Hit the web and get the 411 on Slamdance. Spawned in 1995, this renegade festival has been going strong ever since. I remember my first Slamdance experience in 1995. Spike Lee's brother, Christopher, had a film in the renegade festival (the film was awful!!) and the one screening room had no chairs.... only bean bags and floor space. ugh!! I haven't seen a Slamdance screening since then and thought they must have improved a lot by now. So, I scored 6 tickets to the one and only screening of PETE SMALLS IS DEAD starring Peter Dinklage, Steve Buscemi, Rosie Perez, Tim Roth and Seymour Cassel and directed by Alexandre Rockwell, a protege of John Cassavetes. Picture me and 5 SMC students heading into a room with the other ticket holders and discovering that - YES! - there ARE chairs, AND they're on risers. Sweet! However, there are only 75 chairs and nearly 100 of us. As the last few chairs available became scarce, a musical chairs, keystone cops energy took over and people were flinging their bodies at empty chairs, elbowing and
T-Boning total strangers in their scramble for a seat. Needless to say, some of us ended on the floor and I took a seat on the edge of a riser. Then, I notice a little boy who looks maybe 10 years old holding a microphone and standing in front of the movie screen. Next to him is a keyboard and an accompanist. Hmmmm?? Cut to: 30 minutes later and 3 incredibly looooong and strange musical numbers performed in Barry Manilow-in-Vegas style (which is really weird when a little kid does it!). At first the spirit of the audience was very generous and supportive. C'mon, a cute little kid (turns out he was 12) singing songs he had composed himself about love, longing, heartbreak, the vicissitudes of relationships, and one number that I found quite alarming as the refrain was; "They're coming. They're coming. Watch out. They're coming." Needless to say, a rift quickly formed between audience members who couldn't refrain from cheering the kid on, and those who responded to: "Do you want to hear another one?" with growls and grumbles that would frighten a wolf. Truly bizarre. By the 3rd number, I reeled back and forth between rounds of giddy laughter to existential moments introspection. Audience members, total strangers, shot pleading glances across the room at one another as a collective WHY? hung in the air. Pete Smalls was Dead (though not really), and we were oh so alive to the mystery!!
Jay Surface and Sami Al-Asfour before the TEST on nerves unfolded....
Adrienne Kwok-Lundy and Cynthia Osborne on their little slice of floor heaven.
Grace Bosque wondering....when will this kid STOP!!
Cynthia and Adrienne posing during the Q&A with the director and star: Peter Dinklage (in BG).
Actor Peter Dinklage with Jay Surface and Grace Bosque.
On far left, famed director Alexandre Rockwell, his friend?, Jay, Grace and Sami.