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Askew Review 15

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(Aspyr Media) Documentary. Approx 20 minutes.  Directed by Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Suburbia). As recorded on July 23, 2002, New York tour guide and writer Timothy “Speed” Levitch gives us a quick look at various historic New York landmarks (Ground Zero, Wall Street, Alexander Hamilton’s grave, etc.). With each site, Speed offers some historical background and then serves up his take and insight about what it all means concerning life and human nature.
Think 20 minutes is not enough time to discuss history and philosophy?  Not when your tour guide and philosopher spits out words equal to a machine gun spiting out bullets. Speed can let is fly, trust me. Even though this doc was recorded years ago, Speed’s words can still be applied to the present society. All in all, this short documentary split me down the middle. On one hand, I enjoyed listening to Speed’s take on things even though I, for the most part, think the guy is a bit of a crackpot. On the other hand, although labeled as optimistic, I heard a lot of negativity in his words and found him to be rather cynical. I don’t think Speed is wrong as he is only speaking his opinion; I merely look at things differently than he does. Now, if Speed and I were ever in a room together for more than 20 minutes, one of us would be laying on the ground outside of the room’s broken window. And since I am not a violent fellow, it would most likely be me on the ground after jumping out the window, as opposed to me throwing Speed out the window. I am sure Speed is a pleasant and nice enough guy, but his voice can send a rabid wolverine running for peace and quiet. If 20 minutes isn’t enough for you, you’ll be thrilled to view the extra “Annotated Shiva,” which is the original documentary with extra inserted dialog via Speed. Other extras include a bus tour to the doc’s premier, a look at Speed’s book tour, deleted scenes, trailer, and Tribeca Film Fest award ceremony (where legendary wacko Sandra Bernhard congratulates this doc almost as much as herself). I really did enjoy Live from Shiva’s Dance Floor and recommend it not so much for the meaning of his word and thoughts, but because Speed will compel you to think about what’s being discussed…and that’s a good thing. – Denis Sheehan



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