On the eve of the war with Iraq in March 2003, Natalie Maines, the outspoken lead singer of the pop-country group the Dixie Chicks, told an audience in England that her group was "ashamed" to be from the same state as President George W. Bush.
Maines was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas. Bush was born in New Haven, Conn., when his daddy, who was born in Milton, Mass., was a student at Yale.
None of that mattered at the time.
Maines and her band were tried as traitors in the media.
You may have heard about it (see review of "Shut Up & Sing" on Page 7).
Tallahassee filmmaker Christopher Fleeger, who now lives in San Francisco, was paying attention to the Texas tempest. He picked up his camera in May 2003, when the Chicks came back to the States for a tour, and followed the band around Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and California.
In the guy-on-the-street tradition of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot," Fleeger interviewed anonymous fans and anti-fans outside the arenas on the Chicks' route. He then compiled them for his new one-hour DVD-only release, "Protesting the Dixie Chicks" (available for $20 through www.protestingthedixiechicks.com).
Watching the DVD with the hindsight of December 2006, it's hard to know whether to cry or laugh.
Laughter is certainly the way to go when Fleeger stops in Southern California where one happy fellow points out how many attractive, boyfriend-free, cowgirl-clad women are filing into the concert hall.
"Those Republican guys aren't here . . . so it's Playboy city," he says and grins.
The sidewalk scenes turn hostile, no surprise, when Fleeger drives to the South and stops in cities close to military bases. In Tampa, protestors call the Chicks "Saddam's Angels" and taunt two ticket-holders by shouting: "Hey look, matching fags!"
In Bossier City, La., home to Barksdale Air Force Base, Fleeger interviews cheerful radio DJ's who love Natalie and the girls because their anti-Chicks, CD-crushing rally was such a hit.
To help lighten the mood, Fleeger re-enacts the CD-crunching mob using plastic toy dolls. And he employs Natalie Maines and Toby Keith action figures during transitions. There is nothing more absurd than a Toby Keith action figure.
It's not rated but contains profanity.