Move over, Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Christopher Guest, and Quentin Tarantino. Here comes Clifton Childree. Who? Why, the Broward-based musician-performer-filmmaker, that's who. In the early Nineties, the South Florida native founded such Broward hipster hot spots as the multimedia Mudhouse and Theatre 1225, home to art and horror films. His more recent work includes providing his distinctive washtub bass stylings in a previous incarnation of Mr. Entertainment and the Pookiesmackers. Not to mention his performances in the collective Koko Flux (with Nikki Rollason and Kristin O'Neal), which claims its mission is to "unleash the dancing monkey in all of us." As a filmmaker, his latest accomplishment is his cinematic debut: the 16 mm black-and-white carny extravaganza known as The Flew. A mild-mannered sort, Childree took on a challenge only a man obsessed with the movies or burdened with an aircraft-carrier-sized ego could contemplate. He wrote, directed, built the sets, shot the movie, and played the lead too. Working nightly with the help of local musician friends, including Bobby Baker, Rat Bastard, Tom Stankus, and Dan Hosker, he took six years to complete the project. Christopher Guest instructs his cast to improvise dialogue based solely on an outline. In a similar sense, Childree claims his screenplay consisted of little more than a run-on sentence -- that ran on for three pages. Raised on a steady diet of horror movies, he created what seems to be a gentle albeit surreal storyline, concerning a mechanical man who lives within a shooting gallery at a Victorian carnival. The man becomes smitten not with a woman but with a rickety carnival ride sporting the spooky name The Wooden Embalmer. The passion is understandable, of course, since the ride is the only thing the mechanical dude can see out his window. Soon the weirdness factor escalates: Dream and reality merge and the viewer becomes increasingly enmeshed in the twisted reverie.--By Nina Korman
The Flew premieres at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27, at Miami Light Project, 3000 Biscayne Blvd. Admission is $5. Call 305-773-2139 to reserve.
Whether chosen for its message or purposefully Babelian, language is often incorporated into art. "Visual Poetics: Art and the Word," opening tonight at 7:00 at the Miami Art Museum (101 W. Flagler St.), shows us some of the conceptual, symbolic, beautiful, and quirky ways in which words become art. On display are works that can be considered political, poetic, or purely formal. The show is a rare opportunity to view many marvels from Miami's celebrated Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, especially A Throw of the Dice, an 1897 abstract visual poem by French symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé, whose deliberate typographical pattern on the page created a shape key to the poem's interpretation and influenced subsequent generations of poets and painters. Drawings, sculpture, paintings, photographs, prints, artists' books, and video -- many from the museum's permanent collection -- are also included. Marcel Broodthaers, Jenny Holzer, José Bedia, Ed Ruscha, Enzo Miglietta, Simon Lewty, Glenn Ligon, and Bruce Pearson are among the artists represented. Call 305-375-5000. -- Judy Cantor
Office paper's haute couture styles
Remember how cool it was when you discovered hot-pink cherry-scented notebook paper in junior high? Driving teachers nuts was part of its attraction. Lesson learned -- all sheets of paper are not the same. From glossy Christmas wrapping to ancient handmade papyrus to Charmin, paper subtly reflects who we are. You wouldn't dream of mailing a résumé on plain white Xerox paper, would you? To see what's new and hot in the paper design world, check out the Fashion of Paper, a fashion show at the Buick Building in Miami's Design District (3841 NE 2nd Ave.). You'll see models wearing creations made of ultrawhite, eggshell superfine cover paper, translucent elephant-hide writing sheets, or ribbed and embossed Chromolux metallic card stock. It's a billion-dollar industry, with international designers and even glamorous, sexy styles. Really. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Call 305-321-4021.--By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Film or Fluff - Queer movie fest rolls on
Gender-bending moms and dads. Gang-banging rentboys. Young Indians coming out of the closet and charismatic lesbian writers. Knowingly infecting oneself with HIV, and a biopic about filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini. An opening-night gala emceed by queer comedian Bruce Vilanch. These are among the offerings of the newly revamped Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. In its primary outing without founder and long-time director Robert Rosenberg, the festival is dressed up nice and pretty, with not a hint of its dirty laundry to be detected. Like a celluloid heroine, the festival has mopped up its runny mascara and pulled itself together. Easy viewing without all that fringe weirdo stuff. Intellectual, yet nicer than before. More films for women. Whatever. The point is to represent, to show up, and to see the spectrum of queer culture creating itself in the moment. Will it attract more gay tourists? Will it inform Miami's own gay and lesbian community? Is it a few steps ahead? Or is it emulating what gays and lesbians should look like and act like? Check it out and see for yourself. -- Juan Carlos Rodriguez