Hollywood celeb visits Tallassee
By Michael Butler
The big Tallassee Now! weekend is behind us. It was almost complete for me on Saturday afternoon when all of a sudden there was a buzz, one of the Hollywood variety.
I was stuffing my face with the barbeque sampler plate when Brad Davis arrived at my tent.
'Chelsea Handler's over there,' he said.
'Over there in that car,' he resonded.
'She's shooting a documentary on barbeque.'
Handler is probably best known as the comedienne who hosted, "Chelsea Lately" for seven years on E! She has also appeared on movies and authored books.
So, I walked over to the Coon Creek Cruisers tent. They were contestants in the barbeque contest.
Sure enough, Handler was there posing for photographs. She then crossed Central Boulevard with her entourage to the back side of the library to shoot some video for a project she is working on for Netflix.
I followed. Along the way I spoke with Jerry Ledbetter of the Coon Creek Cruisers. He said Handler's producer had contacted him earlier in the week. Since Ledbetter was busy at the time, he requested they just show up on Saturday morning. Indeed, they did.
A lady with her crew said photographs would be permitted afterwards but no questions could be answered.
I stood back and watched. Handler said she had not been to Alabama before but had visited some spots in the south. She then stopped talking.
"Hey! Your fly is down," she shouted.
Who, me?! Yes, she was referring to me. I was somewhat flattered. She noticed me.
My zipper was actually zipped up. "Awesome," I exclaimed.
A guy that everybody was calling "Hollywood" then walked over and said I needed to vacate the area. He asked another media member to do the same.
I honored the request, but I wasn't interfering with their work. This is my town, not theirs. I walk around the Tallapoosa all the time. Were they worried I would hear something? How secretive is this project? Is it really a documentary about barbeque?
Handler with the Coon Creek Cruisers
I noticed several camera guys during Saturday's festivities. These guys had the heavy duty equipment, not the stuff local TV reporters lug around.
I did a Google search on Miss Handler and got some new information on the Netflix project. The program is slated to begin in 2016. It will be a "faster, quicker cooler 60 Minutes."
In a story posted by "The Wrap," Handler stated that the show would be about issues like; "Racism, Marriage, (the) Silicon Valley and Ayahuasca, the hallucinogenic drug." Barbeque was not listed. Maybe it will be.
How about racisim?
In a "Variety" story, the topic is discussed on a trip to Israel. The article noted, "(Handler) encountered 'tons of Palestinians, tons of Israelis' and determined that whatever preconceptions she had of the situation there did not really hold up."
What might the "preconceptions" be about our neck of the woods? No pun intended.
In the "Variety" story Handler said, "I want to go to places I know nothing about."
Tallassee was one of those places until Saturday. Will this piece try to make something of Tallassee hosting a conference for the Sons of Confederate Veterans?
Seems like the stories on 60 Minutes were more about the hard hitting issues, not the "feel good" barbeque items.
Handler visited Waltersboro, SC for her documentary on racism at a Slave Relic Museum touring slave quarters there.
I will be curious to see our Tallassee episode when it airs next year. Will our town be portrayed in a positive light?
Netflix subscriptions in the 36078 zip code will likely increase.