Thursday, August 24, 2006
By John Serba
"Idlewild," the movie, have to do with Idlewild, the town?
the name, just a hair shy of diddly-squat. Which doesn't sit well with Coy W. Davis Jr.
an insult," said Davis, a Grandville filmmaker who directed the historical
documentary "Whatever Happened to Idlewild?"
take something with such historical significance as Idlewild, take the peripheral aspects
of it, and turn it into a shoot-'em-up, bang-bang minstrel show," he said. "It
demeans me as an African-American.
understand, it's just entertainment,"
which opens nationally Friday and stars platinum-selling hip-hop artists Antwan Patton and
Andre Benjamin -- collectively known as OutKast -- transplants Idlewild to Georgia. It is
a rambunctious musical about a Prohibition-era speakeasy, whose performers tangle with
gun-toting mobsters and struggle with their precarious love lives.
connection, according to star, co-producer and musical director Benjamin, is simple:
director Brian Barber's in-laws live in
was kind of like the
to Ronald J. Stephens, a
biggest asset is, it puts the name in the public's imagination in ways the small town of
Meeks, owner of the
As a local
businessman, Meeks is appreciative of the attention the town has been getting in
conjunction with the film. But as a longtime resident, his response reflects the rest of
the small community.
lot of people are disappointed when they find out it isn't about Idlewild at all," he
said. "It's unfortunate that the name is being exploited, that it has no connection
to the history of one of the most famous black resorts."
argue that any attention for Idlewild is good attention, considering recent efforts to
revitalize the town as a tourist stop.
did 15 or 16 lectures,"
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