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Pets, Weiss and Videotape

For 14 years now, die-hard patrons of the annual Dallas Video Festival have set themselves up for heartbreak. If I attend the documentary about left-handed gay Soviet filmmakers, I miss the experimental piece that guy in New York did with his cat and various hand-sewn costumes. By choosing Barbara Hammer, I inevitably spit in the face of William Wegman. With fascinatingly narrowcast programs scheduled simultaneously over the video festival weekend, it's just not possible to partake of everyone's weird world vision.

Best of the Video Fest is a rewind of last month's DVF programs, a two-hour collection of shorts that festival director Bart Weiss deemed this year's biggest word-of-mouth hits. As usual, he is exceedingly democratic in his decision making: Online voting will determine the bulk of the programs scheduled for Best. By the time you read this, a final schedule will be available at dallasvideo.org, the Dallas Video Association's Web site. Association officials could confirm at press time that two wildly popular shorts from last month's festival will be repeated, both of which were endorsed by this rag--Paul Fierlinger's Still Life With Animated Dogs, an animator's reverie about what various canine companions have taught him over the years; and Tommy Pallotta and Bob Sabiston's Figures of Speech, in which non sequitur interview segments are warped, stretched and generally freakified via constantly morphing video animation. We speculate that both shorts rode to Best of the Video Fest victory carried by the toker vote.

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