Vignettes Documentary Screenings returns with a screening of the hilarious and disturbing documentary, THE BALLAD OF AJ WEBERMAN, winner of the 2006 Raindance Prize at the British Independent Film Awards. The protagonist of this film, AJ Weberman is a complex and controversial character. A poet, political activist, New York Yippie, jailed numerous times for delivering marijuana, Weberman has made it his life’s work to understand and pester Bob Dylan, whilst along the way getting his fifteen minutes of fame. As well as initiating “Dylanology”, he prides himself with coining “Garbology”, the practice of rooting through rubbish in order to gain insight into celebrities’ lives. Weberman, however, does not see himself as a stalker but rather as ‘what Verlaine was to Rimbaud’.
The film features an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, including legendary New York street singer David Peel. It is those rudderless Yippie freaks with their tentative grip on reality who, like Weberman, have been at a loss since the end of the ’60s, that make this film so captivating. A crackly telephone conversation between A.J Weberman and Bob Dylan, recorded in the 1970s, punctuates the film in the form of animations, creating connections between Weberman’s past and present. THE BALLAD OF AJ WEBERMAN is a comprehensive study of one man's fascination with knowing everything about a celebrity and how it takes over his life. It is also great fun for Dylan buffs.
Vignettes is a bimonthly documentary screening night at Host Gallery, London, curated by Mira Aroyo, Oli Harbottle and Harry Hardie. Mira, a musician and member of electronic pop band Ladytron, Oli, who runs the independent film distribution company Dogwoof and Harry who runs Host Gallery were brought together by their love for quirky films. They aim to show documentaries that look at the weird and wonderful places and people who inhabit them from around the world.
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