New York Surf Film Festival 2010

An Experiment in Time Traveling.

2:00 p.m. Sunday (September 26, 2010)

I just evicted a gang of empty, green bottles that was squatting on the kitchen counter. They had overstayed their welcome; they reeked of last night’s party.

9:08 p.m. Saturday

As Lori and I watched Always Sunny, I tried to push a hundred thousand thoughts out of my brain. First and foremost: My brother Taylor and his friend Moe were not yet here–we were running behind schedule.

4:30 p.m. Saturday

SENT To: Lori Higginbotham: “do you think it would be better if i skipped the first movie then we could get some food and take taylor with us in the taxi?”

10:03 p.m. Saturday

By the time the driver deposits us at Canal and Varick, the free beer has been depleted, but we don’t know that yet. Outside the theater, I tap Christian on the shoulder. He turns around, blinks, and says, “Hey! Welcome home!” as he gives me a hug.

Inside, our remaining complimentary beverage options are Seven Tiki rum and Barefoot champagne. We opt for champagne. To start.

12:32:51 a.m. Sunday (approximately)

Andrew Gesler paused for 8 seconds, thinking, as he looked at me.

“Casey,” he said.

“Yes,” I replied, “you’re good!”

“How are you?”

He told me he saw my picture in the magazine (I continue to find this hilarious) and introduced me to his girlfriend. His shoulder-length, dirty blonde hair and her long, espresso locks atop a fairy-scale frame make for an attractive couple.

I told him I liked Dark Fall, which he narrated and, more or less, starred in. As he made Taylor’s acquaintance, he said, “Hey, brother!”

That’s just how he greets fellow fellas.

12:40 a.m. Sunday

Taylor Steele is standing between the bar and the photo booth in the main dining room of Tribeca Cinemas, which has been converted to more of a lounge space for the Surf Film Festival. Surfboards and epic waves that live in photographs line the perimeter.

He remembers me, I think. I wrote about his latest film, which premiered at this very same theater. He and his lovely wife, Sybil, recently moved their ridiculously adorable family from Bali. He looks just behind me and asks if Lori is my friend. Introductions ensue. He leans in to shake the hands of both Taylor and Moe, who he seems genuinely interested to meet. They seem kind of indifferent. Twenty-two films!

9:10 p.m. Saturday

RECEIVED From: Taylor: “At 86”

9:23 p.m. Saturday

Taylor and Moe each pound two Rolling Rocks while I use the bathroom. Lori is slightly in awe of this caliber of drinking skill, I think, but I have seen it before. We journey from the east 80s to Tribeca. The cab ride costs us $20. Pre-tip.

3:20 a.m. Sunday

Hailing an empty taxi outside of Epstein’s bar turned out to be an extremely difficult task. As one drove by, the inebriated men hanging from every window yelled at us:

“We’re on CASH CAB!! How many GALLONS are in-A-PINT!”

Around 10:20 p.m. Saturday

We are approached by a guy about Lori’s height who explains that he found the event on He’s learning to surf. Seems nice enough. We down the rest of our champagne. He begins to back away and says, “Well, enjoy the movie.”

10:22 p.m. Saturday

I forgot how delicious rum and cokes could be.

Patrick Trefz, who I met last weekend at the Art Mosh, tells me I should have seen the showing of his film the night before. He had a live band play along with the movie. He says it was a challenge, but reassures me that it went smoothly. He also asks me if I’ve dyed my hair: “It looks blonder.” I tell him I can hear his usually inconspicuous German accent.

11:30-something p.m. Saturday

Watching surf films in the theater is not at all like watching other films in the theater. If everyone were silent, it would be a terrible sign: you’re expected to interact with the movie and each other. “Hooting and hollering is strongly encouraged.” If you’re thinking something absurd, say it loud enough so that everyone can get in on the joke. Heavy wipeouts merit audible cringes. Whatever you do, don’t sit in the front row and snore–you’ll wake up with candy, popcorn, probable bits of paper (and who knows what else) all over your person. Surfers are a lively bunch. Especially those of us from Jersey.

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