Friday, April 29, 2005

"The F Word,"

I heard something about a press-conference last night. ick.
How appropriate then that yesterday's movie was "The F Word." It was pretty great. It was shot in nine days and cost $6,000.00 to make and, in homage to Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool, it combined actors and real people who came in and out of protests at the Republican National Convention last Summer. I was impressed at how good the thing looked - given the "man-on-the-street" quality of it. The basic story was a guy walking from lower Manhattan to Central Park, on the premise that he was a radio host whose show was going off the air because of FCC fines. One of the luckiest parts of the film was that the film-makers managed to be there when that dragon caught on fire in front of Madison Square Garden in a still-murky accident. The charges against Josh Banno, who was accused of lighting the fire were recently dropped. They also got some great footage of very brutal arrests of Critical Mass riders, which they inter-cut cleverly with Mike Bloomberg's hypocritical speech at the convention. My labor union activist friend who joined me for the film wanted very much to know, was the "construction worker" who argued in favor of Ralph Nader at a hot-dog stand in Tompkins Square park real? I found out that indeed, he was an actor.
Unfortunately, the idiot from Gawker who went to the premier party didn't know anything about the left in NY, knew so little in fact, that he wondered why some "left-Jesus Freak" deserved to be in a movie when Rev. Billy was pointed out to him. I guess Gawker's writers don't even read the NYT It bugs me that someone who doesn't do any work can have so many readers.
Bizarrely, some people that I vaguely know were in the movie. There was of course, indie-actor Ed (now "Edoardo Ballerini"), who was in my circle of friends, and with whom I once had a big fight at Wesleyan. I don't remember what it was about, but I proudly disliked him from then on. He recited a Walt Whitman poem during the dream sequence... Then there was Owen, who I recall meeting in Minnesota; he was an ex-Special Forces marine who was spending as much time as possible in Cuba, and when mention was made of his ex-marine status in the post-film Q&A I realized that the vague familiarity that I felt while he was on-screen was not in fact a wannabe-friend-of-movie-people fantasy. And yes, it was my email pen-pal in that first scene, sporting a beard in the bell-ringing protest. I had thought I was imagining things.
And now, it's time to stop blogging...Once again Amy Goodman has found some good music, defying her usual bad musical taste -- a montage of different people singing "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime." (on this link, you can hear Studs Terkel interview Yip Harburg about the song.

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