Monday, May 16, 2005

Mad Hot Ballroom plus Merge, big Phat liar

Friday night, I caught Mad Hot Ballroom, a documentary on the balldancing program at New York City public schools. Really enjoyable if uncomplicated flick.

The film follows three groups of 5th graders - children of Dominican immigrants in Washington Heights, working class kids in Bensonhurst and more well to do, multicultural kids in Tribeca - as they learn their steps and prepare for the citywide competition. But like all good films about competition, Mad Hot is less about ballroom as it is about the kids, their teachers and growing up in New York.

It reminded me a bit of Spellbound, but as Gothamist's writeup points out, this filmmakers take a more heartwarming, less cartoonish take on their subjects. I'm sure I wasn't alone in coming away from Spellbound being worried about the emotional adjustment of some of the kids. There's none of that here. Instead, you see kids being kids, except they're picking up self confidence and social skills. If you're looking for overbearing parents and maladjusted children, this is not your film.

Anyhoo, I had a great time and the rest of the theater seemed to dig it too. And as Friday night was the first showing in the City, the director and the editor answered questions afterwards, a nice bonus. Check it out if/when it comes to your neck of the woods. It opened in NYC Friday and it starts opening elsewhere next weekend. I'm sure it'll get to your town eventually.

  • Via extrawack!, Coolfer on Merge's big push for the new Spoon album and indie albums in unexpected places. For once, it seems you can help the indies by buying at the big boxes.

    Now, if Arcade Fire (who have been huge by indie standards) stay with Merge, one wonders how much muscle Merge put into marketing their next release.

  • Russel Simmons: "I'm full of shit".

    Actually, Simmons said "It is how you develop an image for companies. So in other words, you give out false statements to mislead the public so they will then increase in their mind the value of your company.", but my way's more to the point. The article's interesting, if mostly for its look at how "urban" fashion labels operate.
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