A couple of excellent documentaries this night, starting with FAR WESTERN. I'm not even a fan of country western music, but there's something just incredibly fun about watching the Japanese enjoy it (is that racist?) After WWII, radios in Japan played western music, catering to the tastes of the occupying American forces. But there was also an audience of Japanese who just fell in love with the music, and starting making it themselves. And there's nothing ironic or mocking in their love of country music. It brings the music out of the country, out of certain regions, and makes it world music. Charlie Nagatani is the star, with his evangelical zeal to bring the joy of the music to Japan, but it also follows several Japanese country musicians as they tour America, the homeland of the music they love. And the great thing is how wholeheartedly they're welcomed into the community. They play festivals, they get American audiences dancing and cheering, Charlie even performs at the Grand Ol' Opry. It's just nothing but fun, fun, fun.
And then the next show was a stand-up comedy program, starting with the short SQUIRRELS DON'T JUDGE. Morgan Ruzzo is a 60-something transgender lesbian. Ehsan Mafi is an Iranian-American and devout Shia Muslim. And they're both stand-up comedians, getting to know each other as they perform together in shows together. It kinda tests my theory that if everyone had a sense of humor, they could get along together much more easily. And...that turns out to be pretty true.
And then the feature, the hilarious GINGER NATION. Shawn Hitchins is a redhead. He's also gay, and tells the story of how he became a sperm donor to his lesbian friends. He gleefully breaks taboos, talking about sensitive subjects of prejudice with grace, fierce, and most of all humor. I laughed the whole way through, and although I'm neither gay nor capable of pregnancy, somehow at the end I would've been honored to bear his little leprechaun children.
That was a fun night.
Total Running Time: 174 minutes
My Total Minutes: 468,979