beauty-is-embarrassingI love documentaries.

It’s almost a sickness. If I’ve told you this before, I can assure you, I’ll tell you a thousand more times before you finally decide you can’t deal with the word anymore and, like my friend, you decide we have to call it something different – like a schnorkelbortz – in order to remember it more easily and keep it interesting.

That’s a true story. I call a documentary a schnorkelbortz in regular conversation. “I watched this schnorkelbortz the other day on sleep and it was great!” has actually happened.

Every few months I just decide on a Sunday morning that it’s going to be a documentary day. I warn my husband, remind myself there are kids in my house (so no documentaries on the Red Light District of anywhere, ever) and get down to business.

The first on my list is always a food or religion documentary. How I have not run out of these yet is beyond me. I mean, they are just prolific. Thank goodness because when I run out I don’t know what I’ll do with myself. Also, I’ve decided no more National Geographic documentaries. They make them an hour and a half but I just fast forward to the last 20 minutes and BAM! all the information I need in one compact space. The other hour is stretched out re-enactments. A total snooze-fest.

After I get the regulars out of the way (which I’ll be reviewing in the future) I’m able to branch out for more interesting fare.

Yesterday was Beauty is Embarrassing and it was wonderful.

From his Emmy winning work on Pee Wee’s Playhouse to the work he did that won him an MTV astronaut man for the Smashing Pumpkins video Tonight, Tonight — Wayne White has done more (and in more ways) than I’ll ever even dream of doing. Puppets, voices, drawings, paintings, found object art, mixed media, and he married well.

Because the moments they show Mimi Pond (who, FYI, has the best LinkedIn job title EVER) are absolutely classic. I want to be like her. She is talented, she is beautiful, she is smart, she is funny, she is stylish. You can find her blog (including her first web comic) over here and it’s poignant and a feeling I thought only I felt but someone else put it there in a comic with words and pictures and expressed it in a way that made me laugh and cringe at the same time because it was so real. I look forward to getting hold of more of her work in the future.

That’s not to say Wayne White – the star of the documentary (or is it a biopic?) – is not entertaining. Far from it. He’s got energy and inspiration in bucketfuls. He broke into the art world with cuss words and bawdy humor and his amazing pop art style.

It made me feel like I could never be as good or prolific as he is, but at the same time gave me hope I could actually just do something instead of just focusing on the never-good-enough aspect.

When the movie was over I felt satisfied, but I wanted more. I wanted to have dinner with his family and exchange crazy stories with Mimi. Of course, since I’m not an artist my stories would all be kind of lame and weird – but in my fantasy world I’m charming and witty and we talk about art and design and what MC Escher thought about before he fell asleep at night. All very classy but gritty, too.

…and probably not classy at all, I’m just pretending it would be classy for you guys because I’d hate for you to think I’m not super classy aaaall the time. I mean, then you might judge me with your words and your stares and I’d…wait…what would I do? Hmmm. I wonder… 

So we’re there holding our teacups with pinkies up and doing just fine talking about art and how often we cuss and why it’s all so ironic.


Seriously. Since I watched this movie, everything I see around me, from PEZ Dispensers to Chapstick tubes has become a puppet in my mind. I’d kind of like to make a fortune-telling puppet out of my runes and it would wear a hat and speak with a thick vaguely-European-but-unpinnable-to-any-actual-country Johnny Depp-esque accent and pretty much just tell everyone – after much introspective talking and nodding as they share the situation that brought them to talk to a puppet fortune-teller – that they’re going to die a horrible, violent death at the hands of a marmoset.

The killer in me is the killer in you….





1 Comment on Beauty is Embarrassing | Documentary Review

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