man waiting for a callI can’t write another column this week -I just can’t. All of the wonderful things I had planned for you have gone right down the toilet. I’m so depressed.

I had such big plans for this column! Jugglers, elephants, huge sets, crazy bald people. I spent thousands of dollars on these imported Persian rugs you see here, or actually, you don’t, because they’re not pictured, and that’s what’s driving me crazy: it’s a newspaper, you don’t even get to see all these special decorations I bought … I mean, the place looks just beautiful, I got these lamps and these big hangings and the caterers have been wonderful and this is just to make me feel good enough to write a great column; you don’t even get to see all the machinations, all the extra care, the attention I lavish on every detail to make things perfect, and you don’t even get to see it, and that of course is one of the really ironic things about it that’s just driving me crazy is that I’m out all this extra money for nothing, basically.

Man oh man.

First I was going to try to interview Jonathan Richman, who’s playing at the Wellfleet Beachcomber this Friday (June 21.) Actually, I completely succeeded in trying to interview Jonathan Richman; where I slipped up was in getting him to answer any questions or speak to me at any time, which he didn’t. As always, I emailed him a bunch of incredibly stupid questions, but Mr. Richman apparently decided not to email back a bunch of really stupid answers, thus upsetting, however temporarily, the flow of information. I’m not mad -I’m just really disappointed and depressed. I’m starting to think about retiring again.

By refusing to answer my questions (which, luckily, were actually the same questions I emailed to Engelbert Humperdinck a year ago, who also didn’t answer them; under the circumstances, I’m just so glad I didn’t bother to think up new questions, as long as he wasn’t going to answer them anyway!), Mr. Richman is sending a message to right-thinking journalists everywhere, which is: just ask me the same questions Engelbert Humperdinck didn’t answer, because I am too stuck up to answer them anyway, so why make up new ones?

More and more important people are refusing to talk to me; I think this is their way of signaling to the world, “I don’t care about anyone who reads this column, because I am too rich and handsome to read stuff like this.” Which I think is kind of a pity, because as long as there are people in the world who do read this column, I will email questions to people who don’t care about answering them; yes, that long, and longer! Because I care about you, the little people: the unsung, the unwashed; the undiscriminating; the uninformed.

Maybe Jonathan Richman doesn’t care to answer questions like “You once wrote that you were a little airplane; are you still a little airplane?” On the other hand, maybe I don’t care about reviewing his new album, “Her Mystery Not Of High Heels And Eye Shadow” (Vapor), which probably isn’t any good, anyway. Ha!

Other people who have been ignoring me a lot lately are almost anyone from the Provincetown Film Festival, which happened last weekend; I’m guessing I was probably not the only person who had tickets for a movie that was either postponed or canceled and is still trying to find out what happened. Besides inclement weather, the organizers suddenly found themselves fighting uncooperative projection equipment at the last minute at their largest venues, the two-screen New Art, on Friday night.

I did eventually get a call back from publicist Marianne Lampke, who said that she had heard that the problems had all been ironed out by Saturday night, and that Marcia Gay Harden had done an exemplary job of entertaining the troops when the projector originally went south during the premier of her new “Gaudi Afternoon” on Friday night.

She also reported that the Audience Awards for the festival had gone to local filmmakers Jay Critchley and Casey Clark, for (respectively) “Toilet Treatments” and “Off Season” (tied for best short film); “Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House” (best documentary); and “Elvira’s Haunted Hills” (best feature film -so much for any highbrow pretensions here!)

I managed to get to “The Cockettes” and the “Cowgirls”/ “Laughing Club of India” double-bill (all of which were quite novel and amusing but a little long), and to the French thriller “Read My Lips” (which was very good) and to “Independent Spirits”, a documentary about animators Faith and John Hubley that was fascinating and romantic and utterly delightful. I’m a big fan of the fest, and they again had a great line-up of films this year, but I must admit it was pretty frustrating trying to figure out the cancellation/postponement situation; I’m sure they’ll have better luck next year.

Meanwhile, if you need a really interesting and different (albeit extremely talky and philosophical) video to rent, try Richard Linklater’s “Waking Life”, which is at the very least a totally different sort of animated movie, in both style and content, from any we’ve yet seen. I was surprised, because I wasn’t much of a fan of his popular early movies “Slackers” and “Dazed and Confused”; nor am I a fan of animated movies in general, but I really liked this one.

OK, gotta go consider retirement again, bye-bye.

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