The San Diego Film Critics Society held its quasi-annual awards luncheon yesterday at the Blind Lady Ale House on Adams Avenue.
Why do they call it the Blind Lady? Because only Helen Keller would put bacon and eggs on a pizza.
I needed subtitles for the menu. Cornichon, Reggiano, Mezzuna, Ciccoli, Pecorino, Fra’ Mani Sopressata, Fontina, Taleggio, Crostini...I didn’t know if I was ordering lunch or reading off the cast list from The Godfather.
But cerebrally, folks, once I picked the leaves off and bit into the crunchy Salsiccia pie — house made Italian sausage, oregano, mozzarella, tomato sauce, rapini, Stracci, Cuneo, Philip Tattaglia — I was sold. Hands-down one of the rare delectable thin-crust treats you’ll find in a town where toast with ketchup and yellow cheese generally passes for pizza.
It’s been too long since the gang got together for one of these awards thingies. To put it bluntly, none of the recent celebrity winners expressed any interest in coming to San Diego to personally claim their trophies. We couldn’t even persuade Travolta, and I’m talking Joey.
Instead, we focused the spotlight on a trio of local superstars: Lee Ann Kim, Dan Bennett, and Destin Cretton.
Lee Ann Kim was one of the first “film” people I met upon arriving in San Diego 14 years ago and one of the few who will still take my calls. Under her loving tutelage, the San Diego Asian Film Festival has grown to become one of our town’s premier cultural events and world class cinematic destination. It was my honor to hand Lee Ann her Almost-a-Thalberg Award.
Dan Bennett, former North County Times critic, founder of the San Diego Children’s Film Festival, and SDFCS co-founder, picked up an award for his contributions to the advancement of film in our town. Fittingly enough, Bennett’s SDFCS co-founder, Diana Saenger of Review Express, presented him with the group’s Kyle Counts Award, established by and bestowed in honor of one of our late colleagues.
San Diego’s favorite cinematic son, writer-director Destin Cretton (I Am Not a Hipster, Short Term 12) was most gracious in thanking the group for their critical feedback during his acceptance speech. Cretton was presented the award by SDFCS President, and The Big Screen’s cursed opposition at City Beat, Glenn Heath Jr.
Others there were Anders Wright, our beer connoisseur arch-rival at the U-T, and the Reader’s own boy wonder, Matthew Lickona, sporting a new buzz cut and Hawaiian shirt freshly imported from the Islands by his lovely bride, Deirdre, just back from vacation. You could still smell the Don Ho in it.
Moviewallas’ Yazdi Pithavala worked the crowd, as did Cinema Spartan’s Rob Patrick, who really needs to step out of his cave and into the warm digital light a little more often.
Also in attendance, the always pretty in purple Jean Lowerison, she of Review Express, and world traveler/critic for San Diego City News, Jim Harrison. The Daily Actor’s Lance Carter acted accordingly.
Conspicuous in his absence was Fox 5’s Josh Board. When asked what kept him away, Board later told me, “I was playing racquetball.” It’s tough to get a court these days, so his excuse was understandable. May his next R-rated screening be enhanced by a never-ending stream of screaming infants and Klieg-light cellphones.
Visit the SDFCS website for more information and to vote for your favorite critic.