TOPANGA MESSENGER 2-12-09

"Three Short Films about Topanga, Free Screening at Froggy's, February 26"

Article and Photo by Pablo Capra

Topanga filmmaker Anastasia Fite will be showing three short documentaries she recently completed about Topanga Canyon at Froggy's on February 26.

King of the Creek Rats (2007) follows Boobie, the self-proclaimed "King of the Creek Rats," and his family on a trek into Topanga Creek as they discuss the thriving homeless community living there from the 1960s to present. In the heyday, Boobie claims to have lived in a "luxury" home powered by batteries from car wrecks, and that 200 naked people congregated at his swimming hole every weekend.

Topanga's Attic (by Anastasia Fite and Tom Mitchell, 2008) was commissioned by the Topanga Historical Society. It is a celebration of Topanga Canyon through the ages, featuring prominent faces like Herta Ware, Gerry Haigh, Ellen Geer, Blackie, and Kedric Wolfe; institutions like The Theatricum Botanicum, Topanga Elementary School, Wildworks, and Topanga Days; and archival footage from Topanga's rich musical history, including Little Feat and Canned Heat.

Last Bastion (2009) is a look at the tight-knit former Lower Topanga community, one of the last outposts of the classic Topanga Bohemian hippie lifestyle until State Parks evicted the residents and demolished the area in 2006-2007. Artist James Mathers says, "I hung out with Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Internationally, I did the Venice Biennale and the Basel Art Festival. As far as art scenes go, this was second to none."

Fite's three 25-minute films fit naturally together as a whole, and she hopes to complete a full-length documentary about Topanga Canyon one day.

She currently works as the Manager of the Santa Monica Screening Room, where she holds a free monthly event on the third Wednesday of every month called "Meet the Filmmakers / Works-in-Progress." For monthly updates, join the Santa Monica Screening Room Facebook group.

Fite also rents out the 28-seat mini-theater for as low as $150 (or $100 without A/V equipment). For rental information, call (310) 393-8306, or visit the website at www.smscreening.com. The Santa Monica Screening Room is located at 1526 14th Street, Suite #102, between Colorado and Broadway.

Fite's three short Topanga documentaries will play at Froggy's on February 26, at 7:30 p.m. Come early to see her co-filmmaker Tom Mitchell's band, the Self-Righteous Brothers, at 6:30 p.m. Froggy's is located at 1105 North Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Phone: (310) 455-1728. Admission is free.

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