This Week’s Podcast: Sheen and Cinefest

Charlie Sheen. You’re sick of reading about him, I’m sick of typing his name.
But he sure is easy to talk about on the radio, as I did today at Hamilton’s CHML with Scott Thompson.
It was a historic week for the podcast as I traveled to Scott’s Main Street West studio for the first time. It was cool to be in the inner sanctum, bouncing sound off the same cushy ceiling tiles where the late, great Bill Sturrup used to report on news and sports.
I’ve been yakking with Thompson once-a-week for five or six years but before today always phoning it in from home. It was great to finally yammer face-to-face. Scott makes it easy, he’s always a step ahead of the TV scene.
The visit went so well I stuck around for two segments. Part one is all about Sheen including speculation on who might replace him on Two and a Half Men. Rob Lowe and John Stamos are named being bandied around but I throw somebody into the mix who make perfect sense. You can listen in on that half of the radio chat here.

Part Two gets in to where I’m headed next week: Syracuse, N.Y. for the 31st annual Cinefest film festival. This is it folks–a Sheen-free zone. Even Martin Sheen is too young for this festival of oldies.
This is where I got to know CHML’s Sturrup, a fellow 16mm film collector and Toronto Film Society mainstay. Bill had a great passion and enthusiasm for classic films and his presence at Cinefest is missed. But the show goes on and for fans of silent and early sound cinema, there is no show like this one.
The films shown at Cinefest are from the vaults of private collectors as well as places where film is restored like the Eastman library in Rochester, N.Y. Most are too obscure even for TCM, titles that are not available anywhere on DVD or BlueRay. Stars featured this year are Gloria Swanson, George M. Cohan, Blanche Sweet, Rod LaRocque–even Betty White barely remembers these people! Everything is projected in glorious 16mm except for Saturday’s 35mm screenings at the well-preserved Syracuse neighbourhood movie house The Palace Theatre.
Cinefest runs March 17-20 in a hotel off the I-90 in Liverpool N.Y.–about as far from Hollywood glamour as you can get. Look for Shorty in the dealer room, so named not for his height but for his passion–“shorts” or one- and two-reelers from the ’30s and ’40s, the kinds of movie theatre programmers that made stars out of Laurel & Hardy and The Three Stooges. I’ll be in the dealer room too, trying to unload some of the stuff I’ve collected over the years.
Drop in for the daily rate of $25 or feast on four days and nights of films for $75. Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin hosts the auction Sunday and if you’re into collecting rare posters, books, films and other goodies stuff goes cheap. Check out this year’s Cinefest schedule here and listen in as I try to explain it all to Scott here.

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