Sunday, October 31, 2010

Super Duper Sao Paulo Film Festival

Hillbilly at a Film Festival Edition: Part 2

      Waking up is always the hardest part especially after a full day of driving, walking, watching movies, standing in lines, eating food and figuring out the subway. Luckily we had bought some croissants at Bella Paulista the night before so it was a lazy morning of munching in bed while deflecting house keeping from the door. Much like Bill Hicks I wonder if the words on what I think reads Do Not Disturb really translates into Knock Incessantly.
       We started off this morning with the express interest in going to the Sao Paulo Museum of Art to check out Wim Wenders photo exhibit. It read in the Film Guide that if you had tickets from any of the Mostra Films that you would get in the exhibit for free. This turned out to be a lie of course, the film guide is full of them from telling you a movie has English Subtitles to free museum tickets. Of course to give the promoters a break I imagine that it is very difficult to orchestrate so many things at the same time and then print a reliable guide for a 12 day event.

      On the way up Paulista to the museum we happened open a film crew recording a bit for a TV show called Aline or so we think. We stood there and watched them film for about 15 minutes while I took many, many shots with my Nikon.... Japanese Photographer strikes back.

     It was really cool as I have never seen anything filmed for anything other than some dirty WKU film students wondering around downtown Bowling Green, KY filming something that will never see the light of day and the occasional TV news crew. They took take after take, with a dolly shot of Maria walking down Paulista bumping into people from all walks of life, the cop, the mother, the rock n rollers, the fashionistas, the business men and of course the Tourist from Beaver Dam, KY. Well I might have made up that last part as they weren't really interested in my bald ass running through the scene, especially the Security Guard that was standing in front of us. She thought it was way less cool than I did.
    After watching them shot the same thing 15 times we walked the rest of the way to the Museum to be told that no, there was never ever going to be a free admission to anything ever. We paid the money, and checked out the German Painters before moving on to Wim Wenders photos. I can't really say that I loved all the German paintings, they were trying to show the difference between East German artist and West German which was interesting but still, meh. I did like one painting that read Fuck The Police which I felt had a message to it. 
     Ana and I took the lift to the 1st floor and finally came face to face with Wim Wenders photos that had supposedly been blown up to 3 meters in some instances but we only found one or two that were in such large proportions. We bumped into the blonde woman that was with Wim Wenders the night before walking away with a video camera, still don't know if she is a daughter, wife or an assistant. The photos were great by the way but then again I love photos. Some were a little meh but most were good, of course the man being a director has an eye for framing a shot. In that there can be no doubt. 

     We left the museum and walked downhill to our next theater which was located several blocks from Paulista Ave in a Mall. We showed up, got our tickets, wondered around to the food court found some strange food place called McDonald's whatever that is and had something called fritas and a quartero. I don't know what that means but it was good. Tasted familiar. 
     The movie we went to see was called Red Light Revolution which you can read about on my other site Brief History in Bullshit. It was really funny I can't remember the last time I laughed so much in a movie. I really think the director and producer understand that the one ingredient that is great for comedic films. Jokes. Apparently if you put jokes in a comedy it causes people to laugh. 

     After the movie and turning in our rating cards we went back to the hotel via Taxi because we were both worn out from the night before running uphill trying to escape phantom muggers. The cab driver was "stressed" Ana said as he suggested a quicker route that ended up in a traffic jam. Lucky for him I guess. Once on Paulista Ave he passed another Cabby even though we only had one more block to go, the look on the the other cab drivers face was one of anger and whatthefuckness. He started yelling at our driver as we zipped by him. As he pulled up on the street to let us out, the other cabby parked next to him and started yelling. Something about common courtesy and not being an asshole I think. Always good advice in the big city.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sao Paulo International Film Festival and Road Show

Hillbilly At The Sao Paulo Film Festival Edition: 
Day One

     Ana and I went to the SP Film Festival over the weekend to try and cram as many films into our eye holes as possible. We had to coordinate so that we crammed as many titles that also had English subtitles in because my Portuguese is at the fetal grade level.

     I always do my movie reviews on another blog, so if you want to know what I thought of the movies we watched you need to go to my other blog A Brief History in Bullshit.

     I have always dreamed of going to a film festival ever since I was a little film watching kid. I'd hear on TV about some Film Festival somewhere around the world and you'd see all the stars lining up but you'd also see these young upcoming directors who were just trying to get their film out in front of some people. Or I'd hear about a festival that was just showing a certain actors or directors work, like a Woody Allen Festival or Schwarzenegger Fest and you could get tickets to see as many as their films as your body could hold. I'd hear about these things but I knew I'd never experience it because I live in BFE, KY, USA. Where do these things happen in the United States, primarily in LA and NY. What do you get in the "Heartland", fucking 600 showings of The Waterboy or G.I. Joe and three days blink and it is gone showing of a Woody Allen movie. Owensboro, KY had three theaters when I was a kid now they have the one multiplex that only shows Huge Features and all the rest have been converted to churches. Personally I'd rather watch a movie than listen to some jive ass preacher talk about heaven and hell but I understand that there is a lot more money in God and judging what other people are wearing on Sunday than in movies. 

     Ana and I arrived in Sao Paulo just knowing that the weather service must have gotten it right this time around. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, fool me a third time and you really should just give up trying to predict the weather because you suck. Well, they suck. The predictions which is what they shall forever now be called because a charlatan predicts a scientist forecasts was for a low of 63F and the high of 73F. Nope, it had to be in the mid 80s at least which is a little different from a nice cool 70 believe me. Damn you, damn you to hell. So we checked into our hotel room with bags full of long sleeve shirts and sweaters just knowing that it was going to be cool all weekend. Foiled again.

      The first movie that we watched was The Silence which you can read more about here on my other blog.

     After the movie we walked around Paulista Ave some then went back to the room to plan for the rest of the night. Ana has been dying to go to a posh place with a view of everything in the city but the weather men had actually gotten the cloudy part of their prediction right unfortunately they got the rain part wrong because there wasn't a rain drop in the sky that night. She was hoping to see a sunset but the weather blocked out the sun so we thought we would try and catch another movie. I won the coin toss so we tried to make it across town to the William S Burroughs documentary that was playing in the Sao Paulo Cultural Center.
    After we almost walked a block in the wrong direction after exiting the Subway Station (I am not allowed to say who was in the lead at this time but it wasn't me) we arrived to see a huge line. Our hearts sank, Ana wondered if this was the ticket line. I was sent ahead to scout out what the deal was and I found that this was just the line to get into the theater. Seeing that my Portuguese is still at the level of small child Ana went to the ticket window to inquire about tickets. The woman told her that all three showings sold out within 15 minutes of becoming available. After I heard this and walked back along side the line it made more sense to me, lots of aging hipsters and young nerdy bohemian types were in the line. Another way of saying that is a whole lot of readers were in that line and I'm not talking about Twilight readers either.

    It all worked out in the end besides the fact of not seeing old Bill Burroughs. We had to book across town either way to catch Wim Wenders giving a lecture on the movies of his life. It was 20 subway stops plus a walk up hill both ways to get to that venue and home again but it was well worth it. We arrived at the Cinemateca to an empty hall with two book stalls set up that were being packed away. At one stood the 100 year old former storyboard artist for Akira Kurosawa, setting against a wall was the Film Festival Organizer and also in the room was his girlfriend who was also an organizer. The problem was of course that there were 200 seats available to see Director Wim Wenders give his lecture but all those seats had been sold to watch the movie Wings of Desire. Even though the film guide said that the lecture was free to anyone that showed up  it was first come, first serve when it came to seating and all the seats had an ass parked in them at the moment.
     So in an act of bravery and desperation Ana went up to the female organizer and gave her our sad tale of walking uphill for 20km to get there and that I was an American who was unfrozen by scientist and was unused to the Brazilian scary modern ways. I ran out of gas. I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts.
    After all that she had to let us in at least to stand in the back which so agreed to do if there weren't any seats left. So we were left to our own devices while the movie was still running, a few more people were showing up and then this tall lanky fellow with long curly hair showed up with a gorgeous blonde. Ana grabbed my arm and whispered that's him, that is Wim Wenders. He walked past us a few times, girl in tow as we stood there like schoolgirls mumbling. I kept teasing Ana that I was going to go all paparazzi on him and she kept punching my arm and telling me that no, I wasn't. Which made it even more fun to do when he was standing directly behind her in the open area.
    He must have wondered around the place for 10 minutes, walking to the outside courtyard and farting around I guess waiting for his movie to be over so he could go and make his lecture and get the hell out of there. Finally after he walked past us for the 11th time Ana turns to me and says, if he walks past one more time I'm going to ask for a photo, do you think that would be all right. I said I guess what else does he have to do right now but glad hand. So on his 12th lap she snatched his arm and started what I can only say was nervous bantering. "Big fan of your work... appreciate your films...thank you for coming here...can I please take a photo with you..." In very calm, quiet English with a German accent he replied "Do you have a photographer". "Yes" she replied. "Does he have a flash". "Yea" I replied. "Then you may take the picture" and bam that is how I got a photo of Ana with Wim Wenders.

Ana and Wim

     The lecture was great he was really good natured and funny through out and like most cinema buff he couldn't stop. He would say this is the last film that I am going to talk about then he would go on and talk about three other films that he thought were important to him. Earlier in the night I bought a little notebook and pen to carry around with me at the bookstore because I didn't have my phone which I usually use to keep notes. Ana borrowed it and wrote all the films he discussed as did a few other film students in the crowd. He must have talked for at least an hour, quite a few people left in the middle but I just assumed it was because they didn't offer a translation to what he was saying. 
     We barely made it back to our Subway Stop in time because they close the station every night for a few hours to do maintenance and things of the like. As we stepped of at the stop on Paulista the announcement started about how the station would be closing in 3 minutes. Get your shit and get out. We got off the escalator just as they were locking up the turnstiles. If we had just been ten more minutes at the Cinemateca we would have been screwed because cabs like cops are hard to find when you need one. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Fathers Pride

Definitely A Hillbilly in Brazil Edition

     I've been thinking these last few months what would my dad think about me being in Brazil again. While I am sure that he would have had a mild freak out because even though he was the man he was still a parent I think in my heart he would have thought it a hoot.

     I think he would have gotten a kick out of me traveling here and all over the United States with Ana last year. He loved to travel even though some of his choses weren't exactly all that great. (How many times can you go to Kansas isn't once too many) I'm pretty sure he would have loved Ana to death as well. I haven't meet anyone yet that doesn't like her except for Old Crazy Bill the Mail Carrier and that is only because he hates everything and everyone on this Earth except possums and trannies.
     I also think he would have been proud of me making here by myself both times. This is the same man that told me before my first flight in 2000 that I'd be so nervous on the tarmac that "they wouldn't be able to drive a toothpick up your ass with a sledgehammer". Here I am Pop, numerous flights later in Brazil, I've flown to Rio, Sao Paulo, Baltimore, Detroit and out of Boston. I know enough to find my seat, dump all my change before walking through the detectors, don't mention bombs or dope being hard to pack and to always grab as many free drinks and peanuts on the flight as possible because you got to get your moneys worth. Even if you are eating peanuts on the way home from the airport you have to stick it to the man somehow. 

   I have to though that I think probably he would have been beside himself with pride this afternoon. After class as I stood on Ana Costa waiting for my ride, I let the longest, loudest fart that I have ever heard in my life. A fart so loud that I could hear it over the Onibus and the traffic. A fart that lasted over two presidential administrations. A fart so loud that all the pigeons in Santos suddenly took to the air for a moment. It was glorious and I couldn't stop laughing because I knew my dad would have been proud of that. 

    This post was supposed to be about the Sao Paulo Film Festival but that will have to wait until the next one. That and I have to finish writing it up. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another Thing About Dentist

     I would just like to say that if for any reason it seems that I am being mean or saying bad things about my dentist that that was truly not me intention. My Brazilian Dentist has been very kind and considerate and has helped me in a lot of ways not to mention just the costs alone. Also she is more personable than any other dentist I have ever had who usually for one reason or another seems to have an assembly line mentality to dental work probably from just the number of patients. Of course they don't charge assembly line costs in the states, they charge hand made custom teeth prices.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Tooth Extraction

Hillbilly in Brazil Edition

     I got a wisdom tooth and a broken 2nd molar extracted Saturday afternoon by my dentist T. Mengele whose great grandfather I think might have been German who moved here after WW2 but I am not sure. The name does sound familiar though but I can't put my finger on it.

     I'm not saying that this round was a little more painful but what I am trying to say that shit fucking hurt like a motherfucker. Damn that hurt! No amount of novocaine or slaps to the face could stifle the pain made worse to the fact that I had developed an infection under the very tooth that she was extracting.
    My dentist is very good and professional even with blood on her glasses she was top notch. I tried to remain calm throughout the procedure the wisdom tooth came out like it was nothing making me believe that I was going to be out of that chair in no time flat. Then she went to work on the 2nd molar and things went down hill from there. I believe in the post extract play-by-play interview that the root and somehow grown into the bone of the skull thus making it a total bastard to remove. (I am paraphrasing of course) The roots were all crazy and sideway and the infection wasn't making things all that easy either. It was bad is all I can say I actually was covered in sweat when I got out of the chair and had teared up a few times during the pulling part. You know that when your shirt is soaked with sweat that you had a good visit at the dentists. She finally got part of the molar out after drilling it in half but they had to take a break because I started laughing about it. I must have sat there laughing for about 5 minutes and I still don't know if it was nervous laughter or just relief that the pain was almost finished. Or maybe I just like to perpetuate the idea that most Americans are a little nuts. I seriously doubt any amount of sedative would have worked except maybe morphine or whiskey. I am sure it would have hurt worse back in the states because of the post operative procedure they do to your wallet.

     All this happened on Saturday so I am taking a few days off to recover. I didn't manage to get to school this morning because of the recovery plus there was a monsoon going on outside when I awoke this morning. As much as I like answering questions about Justin Bieber at school even I needed a break from such queries. That and walking through shitstorm two blocks to the bus stop and carrying what would have been a stick which started out as an umbrella and then waiting for the bus to take 15 minutes to arrive while missing a chunk of skull, and standing shoulder to shoulder for 20 miles, well it wasn't appealing today. So I decided to sleep another 6 hours this morning or at least my body decided.

     At least that is what I am telling everybody.

Friday, October 1, 2010

There Is No "I" in Onibus...Oh Wait There Is

 Hillbilly In Brazil Edition

     I knew I said I was going to write about Justin Bieber or meeting Matthew Shirts in the last blog but I think that is rapidly becoming a lie. OK, Justin Bieber is a robot built by Music Execs and I stood next to Matthew Shirts long enough to get my picture taken at the Tarrafa Literature Festival last Sunday. Today I am going to talk about riding the public bus in the morning which has been a new treat for this old country boy. The only bus that I have ever rode on a regular basis was a School Bus, the last time was 1993.

Cool Flame Job

     I have been taking the Onibus since the second week of school when waking up my girlfriend was becoming increasingly dangerous. Ana finally just told me you need to take the #29 to get there and the #42 to get home, here is some change, here are the door keys, let me sleep. SLEEP!!!! So there I was at the bus stop waiting with the other strap hangers for the right set of numbers to float in front of me.
     This morning was one of those great mornings when the bus that you have waited for for 10 minutes only slows down enough for you to see that there is no fucking way you are getting aboard. I'm not saying it was anymore overcrowded then say a train in India during the 1950's because at least the onibus didn't have people with chickens riding on the roof. It did however have people stuck in the front door well, asses pressed against the front windscreen like a jar of people with wheels.

Artist Rendering

     Even the bus driver wore a worried expression on his face as he slowed down enough in front of our bus-stop to show his reasoning for not stopping. Well shit, another 10 minutes surely another onibus will come through here, I mean I am standing on the Beach Avenue right, buses come through here all the time some with standing room even.
     Finally a half packed bus did arrive and I clambered on board with my $R2.50 in hand ready to get through the turnstile and join my other onibus buddies in various positions of discomfort. "Buy the ticket, take the ride" is my motto for the onibus anyways. I know this is sounding like one huge complaint about the busing system but I don't think this is just typical of Santos or even Brazil. I am fairly certain people are packed into buses around the world during these hours of the morning with the exception of maybe New York City and Tokyo were they are packed into Subway Cars. This is just how the public transportation rush hour world works.
    The morning onibus is a fun mix of riding a rickety rollercoaster and an elevator. You get the pleasure of thinking you are going to die with the experience of not making eye contact or talking with the other passengers. Buy the ticket, get crammed into a confined space with strangers, the driver could possibly have a death wish, be drunk or both much like a carnie at any festival. There is also the constant braking and acceleration, the honking at bikers, pedestrians, dogs, bums, other buses and on top of all this you can't see anything except maybe some buildings in your peripheral. Is the driver heading the right way down the street or straight into oncoming traffic? Are we parked on the railroad tracks? Being sucked into a flying saucer? T-Rex attacking us? Who knows all I can see in front of me is a fat woman with some perm farm going on on top and I just know she will get out before me crushing my crotch into either the handrail or the shoulder that is in front of me as she hustles toward the door. Or perhaps she will barricade the aisle when I need to get off the bus. I can't speak Portuguese elegantly enough to ask her to PLEASE (por favor) move her fat ass (bunda) out of the way because I wanna get outta here, get to the house (casa) and drink a coke (coke).