Road Scholar (1995)

Genres - Travel  |   Sub-Genres - Armchair Travel, Biography  |   Release Date - Jul 16, 1993 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Poet and National Public Radio commentator Andrei Codrescu was born in Romania, immigrated to the United States in 1966, but didn't learn to drive until the early '90s, when he was 45 years old. After undergoing what he calls "this essential rite of passage," he then sets out on "the ultimate American ritual," the cross-country road trip, behind the wheel of a cherry-red 1968 Cadillac convertible. He starts in New York, where he visits Ellis Island, chats with a group of homeless Haitians, and dines at Sammy's, a Romanian steak house. Among his stopovers: Walt Whitman's house in Camden, NJ, across the street from a huge jail; a commune in upstate New York populated by Christians who eschew material possessions and support themselves by building children's furniture; the Motown Museum in Detroit (Codrescu's first home in America); a roller rink in Chicago which hosts religious services; the National Western Stock Show in Denver; the Taos Pueblo and Santa Fe in New Mexico; Las Vegas, where he stops in at a quickie wedding chapel and tries his hand at high-stakes poker; and San Francisco, where he visits the venerable City Lights book store. The laconic Codrescu provides voice-over commentary throughout.