Ebertfest: Day 3, part one
Oy!! This festival is starting to exhaust me!
That was my thought this morning when I rolled outta bed at 9:30A.M. to get some books autographed by Roger and to attend a forum about film. That exhaustion turned into exhilaration by the time I reached the theater.
I just saw Begging Naked, a documentary by Karen Gehres. This film was extraordinary. It ripped my heart out and enlightened me at the same time.
That’s the thing about this festival, every film is magnificent. And because of the quality of the work, your senses are thrown into overdrive. I am overwhelmed by the importance and impact of this art form.
But back to Begging Naked…
Roger told me the preliminary line up of Ebertfest back in October and so when I read the title: Begging Naked and learned the synopsis, I knew it was going to be spectacular. I contacted Karen Gehres via the film’s web site back in October and she responded. She said it was a miracle that Roger contacted her, as she had no distribution. Roger received the tape – unsolicited – which usually results in it sitting in “the pile,” but Chaz says it somehow got picked from the pile of tapes. Roger viewed it and of course, realized it’s brilliance.
Here is a brief recap of the film:
The filmmaker Karen became friends with Elise Hill back in the late Eighties when both were artists. Elise knew that Karen was trying to do film and so invited her to document her story. Elise had a crazy life story: teen runaway to New York City, turned hooker, turned junkie, turned stripper who just happened to be this AMAZING arist! She made jewelry, DOLLS (fabulous dolls) sculture and paintings all the while living in a crawl-space converted into a living artist studio in Manhatten. We get to watch interviews with this stunning, tall, streetwise blonde and view her incredible work. Some of her works depict live sex shows at one of the more famous theaters in Times Square (pre Guiliani clean up) where she worked stage side painting as the girls did their thing and the patrons (mostly men) gawked. It’s very real and very raw. We also watch her descent into mental illness that resuts in her being evicted and becoming homeless. There is a scene where we watch her on Eviction Day when the building’s doorman refuses to allow her access to her place to retrieve her coat and her cat.
I have nothing! Won’t you please let me get my coat and my cat?
It broke my heart.
Elise has twenty years of her life, art, clothes-everything in that space. It about killed me to watch this heartbreaking scene and the subsequent scenes after as we watch this brilliantly talented, smart, funny woman break down…all to the music of Marianne Faithful… so perfect!
Elise has lived in Central park for five years now…
Betcha I will never look at a homeless person the same way again because of Elise Hill and Karen Gehres.
Karen brought a few of Elise’s paintings for sale after the screening. Guess who bought one?
YEP!!! I purchased a painting for very little money (it all goes to Elise) and I could die from happiness!!
I have no photos from today because my fucking camera battery died!!! GRRRRR…
But never fear! Mama got in a taxi and bought a charger from Best Buy. Hello!!!
I also managed to get invites to two after-parties… y’all know I had to get my camera working.
P.S. We festival viewers and guests are now a huge family.
We all greet each other and pal around.
See ya later!! See ya tomorrow!
I got so much to say but I am trying to keep it current and so I will do a more intensive reporting when time allows… so far it’s film after film and by the time the Q & A and meeting the filmmakers is over, it’s time for bed!!
I am so happy to be here. This is amazing!!
Tonight we view: Frozen River..
Tags: Begging Naked, dolls, ebertfest, eviction, frozen river, Guiliani, homelessness, Karen Gehres, Linkedin, Lynne Jordan, lynne jordan & the shivers, lynne jordan and the shivers, new york city, Roger Ebert, roger ebert.com, Times Square
Filed under: In the Life of a Diva