LAFF 2007: The Art of Bore

Thanks to the movie Resolved, discussed in a prior posting, we know that the number one fear Americans have is public speaking, and number two is death.

Dare we suggest that number three might be confinement in a room with a deathly dull public speaker?

It's inside the Billy Wilder Theater, and a group of the artists profiled in a doc we've just seen, titled THE COOL SCHOOL, are coming up to the stage to talk about it. But oh lordy, this moderator...I understand he's an art gallery owner, which is appropriate, but he's not a speaker.

You don't really need or want to read all of his exact words. But it went something like this:

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"Okaaay, um, I know most of these peeeople prooobably need no introduction, because I see a lot of familiar faces out here in the audience, so you knoooow. But for the benefit of those who dooooon't know, I'm going to ask the direeeector of the film to introduce each one of them. But before thaaaat, a little biographical informaaaaation on each one..."

I had to leave. No way a half-hour with this guy in control could possibly be fun.

Public speaking is, if not an art, at least a skill that can be improved with practice. Why, then, do we let just anybody do it? Especially if people really hate it so much. I'm not saying hire me...just someone who enjoys it as much as I do.

As for the movie, it's a fun, jazzy look at L.A.'s first real wave of modern artists, many of whom convened at the Ferus Gallery, who were freed from convention by the fact that L.A. didn't really have any history in that area, and they could make it up as they went along, derided by New Yorkers as "miasma mist in the distance."

(New York art critic types being condescending? My, how unexpected!)

Thi smay be a totally ass-backwards analogy, but it's like Dogtown and Z-Boys, only about art. It doesn't have the same uphill struggle to justify the artists, but back in their day, it was as hard for them as it was more recently for skaters to be taken seriously as athletes.

Jeff Bridges narrates, and Dean Stockwell and Dennis Hopper show up onscreen periodically to offer commentary, talk over one another, or just be generally humorous in their own uniquely weird way. Lots of cool stuff to look at, though one of my other senses was unfortunately engaged with the Russian dude sitting next to me who smelled homeless. The perils of sold-out festival shows, ya dig.

And no, it wasn't the director of Dead Daughters. That guy looks like he bathes.

In the outside world, it's family day at the fest, which means a petting zoo complete with camel, top-your-own cookie bar, free yogurt, chocolate samples, photo ops with a guy in a Winnie-the-Pooh costume, and all kinds of other sugar-related enjoyments guaranteed to make your li'l ones run wild.

Sort of like the kid version of the open bar at the Red Room.

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