John Cleese to be presented with Ernie Kovacs Award at Texas Theatre on December 4

Tickets $35+:

The nature of physical comedy over the intellectual and paired with the intellectual is, in theatrical history, generally paired with messaging meant to effect the working or less educated classes.

But this specific point of reference whether it is found in the Globe Theatre’s repertoire or the spectacle that entered all of our homes at the apex of the mid-century does not assume this form of comedy is declasse.

The physical effect of comedy, as tragedy or trope informative of natures, states, and conditions humanity might find deterrent when placed on the body as presented in a public performative space, operates as mirror for the individual among axes that may in some respects be described as an interactive, ideological space between the Panopticon and the Synopticon for as much as Foucault and Mathieson are worth without Marshall McLuhan’s elaboration on the Medium and the Message.

Buffoonery has much to teach the individual that cannot learn from a simple wagging eyebrow.

But now for something completely different: (that is actually quite the same)

Over the years, VideoFest has only shown short snippets of Ernie Kovacs’ work.

This year hosts of the Kovacs’ Centennial and Dallas VideoFest will present a full evening of Ernie Kovacs television work the night before the Award Event.

Celebrate the Centennial of the birth of offbeat comedy genius, Ernie Kovacs, with this hilarious retrospective of his greatest live gags on early television in the 1950s along with his career highlights, which have inspired the likes of Pee-wee Herman, Kids in the Hall, Amy Sedaris, Mike Nesmith, and Monty Python.

Hosted by Dallas VideoFest’s artistic director: Bart Weiss, Ernie Kovacs archivist: Ben Model, and Josh Mills, the son of Ernie’s wife, Edie Adams:

Dallas VideoFest 32 presents an evening retrospective of “The Ernie Kovacs Show” on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Richardson (100 N Central Expy #14, Richardson). Admission – $5 voucher redeemable for food reserves your seat at Alamo – Richardson.

The following day, VideoFest awards the Ernie Kovacs Award to comedian John Cleese of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers fame, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd. – Oak Cliff/Dallas).

Admission – $35+ Tickets available –

Flannery is a documentary that details the life of an amazing writer who still resonates with the world.

Flannery previewed at DallasVideoFest Docufest to a riveted audience that appreciated the life and times of one of America’s most interesting writers.

There’s a particular energy that Elizabeth Coffman exudes when speaking on the subject of Flannery O’Connor and her Southern Gothic canon of work that exposed the prejudice of a nation.

Noting that what is often considered “Southern Prejudice” is really, honestly “American Prejudice” and “found all over,” Coffman stated that Southern Gothic is an artform that conveys a message for humanity, as she discovered in her documentary process as we spoke.

There has been no better time for a film that so deeply and accurately details the life of a famed writer through the work she inspired, the people she knew and the stories people told about her.

Look for it traveling the festival circuit this fall before it hits your local Public Access station. It has upcoming stops in Austin, Hot Springs and Austin.


“A Woman’s Work” by Yu Gu highlights the exploitative practices of the NFL against its barely-paid Cheerleaders.

There has never been a film that has made me more glad I grew up “acculturated against professional sports,” and in some senses “male,” than this one.

In high school, I played guitar and shredded better than most men. I knocked my peers on their feet in combat with my Sarah McLaughlin haircut that made people scream “Lesbo.” I made highest marks in Stoichiometry and AP History. I produced news content at the “student executive” level.

I slept with and broke the heart of any man I wanted, sometimes in an act of deliberate egocentricism. Some of them were running backs and quarterbacks — and wrestling captains. I laughed at trophies and brought home my letters and medals. My self-esteem never suffered. I knew the game was impossibly stacked and learned not to care about anyone or anything, deep down in that place inside that makes a person invincibly tough. A therapist and I figured out in my adulthood that — “schadenfreude and enjoyment at the emotional collapse of a male sex partner for the unfair expectations he possesses of the world to serve him,” is likely a difficult orientation to rehabilitate.

“So you only really sexually enjoy activity with men if you break them somehow.”


“But women?”

“No longer excite me. In my youthful experimentation, I was very kind, loving, supportive, and respectful of boundaries.”

“So you’re not attracted to them?”

“No. Not really, physically. In my youth I was always in one altered state or another and angry with men for the state of the world.”

“But you’re not asexual?”

“No. I orgasm six and seven times daily and am most classically described as oversexed.”



Before I joined the military in my 20’s, I almost took a job in the broadcast industry, aligned with my almost associate’s degree, selling advertising time during football and basketball games.

But a little inner voice I thought was “God” told me to turn it down, flatly, and enlist the same way my  college foray with the Cheerleading team asking me if I wanted to join resulted in laughter and my time in graduate school had me pledging a fraternity I didn’t finish out the requirements on.

That journey through the military a terrifying marriage and a husband who tried to re-acculturate me California Baptist “female” through a series of drugs and rapes supported by our nation’s mental health system, graduate school, communes, activist enclaves and watching my mother’s subsequent genocide by Evangelical Lutherans for being at her core raised by a Jewish, Feminist Atheist, has made me “unique.”

I see abuse for what it is — all over the system. It makes me untenable to a lot of people. Some still threaten forcible Kirkbride-era inspired medical treatment for talking about how factory farmed meat literally severs the arms of undocumented teenagers who can’t see doctors, because their charity really needs to feed unwitting AIDS patients spiral ham and Factory Farm Charoset for Passover with no intellectual challenge or organic non-GMO root beer at the table.

As YuGu so aptly highlights, women are literally making next to nothing and are paying thousands of dollars to appear in calendars they don’t get proceeds from while men make millions to give one an other concussions and create a programming block to place commercials that sell food made with coerced, undocumented child labor stolen from unstable countries.

These women are conditioned from childhood to find this rewarding while they are robbed of all personal power and identity in strength. Her storytelling ability is strong and all of the women in this film have always deserved much more in terms of identity and compensation.

I’m completely done Western Civ. There is simply nothing left to stick a fork into that isn’t patently exploitative to the world’s children, women, or the environment.

But if you’re going to do something this weekend, get a bar of fair-trade chocolate and see this film at VideoFest’s Docufest tonight along with a lineup of films highlighting the often overlooked careers of women.

13th Annual Dallas International Film Festival LineUp Announced

Spanning April 11 to April 18 and presenting over 130 films from over 35 countries, DIFF is never likely to disappoint. 

Johnathan Brownlee is excited this year. Perhaps he should be. Considering the success of last year’s mini concerts in relation to musically themed films including Bone Thugs and Harmony, he’s expanded the idea to include seven music stages covering seven days of this flagship Dallas festival.

This year’s film lineup, powered by Capital One, includes five World Premieres, one U.S. Premiere, 37 Texas Premieres, and 15 Dallas Premieres.

The largest film festival in North Texas, will screen at Magnolia Theater, West Village in Uptown Dallas; Studio Movie Grill, Royal Lane; and Dallas Museum of Art.

For the first time at DIFF, all seats are reserved and tickets are available only through the Atom Tickets app or Tickets will be available to pass holders beginning March 25 and to the public on March 27. For more information or to purchase passes, please visit go to,

But that’s not the only buzzworthy information about DIFF recently released from directors.

“At DIFF, we understand that film is the most relatable art form and connects individuals through shared experiences,” said James Faust, artistic director of Dallas Film. “Hundreds of hours went into hand selecting the films that will be screened at DIFF, and our goal is to offer a variety of fascinating, heartwarming, educational and insightful films that will be thought-provoking and relatable to DIFF festivalgoers. We have many engaging and entertaining events planned throughout the festival and are eager to provide a memorable festival experience for all who attend.”

This year’s lineup is extraordinary and is poised to bring Dallas screenings of performances by Elisabeth Moss, Lily Collins, and Zac Efron.

Sarah Mondale; Director of Backpack Full of Cash — holds out on elaborating on some education concerns in her film.

Sarah Mondale, the director of Backpack Full of Cash, has created a film that’s meant to spark some impressive conversations. She and I had one recently, despite some malfunctioning equipment. 

So to attempt to elucidate some deep elements of our conversation that she stated “weren’t in the film” and “weren’t what she usually spoke about” . . . she as a filmmaker, and I in my strange combinant dedication in filmmaking, Texas politics and publishing talked about our experiences with publicly-funded charters and our concerns both financial and ideological/structural with these institutions.

Sarah’s greatest concern eclipsed my usual attention paid to line-items paid out to nebulous administrators contributing questionable items of technology and curricula. She denoted that some charters, specifically requested by parents who wanted a more “reformatory” or “punitive” style of education to reach their children they were worried were on the wrong track.

I will admit that this element within all forms of education concerns me too, especially when it is aimed at minority populations. It’s troubling when other areas are primed for the to-prison pipeline, ideologically, and students of all backgrounds aren’t given what they need to thrive intellectually and physically, in trade and post-secondary training.

I regret I cannot bring you her direct words because of an equipment glitch — but I can say this — she is worth hearing speak more than once at your state convention, a private screening, or a phone call if she has time to grant it.

Host a screening of hers yourself (and potentially hear her speak) by contacting her at

Dallas VideoFest presents Women and the Movies They Make


We got a chance to talk to the amazing film essayist, professor and academic writer Shilyh Warren this week about DVF’s latest installment: Women and the Movies They Make in an interview she kindly granted on Monday. She granted us great insight to her process of curation.

Shilyh talked to us about some of the best films presented in this upcoming March 25th program taking place at Alamo Drafthouse Richardson which includes all the amazing women you haven’t yet heard about who  . . .  surprise, surprise have been making awesome films all along, well before the manipulative nature of Hollywood (and many other “official structures” for that matter) was exposed in the midst of the #metoo scandal.

In this clip Warren elaborates on Palestinan filmmaker Mona Hatoum’s work that is a series of letters to her mother as she wrestles with the concept of diaspora.


Presented by Dallas Video Fest in part with Women in Film Dallas and Flicks by Chicks. Special thanks to Women Make Movies, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the Dallas Film Commission. This organization is funded in part by the City of Richardson through the City of Richardson Cultural Arts Commission.


Assistant Professor of Aesthetics and Film Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, Shilyh Warren’s essays on documentary and feminist filmmaking have appeared in Camera Obscura, South Atlantic Quarterly, Signs, Jump Cut, and Mediascape. She is also the co-editor of a special feature on feminist pedagogy and cinematic violence for Films for the Feminist Classroom.


Pharrell Williams and Forest Whittaker’s Roxanne Roxanne has its upcoming Netflix premiere. Hip Hop Legend Spyder D is conisdering bio/historical pic of his own.

The legendary Spyder D is headed to New York to see two of his tracks as they appear in the Netflix Premeire of Pharrell Williams and Forrest Whittaker’s Roxanne, Roxanne today. This film looks like a can’t miss watch, but considering a crowd at Sundance and a Limited Release has already declared that, my opinion is only adding to the obvious fanfare about the ambitious (and well-recieved) project. Chanté Adams’s performance is clearly that compelling.

Word also has it that Spyder D is strongly considering a bio/historical pic chronicling the life and times of the legendary Power Play Studios and is talking to the right team to get it done.

We are definitely excited about the prospects of this project, for all the right reasons. There’s something about the art of the mix and the oral history that is just . . . appealing.


The Feetles play DVF30 AltFiction along with many other astounding acts.

It seems like in the age of Trump, it’s hard to tell which sock is right and which sock is left.  It’s as if the 1960’s reached out to tinge our present decade, but none of it is the good part where civil rights happen or women get liberated. It’s the same blather over and over again.

Who care’s if they’re legitimized? These sad men who can’t handle legitimate protest are all just trolls on Twitter in the end.

So what’s a person to do when every day civil liberty is eroding? Seek comfort, support and distraction. Live as though you’re forgetting that Nuclear Winter is just around the corner. Isn’t that what we did then?

Maybe we should all be after a better sense of nostalgia.

Like those invoked by parodies of sock puppets who are quite glad their lady love has washed them.

Just ask Bart Weiss, artistic director of VideoFest for his inspiration.

“There’s lots of talk today about alternative facts and political narratives. The line between fact and fiction in life and in cinema is blurring.

Filmmakers are making TV; TV shows become feature films. Who can even define what the idea of television is anymore with networks along with the gamut of streaming services? DVF30’s AltFiction Fest devotes the weekend to ways of telling stories on large screens and small – film and TV and web – mixing media and mediums,” said Bart Weiss, founder and artistic director of Dallas VideoFest.

The narratives that make up the majority of AltFiction Fest explore this moment in time at the intersection between media and how cinema artists can create original work in this new world.

“Over the 4 days at the Angelika, a great palace of traditional cinema exhibition, AltFiction Fest features new works from local and international filmmaker telling unique stories, working the edges and sometimes the centers of this world,” said Weiss.

See THE FEETLES, a short produced in the Dallas area by the ever-growing in popularity “Sock Puppet Parody” YouTube collective, and many other offerings ready to lift your spirits at Dallas VideoFest #DVF30AltFiction. 

Saving Brinton chronicles Michael Zahs’ journey to preserve cinematic history.


A small-town Iowan collector cum hoarder, Michael Zahs, attempts to attract as much attention as he can to a treasure trove of American cinematic history in Saving Brinton — a documentary that chronicles his journey to share the contents of a box carelessly marked “Brinton Crap” found in a basement of a farmhouse in 1981.

When it comes to works that document a fanatic’s concern with details, that other people might have a harder time grasping (think Strad Style) this offering blends some awkward moments of rejection with moments of great reception from just the right audiences.

Tommy Haines and John Richard create a straightforward storytelling style makes this documentary one that delivers the facts with just a bit of wry humor.

The technology presented in Saving Brinton is fascinating. There are color projections and moving pieces that seem almost too advanced and complicated for the 1800’s that the Brintons were screening for sold out audiences across the American Heartland — that in many cases were a person or town’s first exposure to the moving picture.

But, unfortunately for Zahs, it seems people aren’t as interested in the minutiae of Victorian history as they used to be, unless they’re academics or film fanatics. The film literally depicts someone walking out on him as he’s explaining the painstaking detail of a Brinton production. Perhaps it’s a bit passe to be in love with the fruits of colonization that excluded other groups these days, even when they’re technological advancements. Maybe it’s just hard to capture an Iowan’s imagination.

I don’t get it. I’m certainly fascinated.

Zahs eventually makes some traction with the public once he screens the films at the oldest continually-operating cinema in the world — where they originally once did. That’s a long journey for films that almost made it to a dump if it weren’t for his intervention.

This offering out of Northland Films can currently be seen in Texas on Saturday 10/7 as part of Dallas VideoFest DocuFest.