the real HESH – at the ANGELIKA FILM CENTER – last FRI MAY 13th, 2011 – the first day of the film’s commercial screening in NYC . . .

HESH aka HASH HALPER – the film’s off-the-wall HESHER, played so brilliantly by JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT. and he is hot. ok. violent and out of control too, what else is new . . . is a take-off on the real-life Hesh. outlaw. underwear, shirtless and all. somehow – just there. making the dots scramble, non-conformist. karmic ? moving through people and places with an unworldly wind, and seemingly not a care in the world – behind his back.

yep, this is the character . . . that launched a movie.
the character . . . behind the character.
He brought a small posse to the screening. although obviously the filmmakers had had some kind of relationship with him, Hesh, and certainly none of his friends had seen the flick . . . before, so nobody really knew what kind of a ride – they were in for. but the way Hesh showed up – was kinda auspicious, no ?

First off, before the flick even started the entrance was kinda grand. with the security guard inquiring of us – as to whether that was – the HESHER of the movie ? hell, yes !!

Then, when we got into the small multi-plex cinema, there were only two completely empty rows left – in the back which would enable Hesh and all his pals – to sit together . . . except for one nice straight-looking ultra conservative middle-aged businessman-type guy sitting smack dab in the middle of the last row of empty seats. what to do ? no problemo. Hesh, the real Hesh – just, rather imperiously told the guy, in no uncertain terms to scram.

“Hey dude – this is my movie !! You gotta move so me and my friends can watch it together. YO. I’m not joking dude, this is my movie. . .” After a few seconds of thinking it over – and probably for the better. the guy actually got up and moved. I’m not sure how I would have re-acted in the same circumstance, but anyways. the lights went down and the opening trailers went up . . . and, then what a shock – as ‘HESHER’ unspooled. I guess we all thought it would be one big hoot. a real laugh-fest. and in some ways it was . . . at first.

the first few times Joseph Gordon-Levitt hit the celluloid and popped up as the on-screen Hesher – we all went crazy. screaming and clapping with delight – damn !! he was HESH !! but then as the story progressed, and things got darker and more stuff was at stake – than we could have possibly imagined – the power of movie-making, dudes. the real-life peanut gallery grew just as silent and engrossed as the rest of the audience. no doubt about it, that was one shocking ride. it took you up and didn’t put you back down, for one moment. wow. how much of this was Hesh, and how much of this was movie magic ?

as we stumbled out, numb and in total silence – It was plain to see that the movie had hit home in ways hard to explain, to each one of us, in its own way, but in particular to the star attraction. Hesh looked to be in shock. shock and awe. First he said, and we all agreed in complete unison – wow, we didn’t think it would ever – be that good. damn. Then I asked Hesh, well did it trouble him ? I’m thinking bout the violence. but that seemed to go right over his head. He just replied, “well, its true once a friend of mine’s had someone die in their family, and I moved in for two years” . . . but, he continued . . the worst thing about the whole movie – was how it had stripped him of his anonymity !! Already, he complained, kids were waving to him – in the street !!

image/courtesy: HESHER – THE MOVIE

one of my very fave parts of the movie, apart from being captivated by the on-screen HESHER. was that primitive black line, like a marker. stick-man tattoo on his chest- blowing his brains out !! a metaphor – for these days – of challenged creativity and spirituality. dead-endness – if I ever did see one. In his rave review, ‘Antihero to the rescue’ – KYLE SMITH of the NEW YORK POST last week, spoke of: “Hesher, violent of hair, black of jeans and sporting a large middle finger tattoo on his back …” – but it was the front tattoo of the chalk-like stick-man blowing his brains out – at point zero – that got to me !!

p.s. did you catch how bad KYLE SMITH trashed “YAWNY DEPP” – aka – ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” in the paper today ? ha. calls it “barely see-worthy” !! yep, our boy HESHER beats out Johnny Depp, this time around.
flamin’ outsider in his beat-up van – takes down the million dollar blockbuster – with its worn-out ways, hands down.

bye the way, I asked. the real Hesh – has no tattoos.

but come to think of it, I did just come across some sidewalk chalk scribbles recently, that caught my attention.
looking back . . .

wow. they do remind me of that ‘chalk-like’ stick-man tattoo . . . blowin’ out his brains, that the celluloid Hesher sports.
it was the night of the KARA WALKER opening at LEHMANN MAUPIN on the Lower East Side. April 21, 2011.

and hey, coincidence or what. Hesh, the real Hesh was there, too.

speak of the devil.
Flash forward to this past Sunday. Sunday May 15, 2011.
2 whole days after we had seen the movie – as I rolled into Williamsburg to do some business – who be calling my name out on the busy hub of Bedford St. – but Hesh, the real-life Hesh and his pal, TJ. hanging out a bar window, natch.
(I hate to ask, but . . . the real TJ ? not, I think . . . )
anyways, that’s how the real life Hesh manifests. in real time. movin’ and groovin’ to a secret beat. mystical. way beyond the simple hours as they peel off the clock face.
anyways, like I said. I had had time, 2 whole days, to think about it . . . and so since the opportunity presented itself, so beautifully, as if by magic. I asked Hesh outright what I was dying, burning ? to ask him right after the movie but didn’t quite have the words . . . having had my own buttons pushed by the film, and yeah. I was rendered immediately speechless afterwards too, just like the rest of the crew.

so catching the momento – I really tried to a nail Hesh on the violence in the film that bears his name. bears witness to him. Answer, Hesh. Was he shocked by the violent bent in the movie ?
“No”, he said. “My friends know I have violence inside me – but I manage to keep it in check.”
and there ya go, outta the mouths of the ‘marked’ ones, the ones that jump the grid, and spin the grind !! of everyday life – human truth. in a nutshell. go figure !!