Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The BFF Review: Rise Of The Nesmith Hipster

Last Saturday was the Bicycle Film Festival in Washington DC. I went to two out of the three programs and for the most part I enjoyed myself. For me the two films that embodied the true nature of cycling and most accurately illustrated the passion of cyclists were: "SKI BOYS",the last reels of the Ski Boys, which document their inventive exploits in rural Ontario during the early 70's, and "WHERE ARE YOU GO a documentary following the the four month Tour de Africa.

After watching these and several other selections I was on a huge veloculture high, which came crashing down when they showed "BROADWAY BOMBER/BRIDGE BATTLE", a first person helmet cam film of a street race through NYC. I have been in my share of adrenalin fueled sprints through our fare city and the rush is not lost on me. However, putting pedestrians in danger is just lame. This movie made me angry, I wasn't feeling the velo love anymore. To my amazement I found myself actually hoping that these d-bags would be hit as the bulleted through crowded crosswalks into fast moving traffic. Then a thought came to me, "This is why people throw crap at me when I commute to work. This is why it's so hard for cyclists to get a foothold in our car based culture".

People work extremely hard at advocating for cyclists, getting bike lanes approved, changing laws and gaining acceptance, and when people see butt holes like these flying within inches of an old lady in the cross walk it nullifies the progress made.

Ok, rant almost over...

As I stewed in my seat, I hoped the next film would wash away some of this anger, I was wrong. The final film of the evening was "ANIMA D'ACCIAIO (SOUL OF STEEL)", A Portrait of the legendary Italian frame builder Giovanni Pelizzoli aka "Ciocc". This would have been a great cinematic experience had the hosts been paying any attention and realized that the top and bottom of all the films were cropped off. This was a problem for those who wanted to read the subtitles which were half on the screen and half off. So I stared at the nice Italian people imagining how interesting their insights were and how enjoyable their dialog would be to read.

Overlooking a rather careless film choice and a technical blunder the BFF was pretty cool and I will probably give it another chance if it comes back to DC.

Now to the cultural phenomenon of the evening: The Nesmith.

It wasn't a shock to see the hipsters out in droves at this event. The shock came when I saw several hipsters wearing heavy knit hats with the little pom pom on top, (aka "the Nesmith") made popular by The Monkeys' guitarist, Mike Nesmith .

Making the Nesmith Hipster look complete is the earth tone "well worn" flannel shirt seen above.

This particular Nesmith, (seen volunteering at the BFF DC) is sans flannel, but the pom pom on the knit hat worn just off the back of the head is a sure tell. I imagine the Nesmith Hipster goes dormant during the summer months only to return in late November when the temperature drops.

Although the Nesmith Hipster seems a rare find, I believe that because of the hipsters' knack for proliferation we will be seeing a dramatic increase in population in the coming months.

In the photo above, not only did I capture the illusive "Snarles Barkley", but a potential Nesmith. Notice the flannel and set back hat, unfortunately because of the camera angle we may never know if this hipster was a true Nesmith.

The Wednesday dance is your chance to do the hump...


dc dirtbag said...

I think that including the film about the highspeed fixie riders nearly running over NYC pedestrians was a bit careless in a film festival where so much lip service was being given to bike advocacy organizations and the hard work they do to get bike lanes put in. I think it was pretty telling however that it was the only film that nobody clapped for.
I cringed when the one dude missed that 75 year old woman in the crosswalk by an inch. A collision with her could have killed her or caused her all sorts of serious injuries that would have fundamentally ruined her quality of life.
I still don't get it. Why do we give attention to and actually celebrate such crap? For next year they should look for more films that inspire people not to run over others.

Anonymous said...

Why you gotta make fun of the hat?

KT said...

i felt the exact same way after watching that film - for some reason the BFF keeps including these types of films in the program and it drives me crazy. it also makes me physically ill to watch. i loved how absolutely no one in the audience clapped for it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comments on the speeding morons terrorizing pedestrians...

But, why do you think that their behavior translates into bicyclists in general being poorly treated on USA roads, and in discussions of sane transportation options?

I hear this claim all the time. Frankly, there's not a shred of evidence despite the (apparently) intuitive plausibility. Likewise, were often told that helmeted cyclists get more respect from motorists...for which there is no evidence, either.

Fact is that bikes arent significant re: transporation in the USA even in big cities, or places like Portland. Bike hatred and ignorance and the inability of bikes to be treated on the road fairly is due to the car culture (and its many tentacles and forces). Recall that similar arguments were made to explain why uppity blacks or women had to wait so long to get legal rights...it had nothing to do with the oppressed groups and everything to do with the powers that be.


Cycle Jerk said...

Mike - I see your point, but I don't need to interview everyone at a crosswalk after witnessing a cyclist almost run down an old lady to make the assumption that most of their opinions of cyclists will be negatively effected.

When non commuters ask me about biking to work they almost always tell a story about that one biker who blew through a red light and almost killed them, followed by a question like, "Can't you just ride on the sidewalk?"

People make generalizations, it's a fact. (yes I see the irony, he he)

dc dirtbag said...

In response to Mike from bicycleutopia - I don't think it is valid to compare the immense and historic struggle for basic human rights, experienced by black people due to the immutable characteristic of their skin color (and the social and historical construction of race/political economy, etc.) or by women or culturally marginalized groups the world over to the struggle to get access to ride my bike.

I see where you are going with your thoughts and you articulate them very well, clearly you've put a lot of thought into it. I'd just be careful bringing your mention of black people's and women's struggles into conversations about car culture as it's kinda touchy.

That said, I am absolutely no apologist for car culture nor do I make excuses for drivers or transportation planners that marginalize cyclists. Nor do I ever agree with the victim blaming mentality that asks, "was she wearing a helmet" when a cyclist gets hit by a car.

The point I will make though is that no matter what kind of bike you are riding, helmet or not, if you think it is even okay for a moment to fly through intersections, against traffic through crosswalks, and past pedestrians with no regard for other people's safety you are doing something wrong and entirely without justification. Seeing that particular film in the festival made me thing that those riding in such a dangerous and aggressive manner were exactly like the aggressive drivers that scare me when I am on my bike.