Forgive my recent absence from the blog-o-sphere, ladies and germs. I have been sleepless and busy. (Why, you might ask?)
Every Mid-September, the nerd nation descends upon Austin, TX to attend Fantastic Fest: the annual Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror/Cult festival of everything wonderful, a weeklong, all-out celebration of strange and wonderful film, hosted by Tim League and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (quite possibly the finest movie house in the nation, in my humble yet very-assured opinion). Not one to miss a party, a geek-out, or a chance to see friends, I go every year.
(That’s right: take that, Milan Fashion Week. The truth is, it is a very funny thing to be a woman striving very specifically to create “genre” cinema – as I am – and Fantastic Fest is one of the few “Ground Zeros” available in the nation to investigate and celebrate the cutting edge in the field.)
At any rate. As you might imagine from the fringe-minded attendee base, a fest of this type is bound to spawn a few silly traditions. Case in point, “Shakyface”: a perverse and ridiculous style of badge portraiture perpetuated by Festival Director League and embraced en masse over the years by Fest attendees.
Fantastic Fest defines the phenomenon as such: “Shakeyface* is simply the photographic documentation of violently whipping your head back and forth (or up and down for you daredevils) until it actually distorts your features into those of some unspeakable beast.” (For a more thorough explanation, please see Mr. League’s video tutorial on YouTube.)
I can never take a decent Shaky Face. I’m sure it’s my ego acting as a subconscious block, but for one reason or another I’ve never been able to achieve the proper amount of distortion. Besides which, I always refuse to pin my hair back to take the picture because I think it looks good in motion – which of course results in quite a few pictures where I just come out looking like Cousin It (see example, below):
It’s Fantastic Face – Exhibit B.
This year, I finally acquiesced to my ego and abandoned any “serious” attempt to take a full-on Shakyface (“serious” being a somewhat flexible term, here); rather, I have decided to instigate a new style of Fantastic Fest portraiture I am calling “Sexy Face.”
(Maybe one of these years, I’ll finally embrace the grotesque; in the meantime, Sexy Face it is. I am posting this year’s portrait series here, just for yuks and the hell of it.)
This is an “Aesthetics” blog, of course, and I suppose cinema is a part of that. As such, I promise a more thorough discussion of modern folklore, the demands of audience, and the once-and-future state of “genre” and Science Fiction film to come – once I’ve nursed my hangover, slept a good three days, and recovered my health and sanity.
Until then, be well, friends! As ever, as always.
Hugs and Hisses from Fantastic Fest.
* The Internet disagrees as to whether “Shakyface” is spelled with an “-e” or without. I prefer without, but hey, it’s a bullshit term that we’re making up on the spot, here, so anything’s probably cool. The bottom line of any language is pragmatic application, and – as ever, as always – first we make the words, then the words make us.