The Strip Mall Trilogy
(2001, 9:10, super8mm)
"The Strip Mall Trilogy" is a series of three city symphonies that attempt to liberate color, sound, and form from the sprawling consumerist landscape of postmodern America. Part 1, "Green Means Go," presents fragments of color over a musique concrete soundtrack composed of sounds recorded at the strip mall. Part 2, "The Abecedaire," wrestles (and later plays) with alphabetic form extracted and abstracted from the signs of commerce of which they are normally a part. Part 3, "X-formations," tries to argue that there is, in fact, beauty after strip malls. Let's hope so.
Parts 1 and 3 were edited entirely in camera.
winner Best Small Gauge Film, Microcinefest
"Effective and real, honest poetry." --Ain't It Cool News
"[Beebe] sets out to observe, as any good artist would, what's out there. It's really quite lovely. He's got a sensitive eye to the environment and a good sense of humor about it too." --Jonathan Miller, WBEZ-Chicago
"How is an artist to respond to strip malls, those soul-deadening blights which seem to have destroyed 90% of the American landscape? Beebe responds by taking his Super 8 camera and aggressively, even desperately creating beauty from the ugliness. In Part One, he creates a rapid fire barrage of images, each lasting only a frame or two, of license plates, signs, car doors, speed bumps, etc. He uses sheer speed to try and blast out of the stifling commercialism of the mall and create a sense of liberation. It is accompanied by a loop made of sound samples from the mall, and the film is what Aguado's "Push" should have been: a transformation of everyday commercial images, made by an artist with a strong visual and musical sensibility.
"Part Two attempts to rebel against the coercive ubiquitousness of signage in the mall by breaking the signs down into their individual letters. Beebe goes through the entire alphabet repeatedly, sometimes rapidly and sometimes leisurely, using his camera to dehypnotize himself from the commercial mantras and rediscover color and form. The music, a child's rendition of "The Alphabet Song" accompanied by an electric guitar, is a liberating and enjoyable counterpart to the images.
"In Part Three Beebe enters a Zen state, and is able, with serene calmness, to create a beautiful sequence of abstract color and form out of sights from the mall; grates, parking spaces, bricks, advertisements, and fire hydrants. He has actually managed to bust apart the mind-controlling code of relentlessly commercial space and reconfigure it into a landscape of beautiful colors and forms. It is a remarkable piece of Super 8 alchemy." --David Finkelstein, Film Threat
Everyone seems to want to know what the music to part 3 is (& mostly how to get more of it). The song's title isn't in English (or any language as far as I can tell), but it's by a duo who call themselves Grey Egg. They may or may not be Eastern European/Far Eastern emigrants living somewhere in Appalachia. You can email them at greyegg [at] gmail [dot] com.