Blues and 'Blood' flow into area this weekend


Published: Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Leave it to Sunday's vacant, starless and for once fully sober Golden Globe Awards to help film companies do what they often seem incapable of: pushing "smaller," independent films as much as they do "Bee," "C" and "D" movies, ad nauseam remakes and star-studded sequels.

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Longtime Gainesville musician Barry Sides, pictured, reunites with blues guitarist Michael Cripe at Saturday's Farm to Family Concert in Alachua.

Special to The Sun

Almost as soon as "There Will Be Blood" darkened New York theaters and moviegoers' minds Dec. 26, film fans in Gainesville began asking: When is it coming here?

Well, it didn't open in Hogg-heaven haven on Dec. 28, it didn't open Jan. 4 and it didn't open Jan. 11.

But less than 24 hours after Sunday's Golden Globes Awards, when "Blood" star Daniel Day Lewis won for Best Actor in a Drama, came the email: "There Will Be Blood Opens Friday!"

Film companies have long counted on the extra allure that awards bring to sweeten the bait for filmgoers to get off the fence and into theater seats. And though publicists for this film's distributors say it was long planned for "Blood" to open in Gainesville on Jan. 18, producers of such "smaller," independent films often take their films into smaller, less-sure markets than major cities once the awards start rolling in.

It's the reason why movie ads scream "NOMINATED FOR FIVE OSCARS!" and bellow "WINNER OF FOUR GOLDEN GLOBES!" And it's the real reason to Hollywood why awards shows matter - even those as bad, boring and all-but-absent as Sunday's Golden Globes, which hit by the writer's strike, lumbered on like a wounded animal and felt even worse, like a deadly serious (and deadly boring) episode of "Entertainment Tonight."

Because while it's fun for movie fans to sit at home and snicker about what Winona Ryder has on, what idiotic thing Jim Carrey will say or how cool Jack still looks, film companies fall over themselves vying for awards because they end up bringing in cold, hard moolah for the coffers; more blood money from the winning "Blood" films.

The good news for us is while there's no telling which film will win an award, it often gives us a better chance to see the thing when they do. It may be "Blood" money for them, but for those of us in other areas, it's just bloody high time.

-Bill Dean

When the Barry Sides Band plays this month's Farm to Family Concert on Saturday in Alachua, listeners will have a chance to hear something they haven't had in over a decade: a chance to hear Sides once again joining forces with blues guitarist Michael Cripe, a six-string whiz who played with Sides in the late-'80s to mid-'90s in Gainesville.

Sides says Cripe is pretty much considered "the best blues guitarist who ever lived or to come out of Gainesville."

The Barry Sides Blues Band, which along with Sides and Cripe included bassist Kenny Shore, saxophonist Bruce Shepard and drummer Larry Thompson, were considered the "overlords of opening acts" - opening for the likes of Bob Dylan, B.B. King, George Thorogood, Leon Russell, Johnny Winter and John Mayall.

If you go to Saturday's show, not only will you hear songs from Sides' recent CD, "Broken Hearts Broken Strings" - which a Swedish magazine called one of the best releases of 2007 - but you can shut your eyes and go back to some glory days, when a musical institution laid down the blues law. And countless fans loved them for it.

Bill Dean can be reached at 374-5039 or bill.dean@gvillesun.com.

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