December 6, 2009 - 11:33 PM
I have just returned from the Found Footage Festival at the Bijou Theatre. The Bijou, for those of you not familiar, is a small, independent movie theatre nestled outside the campus downtown about three blocks off campus (on the cross streets of 13th Ave. and Mill Ave.). The Spanish-style Mission looking building was designed by the first dean of the U of O School of Architecture in 1925. Light fixtures, stained glass, and a balcony suggest that the main theatre was probably once a chapel, but it has since been retrofitted as a funky movie theatre.
My roommate Aaron suggested we go to the Found Footage Festival, and after he showed me the website I was sold. Basically two guys, Joe and Nick, travel around the country to thrift shops and meet VHS enthusiasts to find videos that are unintentionally funny. These may be home videos, instructional videos, workout videos, etc. Their only criteria are that they must be unintentionally funny and come in actual hard, VHS form (no YouTube). One way or another, they are terrible and terribly funny. Joe and Nick edit the videos down to short clips to highlight their hilarity and absurdity. To get an idea, check out the website: http://www.foundfootagefest.com/.
My roommates Jamie, Aaron, and I laughed for two hours at videos ranging from Goldie Hawn asking a group of eleven-year-olds if they are in favor of abortion (completely out of context, but I can't think of a context in which this would make sense) to a dating video in which a man asked for "no hamsters" (I am still puzzled as to what that means). Clearly, there are some quality videos floating around the US.
The Festival was a campy way to relieve stress and laugh before Finals Week. I strongly recommend you check out the website and look to see if FFF is coming to a town near you (they are currently on tour). All in all, Eugene's awesome for having venues like the Bijou that bring together an eclectic group of people to celebrate rich cultural diversity. I can't think of too many places where I can spend an excellent evening watching grainy Public Access TV video from 1985 with a hairy, overweight man wearing nothing but an American Flag speedo and a smile dancing in the center of a semi-circle of senior citizens. The Found Footage Festival only reinforced my love for this country but more so a genuine love for this town.