We stayed home Tuesday night and watched the APT documentary “Mr. Dial Has Something To Say” – it was **wonderful**. If you didn’t catch it, the trailer is here, and the dvd and soundtrack can be ordered here.
Av emailed Celia (she is the director/producer) after we watched it to let her know that we enjoyed the film and that it gave a different impression of Bill Arnett (he’s a…hmmm…hard to categorize him exactly, but most simply, he’s a collector/promoter of Thornton Dial, Gee’s Bend quilters, and some other self-taught artists) than other things we’ve seen/read/heard.
She wrote back that most of the quilters are on the side of the Arnetts. That is, Bill and his sons Matt and Paul, who work together (and also got sued by three of the quilters). We knew that most of the quilters were still behind the Arnetts, but what we didn’t know is that on November 10th, there’s going to be an Arnetts Appreciation Day in Gee’s Bend.
In the film, Thornton Dial couldn’t have been more complimentary to Bill Arnett for all the work he’s done – and Bill Arnett really is shown in a different light…as someone who has been looking out for the artists’ best interests, even to the detriment of his own health and financial well-being. Just a regular guy who got into something big honestly – not as some scheming, conniving dealer like he’s been portrayed elsewhere.
So interesting. I’ve been trying to have a neutral outlook on the Arnetts even though so many bad things had been written, but this gave me a new (good) outlook. Hmmm… I can’t wait to see what/if anything’s going to be reported about the event on the 10th!