In spite of their adorable hound dog eyes and dopey personas, hippos are mean. Every year they kill more people in Africa than any other animal--more than elephants, more than lions, more than snakes. Using their powerful jaws, they crush boats and grab hold of bystanders, pulling them underwater into a death roll. They're just plain mean.
But in January, a group of world-class kayakers went straight into the heart of a hippo habitat (also teeming with poisonous snakes and lurking crocs). Why? To find an even more crushing danger: Whitewater rapids that rear up four stories tall! Waterfalls that hurl boats into the stratosphere. Whirlpools that grab hold and refuse to let go.
As part of the "Elements of Adrenaline Film Festival," Outta Africa is pornography for kayakers--or, for anyone who finds wrestling with Mother Nature an appropriate pastime for grownups. Even while safely sitting 10,000 miles away from the crushing rivers of Africa, the footage is intimidating, exhilarating, and--warning!--may cause pee-pee in the pants.
Outta Africa is joined by two other films. As a personal challenge, Emmy-award winning cinematographer Scott Lindgren produced all three films in less than three months. In 24 Hours, Lindgren follows hot dog skier Shane McConkey. Known for his gravity defying aerial stunts, McConkey leaves behind the skis and sets off with a pack of other Red Bull sponsored thrill seekers to jump off as many cliffs, bridges, or radio towers they can find during the full span of a day. Like a bomb preparing to explode, the ticking clock layers an additional thrill on top of the flips, somersaults, and cord-ripping free falls.
Burning Time, the third film, is a bit more grounded and more daring in its curiosity to explore the depth of "male bonding." Navigating on skis through untouched mountains in Alaska, brothers Zach and Regi Christ face not only sneeze-triggered avalanches, but must also find out whether they even like each other. As an entry to the adventure films category, Burning Time offers emotional seriousness and contemplation that is a mature reprieve from the head-first gusto of other "I dare you" films. Fortunately, these emotional underpinnings don't overwhelm the film. After all, it's the footage that matters. And in all three films, it's hungry, hungry hippo-riffic! PHIL BUSSE
PSU Smith Memorial Union, Room 296, 1825 SW Broadway, Friday, May 9, 7:30 pm, free
4th Annual UFO Festival
First things first: If you're looking for an "anal probe," this event is probably not for you. But if you enjoy talking about "anal probes" (of the third kind) and other alien topics, please consider McMenamins' 4th Annual UFO Festival.
Part serious, part kooky fun, the UFO Fest is a two-day event that gathers the researcher, the crackpot, and the kitch-lovin' enthusiast all in one place--the palatial McMenamins Hotel in McMinnville. On Friday, festivities blast off with an Oregon UFO update, followed by a lecture from smarty-pants UFOlogists Stanton Friedman (the original civilian investigator in the Roswell case!) and Peter Robbins (columnist for UFO Magazine).
Saturday, start your morning with an "alien abduction workshop" at 9 am, followed by a live staging of the "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast at 1. Then break out the aluminum foil for the UFO parade at 3 pm, and the Alien Costume Ball at 8 pm (Yum! Sexy moon dolls!). But unbelievers should definitely catch the 4 pm UFO Video Film festival, showing "irrefutable" evidence of alien crashes, crop circles, and an extraterrestrial base on Mars! (Goddamnit! We were supposed to get there first!!) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
For directions and details go to
www.ufofest.com/McHO/ufo/. Friday and Saturday, May 9 and 10, almost all events are free.
The DeCompser Series
Before it plunged into the lower realms of vapidity and Hell, MTV had a pretty good hook. Pairing music and film footage, it re-popularized an experience that hadn't enjoyed prominence since the silent film era. Many within its generational grasp remain fascinated with the combination, which is easy enough to experiment with at home. (For instance, who hasn't checked out how the family reunion picnic footage transforms in profundity when backed by Appetite For Destruction?)
The DeComposer series is a three-part program that offers a sophisticated collaboration of film and music. West Coast bands will perform soundtracks composed exclusively for a number of short films, and the subject matter ranges from a striptease performed for a giant teddy bear (Convention Girls) to the 1968 Chicago National Democratic Convention (The Streets Belong To The People).
Participating bands include Quasi, The Sensualists, and The Topiary Kings, to name a few, and this Friday's first installment features The Distance Formula, Jupiter, and a new local project, Valet. They'll be performing their musical accompaniments against a big screen that takes you from the assembly lines of a Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan to a small town in South Dakota during the Depression. And no Carson Daly in sight. MARJORIE SKINNER
Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy, 281-4215, Friday, May 9, 11 pm, $10 or $25 for all three shows