He is an ascetic of the stylish life. He bicycles around town (28 bikes have been stolen), eats cheaply, and beds down in a little apartment full of stuffed filing cabinets. The film’s pathos is that he and other tenants were forced out of the classic artists’ digs above Carnegie Hall, since rehabbed for tenants with Real Money. Bill goes to Paris for couture shows, we assume on the paper’s dime (the film got key Times support, and the publisher appears in it).
“It’s not work,” says the slightly hunched but chipper Bill of his tireless calling. “It’s fun.” That fun began for the military veteran and innovative milliner at a ’60s “be-in” in Central Park. He makes no artistic claims and is obsessive and very private (there is a veiled nod to devout Catholicism and probable gayness). This documentary lacks the exploring depth of Bennett Miller’s The Cruise, about Manhattan street visionary Timothy “Speed” Levitch, but it is a savvy portrait of a happy man. See it, but do not go badly dressed.
Newsreel: As a benefit for victims of the recent earthquake disaster in Japan, the film A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies will be shown at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 17, at the Mission Valley UltraStar Cinemas (Hazard Center). There will be a $10 minimum for Ryuichi Inomata’s movie about a girl surviving the 2004 Japanese earthquake. Presented by the San Diego Asian Film Foundation, which stages the Asian festival each fall, the movie opens the festival’s Spring Showcase, April 15–22. Eleven features will be shown, including Poetry, from South Korea; Boy, from New Zealand; and the Jackie Chan action-satire Little Big Soldier. Go to sdaff.org.
Reviewed in the listings: Arthur, Born to Be Wild, and Miral. ■