SXSW: The Vimeo Theater

The Vimeo Theater

Vimeo is a video-sharing website that paid good money to put its name on the makeshift theater on the ground floor of the Convention Center. As the second largest venue of the festival, its supposed to be home for some of the more popular films. It didn’t really seem that way, since all I saw on the menu were documentaries. Still, the ones that I saw were good….

The Central Park Effect

I know something about birds in New York City. We have the toughest pigeons in the world here. They like to beat up on seagulls, which are why you rarely see the latter, although in the winter they try to take the streets. But that’s not what this film is actually about. It seems that in Central Park, every other species of bird, most of whom are migratory, either visit of live there, the only large place rural enough to be a decent habitat.

Jeffrey Kimball’s documentary tells the story of the park's fauna for a year and quarter, both the birds and bird watchers are profiled, the latter far more than the former, and they make an interesting subculture. The cinematography is excellent, and we get to see dozens of species that few knew were there. In fact we only spy a couple of pigeons. This is either going to show up on NYC public television or nowhere.

Beauty is Embarrassing

Neil Berkeley’s profile of artist Wayne White is one of those films that are either fascinating or boring as hell depending on whether or not you like the subject.

White and his wife Mimi Pond have lived interesting lives. She was a famous underground cartoonist back in the day, and he was one of the top designers on the old Pee-wee's Playhouse TV show and won three Emmys® for it. He then did a few notable projects before going into fine art. Some of what he did was interesting, and the part about Pee-wee certainly grabbed one’s attention, but for the most part, it wasn’t overwhelming. His current work is cute, but not great, and my thumb was itching to change the channel, which is something I couldn’t do in the theater.