Tuesday, October 5, 2010

First Friday Shorts, Oct 1, 2010 by Howard Salmon

Very enjoyable First Friday Shorts. Lots of creativity, originality, and humor: moustache rides, the return of the Wambolt brothers!

There really is a scene happening at the Loft with First Friday Shorts. There are a few familiar names that consistently submit films, and it seems that Max Cannon (the MC) is friendly with many of them. In fact, as I sat there, watching short films, watching the audience hoot and holler, and watching Max moderate the whole shebang, I suddenly felt like I was witnessing something significant, and I’ve come to a few conclusions: low-budget, hastily thrown together films are the “new punk rock”; for businesses to grow and thrive, they must create their own communities and subcultures; and that video (and film – same thing) is the preferred art form for today’s kids.  The movies are just about the same length as a pop song (i.e. about 3 minutes), and there’s a strong interactive experience: between the MC (Max), the audience, and the filmmaker.  The only other place you can get this type of audience participation is in a nightclub, watching a band. The Loft, with FFS, appears to have bridged the difference between watching movies and attending the live show. 

The winning film tonight was called “$40 Shy” by Grant Hunter. The story was about a guy who was telling his girlfriend what he did over the weekend—how he had a “Lost Weekend” with a friend of his, which included drugs and sex with a prostitute, all paid for with his girlfriend’s credit card.  The audience loved this movie, cheering as if the home team had just scored a touch down. This film started out with a couple in bed talking to each other, while the “flashback” part of the movie was composed of a series of still black & white photos that illustrated a voice over narration of the events in the story.  Simple but effective.

It seems as if some of the film makers are friends with each other, and joining forces to increase their chances of winning the prize. This became clear with three separate films that were shown one after the other, all which contained the same actors: Jesse Moore’s “Taco Stand”, Nick Wambolt’s “Inbred Auto Repair”, and Tim Wambolt’s “Moustache Ride”. The Wambolt brothers are local celebrities for their submission last month, which completely satirized Mike Sterner, Max Cannon, and First Friday Shorts—and ended up winning the $200 prize. This month, they each turned in weaker entries, but Tim Wambolt’s “Moustache Ride” turned out to be the running joke of the evening, with Max using every opportunity he could to taught each film maker with remarks such as “speak up, as if you had a moustache!”, or “how many of you here would give this guy a moustache ride?!” (or something to that effect)

One movie that I liked was called “GTFO”, which stands for “Get the F*ck Out!” The movie starts with one guy shouting at another “get the f*ck out of my house!”, only to find that “f*ck” is a substance that’s alive in his refrigerator, and needs to be removed. The movie is thus about the process of  getting the “f*ck” out of one’s house. Apparanantly, it requires a sponge mop.

Other movies screened tonight were: “I’ll Kill You And Your Whole Family” by Diana Stapleton (a warped and twisted version of the old “Mr. Bill Show” from Saturday Night Live, but without Mr. Bill); Grant Nelson’s “Vampires of Last Christmas”, which was about a spoof band giving a spoof interview (in the studio) about what it was like making their (spoof) album.; and a movie called “Shocking Shameless Shindig”, which juxtaposed shots of three sexily-dressed girls (with rifles) playing cards in the wash vis-à-vis scene from old black and white animated cartoons.

The last movie not gonged was a low-budget Kung-Fu action film called “Short Fists”. This featured some hastily-recorded footage of two brothers (one tall and chubby, the other short and small) fighting either with their Kung Fu moves. But the real star of that movie was the overdubbed sound track: all of the dialogue was added later as a voice-over, which didn’t quite synch up, just like those old Kung Fu movies! Brilliant touch.

After the audience voted for their fave movie, Grant Hunter marched to the stage to get his giant $200 check. While posing for photos, Max gave Grant a peck on the cheek. At First Fridays, you can feel the love, big time.

Howard Salmon is the author of “Al Perry Comix”, and is the publisher of “SLIT” music & art magazine. His website is www.howardsalmon.com