Amid the calamitous ruins left by Hurricane Katrina, there's one cover that should have been blown off long ago -- New Orleans' famous "party town" façade. Only now is the world having to face the rampant poverty of the American South. There's a lot of talk now about the South's lack of financial riches, but what about the area's cultural riches? For that, you can drop by Cinema Paradiso (503 NE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale) for this weekend's screenings of Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus.
In true Southern fashion, filmmaker Andrew Douglas piles on the religious imagery, whether it's a scene from a frenzied religious revival or the movie's namesake, a 300-pound concrete statue of Christ. And like the fire-and-brimstone sermons of a Deep South preacher, dichotomy rules over nuance; there's good and evil, sin and salvation, and very few shades of gray. That's what Douglas gleans from the sundry characters who make up this patchwork of desperate tales. Douglas wants to know what makes the South such a prolific region for music and the arts. So he turns to musicians like Johnny Dowd, 16 Horsepower, and Jim White, who sums up his mission as "trying to find the gold tooth in God's crooked smile." Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus shows Thursday through Sunday. Call 954-525-FILM, or visit www.cinemaparadiso.org. -- Jason Budjinski
Kern is hard to the core
The American Heritage Dictionary defines transgression as "the exceeding of due bounds or limits." So it's no wonder the films of Richard Kern are referred to as transgressional art. On his website, Kern says, "The characters in my films shot up drugs, pierced or cut themselves, beat each other up, sucked each other off, killed their parents, raped youngsters, etc." Beautiful, Rich. So what's the appeal to you as a filmmaker? "To me, making these films was like taking a big, fat, smelly dump, then standing back and watching people marvel over it." O-kay. Shorts from Hardcore Collection: The Films of Richard Kern are shown at 8 p.m. Thursday at Uncle Sam's Music (4850 N. University Dr., Lauderhill). Admission is free for age 18 and up. Call 954-742-2466. -- Lewis Goldberg