It’s a beautiful week to head down to P-Town and its 17th annual International Film Festival (PIFF) which opens Thursday June 18 and runs for four days through Sunday June 21! A pal of mine Boston-based director Alan Chebot is showing his first independently produced feature-length documentary OUTERMOST RADIO/The Film. This doc takes you into the colorful inner sanctum of one of the foremost outposts of free musical expression in these United States: radio station WOMR 92.1 FM on the dial.
WOMR is a non-profit, volunteer-run community radio station that operates on the fringes and deep in the hearts of its devoted listeners. Its DJs and programmers passionately march to their own tunes, not the prescribed playlist of bland corporate sponsors (there are none), and that playlist features a smorgasbord of musical offerings, including blues, rock, pop, opera, zydeco, Africa Oye, celtic, surf, psychedelic, and music to chant by. “It’s kind of biz-zah” declares an OMR staffer commenting on the idiosyncratic programming predicated on their DJs’ whims.
The narrative and camera work– fluid and funny– cut briskly through P-town life, floating among the whales in the harbor, glancing off gloomy P-Town winters, festive summer celebrations, zeroing in on an ongoing fundraising effort to restore (they did it!) the station’s battered antenna which tunes in audiences around the globe, and closing in on several of OMR’s intriguing on-air personalities (I counted over 60 on the website). There’s “Lady Di” whose show “Leggs Up and Dancing with Lady Di” highlights her singing along, exuberantly off key; Canary Burton who literally programs “The Latest Score–“new art” music; Matty Dread, DJ and operations manager, who unearths hidden musical nuggets of funk, reggae, and jazz, and Chuck Cole
who delivers acoustic stylings and meditative chanting melodies, while “off mike” lives “off the grid” in a collection of yurts, and makes his own electricity.
The film delivers the details and the desperado vibe of this renegade station conceived by hippies in the ’70’s and located “at the end of the sandbar” where life is “a little freaky.” OUTERMOST RADIO/The Film screens twice: Thursday 6/18 at 7PM Wellfleet Preservation Hall, and Sunday 6/21 at 4:30PM Town Hall. Check out the rest of the 2015 PROVINCETOWN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL to see what other treasures wash ashore.