19 May

https://vimeo.com/211111314?fbclid=IwAR1l3cUKPyrN4RfeAOK0TkHLgLEne-4hsP7L8_j4LFE-GMkJDuGLtIAChkA (Oscar Phitkin - A Vendor's tale) Indy film by Christopher Laro/S.W. Laro

I made this Indy film in 1996/'97 and won the International Film/Video festival that year for best new feature. We shot the movie on digi-beta to save money, one of the first feature length films to use the technology back in the 1990s. The first public showing of the movie at the Waverly Movie House in the E. village resulted in a full on riot/protest as that summer ALL street vendors were going head to head against 'Mayor Rudy' when he made it illegal for artists and food vendors to earn a living on the street without City Hall permits. As the film is about a second-generation hot dog vendor 'Oscar Phitkin,' pushing his cart in Hell's Kitchen, I got caught up in that political turmoil that ultimately hurt the film. End of day, we all were proud of making the movie on the streets of the Upper West Side, often without a filming permit of any kind and gorilla'd it most every day for the month long shoot.

Fuck the mayor's office and permits was our motto that cruel hot summer. 

Sundance festival didn't accept the movie that year but we won the NY festival. The film lay in a closet for decades until I recently put it online off my FB page (Christopher Laro) and have begun spreading the word of the story for the final time. After this year 2021, I'll again walk away from the business for good unless at some point by January 1, 2022 I have option deals for some of my fiction warehoused on Amazon Books - the 'Phitkin' film just a calling card to say to H. Wood producers, 'the kid's the real fuckin' deal.'

At 57, I ain't a kid anymore and wasn't in 1997. I'm jus' the writer as I say now and glad to be only that - a noble scribbler of tales. Storyteller, no great literary author of merit. A really GOOD story hacker. That's it. Born from the ruins and 'rookeries' of the Hell's Kitchen I remember. The hostility and heat, crime and grit of W. 46th and Tenth Avenue where I lived I('tween the city bus wash and the Salvation Army store) from Times Square and Hell's Kitchen Park to the Port Authority Bus Terminal and uptown shy of Fordham University where I attended, shaped all of who I am t'day. My memories are engraved from that era and the people I loved back then in what feels like a thousand year old dream. I survived the Kitchen and when I travel there to Upper West Side it IS a 'return' home - the prodigal son wearing one shoe and one barefoot kneeling before his father begging forgiveness for a life lost and not fully lived. I left more blood and skin, cum and sweat on those west side streets then was acceptable. Yet, here I still am - waiting for the verdict to come in.

As Flaubert once told his bastard son who would become one of the greatest writers of all time, Guy D'Maupassant: 'Talent, is the TRIAL of patience.' Indeed it is sir. Indeed...it is.


S.W. Laro


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