1 year later, this film is still making the festival rounds. For the 2nd year, it's showing at Austin Film Festival.
AFF Presents Largo
Thursday, September 24th
Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek (13729 Research Blvd)
$4 for public, free for AFF members; 7:30 p.m.http://austinist.com/2009/09/23/bathe_i ... h_affs.php
The Troubadour on Santa Monica Blvd. is the cozy club that did it for us. After rock-out worshipping Beth Ditto of The Gossip, witnessing the hypnotic effect Bon Iver has on an audience, and giggle-festing with Chelsea Peretti, we were dead set on finding a way to actually live in one of the best venues on Planet Earth. We could imagine ourselves waking up under the blue glow from the light above the stage and high-fiving Joni Mitchell on our way to pay rent. Thereâ€™s a unique, comfortable, respectful vibe where the performer rules and being a member of the audience can be pretty darn special. Itâ€™s an atmosphere that offers up a multitude of more than memorable nights and it was recreated by club owner and filmmaker Mark Flanagan at Largo on Sunset Blvd. No, you didnâ€™t accidentally click on sibling site LAist; weâ€™re just setting you up for Austin Film Festivalâ€™s documentary screening of the stellar, performance-heavy Largo at Alamo Lake Creek this Thursday. Itâ€™s a required A/V workout for all Austin music buffs.
Starting the film off on a perfect note, Dave Allen (ahhh! Itâ€™s Freaks & Geeksâ€™ Mr. Rosso) welcomes an audience and sums things up: â€œSeven words you never hear in Largo: my itâ€™s light and cheery in here.â€ Not counting stage lights, Largo is lit mostly by candles and does exude a particularly meditative aura. Even when it comes to the featured comedians, Directors Flanagan and Andrew van Baal stay true to the contemplative environment and remain serious documentarians. There are no tiny snippets of songs or jokes popping up around B-roll and interviewsâ€”weâ€™re treated to full songs and complete chapters (or short stories) of comedy. No one runs through a history of Largo; no one provides telling anecdotes about their experience at the club. Your only real glimpse beyond the stage comes when youâ€™ve witnessed all of the performances. This is ultimately a documentary about that inimitable atmosphere that makes you check a venueâ€™s calendar to see when you can get another experience on their terms.
Of course, it's also about the music. When club regular Jon Brion gets started with the first performance, your mind immediately starts to race through all of the musicians you would love to see on a Largo-like stage. Each musician and comedian is able to get totally lost in their art; there are no distractions. Some of the more noteworthy moments featured in the documentary include a chilling â€œI Knowâ€ by Fiona Apple, a blast from the past with Mark Oliver Everett of Eels fame, a so-amazing-even-they-have-to-laugh Flight of the Conchords song, an impressive (as usual) Andrew Bird, Aimme Mann, Nickel Creek, Jackson Browne, David Garza, and even a little ditty from Bic Runga. The best bits of comedy in the doc go to Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, and Greg Proops.
If we didn't do a little clicking around on the Internets, we would have assumed Largo was gone for good given the subdued, melancholy closing (guess that's the one downside of the doc having no background information or interviews). Fortunately, Flanaganâ€™s Largo continues to live on at the Coronet on La Cienega Blvd; still, when the credits role to Fiona Appleâ€™s â€œAll Alone,â€ you are filled with bittersweet pangs of nostalgia for your favorite venue that is either out of reach or no longer around.
On that note, here's a cheery Austinist tip! Catch Largo documentary acts John C. Reilly and Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords at their respective Fantastic Fest premieres!