Wednesday Film Blogging: The End of Suburbia

[Ed. Note: Once again we welcome our resident film afficianado, David Fellerath, for some film blogging.]

Readers of the Independent Weekly may have seen Peter Eichenberger's impassioned and vividly metaphor-ized piece about Raleigh development and the ways in which developers are tearing down the old city and erecting big boxes while other builders have their way with the green space, paving it over with pretentiously named developments. Evidence is everywhere, of course, but I saw something remarkable on the highway to Creedmoor last Friday, riding back on my motorcycle from Raleigh. In the middle of the lonesome countryside, there was a fancy development in progress called the Barony. Yes, the Barony. I spent so much time marveling at the word "barony" that I didn't get a clear read on the development's motto but I think it was "Preserved Luxury."

Meanwhile, if you're looking for an excuse to get organized around this issue, my friend Denver Hill at the Colony Theater in Raleigh is hosting a screening of a doomsday movie called The End of Suburbia, which contains the daunting subtitle "Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream."

Although it's hosted by Barrie Zwicker, the film is largely a platform for the tireless anti-suburban curmudgeon James Howard Kunstler. A few years ago I read Kunstler's Home From Nowhere in which he recommends the elimination of all zoning codes, arguing that such laws are the means by which realtor-backed governments gladly encourage suburban sprawl. That's why all rapidly developing communities (like Raleigh-Cary-Durham) end up looking like Greater Atlanta rather than Portland, San Francisco or Boston - or Paris, Florence or Prague.

But The End of Suburbia goes further, deploying energy experts to tell us, over and over, that oil production is near its peak. Our way of life is near its end, various experts tell us with occasional unseemly relish. One of the film's most convincing witnesses is Matthew Simmons, investment banker to Halliburton, member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of Dick Cheney's legendary energy task force. When Simmons says the oil is gone, it's time to get nervous.

The End of Suburbia will screen at 7 p.m. at the Colony Theater today, Wednesday, June 22. The evening will also a feature short film presentation by local activist Rhonda Strickland (Raleigh Fight Big Media). Dennis Markatos-Soriano of SURGE will lead the Q&A.

For those with bicycles, Denver will be leading a group ride over to the theater. Muster your bikes at Whitaker Mill and Glenwood, in the parking lot behind Hayes Barton Baptist Church at 5:30 p.m.