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July 31st, 2013 REBECCA JACOBSON | Brew Views
 

Brew Views: Dancing Outlaw

Mountain man.

screen_dancingoutlaw_3939DANCING OUTLAW

Jesco White, a self-proclaimed hillbilly from Boone County, W.Va., is a man of many personalities. There’s the sweet, gentle man who loves his wife, Norma Jean, and only uses his 12-gauge shotgun against squirrels. Then there’s “the devil in his self,” as Norma Jean says, the volatile man who threatens to kill his wife when she cooks runny eggs. Finally, there’s the Elvis impersonator, which isn’t much of a stretch—White looks like the King, if the King had a lumberjack-style beard and prison tattoos across his hands. Somehow, the made-for-television oddity Dancing Outlaw (1991) manages to document all these personalities in a mere half-hour. It also squeezes in plenty of footage of White mountain dancing—it’s like a tap/clogging hybrid, set to bluegrass—across rickety bridges, atop an occupied doghouse and down rutted dirt roads. As part of its Top Down Rooftop Cinema Series, which converts the roof of the Hotel deLuxe parking structure into an al fresco movie theater, the NW Film Center will screen the 1991 original, as well as a 1999 documentary about White’s trip to Los Angeles. That later film is more obviously exploitative, but for the most part, director Jacob Young doesn’t judge, letting his star—in all his many personalities—speak for himself.

  • Showing at: Hotel deLuxe, 729 SW 15th Ave. Dusk Thursday, Aug. 1.
  • Best paired with: Portland Brewing Zigzag River Lager.
  • Also showing: Kon Tiki (Laurelhurst), 20 Feet From Stardom (Hollywood).
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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