NEWPORT BEACH FILM FESTIVAL 2007: THE ARTFUSION EXPERIMENT

Categories: Film

The best place to drink heavily at Fashion Island is...Red Robin. Unexpected, right? But a Jack-and-Diet there will run you $4.79 plus tax, and it comes in a full-size glass. Don't ask why the price is so strangely to-the-penny; just enjoy the fact that it's a cocktail cheaper than many beers. Other cocktails are similarly good value; a rather picky diner specified the ingredients he wanted in a Zombie, and ended up paying just $6, slices of fruit and all. But then he left half of it behind.

I'm not proud to admit I finished it after he left (with the bartender's encouragement, but that's no excuse). Needed the vitamin C from that orange slice and cherry (that is an excuse. Kind of a poor one, but it is, all the same).

In another liquor-related issue: it turns out that there hadn't been Absolut Vodka at the preceding parties because OCMA doesn't have a liquor license to cover anything more than wine and beer...and yet, last night's party was at American Rag, a clothing store, and vodka was being freely poured. Are we to understand that a clothing store has a liquor license that a museum can't get? Apparently.

The main movie of the night, previously much anticipated, was The ArtFusion Experiment, a film by and about tattoo artist Paul Booth, a guy who looks about 300 pounds, with an inked, mostly shaved head that has a small grouping of long dreads hanging out the very back, like a jack to plug him into the Matrix. The experiment mentioned in the title is one of collaborative, spontaneous art, where like minds get together and draw freehand, improvised images as a team. This can be done in tattoo form, or on paper – as previously mentioned here, Booth and company demonstrated their art the night before, on a willing victim.

Booth is great at what he does, and indeed he and other tattoo artists deserve to be recognized by the art world. With that said, the film isn't very good at all. It's possible to agree with every point it raises while wishing that it had more of a story arc, or had been better lit, or had maybe been made by someone other than its own subject. As a home movie, it beats "Dad grilling burgers in the backyard last summer," but as a theatrical movie, it's not worth paying for. Sorry, Kerry King of Slayer – it's cool you produced it and all, and you're playing to the choir here, but I'm just not digging the tune.

Someone still should do a documentary on tattooing – there's a huge market for it, judging by the inked crowd who turned out to a mall multiplex they'd likely never go near any other time. They deserve a good movie. Go make one.


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