T/F brings artsy audiences, alienates some

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George Sarafianos

Photo By Brett Stover
A True/False light fixture sits in the Missouri Theater as one of the “new” things the film festival brings to Columbia every year. Photo by Brett Stover
Walking inside Cafe Berlin for the first time, I was immediately greeted by a volunteer. Her dyed black mullet and colorful tights alarmed me. I sat down in attempt to familiarize myself with my surroundings; I looked around the room from my table directly in the center of the room. I turned my head and I could see eyes of other attendants darting away from me, giving me a lingering feeling of dis-belonging that peppered itself throughout the night. As I looked around more and more, seeing the yellow T/F laminant badges everywhere I turned, I also noticed something else: for the most part, everyone in the Cafe was the exact same person. When I came to this realization, I chuckled at the idea of being surrounded by thin, brown haired men, almost all whom had beards and wore casual brown suede shoes.
As I began hearing awkward clanging noises from the dark room concealed by a curtain, another volunteer with a septum piercing ushered me in. The night progressed from there, bands coming and going from the stage, their music followed by polite applause and the occasional shriek of an especially enthused group of contemporarily dressed women in the back corner of the venue.
After a while the quirkiness of the acts became almost too much, but at least they were memorable. One of the bands, Flux Bikes, used only a series of pedals, a flute and, somehow, a bicycle wheel that had been hooked up to an amplifier. People came and went as the night rolled further on, giving me a chance to see just what type of people T/F attracts.
Needless to say I was taken aback by the wide spectrum of community members brought out by these granola college bands. I fully understand now that the people of Columbia are a diverse and somewhat skittish bunch — I add on the last part due to my  several failed attempts at conversation throughout the night with other attendees. I now also know that there is quite a fortune to be made in wool beanies, seeing as how nearly every 20-something female in the place was donning one.
Look, it’s not that I don’t like T/F. I do. It spreads understanding of art and documentaries throughout the city. But personally I felt out of place and a little bit judged. Maybe next time I’ll stick to just the movies. Less talking.
By George Sarifianos