I just finished writing a piece about the new documentary on the artist Wayne White, Beauty is Embarrassing. I spoke to the film’s director Neil Berkeley the other day for the quick piece for the “Miami New Times” art blog “Cultist” (jump through the blog’s logo below to read it).
We spoke for only 10 minutes, but between Berkeley’s film and his very open conversation, I received plenty of insight on his affection for White’s talents and story. Both of us grew up watching White’s work as a puppet designer and puppeteer on “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” after all.
Berkeley said, though he had worked with White in production work before, it took him some time to gain the artist’s trust. “It was me always persevering and showing up every day,” Berkeley said over the phone from LA, “showing him this was real and this was going to happen, and I was going to show him I was going to do whatever it takes to make it happen. So I think that showed him that I was going to get it done. But, at first, he just kinda went through the motions. He was pretending to be a subject while I was pretending to be a director.”
But, he says, after showing White some preliminary footage, he won White over. All that work came together in a sprightly documentary that never loses momentum over the course of its less-than-hour-and-half runtime. Jump over to my entire interview with Berkely with further insight into White’s art through the image below:
Beauty is Embarrassing is not rated (expect colorful language and references to coke-fueled workdays at “Pee-Wee’s”) and runs 87 min. It opens exclusively in South Florida at Miami’s O Cinema, Thursday Oct. 18, at 9 p.m. The film is also available nationwide on Video On Demand and iTunes.