Q&A for "Saint Misbehavin" at High Falls Film Festival, May 13, 2009
High Falls Film Festival
Little Theatre, Rochester, New York
May 13, 2009
L-R: David Becker, Michele Estrick, Wavy Gravy, and ???? (name
Q: To the producer and the director, how did you start, how long did it take--
????: The genesis of the film--
Estrick: I met Wavy in '92, we did some benefit work in '96 for a couple of years, and I've never met anyone like him in my entire life. I thought that everyone who got the privilege to be around him felt like going out and helping somebody. I saw a light around him, a good light. So I thought, "I've got to introduce him, the real Wavy Gravy, not what a lot of people think of him as." But also, I really wanted to put him in front of as many people as possible around the world to see how fun it is to make world a better place.
Q: Just to follow up, I read that you worked on the film for a decade. How did that happen?
Estrick: How did the decade happen?
Q: Did you literally start ten years ago?
Estrick: Yes. The first shoot was at Woodstock '99, which didn't end up in the film at all. We ended up with about 350 hours of footage, and the movie is 87 minutes long, so we have lots of Gravy! We were in the editing room for two years. Wavy has about ten films, at least. I could've made a film about anything. I didn't want to make a biography, I wanted the film to be his message. You really have to figure out which story you want to tell, and picking the right story to tell. And if you're ever with Wavy, he'll tell a story about right now, and then he'll go back to the past, and then come back to the present, and so that's what it's like to be with him.
Q (to Wavy Gravy): What are the major differences between the '60s and now?
Wavy: I've always believed that we're the same person trying to shake hands with ourselves. These are the good old days. Everyone says, "Oh, God! I miss the sixties! I loved it!" Well, Eternity Now!
Q (from ????): How did you get through the past eight years?
Wavy: One breath at a time! As I say, I prefer to smoke bush rather than pay attention to him.
Q: I'd like to know how you learned about clowning.
Wavy: My own training came about through an improvisational group called The Committee. The type of clowning I employ is called intuitive clowning, rather than classical clowning. There's the Ringling College in Sarasota if you want to learn that type of clowning. The kind of stuff that I do comes from within.
Q: Can Grown-Ups come to the camp?
Wavy: We have nine weeks for the children, and one week for the grown-ups. You can come for one day, or one week.
I would also like to say one thing. This film was made before the last election. For many years, I supported Nobody for President, and a lot of anarchists got steamed because I defected to Barack Obama. So I told them, "Nobody made me do it!"
Q: How long did you work with Tiny Tim, and what was he really like?
Wavy: For many years. Tiny Tim would have these old time Philco players come inside him and he would channel them. I remember one time we were doing a show and he came off the stage upset, and I asked, "What's wrong, Tiny Tim?" and he said, "Rudy Vallee came inside, and he wouldn't leave."
Q: Did you ever write with Robert Hunter, and if so, what was that relationship like?
Wavy: No. He's writing with Dylan.
Q: Do you still see Bob Dylan?
Wavy: I haven't seen Dylan much lately, he tends to be pretty reclusive. But he put out another damn fine album this year, I don't know if you have checked it out.
Q: There's a controversy about what kind of lunch box you used to sell weed out of. Was it a [inaudible], or a Donald Duck lunch box?
Wavy: I would stand on the corner of Haight and Ashbury and sell a lid, but they were just the tops of my Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Flavor.
Wavy: Jerry was on his way. He'd started a big vitamin company and was jaywalking when he was terminated.
Q: Mr. Gravy, this is a serious question. I think you're a sage and a visionary. What do you believe will happen with aging flower children? I mean, what's going to happen to all of us?
Wavy: I am nostalgic for the future.
Q: With all the things you've done in your life, is there anything else you would sort of like to accomplish?
Wavy: First of all, you gotta know that 501 (c) 3's are really taking it in the gut, and the Seva Foundation is an organization that is near and dear to me, and is in desperate, dire straits. And if you want to, check us out at seva.org. Seva is a sanskrit word that means "to service of humankind". We not only work with blindness, but we're also taking on diabetes in the Indian Reservations. With talking circles and elders, and their campaign to bring back the Buffalo, and actually have made a Winnebago reservation made for it. So I'm more than just another pretty face!
Estrick: I like it when Wavy says when we're at a restaurant, and the waiter says, "Can I get you anything else, sir?", and he says, "a side order of humankind while you're at it!"
Q: What are you planning on doing with the movie now?
Becker: One of the things that we're going to do is do a college tour with the film. We're going to bring Wavy and some of his friends, and some musicians along with us. We really want to reach the younger generation at colleges and at public schools--those are great places to take the message. So it's going to be a big part of the outreach program that we do to get the film in front of young people. We think that now is a great time to tap into young people, with all the hope and inspiration that's going on in the country. To show that you really can change the world, and have a good time doing it. That's one of the goals for the film.
Q: Can you talk about the distribution of this wonderful film?
Estrick: We would love for you to go to our website, and sign up to be on our e-mail list so that we can let you know where we'll be next, and what's happening. We're talking to distributors now. We're not sure what's going to happen, we just know that we want to pour some Gravy on the world.
Q: Where will you be next?
Becker: We premiered at SXSW, and played the Santa Cruz and Full Frame Documentary festivals. We'll be doing Michael Moore's Film Festival, The Woods Hole Festival in cape Cod, a festival in Oklahoma City called The Dead Center Film Festival, and we're going to do a big, free screening.
* If you know the name of this person, don't hesitate to contact Erin. (But remove the "dontspamme" part).
Labels: Bob Dylan, Camp Winnirainbow, Grateful Dead, High Falls Film Festival, Michele Estrick, Robert Hunter, Rochester, Saint Misbehavin, Seva Foundation, The Hog Farm, The Little Theatre, Wavy Gravy