Hey, Paul, Let's Have a Ball

A radical bisexual anarchist before it was cool, Paul Goodman is remembered today as the 1960s philosopher of the New Left. With his thick-rimmed spectacles, corncob pipe, and rumpled suits, he resembled a right-wing parodist's image of a left-wing intellectual, but his contrarian ideas helped shape the minds of future generations. A playwright, poet, and gestalt psychologist, Goodman and his books and speeches were road maps for revolutions and blueprints for dissent, stoking the antiwar fire in Vietnam long before Walter Cronkite deemed it unwinnable. Jonathan Lee's documentary Paul Goodman Changed My Life is a sympathetic but nonhagiographic journey through Goodman's personal and professional lives, which were rife with contradictions: The "moral courage" he displayed by speaking out against war apparently didn't apply to his countless extramarital dalliances. Lee's narrative approach of archival videos, still photographs, and talking heads is standard-issue PBS fare, but the rare clips, such as Goodman's on-air sparring with William F. Buckley, are a pleasure to absorb. Goodman died in 1972, but one portion of Lee's film, about the necessity of decentralization in social uprisings, justifies the oft-maligned approach of Occupy Wall Street more than 40 years prior. The movie plays at Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $5 to $9.50.
Mon., Jan. 30; Mon., Feb. 6; Mon., Feb. 13, 2012
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John Thomason
Contact: John Thomason