Sunday, August 21, 2005

SF Underground Films

The San Francisco Underground Short Film Festival was a blast! It was the first "Midnight Mass with Peaches Christ" that I was able to attend. Sadly, it also happened to be the last of the season.

As Wes and I arrived at the Bridge Theatre by cab, we got a quick glimpse of the line. I was ecstatic! There were plenty of people, despite slow ticket sales earlier in the week. I got my reserved tickets, and then turned back toward the line.

"You're one of the actors! Go up to the front!" Wes urged me. I've never been on a guest list for anything so I shrugged and said I would wait in line with everyone else. It was a big line, but not THAT big. Plus it was moving fast. And then we turned the corner, and saw the true extent of the line. That changed my mind real quick! Wes and I ran back to the front and were let in with the first rush of patrons.

The show started off with a performance by Peaches Christ and Vinsantos as little kids in pajamas. It then seamlessly morphed into a rocking number to the song also available on the SFUSFF trailer.

Doodie Calls was well received. At first I was skeptical of the film's placement in the middle of the lineup (the lineup in the posters was not the final one). The coveted spots in a film festival lineup are generally the opening and the last three spots. But it turned out that the middle was a perfect spot for Doodie Calls.

The majority of the films were about five minutes in length, compared to DC's 13 min running time. The films leading up to Doodie Calls tended toward music videos and experimental animated shorts. They were a great set-up for the more narrative-based Doodie Calls. The crowd absolutely loved the film. And the "explosive" ending was even able to shock a theater full of San Franciscans. I was introduced to the crowd at the end of the screening by Peaches, where the applause got a big boost from Wes and a cheering section led by my friend Daniel and his roommates.

An added bonus of the night was being recognized from the 48 Hour Film Festival, as well. Taj, a roommate of a 48 HR organizer, was at both screenings and introduced himself again at the end.

Some standouts in the festival:

"Slut?" featured a rap song about being sexually free but not a slut. Standard fare for San Francisco, except that the song was spliced with the cartoon "Hello Kitty."

"Get Over it Honey" was the animated tale of gay best friends in San Francisco, separated when one moves to West Hollywood. The San Franciscan visits his friend, but doesn't even recognize him at first due to the super dark tan (with attendent pale sunglass circles), blond highlights and beach-ready party wear. The LA boy is surrounded by a host of bad, but hilarious stereotypes of Southern California gay boys. It's like a gay Borg hive, as the LA crew relentlessly urge the San Franciscan to get a tan, try some "tina" (crystal meth), get laid, and change his wardrobe. This cautionary tale couldn't come at a better time, as I'm heading down to LA for the first time this Friday.

"Entschlossenheit", a music video, was my favorite entry. It featured a bespectacled German in all black, spouting German adjectives to thumping techno music as two women and one man with a fro performed calisthenics in 80s aerobics gear, complete with spandex, headbands and leg warmers. It was the oddest, funniest, most creative entry in a night of some truly underground films.

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