|Wayne White in Beauty is Embarrassing.|
By Miranda Inganni
Neil Berkeley’s feature length documentary, Beauty is Embarrassing, can’t go wrong with its subject matter. It chronicles the artistic and chronological evolution of Wayne White.
Known for his work on Pee-wee’s Playhouse and music videos such as Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time” and Smashing Pumpkins “Tonight, Tonight” the Emmy-award winning White has spent much of his existence creating and producing art in one form or another -- whether it be puppets, set design, paintings, sculptures or other medium. White’s mission is to bring “humor into Fine Art.” And he does so with aplomb. There is nothing but joy and love in this movie.
While White can be a little too self-conscious in the film, his irreverent, “fuck it” (repeatedly) attitude and creative acumen shine. With Berkeley’s footage of White’s live performances/presentations -- theatrical productions which really are the culmination of standup comedy, lecture, slide show and banjo concert -- White’s own home movies, interviews with friends and family, documentation of White’s life and animation (some of which is done by White’s equally creative wife of 27 years, Mimi), Beauty is Embarrassing animates the life and art of this prolific creator.
White is an absurdist. He is a ham. He is a loyal, loving and encouraging husband, father, son and friend. He is a dreamboat. He swears like a sailor and paints like there’s no tomorrow. And Berkeley’s documentary catches it.
Beauty is Embarrassing screens at the Los Angeles Film Festival: June 21, 7:30 p.m., Leo S. Bing Theater at LACMA.