Raised in the mountains of Tennessee, Wayne White started his career as a cartoonist in New York City. He quickly found success as one of ...
Rating: No Rating
Length: 88 minutes
Released: September 7, 2012 NY/LA
Cast: Wayne White, Mimi Pond, Woodrow White, Lulu White, Gary Panter
Director: Neil Berkeley
Writer: Chris Bradley, Kevin Klauber
"Beauty Is Embarrassing" spotlights prolific painter, puppeteer and raconteur Wayne White, whose early success as a three-time Emmy Award-winning designer of the 1980s-era "Pee-wee's Playhouse" (he also created and voiced several of the show's memorable characters) would prove just a fraction of what this visionary talent had in store.
As one observer here aptly — and non-hyperbolically — sums it up, White is "a founding father of the current state of pop art."
Director (and co-writer, co-producer and co-cinematographer) Neil Berkeley has crafted a buoyant, engaging, visually alluring portrait of the Tennessee-born White from underground young Greenwich Village artist to workaholic L.A. transplant up through to his still-irrepressible middle age.
Although perhaps best recognized these days for his word art (pre-painted landscapes onto which he vividly inserts profanely kicky phrases), White, who's been long-married to fellow artist Mimi Pond and has designed and animated other TV kids' shows and music videos, also still revels in kooky mask-building and cardboard-and-hot-glue sculpting. Why not?
The movie's playful, kinetic pacing as it weaves together colorful personal, behind-the-scenes and live performance footage, along with crisp interviews with such collaborators and admirers as Matt Groening, Mark Mothersbaugh, Todd Oldham and, of course, Paul Reubens, plays in perfect sync with White's jaunty, off-kilter persona.