Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lego Man speaks

By Marty Fugate , Herald-Tribune / Friday, October 28, 2011
This roving Sarasota Herald Tribune visual arts reporter was pleased to be granted an exclusive interview with the Lego Man. The following is a portion of our frank discussion.

So, you're the Lego Man?
That is not quite accurate. I wish you to refer to me as "Lego Man." There is no definite article in my performance artist name.

You're a performance artist?
I am a serious performance artist.

But you're always smiling.
It is the way I have been made.

Please tell us about your performance art.
I wash up on various beaches then pose for photographs with pretty girls.

I see. Uh, does this relate to saving the whales?
No. I hate whales. They have an undeserved positive reputation. They are called "killer whales" for a reason, you see.

Why do you do it?
Have you heard the term "plastic people" ....?

Yeah. Frank Zappa. That's from his Absolutely Free ...
Spare me the dated music trivia. This does not concern me. I wish merely to say that the expression "plastic people" is a term of insult. Ever since the 1960s, this term has spread. "He's so plastic." "Let's ditch these plastic people and grab a beer at Growlers." Hate speech of this nature fills my ears and I have finally said too much!  For this reason I create my performance art.

You're drawing a line in the sand.
Yes. And the line is myself.

What do you feel about the new Legoland theme park?
A sense of existential nausea and dread.

Uh-huh. And that's why you washed up on the beach?
That's exactly why. It is an act of protest!

Come on, this isn't a publicity stunt?
Yes, of course. A publicity stunt for my plastic brothers and sisters in chains. Do you know what Lego means? The word itself?

I ...
Your ignorance does not surprise me. Well. The term "Lego" derives from leg godt -- in Danish this means "play well." Are they playing at this so-called "theme park?"

Yes, they are playing. People are having fun!
Yes. The meat people. They play! But not the plastic people!

I see you feel very ...
This interview is over! And you can kiss my shiny ...

Sadly, at this point the digital recording ends. Despite the cultural misunderstandings, we wish our plastic visitor only the best. Plastic people are not a drag. They're our brothers and sisters. And we really can get along.

Play well.

ART NEWS: "No Real Than You Are" finds community support

No_Real-ThanYou_AreSet for release at the 2014 Sarasota Film Festival, "No Real Than You Are" is a locally produced, 20-minute film investigating the life of a local girl from a pioneer Sarasota family who spirals into Oxycodone addiction. It's a story about the community created with intense community support. Producer Arash Zandi is one of the student talents at the Ringling College Digital Film Department. Writer/director Vincent Dale is a twenty-something Florida State University graduate, and Sarasota resident.

The film takes its title from the whimsical slogan of Ego Leonard, the life-sized Lego sculpture created by an anonymous Dutch artist and left to be discovered on Siesta Key in 2011. The original statement is a plastic man's ambiguous assertion of identity. The film itself deals with a darker identity crisis.

According to Dale, "The story is fiction, with roots in painful fact." Dale's script is  dedicated to the memory of Brandi Meshad, a local 18-year-old girl who died from an Oxycodone overdose. According to Dale, "This is not just her story, but the story of countless people in our area who are impacted by this drug."

Filming took place, thanks to a small army of volunteers and supporters from Sarasota's creative community. Dale notes that, "Over 70 actors showed up to auditions over the course of two weekends. By the time production rolled around, we'd assembled a full production team and would eventually have the privilege of working with over 25 filmmakers, artists, and craftsmen. We were also able to work with a myriad of local artists and performers including a master sand sculptor, a chalk muralist, fire spinners, a silk dancer, professional makeup artists, and animal wranglers, to name a few."

Former Clothesline gallery director Van Jazmin was part of that creative army. He notes that, "I spent 12 hours a day volunteering for two weeks straight to make this production a reality. It was a great experience for all of us. People really got behind that film in a great way. It's a great story, a sad story, and a story that needs to be told. I'm glad we're getting it out there."

The film was shot on several iconic Sarasota locations. These included Cafe Gabbiano, the Rosemary Graveyard, a grandiose mansion in Siesta Key, the Herald Square building in the Burns Square neighborhood, and the underpass beneath the John Ringling Causeway bridge.

"No Real Than You Are" officially finished production in July. Post-production work is slated to continue through October 27. Kickstarter donations are being accepted at: No Real Than You Are: Kickstarter Campaign. For further information, contact or call (941) 536-3228.

By Marty Fugate , Herald-Tribune  /  Saturday, October 5, 2013