Giving Up The Ghosts: Closing Time at Doc’s Music Hall
directed by Robert Mugge
starring Dr. John Peterson
MVD Visual, Mug-shot Productions
Raise your digital hand if you know where Muncie, Indiana is. Yeah, I had to Google it; it’s out in the flatter part of the Midwest, somewhere between Indianapolis and Toledo. Muncie once ran off of corn and canning jars; but it collapsed during the industrial wipeout of the 1970’s. A local physician moved into the vacuum with an innovative jazz club called “Doc’s Music Hall.” It set up shop in an abandoned shoe store; he got the building for what it would have cost to demolish it. It may have been creepy at night on the street but inside the club there was light and beer and some of the finest jazz this side of the Mississippi River. The joint had a 20 year run from 1992 to 2012; then ironically succumbed to the successful revitalization of the downtown Doc’s caused.
Director Mugge filmed the closing night; the show features Dr. John Peterson’s house band playing a selection of jazzy numbers from “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “My Girl,” and “You Can Call Me Al.” Peterson is a skilled keyboard player, he’s backed by sax, keys and drums. The house looks packed, and the street outside looks full of freeloaders and the curious and the music rolls. The good doctor’s title is real, he also is an actual MD and treats sick people. We meet his wife and son in the interview segments; the man seem genuinely nice and accepting. He loves people and music and has the luxury of pursuing both. Mugge has a stack of rock docs under his belt, and while his interviews are intriguing the real strength it letting the music play. His records of our culture are clean and impressive, and he can capture the moment and make it seem even more exciting than sitting in the front row. Both Muncie and jazz lost a great venue when this old shoe store shut down to become…what? Another overpriced “Free Range Burger” joint? More sweaty yoga space? Maybe even the ultimate irony: a used vinyl place. Who knows? You missed last call at this event, but you can sample everything right here, except the drinks.