The big celebrity arrival Friday night was supposed to be Russell Brand, subject of the documentary Brand: A Second Coming. But it seems Brand got cold feet. He didn't show up to the premiere at the Paramount, instead offering a statement suggesting it was hard to watch his behavior in the film, which was shot over the last several years and went through several directors (before landing with Ondi Timoner, who made one of the all-time great music docs, Dig!).
Brand's statement was forthright and thoughtful (he can actually be a very forthright and thoughtful guy). In any case it was no matter to me: I was down the street devouring City of Gold, a lively documentary about the bond between Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold and the city that raised him. (Note to DMN dining critic Leslie Brenner: Check it out when it's released later this year and we'll discus, hopefully in print).
City of Gold is working with some tasty ideas. One of my favorites posits Gold's work as a way of mapping his city and its myriad cultures through food and writing. He loves under-the-radar ethnic joints and street food. To Gold, a well-fed man with flowing long hair, this kind of fare represents the soul of Los Angeles. I'm supposed to have lunch with him and filmmaker Laura Gabbert Sunday and will report back. This isn't shaping up as the SXSW where I lose weight.