There is a loud whistle, and then a holler from the brick-and-concrete apartment building across the street: "Hey, Jeff! Someone's lookin' for you!" jeff obafemi carr pokes his head over the roof of the Amun Ra Theatre on Clifton Avenue, his home for the past five days.
Up on the roof, he's got a tent, some chairs, some bottled water, a movie script he's polishing, and buckets for gathering donations to keep his theater going. And he says he's not coming down until he raises $30,000.
Naturally, he picked the rainiest September in memory to launch his campaign. Instead of postponing his efforts to a drier, more comfy clime, carr, true to his word, lashed himself to the roof just in time for last week's thunderstorm. It wasn't the best time to have a metal ladder for company. Asked what it was like staying up there through the monsoon, carr laughs and says, "Hell."
But if what we saw Saturday afternoon was any indication, he hasn't exactly been alone. Well-wishers drop by with donations, offers of food and water and shouts of encouragement. A big two-tone sedan rolls by and the driver leans on the horn. "I get that a lot," carr says, waving. "Everybody in the neighborhood knows the theater."
As of 10 p.m. Saturday, carr had raised 78 percent of his $30K goal. We'll have updates throughout the week as his efforts continue, but there's a timely element that needs posting now. Acclaimed Nashville artist James Threalkill, an Amun Ra supporter and friend of carr, is auctioning off an original 35" x 48" painting with proceeds going to the theater.
Bidding closes 10 p.m. Sunday on Facebook, and those without Facebook accounts can email James (dot) Threalkill (at) skanska (dot) com with their offers. Last we heard (before word had really gotten out) the bids hadn't cleared $100, though that may already have changed.
Meanwhile, carr is still up on the roof, hoping the magic number rolls up soon so he can return home to his pregnant wife. But for now, he has the city at his feet.