Beauty is Embarrassing ( Exclusive Review)

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Review by Christie Mcdonald

“Beauty is Embarrassing” is a Neil Berkeley documentary about Wayne White - painter, cartoonist, puppeteer, sculptor, banjo player, family man, and pioneer (to name a few).  Not impressed?  He was also one of the creators of Pee Wee's Playhouse.  Still not impressed?  Watch it anyway.  Neil Berkeley spent over two years filming; mainly by himself or with the help of a small crew, trying to ‘find the time’ around his already full time job.  And Neil, thank you very much.  Because even if you aren’t an artist; even if you don’t agree with Wayne’s “F-you” attitude; even if you don’t understand his obsessive passion or crazy antics; you cannot help but be touched by this film.  It’s a film about living - the ups and downs, the good and the bad; the humor, insanity, tragedy, and joy that is life.  And it found a subject that has fearlessly lived it in its entirety; even when it drove him to the brink of madness; even when he couldn’t understand exactly why he was doing it.  You will laugh, you will cry, you will want to hug your parents, reconnect with your roots, pick up a paintbrush, and try whatever is you want to do; because, as the illustrious Wayne White puts it best, “Why not? What the f- does it matter?” 


Kelsey Pribilski sits down with "Beauty is Embarrassing" director Neil Berkley and the film's subject Wayne White at the 2012 South by Southwest Film Festival to discuss Pee Wee's Playhouse, the biggest challenge in the making-of process, and what it's like to watch the film in front of a live audience for the first time.

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