Indie views are good for me and you
THE BIG EVENT: Longbaugh Film Festival
The evacuation routes are cleared, the emergency shelters are ready, and all the children know how to duck and cover.
It's 1955, and the city of Portland is bracing for the H-bomb. So begins the locally made documentary 'The Day Called 'X,' ' which is primarily a profile of talk-show host Clyde Lewis but manages a montage effect that connects the dots between underground culture, conspiracy theory and a general sense of impending doom.
Footage of a Cold War educational film is interspersed with scenes from Lewis' now-canceled call-in radio show, 'Ground Zero,' which covered issues such as alien autopsy, modern-day witches and whether a curse cast on George W. Bush would have any measureable effect.
Along the way, Thee Slayer Hippy, Qaolin the Klingon and a former Miss Nude Oregon also make appearances.
Director Curtis Lee Fulton's work is low-budget, at best. Neither the sound nor the image quality is good, and Fulton certainly could have delved more deeply into the question of where Lewis' embrace of occult and sci-fi themes ends and his self-parody begins. But who cares?
The soundtrack by Portland retro new wave punkers the Epoxies rocks so hard, and suits the film so well, that all is forgiven.
'The Day Called 'X' ' plays 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Laurelhurst Theater as part of this weekend's Longbaugh Film Festival, and it's a perfect example of what makes festivals like this important.
Without a local indie-film fest, you probably never would get a chance to see it. Of course, with almost 50 movies playing in three venues in three days, you're still not going to have a chance to see everything.
Documentaries are a big part of the festival. Thursday's opening-night marquee film was 'Darius Goes West,' about a young man with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (also shows noon Saturday, Laurelhurst).
'Protesting the Dixie Chicks' looks at the furor over a country music star's anti-Bush remarks from the pro-Bush perspective, and plays alongside 'Storytellers,' a behind-the-scenes look at actors at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (7:30 p.m. Friday, Laurelhurst; 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Living Room).
And 'Arid Lands' tells the scary story of the Hanford nuclear site (2:30 p.m. Saturday, Living Room).
Check out local celebrities Art Alexakis and Daria O'Neill in 'Room to Breathe' (9 p.m. Friday, Living Room; 8:20 p.m. Saturday, Laurelhurst) and some local scenery in 'Spiral' (9 p.m. Saturday, Clinton Street Theater).
And don't forget about Lil' Longbaugh, a special program of indie films for the rated-G set (noon Saturday, McMenamins Kennedy School).
- Anne Marie DiStefano
Through Sunday, April 1, various locations, www.longbaugh.com (synopses and schedules listed under 'Blogroll'), $8, $20 for an all-day pass