Last Blog: Not with a bang but a whimper

Posted February 1, 2005 in
Is it over? What happened? Has my TheraFlu worn off yet? TROMADANCE is some weird shit. Free to everyone (and free to submit to), it was held in the basement of Der Rathskeller Bar on Main Street in Park City.

[Bernie Worrell's show. Psychedelic dude!]Founder and freebird Lloyd Kaufman wasn't there during the morning screening I attended, but here is a summary of the films: 2 seconds, in which 2 minutes of film is used to demonstrate what happens is 2 seconds˜in this case the typing of "the end"; Nosferatu: Friendly Vampire, a silent short in which a badly made-up title character tries to make friends with some dude who is reading about German Expressionism and with the Goth kids standing on the corner, to no avail (where were Crispin Glover and Casper?); Deadline, an amazing Italian short film in which the two leads have great chemistry, but the sound is messed up and they do things like run white subtitles over a white background, however the ending is truly unforgettable and "it was just a dream" doesn't seem like a cliché any more; Dinner Time was made in one night by this guy with a speech impediment who also stars, along with the Kids of Widney High (5 mentally and physically disabled young people who also have their own rock band) and it is largely improvised and truly funny in the most bizarre way imaginable; Doomed to Failure, which should have been titled "We tried to make a movie but we couldn't get it together"; Baby, some evil animated short by Sum 41 in which a baby is used as a piñata, eaten by a dog whose shit fertilizes the soil from which Sum 41 grows before they are mowed down by a lawnmower; Derf, a 4-minute bio of the comic who is a former garbage man and high school classmate of Jeffrey Dahmer; and Roadside Attraction, in which a big bald Goth dude is a serial killer of the hicks who harass him. Wow, a 316-word sentence. (fragment) Top that.

After Roadside Attraction, Matthew Foster [ ], the completely obnoxious MC who kept saying, "C'mon, buy me a drink" said that he really identified with the killer in the film, that he could really understand his motivation. It's hard to decide which kind of MC is more annoying: the creepy, pretentious guy who sounds a little too serious when he says he'd like to be a serial killer or the chirpy, chipper bimbettes who introduced bands at the Sundance Music Café without really understanding what they were talking about. It's a push, but at least the latter is easier on the eyes. At this point I left Der Rathskeller. Later that day Angela sat on a TROMADANCE panel. When I asked her to summarize the experience, she said "Actually, Nate substituted for me because I was sick, and he's supposed to be writing a BLOG about it."

I love the fact that SLAMDANCE is getting better and better. Its success truly has forced Sundance to come back to the left and accept more edgy, arty films. The problem I have with SLAMDANCE is that the parties are more fun than the films. And that's only because they throw some really great parties. I didn't see any of the films to win awards at the closing ceremonies, but that's alright because Prince Paul (rap music lesson: old school good, new school bad) opened for Bernie Worrell and the boys who were joined by a full set by atomic dog, George Clinton.

[Bernie Worrell]

And yes, Virginia, they did tear the roof off of the sucker. Clinton was greeted on stage by a veritable booty parade. "I do believe I'm going to get laid tonight," he said. I believe he was right. On a more serious note, Bernie is not looking good. I think maybe he's a junkie. Perhaps people should stop shooting documentary films of him, thinking he's gonna croak in a cinematic way like Killer Kane, and get him some help. Seriously.

[George Clinton]

The problem I have with Sundance is that the films that should win often don't for whatever reason. A case in point is Forty Shades of Blue, a film that everybody I've talked do says is a clunker, yet it just won the Grand Jury Prize for Drama. My aunt who has been attending Sundance for 25 years even walked out and says it features the worst sex scene ever starring Rip Torn. My Scottish landlord Mike Hunter who let me crash at his place in PC told me that last year's award-winner Primer was complete rubbish. Jeff Feuerzeig won Best Documentary Director for The Devil and Daniel Johnston, and you know I've been pimping Daniel since day 1 and I'm sure Jeff worked very hard on the project. But somebody else shot most of the cool footage—perhaps Feuerzeig should win an award for best archivist—and for my money Greg Whitely's New York Doll is a better film. But I think the first-time Mormon filmmaker backlash might have gotten to him. Noah Baumbach deserved to win Best Director and Best Screenwriter for The Squid and the Whale, and Miranda July certainly deserve to win her special jury prize for "originality of vision" for Me, You and Everybody We Know, but it is ironic that an "outsider" artist such as July has so benefited from being a Sundance Insider: going through the Institute, winning a financial prize for her screenplay last year, and now garnering this award. Finally, Hustle & Flow, the big financial winner was called "complete rubbish" by the New York Times, and I likes me the opinions of the old gray lady! Keep an eye on SLUG in the next few weeks for a full-length feature on her. I'd like to thank Angela B. for putting up with me even if she "accidentally" deleted the unflattering photo I wanted to post of her, and to Becky V. for helping me to post. I'm pretty sure I won't be doing this next year. MC Welk out.