GREAT BARRINGTON – In the hours leading up to their wait at the sleek and historic Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Thursday night, a very nervous Bob Tarasuk – the farmer, forester, forester, rap fan and unlikely film actor from Sandisfield, 67 years old – did what he does so often: laughing, making new friends.
This time it was with the Asplundh Tree Management Team who had been engaged in the quadrennial pruning of trees along South Beech Plain Road in Sandisfield, near Tarasuk’s Snow farm.
Tarasuk fed his cattle. The tree team, whom he did not know, was taking a break.
âYou all need to get into my barn right away,â said Tarasuk, whose many enthusiasms can prove infectious. “I’m not going to see you for, what, another four years?” Go on!”
The crew piled up. They checked the sheep, lambs, cows, ducks and doves. (Doves? Yeah, doves.) But what Tarasuk most wanted the tree team to see was inside his cooler. He opened the heavy, cooler door, and there they were, his last pride and joy: two freshly hanged pigs.
The crew watched with passionate consideration.
âI think I made their day,â Tarasuk said.
Then he returned home and started to be almost paralyzed with nervousness again for the evening to come.
Bob, the museThe Engagement Pending His Arrival at The Mahaiwe was the highly anticipated regional premiere of French director Diego Ongaro’s latest film, “Down with the King,” starring Grammy-nominated rap star Freddie Gibbs and – Good – Bob Tarasuk, among others.
Shot a year ago at Tarasuk Farm and other locations in Berkshire, âDown with the Kingâ is Ongaro’s second feature film that was fathered by Tarasuk having done what he does so often. : gag him, make new friends.
In this case, when Ongaro and his wife, Courtney Maum, moved to Sandisfield over ten years ago, they fell under the strong gravitational pull of the naive Tarasuk, whom Ongaro describes as “such an interesting and unique character. . He is larger than life and he is endearing.
Their friendship developed in the feature film “Bob and the Trees,” starring non-actor Bob Tarasuk as Bob Tarasuk. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. It was a big hit at the Berkshire International Film Festival that same year.
Thursday’s screening of âDown with the Kingâ, hosted by BIFF, drew a full house and much applause.
Set against the soggy, icy beauty of late fall in the Berkshires, the film tells the story of a disillusioned rapper, Mercury Maxwell (Gibbs), who seeks to escape the pressures of fame by taking an extended hiatus. in the country (Sandisfield) where he befriends a farmer (Tarasuk), and he reassesses his life.
Purchased by Sony, âDown with the Kingâ was well received in July at the Cannes Film Festival, and it continues to tour festivals around the world. It will officially be released in 2022.
The Berkshires, “on these big screens”“Tonight I’m more than thrilled,” said Kelley Ryan Vickery, founder and artistic director of BIFF, in her introduction to the film Thursday night. “We are so grateful that [Ongaro] brought so many Berkshires to his work. It’s just amazing that our community is present on these big screens.
Among the attendees was Bart Raser, owner of Carr Hardware. In the film, the rapper develops a romantic relationship with an employee of Carr Hardware, in Great Barrington, where scenes were filmed.
Tarasuk would like it to be known that the clerk in question was not the clerk of the register; this is Sue Tarasuk, his real wife for 47 years. “It is my girl! âhe said.â I was flirting with her backstage. âGibbs’ love interest is played by Louisiana actress Jamie Neumann.
âIt was great to see the store up there, and it was all a lot of fun for all of us,â said Raser.
âMaybe I’m a little biased, but I think my most favorite part of the movie was the scenery,â said Aileen Gibbons, who also attended the screening. Originally from Ireland, Gibbons recently purchased a house adjacent to the Tarasuk which she uses as a quiet getaway from city life.
She fell in love with this hidden corner of Sandisfield which is now seen around the world, including at upcoming film festivals in India and Germany.
The reason for Tarasuk’s nervousness was that Thursday’s billing included an on-stage Q&A session featuring Ongaro and other cast and crew members, including Tarasuk.
But shouldn’t Tarasuk be used to this by now? After all, he walked the red carpet at the Austin Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, a festival in the Czech Republic and many more.
“I was there, and I did that – I to know, I to know, I to know“he said Thursday night in his kitchen, which was packed with family and friends for a pre-premiere lubrication of tangled nerves.
When it was almost time to leave and make this trip to Mahaiwe, Tarasuk said: “But I have never been this nervous. This time it’s just that it’s all the locals, all of my wife’s horticultural clients, all of my forestry clients, all of my friends.
He was nervous even though he could guess the questions that would come to him. These are the same questions as everyone else always ask him.
Does he really like rap?
He really love rap music.
Does he have trouble playing?
He doesn’t and, as he’ll say later on stage, it’s only because, âSo far, all I’ve been asked to be is Bob. “
How did he prepare for this intense scene when he is enraged with Gibbs for accidentally breaking the gallbladder of a slaughtered cow?
He will tell the crowd Thursday night that he spent the whole night before that scene listening to Eminem’s âLose Yourselfâ. In other words:
… you better get lost in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one hit, don’t miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime …
He nailed the scene, and afterwards Gibbs hugged him and carried him to the set like a precious puppy. It happened a lot on the set.
The Mahaiwe is waiting“Nervous, so nervous, âsaid Tarasuk, as the clock struck 6 and it was time to head to The Mahaiwe, his majestic brand lit with twinkling white bulbs and emblazoned with the wordsâ BIFF – DOWN WITH THE KING â .
âSue,â he asked, pacing his kitchen, âdo I have a nice jacket? “
“Like a winter coat? ” she answered.
“No, like a jacket?” “
“You have nothing ?” she asked.
“Just a Carhartt.”
“What about this plaid?” It’s not dirty, she said, shrugging her shoulders.
He opted for the plaid, red peasant flannel.