Back in September I attended a screening of The Recess Ends – a documentary culled from footage shot by brothers Austin and Brian Chu as they traveled to all 50 states to speak with various people about “The Recession”. The Recession! What a big topic to tackle. We’ve been tossing that big, nebulous word around for over a year now, but as a possibly over-educated San Francisco resident who was laid off from a cushy dotcom job which included a Nintendo Wii in the breakroom (no flatscreen though. Woof.) my views on the subject are admittedly skewed.

What: The Recess Ends

When: Friday, November 20th, doors are at 7pm, Screening starts at 8pm.

Where: The Victoria Theater (16th St. and Mission St).

Tickets: free (I don’t see Michael Moore giving away tickets.) and can be reserved on EventBrite.

Donations are welcome to help cover the cost of renting the theater.

BYOB is heartily encouraged.

So when I arrived at the Victoria theater in the Mission to a crowd chock full of members of The-Subculture-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, I think it’s safe to say I was a little wary. I was wary of this becoming a recess-ploitation film or some sort of lampoon of those backwards yokels in the middle of the country. You see, we like to think we have a glorious slice of life out there on the streets of San Francisco, but that slice doesn’t include the kind of people who think we’re completely nuts (or worse, immoral!) because we won’t stop talking about how good the burritos are here and how we would like to be able to marry them and be able to visit them in the hospital in the event that our favorite taco truck overturns on South Van Ness.

It’s true, Brian and Austin could have easily pieced together a gag reel of misused presidential quotes or poorly thought out comparisons of Obama to evildoers – the movie version of, if you will. After all, more than once I’ve heard that the best way to see the middle of the country is from a window seat on a Virgin America flight from SFO to JFK.

So, I desperately wanted to snark on their “red carpet” made of cardboard boxes taped to the sidewalk in front of the theater, or the beatboxer warming up a crowd that was too busy cracking PBR and Bud Heavy Tallboys from the liquor store down the street to care, or the expensive fixies locked up out front – all the signposts of an out of touch subculture. But the truth is: this documentary is made by and for a demographic that is generally known for not giving a shit about the world outside the darkness of their favorite dive bar.

In that regard, it’s a piece of work that needed to be made. The turnout at the Victoria in September was proof that – hey, maybe these people do care about something other than reaching the bottom of their 24 oz Tecates. More importantly, it’s an honest picture of the effects of the recession that haven’t quite reached our coastal paradise.

Other reviews:
SFGate: Brothers chronicle recession on film.
San Francisco Film Society: On the road before “The Recess Ends”

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