Freestyle: ‘Showdown’ gets funny
BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / firstname.lastname@example.org
Next weekend, the “Showdown In Chinatown” film challenge and competition celebrates seven years of underground filmmaking with its annual Championship Challenge event. You can enter, if so inclined — but you might just want to stop by for a laugh.
‘Showdown in Chinatown’
Film and slam poetry challenge
Where: Nextdoor, 43 N. Hotel St.
I mean that literally. “SIC” is asking for comedy from its filmmakers this time around.
And on top of that, the challenge has been expanded to include poets — slam poets, that is.
Most contests during the year give filmmakers a week to put together a short (seven minutes or less), using a required prop and phrase. This annual challenge has a longer time frame — the challenge went out in October, to allow filmmakers to stretch out and raise their ambitions — but if you’re game, you still have time to shoot and score. Films are due Friday, Nov. 16; drop them off between 5 and 7 p.m. at thirtyninehotel, 39 N. Hotel St.
“We wanted to see how filmmakers responded to comedy,” said organizer Cyrina Hadad. “Part of it is that comedy is not easy to do. It’s easier to make someone cry than to make them laugh.”
Here’s what’s required: a package and a teapot as props; the line of dialogue, “That’s one way to do it”; and a sense of humor. The event will take place, as usual, at Nextdoor, 43 N. Hotel St. in Chinatown.
“We want to see how much they can do,” Hadad said. “Ideally, we want them to take (the shorts) to film festivals. … storyboard it. The whole point is to refine the craft — challenge yourself to do something you wouldn’t normally.”
Expect to see (or offer) different kinds of comedy, from slapstick to black humor.
“I personally like comedy noir,” Hadad said. “I’m really curious to see how Hawaii makes a comedy.”
It’s the last SIC event of the year.
“So if anyone wants to make a film and show it, now is the time,” said Hadad.
The “SIC Poetry Challenge” is brand new and adds some creative layering to the event, with live spoken word between short film screenings. (Poets also need to use the line of dialogue, and bring the laughs.)
After the films are screened, around 10 p.m., charismatic slam poetry champ Bridget Gray will host an open mic at thirtyninehotel, which also hosts bangout dance night “Soul Clap!” that night. (I’ve got more thirtyninehotel news for you below.)
“This is a call for ALL writers, performance poets, lyricists, slammers, MCs, etc. to participate in the Showdown fun!” said Hadad. Poets can sign up at Nextdoor starting at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17.
Next year, “Showdown in Chinatown” is going to be making some changes, Hadad revealed, with fewer challenges — just five a year — and more events along the lines of this year-end shabang, getting creatives such as poets, musicians and screenwriters involved.
“Hopefully, this will build a stronger community,” she said.
Filmmaker Ryan Richardson and Hadad put together a promo video for “Showdown.” Check it out.
CLUB PICK: Saturday, Nov. 10, promises to be special at thirtyninehotel. Check out U.K. DJ Gerry Rooney, endorsed by England’s DJ guide residentadvisor.net for his “deep, sexy, funky, sleazy and always a little ironic record selections. … Afro, Dub, Disco, Funky Rock, Latin, House, he has it all pretty much, and then some.”
Rooney’s partner in left-field, ’90s conoisseur label Black Cock Records, thirtyninehotel fundamental and internationally respected DJ Harvey, also of the U.K. but now as likely to turn up at L.A. massives or selective New York events, praises Rooney for “access to unbelievably incredibly great music.”
In a recent Australian interview, Harvey reminisced about crate-digging adventures in long-neglected, flooded warehouses and abandoned storage units — this is a heritage he shares with Rooney. In another music mag interview from 2005, Harvey said, “Gerry and I could play records to each other for weeks and still not get through ‘em all.”
I’m sure the collection has only grown since then, but what’s really important is that in Rooney’s hands, the music matters. What you’ll hear won’t be trendy, and it’s not all about the bpm — it’s about going for an aural ride. You can hear some selective cuts from this obsessive audiophile by turning up at the club tonight.
Tomorrow’s party marks eight years in business for thirtyninehotel. The artspace and club, created out of a passion for art and music, has come a long way, rising from its handbuilt origins. This year, thirtyninehotel’s kitchen, manned by Cody Pierce, was my Critic’s Pick for an Ilima Award. Stop by and congratulate founder Gelareh Khoie, master mixologist Christian Self (this bar is also one of my top picks, hands down), Pierce and the rest of this awesome crew starting at 9 p.m. Cover is $15.
Elizabeth Kieszkowski is editor of TGIF, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s weekly arts and entertainment section. Reach her via email at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter.