William Shatner Goes All Ballet

The inimitable and iconic over-actor materializes at the San Diego Film Festival

By Ron Donoho
|  Saturday, Sep 26, 2009  |  Updated 1:27 PM PDT
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San Diego Film Festival 2009

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San Diego Film Fetival, Day 3: I arrive at the Gaslamp Theater too late to see “William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet.” It’s Friday night, and Captain Kirk himself is still in the house, though. My party of three beams into front row seats for the post-movie Q&A with Shatner.

A raffle is wrapping up. The host is announcing winners’ names. When he smilingly calls out: “Leonard Nimoy?,” the crowd giggles.
“William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet,” according to a festival report, is where high art meets pop culture. The music of Shatner and Ben Folds (sans Five) from their collaborative album “Has Been,” is transformed into ballet by award-winning choreographer Margo Sappington.

“This movie was like giving birth—without all the contortions,” explains Shatner.

On the way out of the theater, I remind Shatner of his appearance in the 1989 movie “Free Enterprise.” In it, he plays himself, and performs onstage doing a rap version of Marc Antony’s speech in “Julius Caesar.” Was that the mixed-genre precursor to “Gonzo Ballet?”

“It would seem so, wouldn’t it,” says Shatner, who is hustling up the aisle and out into another sector of the galaxy.

I stay to watch “The Boys Are Back,” set in Australia and starring Clive Owen. The movie begins with the death of the wife of Owen’s character. He’s left to grieve and simultaneously care for a six year-old boy and a teen son from a previous marriage.\

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“Boys” opens in theaters nationwide on November 12. It’s a well-done, yet simple story. Two-thirds of my party fell asleep before it was over. Avoiding the Patron cocktails from the VIP Room helped me make it all the way through the movie.

There are more films playing all day Saturday. I’m hearing buzz about “The Job” a world premiere comedy starring Ron Perelman and Joey Pantoliano; and “Repo,” another reported laugher with Jason Mewes (from “Silent Jay & Bob”)…The Actor’s Ball and Awards party is Saturday at Hotel Solamar.

Ron Donoho is a regular contributor to NBCSandiego.com and a contributing editor to sandiego.com. His Web site (sandiegoDTOWN.com) is dedicated to news, sports, culture, happy hours and all things downtown.

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