Reflections

SXSW 2000 Film Festival and Conference

Too HIgh, Too Wide, and Too Long

Dir/Prod: Karen Dinitz; DP: Bill Daniel; Ed: Keefe Boerner.

Video, 52 min., 1999

Who better to herald the cultural creativity of Texas than Bob "Daddio" Wade, the creator of really big art, whose works include story-high cowboy boots, giant iguanas, and Mexican Combination Plates? Documentarist Dinitz accompanies Wade on his odyssey across Texas in the Iguanamobile: a high, wide, long Airstream trailer made higher, wider, and longer by the additions of a giant iguana head and tail. Dinitz skillfully mixes archival footage, interviews with Wade and his cronies, and a fine soundtrack to create a solid piece of Texana. But the documentary really shines when it captures the onlookers: the librarian who voices her concern that the smoke-breathing Iguanamobile is sending a bad message to kids, or the elegant older woman who claims that Wade's "weenie" period is her favorite. Too High, Too Wide, and Too Long has the same unaffected feel and flavor of PBS' Antiques Roadshow. We are privy to comments from the milling crowds, we study their faces as they size up Wade's creations on their own terms. And though Dinitz's look at Wade is obviously an affectionate one, we are left to form our own opinions about the artist and his work, hoity toity galleries and art critics be damned. If that ain't a Texas tradition, I don't know what is.

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