Perils of Park City The Dancing, the Drinking, and the Big Booty Beats By P. Kimé Le. I opted to leave the nice cold state of Michigan to the even colder state of Utah. From the ghetto of Detroit to the ritz of Park City...

I opted to leave the nice cold state of Michigan to the even colder state of Utah. From the ghetto of Detroit to the ritz of Park City. Shoot me now.

Sundance Film Festival:
Happy Campers
Maybe since the juvenile in me thought that Christian Slater was hot in Heathers (thus making it a great movie), and maybe since director Daniel Waters gave such an entertaining intro, I had high hopes for Happy Campers. But, like my other aspirations, the bee-bee gun of reality shot these down, too.

Yes, this movie made me laugh with the condom water bombs. Yes, there were some “touching” lesbian moments. Despite what Waters may say, this is not a movie that will “remind you of the summer camp you tried to forget.” This is a movie about lack of characterization; which explains nothing, tells nothing, or even hints at nothing. My eight bucks was not worth this pain.

Two Unknown Photographers
The first hour of Two Unknown Photographers wasn’t that bad. Documenting director Kon Pet Moon’s days at a film processing store and two of the intriguing abandoned photos he encountered. From there, the film is a journey as Moon searches for two photographers. Loads of people left the theater at this point. Though it was extremely boring, I endured for the sake of my “journalistic” pride.

After one hundred and fifty-five minutes, the film finally ended (waking some of the folks who had stayed through the entire screening). During the post-film discussion, Moon had the audacity to reveal that the entire film is a fucking mockumentary! I didn’t know whether to applaud Moon for making such a believable film (it was so boring there was no way it couldn’t be true) or throttle the guy on the spot for wasting hours of my young life.

Though I hated it, I have to commend the guy for fooling me. Heck, out in Los Angeles, an ethnic festival listed it as a real documentary. Kudos, too, to Moon for using his phony name (and even an alternate gender) to push the envelope further in faking out snooty film programmers!

Zen & The Art of Landscaping
Man, can anything more go wrong for the folks in this David Kartch short? It starts with Zen, a landscaper, being seduced by the mother of the house of the lawn he’s cultivating. The mother times the kiss to coincide with the sounds of tires pulling into the driveway. Whoops, not her husband but her son, home for a surprise visit from college. Apparently, the son is still harboring some hatred towards Zen for constantly beating him up in high school gym. Another set of wheels pull into the driveway, hubby comes in, wife resumes kiss with Zen who tries to pull away. Hubby tries to strangle Zen as the Son tries to payback whack Zen. Son misses and knocks over mom. Lots of arguing. Turns out wife discovers hubby is cheating on her with the grocery store checkout girl who happens to be Zen’s girl. Also, the son is home to come “out” to his parents, which he then is confronted with the news that his parents aren’t really his parents.

Reminiscent of There’s Something About Mary in that there’s some kind of surprise of what could possibly go wrong. There’s lots of dialogue driven action and while I enjoyed it, I couldn’t watch it again.

Bit Players
Jonathan Hyman sets his short in a dressing room on the “set” of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, two Oompa Loompas discuss acting. One is a young, aspiring actor wanting to do some Tennessee Williams, while the other is Hollywood jaded.

Most of the patrons leaving this viewing kept on saying how Agnieszka Wostowicz-Vosloo’s Pate closely resembled City of Lost Children. I happen to agree. This is a post-apocalyptic Hansel and Gretel where the witch is the mother and Gretel gets, well, see the title.

Miss Wonton
“I want to bring people on a journey,” said director Meng On whose film takes us through the life of one Chinese immigrant, An Na, in New York city. Living and working at a Chinese restaurant, she attempts to broaden herself by visiting the “golden palace,” a place where immigrant women meet American men.

There Miss Wonton meets her “Escargot” (a rich white man) and in her naivete, Ah Na, thinks of his suburban home as her own. In one of those wacky sit-com type scenarios when Ah Na’s mother comes to visit, she puts mom up at the Escargot home only to have things get out of hand when Escargot comes home with his wife!

Green Dragon
My eyes weren’t dry for more than two minutes during this screening.

Other than having been told my uncle was MIA, my parents don’t talk about the Vietnam War or anything about their lives prior to my older brother being born in Cleveland. However, until this movie, I never really gave much thought to how my mother must have felt leaving all of her family behind in Vietnam when she came to the U.S. Nor have I thought of how many tears my father has shed while spending every day trying to find out anything about his eight siblings. How much courage did it take to raise their unborn son in this new country?

Green Dragon is a raw portrayal of the lives of the Vietnamese people in refugee camps in 1975. The film deals with the feelings of worry, wonder, and anger about leaving Vietnam and the involvement of the United States. I wanted to hug and thank the directors, Timothy and Tony Bui, for providing me with a better understanding about my parents’ past but I only managed a tearful sob as I shook their hands.

This film taught me a new word: Tableist (table-ist). The term applies to the fine folks who use turntables. Now, don’t call them DJs-a disc jockey merely uses a turntable to spin tunes while a tableist spins, scratches, and turns those turntables into an instrument.

Scratch is a historic document of hip-hop spinning, interviewing the people who started the musical movement and the people who kept the tradition alive.

NoDance Film Festival Year 4:
Nebraska Supersonic
A mockumentary (yeah, I’m getting sick of them too) about three childhood friends who, fresh from graduating with college degrees in French, look to find better lives in Omaha by starting a bike messenger service. With folks in Omaha being thrifty, the lads (led by actor/director Jeremy Lerhman) charge only two dollars for delivery to Lincoln, Nebraska-a 120-mile round trip!

Pornstar: The Legend of Ron Jeremy
Any documentary of Ron Jeremy is going to be interesting. However, director Scott J. Gill only glosses the surface of this hirsute superstar. While I wanted to know Ron Jeremy’s past; his true love, how he views himself, his family, and where he wants to be, I only got a few facts about how adept Ron is at cunnilingus. PORNSTAR spent most of its time following Ron from adult convention to convention. While the filmmakers took us behind the scenes of an adult movie shoot, they keep their subject at arm’s length, never allowing us to delve into Ron’s past or motivation.

Bean Cake
I have to give director David Greenspan props for bringing red bean cakes to his screening for the audience to try. I think I was one of the three people who promptly spit the cake out, much like Greenspan’s main actor.

This is sweet tale about a young boy’s first day of a new school in Japan’s 1930s. Back then, allegiance to the Emperor was divine. However, this young boy professes that he loves red bean cakes more than the Emperor. This causes his classmates to ridicule him and puts his teacher in a quandary.

American Chai
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to grow up as the American born child of immigrants in this day and age? For answers, look to American Chai.

The film revolves around Surreel, a music major. Meanwhile, Sureel’s parents think he’s in pre-med (will someone ask these parents why their kids have to be doctors or engineers?). What is an Indian-American kid to do when his parents won’t let him live a normal American life with its healthy diet of R-rated movies, dating, music, and prime-time TV?

While Sureel’s parents want only the best for him (why else did they come to this country?), they neglect that this country is built on dreams. Sureel’s aspiration is to be a musician. What does he choose: to live the life his parents think is best for him or to live the life that he thinks is best for him? Combine that central conflict with dating white girls versus Indian girls, a goofus cousin from the old country, a father character who bore an eerie resemblance to my own dad and this film was destined to be the only movie that all of my Park City house mates and I could agree on.

23 Hours
Definitely the best-named film at the festival, 23 Hours plodded along for what felt like forever. While fighting off sleep in the hopes that this film simply had to get better, I decided that the only prize it could win would be the trophy for the dullest fight scenes.

Paul is Dead
This tale of the early ’80s starts when the white VW from The Beatles’s Abbey Road album cover drives into a German town. Tobias, a huge fan of the mod rock group, is convinced that the rumor of a dead Paul McCartney is true. With the car’s arrival, he’s found the killer. The clue? The white Volkswagen’s license plate: “LMW 28IF” (Linda McCartney Weeps, Paul would have been 28 if he had lived). Tobias and his pal Helmut proceed to do heinous things to flush out Public Enemy Number One.

Due to the German provision that music rights are not needed to broadcast, Paul is Dead had what was said to be an amazing soundtrack of Beatles tunes. This would have rocked my world if I were a Beatles fan. But I’m an Elvis fan.

Golden Trailer:
I ended spending most of my week out of the chillin’ cold in this metallic gold phallic trailer. Being the stylistic utilitarian, I loved the inside of the trailer. Imagine, wall to wall, ceiling to floor carpeting, movie theatre seats bolted to the floor, a huge screen television and a space heater for those up front. Fuck having a home on wheels with beds, who’s going to sleep when there are good shorts to be watched?

Jerry Springer Episode
This is the Episode where a member of the band the Locust cheats on his girlfriend by adding their roommate to his “fuck list.” Oh, and don’t forget to also add Scott Beibin (Lost Film Fest/Bloodlink Records) to the Locust guy’s list. And to the girlfriend’s list. Oh, and to the Roommate’s list, too.

As to be expected, there’s a lot of fighting and t-shirts are torn. The best thing had to be Rusty Nails (director of Acne) occasionally shouting non-sequiturs like “Potato!” It seems like the fine folks from Springer decided that “potato” is the latest curse word as they kept on bleeping everything Rusty said.

Puking Zombies Part 13: Beach Blanket Bloodbath
Directed by Josh Weistein. This 16mm short played at TromaDance in SLC and was supposed to screen at NoDance (but the NoDance people thought it was a bit too graphic for their taste) so it came to the Golden Trailer instead. I can’t decide if this belongs to the “so bad, it’s good” category or the “I love how this was shot” category.

People were packed wall to wall. Filmmakers Rusty Nails (Acne) and Josh Weinstein (Puking Zombies Part 13: Beach Blanket Bloodbath) gave me the lowdown about the party. Cheap massages, e-mail access, free alcohol, and The Roots were playing. The party seemed like a who’s-who in the candy ravers scene with assloads of cute girls shaking their booties and cute boys looking on. My highlight was the not-so-surplus free cranberry juice.

We Sold Our Souls For Rock ‘N’ Roll Party
Bored one night, I decided to catch one of the shuttles back to Main Street. Something had to be kicking. I went to the mall where NoDance was located and bumped into Rusty Nails again with his newfound friend Nate (checkout for Nate’s flick) in tow.

Rusty and I meandered along Main Street until he bumped into two cute chicks. We started talking to them and found out that they were waiting outside the HQ of Atomfilms for the We Sold Our Souls For Rock ‘N’ Roll Party party featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Penelope Spheeris, and a performance by Reverend B. Dangerous.

Upon hearing about Ozzy, Rusty proceeded to scam our way into the party; rather easy considering the two girls were doing the local promotion of the documentry. Even easier, it turned out, as the promoter had no clue as to who was working for her. We passed ourselves off as working for the local promotions company.

I would like it to be known that I have never been so giddy to meet anyone in my entire life. If I were a full-on dyke, instead of trendily bi-curious, I would have been creaming my jeans over Penelope Spheeris. She’s been a personal heroine of mine since I watched the Punk Rock rite of passage movie, Suburbia. I was literally jumping up and down with excitement, hoping for a picture with her and an autograph

Reverend B. Dangerous was like a one-man Jim Rose’s Circus Sideshow, but more--much, much insanely more. Never had I seen any guy let some random chick staple gun anything to him, much less a t-shirt. Or have the fattest guy in the room stand on the Reverend’s head, crushing his face into broken wine bottles or have heavy objects dangling from his tongue and nipples. It was downright disgusting yet fascinating to see what the Reverend would do next. Blood will never look the same again. Especially since the Reverend’s face was permanently stained with the bodily fluid.

Regardless that we had passes, or that one of the guys I was with had a film shown at TromaDance, the motherfuckering doorman wouldn’t let us in. He kept giving us lame excuses that there were too many people inside already. For some reason, the Fire Code allowed for an endless supply of Kate Moss Blondes in tank tops while the rest of us had to stand outside in an arctic night.

The rest of us, that is, excluding the aforementioned blondes and Chris Gore. Not a pass, not on the guest list, but with a “Film Threat” business card and a “Could you tell Lloyd (Kaufman) that I tried to get in but couldn’t?” he managed to get inside. Oh, silly me, I forgot that this is Chris Gore we’re talking about.

The Long Way Home:
Eight days later, and I wanna go home. Whine. Josh Weinstein offered to drive me home, provided that I drive a little bit of the way. Apparently, his Boston compadres, Chris & Mike, do not drive. In Boston, there’s no real need for cars due to mass transit. In fact, the two bike messenging kids don’t even know how to pump gas. Geez Louise! It’s not like they live in New Jersey where it’s illegal to pump your own gas! We left Park City in the late afternoon of Saturday, got to Detroit early Monday morning. This was a nonstop drive. Being behind the wheel of a car was great. I don’t think I have been away from my car for more than a weekend. Also, public transportation sucks from where I hail from, so I wasn’t really used to taking the free buses provided by Park City.

Highlights of the car ride home: Josh Weinstein, waking up from a slumber, screaming in horror because I’m driving 80+ mph in the mountains, at night, during a severe snowstorm on ice-covered roads. What a wuss.

Counting the number of accidents on the road (about one every half hour). Subjecting the three Clash/Black Flag fans with Atom & His Package tunes. Ha, audio anguish for them! Weinstein getting metal lightning bolts from a truck stop. Pushing the demo button on a Marilyn Monroe phone, causing her skirt to fly up. My failing miserably at every car game possible. Free ice cream with fillups.

Yeah, I had a lot of fun. If you can afford to go (please note that NoDance, LapDance, Lost Film Fest were free), go!!!! You might even get people offering to suck your dick for an interview (these same people thought I was writing for Cahiers Du Cinema).

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