Leaving for LaGuardia at 8 ayem and an 11:30 am flight to Memphis, and then a drive to Oxford, Mississippi, where it’s now 21 degrees. As I explained four days ago, the main order of business will be three days at the Oxford Film Festival (movies, a panel, southern cuisine) with a little touring-around on the side.

The south used to be an exotic Tennessee Williams-slash-Easy Rider land of danger for Northern boys like myself — a place known for tobacco-chewing rednecks in pickup trucks and Nehi signs and hanging moss vines and all that other stuff. My great fear is that the next four days will be like visiting a kind of homogenized southern theme park. Genuine aroma and atmosphere and slap-in-the-face experience are getting hard to come by. That’s why I wouldn’t mind a little Josh Brolin action in a bar somewhere, or…you know, something in that vein.