On a cold December afternoon last year, George Lang and I were doing what we do best: Keeping each other from getting our work done.
Sometimes it's reciting dialogue from the Rankin/Bass production of “The Hobbit,” sometimes it's waxing nostalgic on days of New Romanticism, others it's extrapolating the talent and success of Mila Kunis to project the future of Olivia Munn. From time to time, food is the subject. For instance, I like to threaten George, a pescatarian married to a vegetarian, that my vegetarian wife and I will buy all the Quorn products from the Crest Market with which we both do trade.
But on this particular afternoon, our common love for food and film clashed. We agreed that great meals and great films mark time and are worthy of celebration. We wondered how great a festival celebrating both would be? We agreed if anyone should host it, it would be the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, considering it has both a first-rate restaurant and cinema.
So, I said to George, “I think I'll email Leslie Spears right now.”
Within a couple minutes, Spears, marketing director for the museum, and I were on the phone. She loved the idea and told me she'd run it by film curator Bryan Hearn, which she did. Once Hearn got clear of the Sundance Film Festival in February, the slow wheels of planning began to turn.
About a month ago, we finally worked out the details, Hearn came up with the perfect films and chef Ahmad Farnia's crew came up with a menu to pair with the films.
The result is the first-ever and hopefully not-last Foodie Film Feastival.
The three-day event begins Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m., with “El Bulli: Cooking in Progress.” The documentary follows world-renowned chef Ferran Adria at his Spanish restaurant El Bulli. The opportunity to see this film comes right on the heels of the legendary restaurant closing its doors so that Adria can continue his exploration of flavor unbridled. The film also closes the inaugural festival at 2 p.m. on Sept. 18.
On Sept. 16, and Sept. 17, we will screen “Soul Kitchen.” The German comedy revolves around a locals-only restaurant. Through a series of comedic set pieces, the film depicts people of various cultures hop-scotching international borders in pursuit of individual destinies. “Soul Kitchen” begins at 5:30 p.m. both days.
Following “Soul Kitchen” Friday and Saturday will be “The Trip.” This comedy starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon follows the two British comedians as they tour England's finest restaurants for a travelogue. It's like ordering “My Dinner With Andre” but substituting the philosophy for a tasting menu of comedic one-
Thursday through Saturday evening from 6:30 to 9:30, the Museum Cafe will host a Redhook Craft Beer and Food Tasting. Guests can sample five premium Redhook beers paired with artisanal cheeses and savory sides for $25. For more information about the event, go to www.okcmoa.com/see/films.
We've got some other things up our sleeve, too, and we will release details between now and then. In the meantime, don't dismiss that that idle work chatter. Maybe Congress should consider some.