door Bel-Air sport coupe, in Clinton, Oklahoma. French owns 15 vintage cars, most of them Bel-Airs.
Nick Carey/James Kelleher, May 19 ,2007

Visiting Erick, home of the Purple People Eater

May 21, 2007 15:56 UTC

Erick2.JPGOnly a handful of shops are still open in the downtown in Erick, Oklahoma, including an antique store that brags the little town is “The Redneck Capital of the World — Yee Haw!”
Erick’s best-know son is probably Roger Miller, the songwriter best known for “King of the Road,” a tune the Route 66 Team sang as they approached the town. One of the few other open businesses on the town’s main street is a museum dedicated to Miller. 
But Erick was also the hometown of Sheb Wooley, a rodeo cowboy turned singer turned actor who appeared in the movie “High Noon” and the television show “Rawhide” and wrote and performed the hit novelty song “The Purple People Eater.” A street in Erick is named for him.

Worth the detour to Texline

May 21, 2007 15:50 UTC

The RoutDalhart1.jpge 66 Team decided to take another detour from the old highway’s route in Texas in order to experience something surprisingly elusive in that state these days: real cowboys.  

The team knew it would find them up in this part of the state, which was once part of the X.I.T. Ranch, a 3 million-acre spread that in the late 19th century was the largest ranch in the world. The X.I.T. ranch was sold and broken up years ago. But the 10 counties that it encompassed in its heyday are still very much cattle country, home to dozens of feedlots and hundreds of thousands of heads of cattle. Dalhart9.jpg

We filled the 912 all the way up, putting nearly 12 gallons into the car’s tank and running up thDalhart8.jpge largest gasoline bill — $43.60 — ever for it.

Wanted: Cowboys for steady work!

May 21, 2007 15:14 UTC

Cowboys are in short supply and high demand in this part of Texas.

Ive been in this business since 1970 and every year it has got harder to find good cowboys, said Leo Vermedahl, manager of the Carrizo Feeders. Hear an interview with Vermedahl.
This feedlot operation has space for up to 34,000 head of cattle on 320 acres and should have six cowboys and one head cowboy, but are two cowboys short, Vermedahl said.

Even though Carrizo only has around 15,000 head of cattle now as high corn prices have lead to ranchers keeping their cattle on pastureland longer instead of at feedlost like this one in the Texas Panhandle – he dare not let any of his cowboys go.

I know that when business picks up again in the fall Ill need those cowboys here, he said. When it does pick up, it will be even harder to find cowboys.

Fresh boost from high gas prices in Elk City, Oklahoma

May 21, 2007 15:09 UTC

Elk-downtown.jpgWanda Queenan, right, the curator at the National Route 66 Musuem in Elk City, says that oil booms happen here about once every 10 years or so.

Oil comes and goes around here, she added, rolling her eyes.

Oil has certainly come again to Elk City, bringing with it jobs and new businesses.


Located above the Anadarko oil basin, this town of around 15,000 people has plenty of oil business in the past, but fell on hard times after the last boom in the 1970s.

Is the cinema dead?

May 21, 2007 13:56 UTC

     Is the cinema dead? Director David Cronenberg (“A History of Violence“) thinks so. Atom Egoyan (“The Sweet Hereafter”) believes technology has changed moviegoing forever, and Roman Polanski (“The Pianist”) says he’s seen it all before.Chacun son cinema

   The directors all made 3-minute short films included in a tribute movie screened here on Sunday called “Chacun Son Cinema.” They also took part in a news conference that erupted into a debate over whether digital video, cell phone texting, Web downloading and home entertainment threatened traditional movie theaters with extinction.

    “The form of cinema as we know it already is a thing of the past,” said Cronenberg, whose short film centered on the destruction of the last movie house on Earth.