In 1983 when Michael Jackson took the stage at a Motown anniversary and unveiled the "moonwalk," it was as if pop music had suddenly been released from the normal rules of physics and friction. In his short film, "The Art of Weightlessness," Brooklyn-based film producer DB Griffith brings this same sense of epiphany and wonderment to skateboarding.
For 12 minutes, Griffith's camera unblinkingly watches skateboard dancer and artist Bill Shannon as he skates, glides and dances through the streets of New York. In a later segment of the film, Shannon ditches his skateboard altogether and uses only a pair of crutches to move himself around. Even without wheels beneath his feet, he glides across the cement as if it were an ice skating rink. With only a soft peddled hiphop beat in the background, his movements are sexier and more stylish than any big-budget stage production; even one starring J.Lo. If watching Jacko moonwalk across the stage inspired a global exclamation of "Wow," Shannon's performance deserves an even louder, "Holy Shit!" (And he just got an official "Holy Shit": Shannon was recently awarded a so-called "genius" grant from the Guggenheim Foundation.)
The Cut & Paste Festival--of which "Weightlessness" is a part--is a sensational collection of short-subject films about and by skateboarders. Some documentary, some animated, some archival, the films tell an immensely textured story about the heart, mind, and soul of skateboarders. As a collection, the films approach skating culture with the attitude of "if you don't get it, don't ask me to explain it." And, in doing so, they emulate the grinding mentality of skaters and capture its elegance, defiance, and glory. Even though there is only minimal narration in the films, they offer far more telling insight into skater culture than last year's congratulatory Dog Town and Z-Boys. PHIL BUSSE
Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton, Saturday, 7 & 9 pm, $6
Puppets Get Perverse
Just because you're too old to watch Sesame Street doesn't mean that you have to lead a puppetless existence. The Monkey Wrench Puppet Show is a band of puppeteers out of Seattle whose exquisite, larger than life puppets act out dirty scenes of sex and debauchery. Tonight's show is "The Mermaid Who Broke My Fucking Heart," and features an act called "The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, CA," which is based on a Charles Bukowski short story. In it, a bunch of drunks steal the corpse of a hot young lady. (Yikes!) Definitely not for the children or the morally fit. Another scene, called "The Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks," comes from a Pablo Neruda poem, in which a nekkid mermaid walks into a bar full of a bunch of unruly drunks.
As you can probably gather, this is a puppet show you can and should drink to. And since it will be accompanied by a "mariachi clown band" called Los Pinche y Las Estrelladas, a few shots of te-quil-ya might even be in order. So enjoy a night of gruesome hilarity and perversion, wallowing over your lost childhood, all the while, reveling in your sick, disgusting adulthood. MARJORIE SKINNER
Friday, Devil's Point, 5305 SE Foster, 774-4513, midnight, $5, & Sunday, Dante's, 1 SW 3rd, 226-6630, 10 pm, $6
Geek Fair 2003
Toss your pocket protectors and eyeglass repair kits to the heavens in celebration! Those delightful Linux-loving dorks from Free Geek (a non-profit computer recycling org that provides refabs to under-earners) are throwing a FREE COMMUNITY BLOCK PARTY!
If you're eagerly anticipating typical ocher-luster geek costumery, a digital swap meet, and rampant ice cream licking & organic (zit-free) pizza chomping, well then... hit the ENTER button now because your expectations are right on the money!
But, you may be asking, does it get any geekier than that? It sure do! Want to fluff those flat data-buns and kick up your gumshoes? How about Square Dancin' with Billy Martin's old time band? Sure! Geeks dance squarely from noon to 2 pm, and those flat-tire butts will be puffing out like Jiffy-Pop.
Later in the day, Portland's own Boho-absurdist Klezmer ensemble, Vagabond Opera, will aurally & lovingly bitch-slap some musical "cool" into the gathered geeks' psyches--all the while, offering the tender comforts of nerdly melodious camaraderie.
Geek Loafers will have cause to celebrate as well. To top off this tasty nerd sundae, Free Geek's computer swamis will provide a live Internet broadcast of the Fair's activities, in case slackers want to stay home and tinker with their hard drives instead of going outdoors where the sun is. John Dooley
Geek Fair: Sunday, June 29th, noon-6pm, 1731 SE 10th Ave. For full info & schedule times, go to: www.freegeek.org, or tune your browser to http://www.freegeek.org/geekfair/ for the live broadcast the day of the Geek Fair.