SXSW Nerdlocker Report: Just Like Being There


Austin’s weather turned toward the worse right before I was about to leave for Just Like Being There. Rain and 40 degree weather seemed to fight me at every turn, from driving on the road to walking down sixth street toward The Alamo Ritz. But I made it.

Scout Shannon’s Just Like Being There was my first SXSW screening to ever attend despite the fact that I live in Austin. Every year I just have had another excuse not to go there, but this year was different. I was determined to go…even if that meant braving the elements and traffic.

Press check-in was worthless: There was no press check-in despite it being the listed schedule; I had to wait in line just like anyone else. It would have been cool to hang out with all the Mondo and poster people in the lobby of the Ritz, but I made the best of it and chatted with my new friends in line for the movie. We chatted about random stuff like how there is supposed to be some kind of cat movie showing at SXSW where some guy strapped a camera to a cat’s helmet. I added that one to my list of movies to see (stay tuned).

That said, I liked the idea of a gig poster documentary. From all the previews, Just Like Being There advertised itself as a slickly edited film with a lot of huge names behind it. I knew a few people who were in the film, but I also am not a gig poster guy: I am more of a movie poster guy. This situation allowed me to view the film from two points of view: from an outsider’s point of view and from an insider’s point of view.

From the get-go, the movie started out with lots of cool music, good cuts, and good camera angles. This documentary was very well made. I really liked seeing the bands for which the gig posters were made interspersed throughout the film so as to emphasize the gig posters. You got to kind of see the bands jam out and then talk about the silkscreen gig posters.

Many people don’t realize what kind of work goes into making silkscreen gig posters, so the entire silkscreen process was also highlighted from building the screens to pulling the screens (or automated press).

Daniel Danger and Jay Ryan were the main focal points of the movie, but we also got to see a few other surprise guests such as, well, I won’t spoil that. Let’s just say that a favorite artist of mine has a small amount of screen time. Also stay tuned after the credits for a somewhat funny interview.

Moving on toward the main idea or objective of the film, I do think it accomplished what it was going toward: to document the gig poster scene and where it’s headed and also to show why gig posters are created. I will not spell out the main idea of the film or the conclusion about gig posters. I think that is up to the viewer to decide.

I will say that you should check out the movie if you have any sort of interest in gig posters, or if you are curious why people dig these Mondo silkscreen posters more than the glossy offsets you can buy for $10 a pop. Even though I don’t really dig gig posters, I found the entire documentary highly entertaining, and you should, too.

Scout Shannon took some interview questions after the showing (just a couple). He also showed off the poster for Just Like Being There. It is created out of a test print of Kevin Tong’s, so no print is alike. Cool deal!

I would give the movie 5 out of 5 Nerdskulls just because I think silkscreen posters are super cool. Check it out!

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