In a conflagration of amusement that almost seems unfair, the five-block radius around the Piazza this weekend will be absolutely lousy with fun. Running concurrently this weekend we have the grand (and totally free) Awesome Weekend put together by the fine folks at The Awesome Fest; the lit-rock sensibilities of the Rock and Read Festival; and the rollicking good times of the 2nd Street Festival.
On Friday evening, the first part of Awesome Weekend consists of an art show by Dutch artist Christiaan Zwanikken over at Jinxed, followed by a pig roast in the main space of the Piazza. On Saturday, over at Bookspace, you have the Rock and Read Festival with a full slate of literarily influenced live bands such as Mischief Brew and the well-regarded Harry and the Potters, all in aid of nonprofits like Rock to the Future. Later that same evening, The Awesome Fest will present the Philly premiere of the semi-pro wrestling doc Fake It So Real, along with director Robert Greene and some of the real combatants seen in the film, who will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A (and possibly some live demos). Sunday then brings us the 2011 edition of NoLibs 2nd Street Festival, with four stages of live bands curated by the Philadelphia Folksong Society; multiple beer gardens put up by NoLibs faves such as Bar Ferdinand, North Bowl, Gunners Run and Standard Tap, and a bevy of street vendors all day long. Finally, the weekend will close out with another Awesome Fest screening of the doc Covento, which concerns the work of Friday's gallery artist, Christiaan Zwanikken.
To make sense of some of this outrageous awesomeness, we again turn to The Feast friend and contemporary, Josh Goldbloom, director of The Awesome Fest.
What can you tell us about these two docs you guys are premiering this weekend?
Convento had its World Premiere at SXSW this year, and is a gorgeous piece about famed kinetic artist Christiaan Zwanniken, who reanimates skeletal parts & deceased wildlife with servomotors and robotics. Fake It So Real is a festival hit that dives head-first into the world of independent pro wrestling. Filmed over a single week leading up to a big show, the film follows a ragtag group of wrestlers in North Carolina, exploring what happens when the over-the-top theatrics of the wrestling ring collide with the realities of the working-class South.
And some real live wrestlers will be there?
We have seven wrestlers and two managers that will be in attendance, along with Director Robert Greene. For Convento, Director Jarred Alterman will be in attendance, as well as subject/artist (all the way from Portugal), Christiaan Zwanikken. We will be giving Christiaan his first North American Gallery Exhibition, ever.
So what might the thematic linkage be between Covento and Fake It So Real?
These are two films about two very different artists, that take two very distinct paths to tell their story. These are very personal films that take you deeper inside the art form. At the very top of my list of things I really could care less about, is wrestling. After watching the documentary, I was absolutely stunned by the hard work, persistence, personality, and day-to-day obstacles that I could relate to with the wrestlers. It's a truly stunning film. And therein lies the beauty of documentaries, or even reality. Sometimes you just need to get a bit closer before you can understand.
What is it about pro wrestling that taps our most primordial impulses?
I'm not much of a wrestling aficionado, so I will deflect that question to The Ultimate Warriors appearance on "Arsenio Hall."
Since the filmmakers (and some cast members) of Fake It will also be on-hand, any chance we'll see some live flying suplexes and figure four leglocks?
We've got some pretty exciting surprises up our sleeves for this one, though sometimes I'm even out of the loop on these kinds of things. I'll personally be keeping a look out for airborne metal chairs, the almighty facebuster (I don't even know what that is, but I heard a wrestling commentator once say it), and of course spandex wrestling pants. Possibly my biggest fear.
Both The Awesome Weekend and 2nd Street Fest are free events, but in some cases they have limited seating, so come early. Tickets for the Rock and Read Festival are available right here.
Related Content on The Feast:
New Movies: 'Larry Crowne, 'Trollhunter'
New Movies: 'Bad Teacher,' 'Cars 2'
New Movies: 'Super 8,' 'Tree of Life'