Tag Archives: story

It’s Going To Be A Festival

I’ve found a new love.

Not the people-type love, dudes. I’m talking the love of things.

No, not that kind of love either. Perverts.

No, the love I’m talking about is the new-found love I now have for small independent movies and small-scale documentaries, courtesy of my cousin, the Babbling Brook. The BB is the founder of a wonderful film festival called the Key West Film Festival and it’s wonderful.

For any number of reasons. The most obvious being the first two words of its name: Key West. D’uh!

Yeah, the KWFF takes place over five days and is situated in the heart of Key West, on or just off of Duval Street at the historic Tropic Cinema and a few other places around town.

I never in my life conceived that I would not only go see 12 movies in three days while on vacation in Key West of all places, but I did do just that. And I loved it.

Even though my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Seeing More Movies In Three Days Than She’s Seen In The Last Year, and I were only able to make three days of the festival, we saw 12 movies. And, for the most part, they were just outstanding.

The best features, I thought, were the documentaries. I saw some really amazing documentaries that took me into worlds I’d never imagined.

For instance, there was the showing of Mr. Angel, about porn star and transgender activist Buck Angel. He was born a genetic female, but came to realize that not only was she a lesbian, she also was a man. So she began testosterone treatments and other steps, including the top half of her gender reassignment surgery into a maleMr. Angel.

He then turned himself into a hulking, muscled-out, goateed, shaven-headed icon of masculinity, with one slight difference: He kept his vagina in perfect working order. Yeah, dudes. Think on that for a while.

As you might expect, the movie brought out a lot of discussion when it was over. I was of the opinion that his porn career was, for the most part, fueled by his desire for people to desire him just as he was, to receive reassurance that he was not an “oddity.”

Mr. Angel was, in other words, the perfect documentary that informed us of something we’d never known and also provided fodder for long and fruitful discussion.

Bending Steel, on the other hand, did not provoke discussion. Instead it provoked cheers; loud cheers from the entire audience. The documentary told the story of a shy, reclusive New Yorker who decided he wanted to become a performing circus strongman.

You know the type. The dudes who get up on stage and then set about bending solid-steel objects. This little man had that desire. He also had a pathological fear of being in front of crowds and wasn’t all that big.

BendingSteel_poster_thI’m telling you, this documentary was just astoundingly good. We laughed. We cried. We growled in anger. And we all cheered and screamed and almost jumped for joy near the end. This was an hour well spent.

There were more good movies than I have time to talk about here, dudes and dudettes. Suffice to say, I’ve definitely come to the realization that film festivals aren’t just about showcasing snooty, subtitled foreign films that no more than 17 people would ever see (even though there were several of those). They can be a wonderland full of amazing people with fantastic stories to tell and a place for you to listen.

Share on Facebook

Sunday Show: Boulet’s Long Journey

Here’s a lovely little something for you dudes today. Instead of a song, I’ve got a journey for you all to take.

But first, a question: Just how bored would you have to be to seek adventure by crawling into your toilet?

No, seriously.

My answer would probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of “I’m never getting that bored.” Mostly because I have no doubt I’d never make it past the first turn.

Of course, we've still got hangers, so at least that's the same.
We’re long past the toilet here, dudes.

That’s not a problem if you’re in a cartoon, of course. Which is the case with our protagonist in “The Long Journey,” a wonderful graphic story the Bouletcorp website. Not only is the journey long, but it’s astoundingly, amazingly awesome. It’s funny, awe-inspiring and just-plain beautiful.

Written and drawn in an engaging eight-bit, pixelated style by Boulet, a French artist who lives in Paris, “The Long Journey” takes full advantage of the infinite canvas offered by posting a comic on the web.

Instead of pages, the story simply scrolls down and down and down, as we crawl through tunnels, hang over seemingly infinite abysses and meet the most astounding life forms ever imagined.

Several times I found myself staring slack-jawed at the screen as Boulet managed yet another amazing transition from one scene to another in a way that, only minutes before, I would have said was impossible.

Even better, “The Long Journey” is a G to PG rated adventure, with no objectionable words or situations, save for a couple of sections that might have some religious folks getting a bit uptight. Still, even that is more on the level of debate, rather than diatribe, so it’s a good family read.

If you’ve got a good half hour or so, give this a chance. Sit down and enjoy the endless possibilities a fantastic artist can find when he puts his mind to discovering the new.

Good stuff, dudes. Good stuff.

Share on Facebook

Dude Review: Giant!

I got a chance to attend the most recent HeroesCon, which is a comic book convention here in Charlotte.

The event, one of the best-regarded comic book conventions in the country, is held every year around Father’s Day, is sponsored by local comic-book store Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find and is like heaven to geeks like me.

To ride down the escalator to the show floor and listen to the sounds of people arguing the merits of who’s smarter: Jimmy Corrigan or Amadeus Cho. . . Who would win in a fight: Hulk or Thor? Could Superman pick up Thor’s hammer?

It is the music of my people.

One of the best parts about the convention is that it plays host to a veritable host of small-time comic-book creators. These are the folks who aren’t published by the big-time folks at Marvel, DC, Image, Boom, or even Dark Horse. These are the dudes and dudettes who form their own publication firm to put out their own comic books.

These are the fertile fields of independent, non-mainstream comic book creators. And walking through the Artists’ Alley, perusing the various and sundry publications. . . It’s a total blast for me.

As I was aisle cruising on the Saturday of the show, I ran across an interesting little book. And I do mean little. Giant! is four inches by six inches and, despite the name, which suggests something really, really tall, the book is wider than it is tall. A lovely little black-and-white interior tells the story of Deedrick a hapless young man in a medieval walled city.Giant-Website-Banner

Everything goes wrong for poor Deedrick. He accidentally insults the local lord, renders his castle’s gate inoperative and, basically, just messes up the joint. As a punishment, he’s sentenced to being lowered off the top of the castle to scrub off the pigeon poop from the sentient gargoyles that lurk around the heights, serving as protectors when needed.

And, as you might guess, they are needed rather quickly. Once again, by pure happenstance, Deedrick manages to wake a nasty giant from a centuries-long sleep. Of course, it immediately goes on a rampage, as these sorts of things are wont to go. It’s up to Deedrick and a host of blandly engaging characters, including a pretty cool gargoyle, to save the day. If they can stop messing up long enough to actually get it done.

The story is cute and fairly predictable. It’s, well, serviceable. I mean, it gets from point a to point b without too much trouble. Despite what seems like a horrifying danger, it never really feels like anyone is in danger. There’s no real emotional investment in the characters. However, that’s not really necessary.

Writer and artist of Giant!, Chris Wharton, invests his main character with enough bumbling charm and enthusiasm that you don’t really need to get invested in his fate to enjoy reading about him. Wharton’s pencils are instantly engaging, sharing a sort of cartoony or animated simplicity. Despite a paucity of backgrounds, the art was slick enough to really carry the lightweight story.

My one gripe is that the ending came much too easy for our heroes. There’s the suggestion for how to beat the giant, they do it. The giant is beaten. The end. It felt rushed and, when the ending came across as that simple, a rushed ending really feels rushed.

There was a tremendous amount of potential in this story. Considering that Wharton ended the story with a nice little bit that suggests another story on the way, I have a feeling that we’re going to get a chance to watch him improve in the next volume. I’d love to tell you how much the comic costs, but it’s not listed anywhere on the book itself. Giant! originally was printed through Kickstarter, the crowdfunding site that allows creators to solicit money from anyone.

The comic’s website, www.giantcomic.com, hasn’t been updated since it met its funding goal on Kickstarter in 2012. However, Wharton has an art page where you might be able to contact him. If you’re interested, maybe you can get hold of him and buy a comic directly from him. Can’t hurt to give it a try.

Despite the shortcomings, I’d really recommend this comic, especially for the younger readers. I have a feeling little dudes and dudettes in third through sixth grade would really dig this. I’d give this a solid three dudes out of five.

Share on Facebook