Sunday, April 22, 2007

Just when I think I'm sophisticated...

...something comes along to remind me just what a big, dumb ham-and-egger I really am.
Ten at the Top in Tampa Bay was selected to be part of the program at the 5th Annual Ybor Festival Of The Moving Image so I have spent good chunks of the last few days (Thursday night, Friday night and all day and night Saturday) with the Ten at the Top team wandering around Ybor City and experiencing everything. We saw some truly amazing films, met some interesting people and saw some very cool things in Ybor that I didn't even know existed. But just when I thought maybe I wasn't completely out of my element among talented, intelligent sophisticated people, I attended a performance by Pat Oleszko, 99% of which sailed completely unobstructed over my enormous empty cranium. Highlights included inflatable clothing, a short film about Napoleon performed entirely by knees and dance students dressed as cigars that marched, wiggled and rolled around on the floor under the direction of Oleszko. All of this was met enthusiastically by the clever and creative people in the audience. I, on the other hand, was stuck clicking my little brain remote control back and forth between channels "Huh?" and "Wha...?". It ended with an interpretation of the classic fable 'The Emperor's New Clothes" where Olezsko took a pair of scissors and cut the suit off of a man made to resemble George Bush to the tune of patritic marching music and then spit red, white and blue paint on his naked body. Even I was able to get that one.
This isn't the first time I've felt frustrated and insufficiently intelligent by art. I once saw a performance of "Jaques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris" that made me feel the same way. Oh well. I suppose it's good to be reminded of your inadequacy now and then; it keeps you grounded. So I guess it's back to fart jokes.
Other notes from the festival:
  • Screenings and performances take place all over Ybor City in some fantastic venues, including the Silver Meteor Gallery, a 55 seat black box theatre named for the Amtrak passenger train that passes within feet of it's front door.
  • "Ten at the Top..." is offically being presented today at 3:30 and I can't go because I have to work, a fact that has me literally feeling sick because I feel like I am letting my team down.
  • Artist/writer Dr. Ferdie Pacheco (aka"The Fight Doctor") is a storytelling machine. I got to spend time with him last night and once he got rolling, it was like he had no off switch...not that I minded. He was fascinating, ribald and hilarious! And he barely touched on his relationship with Muhammed Ali. My personal favorite was his recounting of bandleader Artie Shaw's four month marriage to Lana Turner: "Once they got out of bed, he realized he'd married a flower pot". Somebody (Tampa Theatre?) needs to set him up with a lecture series.
  • Ybor City is also hosting a biker weekend. So mingling with the filmmakers, artists, film geeks and one guy who dresses like a pirate for some unknown reason, are scads of leatherclad, tattooed biker people.
  • I'm a huge supporter of shameless self-promotion but planting an audience member to ask questions for the purpose of hijacking a panel discussion on filmmaking just so you can pimp your film is tacky and classless ("I want to hear more about the mockumentary, that I'm in, by the way"). Yeah, I'm looking at you, bumper-sticker hander-outers.

1 comment:

tampafilmfan said...

Hilarious! Thanks for posting this. I've been sick the past couple of days and haven't made it to one part of the Ybor film fest. Now I know a little bit about what I missed (and what I didn't miss :).

I'd love to hear more about the panel discussion, privately, confidentally and off the record, if you felt like emailing me the scoop....