Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hipsters and Latino Gangsters on a Friday Night

"Brian Wilson" and Keith Malloy, two bearded warriors
Friday evening, November 4, 2011: the Victoria Theatre in the seamy Mission District of San Francisco is the scene of the third-ever Save The Waves Film Festival, a celebration and non-profit fundraiser featuring a collection of short local films and the San Francisco premiere of Come Hell or High Water. The stoked and loudly hooting crowd nearly drowns out the movie soundtracks as the packed theatre (a full, standing room only, sold out capacity house) rings out with deafening cries of joy for the films playing. 

A collection of locally made short films launch the evening's film festival after a welcome set of surf-drenched reggae by My Peoples: Surf for Life explores the philanthropic possibilities of grassroots surf tourism with a rag tag and merry pack of local San Francisco surfers; Soundings celebrates the activist nature of surfers and ocean lovers; Great Highway features the historic first waveriders of San Francisco; and Save Sloat! recounts the problems and solutions at the southern edge of San Francisco's Ocean Beach where the road, parking lots and city infrastructure are falling into the ocean. 

Other notable incidents during Save The Waves Film Festival include an exclusive, on-stage interview with pro surfer Dusty Payne -- unfortunately cut short by a shark sighting; the unveiling of a very special wooden bodysurfing wetsuit handmade by OB shaper Danny Hess; and a celebrity sighting of Giants relief pitcher Brian Wilson, who introduces his fellow bearded warrior, filmmaker Keith Malloy. 

The night ends with legendary bodysurfers Mark Cunningham and Keith Malloy taking the stage to present their new film, Come Hell or High Water. The film is a resounding yet unlikely success with its non-comformist bodysurfing subject matter, and the crowd is elated. Thousand of dollars are raised for Save The Waves' campaign to Save Sloat and the World Surfing Reserves program, and many Patagonia fleece down jackets and vests are worn. A lot of flannel as well. And man hair. Too much man hair. 

No Corporate Surf Porn

Happily, very little corporate surf porn is forced upon the audience. This "surf film festival" only features creative, independent and real films about real people. For this we rejoice and hope the world takes notice. 

After every drop of beer is imbibed and the buoyant audience streams out of the theatre and onto the goo-stained sidewalks at 16th and Mission Street, a series of gunshots echoe down the block. Bright flannel, goose down and grimy hipster denim all hit the ground or scurry back into the theatre while two local gangs quarrel over turf and drugs a half block away. Three homeboys are injured but no one dies, and everyone treks home, thankful to be alive. 

Read about the corporate sponsors, moneys raised, films screened, guests received and fun times had at:

"Brian Wilson" and Dusty Payne unveil the new, custom wooden bodysurfing wetsuit by Danny Hess.

Photos by Giovanni Agnoli. "No Corporate Surf Porn" logo by Josh Berry. All rights reserved 2011.