A night out on the town

Jackie and I had a night out last night.

We went to the Art Theater to see “A Most Wanted Man,” the latest John le Carré film. Spoiler alert: What a depressing story! Good film, but geez.

After that we went to Seven Saints for Whiskey Wednesday and sliders. This has become our go-to night out while we’re living downtown, because it’s reasonably cheap—half-price whiskey—and not too many calories (as long as we don’t order waffle fries, which we don’t).

Yesterday was “Irish and International whiskeys.” The last two international Wednesdays I’d had Japanese single malts—once Yamazaki and once Nikka, both excellent. This time they were featuring an Irish whiskey from Powers Distillery, so I tried that. It was good, but not as good as either of the Japanese whiskeys (which are both as good as the best Scottish single malts I’ve had).

After sliders, we went to Dublin O’Neil’s, a newish restaurant that’s trying to go for the feel of an Irish pub. We don’t eat there much, because they bring way too much food, but on Wednesday evenings a bunch of local musicians show up for a jam session of Irish music. It’s an odd mix of people and instruments—there are many more squeeze boxes of various sorts than you’d usually put together in a band—but pretty good music played with enthusiasm. Last night there was also a flute, a fiddle, a 4-string banjo, and a guitar.

We ordered beers (Harp was on sale cheaper than Guinness, so we ordered that, although I think I’ll go back to Guinness next time) and listened to Irish music for most of an hour. The musicians were still going strong, but it was past our bedtime, so we headed home.

Local film: Revolting

We went to see the premier of the locally produced indy film Revolting last week—a fine movie.

It’s the story of a writer of serious plays, who had written one frivolous piece for his wife that had gone on to be a huge success, launching his wife’s acting career, and making the local theater group a bunch of money.  Now divorced, and with his serious plays all flops, he finally gives in to pressure to write a sequel to his one lighter piece, only to have his characters start complaining about the quality of his writing—at first on the page, and then in person.  And, since he visualizes his characters as the local actors likely to play them, the result is confusion for the character and humor for the audience.

I’m always a big fan of movies that accurately portray the writing life—movies like “Shakespeare in Love,” for example—and that’s where this movie is at its best.  The scenes where he’s preparing to write—dusting and cleaning his workspace, arranging his paper and notecards in perfectly aligned rows and stacks—are wonderful.

Unless you’re local to Champaign, I don’t know if you’ll have much of a chance to see “Revolting,” but if the opportunity arises (and you’re interested in accurate portrayals of the writing life), don’t miss it.

There’s a surprisingly active bunch of local filmmakers.  We’ve previously seen the local films Disconnect, Act Your Age and Press Start, after having gotten started seeing premiers of local films with “Gamerz” which was shown at WorldCon in Glasgow—also a locally produced film, but local to Scotland, rather than Central lllinois.  All are worth seeing, if you get a chance.