Saturday, June 29, 2013

Publisher Bails on Paula Deen

Paula Deen, has suffered another blow, her publisher, Ballantine Books, drops her latest cook book. The cook book pre-sales, were through the roof, so the news is shocking to me. I assume they were under pressure to make this decision.

"Paula Deen's New Testament", was number one for pre-orders on Amazon, and the book isn't to release until October.

This entire situation with Paula Deen, is very distressing. I don't condone any form of racism, but I'm not certain, that the punishment is fair for the crime. From what we understand, Paula, used the N word many years ago. If  it was years ago, and she apologized, why does it matter?

I met Paula twice and thought she was a lovely person
One issue people are having with Paula, is the revelation that she wanted to hold a "Southern Plantation Wedding", with black wait staff dressed in white coats like slaves. Certainly, a very poor decision. However, restaurants all over the South, actually do this, to this day. In Nashville, The Belle Meade Cafeteria, in Nashville, employed an entire wait staff in this same fashion, African Americans dressed in white coats. The Belle Meade Cafeteria, closed a few years back, due to a rental disagreement. While not many other places in Nashville, still function this way, but all over the South, many do.

I hope that everyone will be more sensitive when speaking about others. I hope I can hold true to the task. Innocent or even guilty words can come back to haunt you if you are in the public eye, suddenly your whole world can be taken away from you. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hollywood To Dollywood Filmmakers Coming To Knoxville

From Hollywood To Dollywood is a documentary film by Gary and Larry Lane. The Lane Twins are successful actors in Hollywood who made their dreams come true, delivering a movie script to Dolly Parton, in person! They set out for a road trip they'll never forget, in their RV, Jolene. 

I caught up with the guys recently as their eager for the Knoxville, TN screening of their highly lauded film!

Mr. Nashville: First, let me say, I love the film. I think you did a great job, it wasn't exploitive, it was very heartwarming. Has Dolly seen the film? 

Gary - Yes, Dolly had to see the film with all of her music in it from the beginning. in order to move forward. We have a contract with her for the use of all 15 songs through Dolly Records, and 10 % of every dvd sales goes to her Imagination Library Charity! she spoke out in a 2012 press conference in Nashville for her Book release (Dream More) journalist Stephen Betts asked her, How does it feel to help make other people's dreams come true? like the twins in the documentray Hollywood to Dollywood. She responded, they are sweet sweet boys, and i let them use some of my songs, and I was proud to be a part of it. thats just Amazing!!

Mr. Nashville: What about your Mom? 

Gary - Our dad has seen it, but our mom is southern baptist, we love her, talk to her in NC everyday by phone, and know she will never turn her back on us, but she just cant accept us being gay. That in some ways is why we do feel so drawn to Dolly, she accepted the one part of us mom didnt.

Mr. Nashville: You very generously donated a portion of the sales of the movie to Dolly's Imagination Library program. I hear your making an appearance at their convention to give them the check in person, will the lady herself be there to accept it?

Larry -  We are never promised Dolly will be anywhere, for security reasons. But we have Emmy winner Leslie Jordan who is from TN and also in the film with us on the 11th for the Foundation Dinner. and we will present a big (Publishers Clearing House size) check to David Dotson the Dollywood Foundation President. Leslie adores Dolly, and had never met her, so our fingers are crossed! We are taking him to Dollywood on the 12th!

Mr. Nashville: What's it like going from a die hard, life long fan, to doing a project in which you could work with Dolly?

Gary - it is a dream come true to have our story told and seen around the world, and have Dolly, whom we adore, give our film the stamp of approval by granting us her music in the film! and thank the Lord we competed on ABC's WIPEOUT show, which nearly killed us, but we won the $50,000 and it helped us finish the production of the film, and pay Dolly for the music rights. and Ovation tv did a new series called Song by Song on Dolly and invited us to be part of the show, and use clips from the movie on the show. Its a good feeling, i think we will forever be a small part of Dolly's history because of the film.

Mr. Nashville: Did she help select the tunes for the film or did you do that?
Gary: No, we picked out the songs, lots of classics, I will always love you, Jolene, and Coat of Many Colors, but also she allowed the use of 2 previously unreleased songs that she wrote for Dollywood Openings. Celebrate the dreamer in you from the 2010 25th anniversary opening when we filmed. and from 2012 opening - Sky is not the limit. that was pretty amazing.

Mr. Nashville: You've came in big at nearly all the film festivals that you've been part of. Now you're heading to Knoxville for their film festival. You're in Dolly country there. How are you feeling about the event? Anxious? 

Gary: Yes, and much like the screen play we hand Dolly in the film called Full Circle. Its a full circle moment for us after traveling all over the world on the film festival circuit. Australia, Canada, Scotland, 60 total, and winning 25 Best documentary Awards, that 3 years after filming we get to go from Hollywood Back to Dollywood, and on sat. June 15th be the closing film at the Knoxville Film and Music Festival. its also amazing to screen 650 seat Bijou theater in Knoxville and have Festival director Michael Samstag offer 20% of every ticket sold to the screening be donated to Dollys Imagination Library!

Mr. Nashville: Leslie Jordan, I hear is making appearances with you on the trips to East Tennessee. He's a hoot and I've always thought he and Dolly would be very cute together in a film. Like a southern Mae West/WC Fields adventure. Do you think Leslie will finally get to meet Dolly? 

Gary: We are praying they come together. Two country Queens! and when Dolly was planning Heavens to Betsy, she spoke out that she wanted that funny little actor from Murphy Brown to play her brother on the show! That was Leslie! So i know she is a fan of his. So our fingers are crossed. And if Leslie Does meet Dolly, i think you will hear the high pitched scream all the way in Nashville! 

Mr. Nashville: Can the public attend these events in East Tennessee? 

Gary: The Foundation dinner is just for her Foundation members and guests. and i think just to be invited to screen the film for them is a huge sign of the times. They know the film is about love and acceptance, and that is a big part of what Dolly stands for! From her gay day at Dollywood, to her writing an Oscar nominated song for Transamerica, to her support of gay marriage. Dolly = Love. but the event on the 15th for the film festival, yes, the more the merrier! and we can really give even more to Dollys Foundation if we can sell the event out! Its nice to be able to give back to Dolly on both of these events, for all that she has given to us, and so many others.

Mr. Nashville: Without going into detail and giving the "meat" of the story line, there is an issue within the film in which you are conflicted with your North Carolina life and Hollywood life. Have you been back to NC since the film's release? How were you received?

Gary:  I can say a special thank you to Breaking Glass Pictures. They have released the film everywhere. Its on Amazon,, Barnes and Noble, and from May until Sept - it is on Comcast, Time Warner, On Demand, so people we grew up with, went to church with, teachers are seeing the film, and reaching out on social media saying how proud they are of us, Thats a great feeling. I even had a 18 year old guy in Denver CO, write today, saying he saw the film, and he knows he has to come out to his parents, but he plans to show them our film first. Even a Dolly sibling reached out on FB and said Amazing job guys! Thats a great feeling. 

Mr. Nashville: You're film has been praised by Rosie O'Donnell, Marie Osmond, and several celebrities. Why do you think the film resonates with the celebrities so well?

Gary:  I am not sure. We were so lucky to have great celebrity cameos in the film. who all love Dolly! Oscar winner Lance Black, Leslie, Beth Grant, Ann walker, and Chad Allen! Dolly just opens doors!  I think we are the little documentary that could. Like Dolly's first Imagination Library book that the kids receive is the Little engine that could. We just keep going. Jeff Probst on NBC loved the film and had us on the show. Rosie was the first on her own show, and Marie was a sweet heart to have us on her Hallmark show, Even Pauley Perrette from NCIS made a youtube video after watching the film late one night. She said, Gary and Larry Get it, the are the new freedom riders. That's awesome!

Mr. Nashville: I'm very proud for your success. Proud to call you friends and I really am hoping for an incredible turn out in East Tennessee for the screenings.

Gary: Thank you so much Larry, i hope you mom is doing better, we have been saying a prayer for her, (Editor note: My mom had a bad car wreck, this is to what Gary is referring to) and thank you for loving the film, and letting us tell you and your fans more about our journey that continues on.

Gary: 2 special thank yous to our amazing director John Lavin - who took 45 hours of footage, and cut it down to the award winning 79 min film it is today! and my Partner Mike Bowen who is also in the film, and hand crafter the custom Birdhouse of Dolly's childhood home we hand her in the film, along with our script Full Circle!