The Second Coming of Tammy Faye
What better place for the resurrection of a fallen televangelist than the Sundance Festival? The redeemed in question is none other than Tammy Faye Bakker-Messner, ex-wife of Jim Bakker and former co-host of the PTL (Praise the Lord) Christian TV empire. Decked out in ankle-length fur coat, Bakker-Messner batted her trademark mascara-laden eyelashes all over Park City to promote The Eyes of Tammy Faye, a feature doc produced by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato of Hollywood-based World of Wonder Productions. The film, narrated by drag queen and MAC cosmetics spokesperson RuPaul, offers a sympathetic portrayal of Bakker-Messner’s life, highlighting her battles with cancer and drug addiction, her highly publicized divorce, and her attempts to make a comeback as a talkshow host. Bakker-Messner herself provided the best possible promotion for the film through her presence in town, even making a splash at the opening night party for Park City’s alternative indie fest, Slamdance.
Secret Asian Man
Taking a page from Tammy Faye’s book, one-man band Arthur Nakane brought his act to Sundance to promote the 17-minute short doc about his life called Secret Asian Man, directed by Mike Sakamoto. Nakane serenaded audiences with his rendition of such tunes as ‘La Bamba’ and ‘Secret Agent Man’ while simultaneously playing the electric guitar, bass (with his feet on a pedal keyboard), synthesizer (with the tip of his guitar), tambourine and cymbals (using a stick attached to the guitar). In the true spirit of kitsch camaraderie Nakane generously promoted The Eyes of Tammy Faye, advising audiences to ‘hang on to your socks because it’s going to knock them off.’
Sundance spinoffs proliferated more than ever this year in Park City. Slamdance, the town’s original alternative indie fest, attracted filmmakers, but did little to woo the media. (One disgruntled member of the press said it should be called the ‘F–k you Fest.’) No Dance, a multimedia festival that shuns film print in favor of DVD, VHS and internet streaming, celebrated its third year of existence. Brand-new entry on the scene was TromaDance (conceived by New York/L.A.-based Troma Entertainment), a one-day event that enticed indie filmmakers by not charging an entrance fee. And last but not least (well, depending on your point of view…) Lapdance returned for its second year. With such titles as Gas Huffin Bad Gals! and Dirty Baby does Fire Island on the slate, you can be the judge. For more on Lapdance try crapcrapcrap.com/lapdance (no joke – alternative media outlet craptv is a sponsor).
Filmmakers or frat boys?
The Sundance party of 2000 was Seattle-based Atom Films’ blowout. Guests were invited to whoop it up at two neighboring condos – once they got in. Considerate organizers projected short films on a snow bank to entertain long lines of guests chilling outside in the meantime. The infamous Atom Short Bus was also on hand to entertain the masses. During the day, driver Pappy toured Park City in the Atom bus so fest-goers could watch shorts, or ‘visit the `Make Out Room’ and close the deal, baby.’ Too bad the party ended just after midnight, when (rumor has it) locals called the cops.
By Susan Rayman (with files from Sarah Keenlyside)
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