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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    This is the skinny on The Loft Cinema’s First Friday Shorts. It is probably the most entertaining $5 you will ever spend, and alcohol isn’t even necessary.

    Max Cannon, a Tucson local responsible for the “”Read Meat”” comic strip, plays host and Mike Sterner does commentary on the films.

    The idea behind First Friday Shorts is much like The Gong Show from the ’70s. The tradition started in May 2005, because the ever-community-supportive Loft felt there was nowhere for local amateur filmmakers to showcase their work.

    “”(It’s) a chance to see what kind of crazy things Tucsonans are up to,”” said Jeff Yang, program director at the Loft. “”The films are not always great, but it is at least entertaining.””

    Anyone can submit a film, and each film is allowed to play for three minutes before it is subject to being gonged off the screen.

    This may sound fairly generic, but what you have to keep in mind is that anyone is allowed to submit these 15-minute flicks. Anyone.

    I witnessed one First Friday Shorts where a woman had photographed a man naked in the desert, with cacti strategically placed, wearing a clown mask. These photographs were repeatedly strewn across the screen in a variant of colors to some god-awful music, so as to burn the image into your head forever. Although the film was gonged off, it was the most scarring three minutes of cinema I have ever experienced.

    It is fascinating to watch the mania of the audience if they are not immediately pleased. Some poor kid who was convinced he’d made the second “”Baraka”” by filming Tucson traffic was booed the entire three minutes.

    If it isn’t enough to see these amateur flicks, you get to witness Mike Sterner’s reaction after each film. Often Sterner only utters monosyllabic insults or possibly indulges you with a couple sentences if the film really made him wretch.

    Yanc recalls Sterner once brought a puppet to do all of his commentaries for him. After a particularly horrific short, Sterner tore off the puppet’s head and lobbed it at the audience. No words were necessary.

    In most cases, comedies last the test of three minutes – so there’s no risk of falling into a chick-flick trap, gentlemen.

    So show up, eat some pizza and enjoy an evening of ostracizing your peers. Or better yet, bring your own film.

    The Loft, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

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