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Anthony Bourdain (#110 of 5)

SXSW 2012: Music, Part Two

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SXSW 2012: Music, Part Two
SXSW 2012: Music, Part Two

In a panel discussion on Tuesday afternoon, Anthony Bourdain described his preference for “red-blooded countries”—passionate, unstable places where anything can happen—over well-behaved, Scandinavian-style ones, where calm and order are the norm. Applying this to SXSW, the film part of the festival is one of those Scandinavian countries, taking place in a system defined by meticulous organization. You can guess what the music portion is.

Film has its messy moments, but the system is clearly proscribed: You get a “queue card,” wait in a neatly ordered line, chat with a producer from St. Louis, and then get directed to your seat. Music is chaos, in the sense that it’s usually ruled by random chance rather than any distinct system. To see Bruce Springsteen (at a secret location) you needed to enter a raffle and hope for the best. Entertaining the impossible dream of getting Jay-Z tickets required a byzantine process involving Twitter and an American Express card registration. Then again, you could walk into a no-name bar at any time of the day and possibly hear something amazing. It’s a Wild West kind of atmosphere, which is by turns both thrillingly off the cuff and colorfully overwhelming.

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2011: A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt

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Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2011: <em>A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt</em>
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2011: <em>A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt</em>

“If you’re hungry,” said Alan Teasley, the Full Frame programmer introducing the festival’s primetime screening of Sally Rowe’s A Matter of Taste, “you’re just done for. You won’t survive the night.” He wasn’t far off. This hour-long expose on the life and aspirations of Paul Liebrandt—at the film’s outset just made the youngest chef ever to earn a perfect three-star rating from The New York Times—is an unrestrained delight in two parts. First, Rowe looks at how the boy-wonder-turned-snake-bitten-perfectionist struggles to keep a job, followed by spectacular footage of Liebrandt launching from the ground up, and for the first time, a restaurant truly from his heart: Corton. Dotted along the way are the difficult-to-gauge pleasantries from some of the culinary field’s leading lights (Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulod) along with a few of the more eye-catching meals ever allowed to steal a scene on film; at one point, Liebrandt champions, with very good reason, the visual impression his plates make.