Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 7

Let's jump straight to the movies, starting with some local eccentrics.

First up, a short doc THE LAST DAY IN THE NUT HOUSE. The Nut House, of course, being Morrow's Nut House, a long time San Francisco landmark run by "nut lady" Jackie Helbert. She retired and closed up shop a year ago on New Year's Eve, and mother/son team of Kathy and Nathan Kensinger were there to talk to her on the final day. Jackie was also there at this screening, and was pretty cool in person.

But even more eccentric was Harrod Blank, star of OH MY GOD! IT'S HARROD BLANK! Harrod grew up in the Bay Area, son of local film making legend ("This page is intentionally...") Les Blank. And he's a filmmaker in his own right. He's working on a Burning Man documentary, but has already made 3(?) docs about art cars, including AUTOMORPHOSIS which played at Indiefest last year. He's made two art cars--his camera van (which is currently in a garage, not running) and his first one, a VW Bug painted and decorated with an odd assortment of chickens (inspired by his childhood spent playing with chickens), flowers, and assorted weirdness. People would exclaim "Oh my God!" When they saw it, so that became the name of the car. Filmmaker and friend David Silverberg collected ~20 years of footage of Harrod, from a broke eccentric to recent years gaining fame, curating art car shows, and speaking at conferences about using attention-grabbing art to sell stuff (to help make the point, he wanders the conference wearing a suit covered in flash bulbs). Over that time, he goes through at least three very patient girlfriends (the third happily still with him) without ever quite growing up (although I gather he has moved out of his little shack, but maybe that's just because he's on the road all the time). It's an exhaustive look at a true professional eccentric who is still going strong. And although he didn't arrive by art car or don a flashbulb suit for the screening, he was there and still as engagingly witty as you'd expect.

Then a quick beer (festival bar is Gestalt, festival beer is Trumer Pils. Support the sponsors!) the late show was the shorts program "Games of Telephone." Shorts about (mis)communication: TRUE BEAUTY THIS NIGHT: A man calls the woman he met the night before to arrange returning her purse, with hilariously touching results
FELICITA: A Georgian woman working in Italy to save money for her family attends her husband's funeral by telephone
NICE SHOOTIN' COWBOY: A deal made in the woods. Two cars, buyers and sellers, and one very drugged woman.
SAPSUCKER: Damn bird, I'll hunt him and make a toothpick out of his beak.
CHRISTMAS NIGHT WITH FRANZ DUBERT: A Russian mail-order bride spends a Christmas night with her husband, daughter, and a fairy tale.
And ONE LAST TIME...had problems playing, so it wasn't shown. Okay, I missed one short film at Indiefest this year.

Total Running Time: 170 minutes
My Total Minutes: 170,391
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