What's Up
Saturday, March 7; 2:15 p.m. in Bart's Bistro
How to describe this one without repelling the reader upfront? How about this preface: A story is only as good as its teller, and What's Up features a swarthy bunch of New Yorkers who know how to get a laugh. Even if they're telling stories about, well, vomiting. Everyone's got a Technicolor spin on this universal experience, and hindsight not only softens the harsh vulgarity of throwing up, it also injects the subject with comedy. How about a guy who had to figure out, and fast, a way to purge his puke through a wired-shut jaw? Or how a woman who engulfs her food without chewing it unwittingly pioneered a new kind of exit? These tales of nauseous woe are engaging because they're so recognizable, and by the end, even the most heave-o-phobic naysayers will be caught laughing. (CR)

Saturday, March 7; 3 p.m.in Bart's Bistro
As if it's not enough that the tabloids are saturated with real-life tales of peril on the Internet, now there's this straightforward (read: pedestrian) fictional narrative about a 14-year-old boy who is addicted to online chat, the CB-like aspect of the Internet that allows real-time typed communication. TekTek (the boy's online handle) is naive and socially awkward, as 14-year-olds--especially 14-year-old computer geeks--are wont to be. To make matters worse, his father hasn't been around in years, and his mother, who, of course, doesn't understand him, would rather spend every night out on the town than with him. All TekTek has is online chat. Surprise, surprise--TekTek, and the audience, learn that on the Internet people may not be who or what they seem. In fact, people on the Internet may be downright creepy. TekTek wants to be a chilling cautionary tale about the Internet. It's not even a "very special" Blossom. (SKJ)

Split Screen
Saturday, March 7; 5:30 p.m. in Bart's Bistro
John Pierson, author of acclaimed indie-film tome Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes, now has his own shot-on-video series on the Independent Film Channel. (Which, by the way, Dallas' monopolizing TCI Cable still doesn't offer.) The well-connected cinephile uses each half-hour installment to explore everything from film lab technology to actors' methods to "Taranteenies"--teenage filmmakers whose crude work pays staggering homage to the sex and violence so prevalent in today's blockbusters. Droll, insightful, and occasionally too smug for its own good, it's worth a look. DVF will screen several installments of Split Screen for deprived Dallasites. (CR)

The Commercial Closet
Saturday, March 7; 7 p.m. in Bart's Bistro
Have you noticed that over the last five years, pictorial advertisements in print and on TV have featured more buff, scantily clad men than ever before? It's no accident: Major marketers of everything from underwear to outerwear to alcohol to automobiles have been aggressively courting one vital demographic--gay urban adult males--but doing it in stealth fashion, afraid if they overtly address homosexual male consumers, they'll alienate that other vital demographic--straight urban adult males. Michael Wilke, a reporter from Advertising Age, offers a live presentation for the Dallas Video Festival called The Commercial Closet that deconstructs the commercial images and explains the machinations of the '90s' most important advertising revolution that, even today, few advertisers will acknowledge. (JF)

Ernesto Che Guevara: The Bolivian Diary
Saturday, March 7; 8:30 p.m. in Bart's Bistro
All Power to the People! The Black Panther Party and Beyond
Sunday, March 8; 3 p.m. in the Electronic Theater

The Dallas Video Festival screens two first-person accounts of late '60s radicalism that eventually diverge at the crossroads of sentiment and sobriety. Lee Lew-Lee's All Power to the People! The Black Panther Party and Beyond is advertised as an insider's history of the seminal Black Power group--Lew-Lee briefly joined the Panthers in 1969 when he was 16 years old. But while the film and video documentation as well as interviews with former Panthers and infiltrating FBI agents is enlightening, the viewer can't escape the impression that the filmmaker, who served as cameraman for Barbara Trent's Oscar-winning 1992 documentary The Panama Deception, still views his formative years with an adolescent's passionate myopia. He's professional enough to pursue voices critical of the Black Panthers, but he submerges them in a flood of radical nostalgia that would feel more legitimate if the angry rhetoric were fresher.

Ernesto Che Guevara: The Bolivian Diary is a posthumous examination of the last months of the Latino revolutionary's asthma-plagued life in 1966. The film painfully documents the ideological betrayal of a man who believed in the plight of the international poor so strongly, he was willing to kill and be killed. Using real excerpts from Che Guevara's diaries, the film shows how he was slowly stripped of his illusions about communism while serving as Fidel Castro's right-hand man (or lap dog, depending on your perspective).

Desperately ill, but as wary of Marxism as he was of American capitalism, Che Guevara fled to Bolivia to oversee a peasant uprising, only to be betrayed by the people he'd sacrificed everything to help. No matter what you think of the man's politics, Ernesto Che Guevara: The Bolivian Diary is an unsentimental, sad look at a man who outgrew his ideology, but not his convictions. (JF)

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