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Being Frank: The Inner Mind and Dark Side of an Artist

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Saturday morning at the Moffatt-Ladd House, Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story was screened for a small but engaged audience. The 100 minute documentary dives into the life of artist and comedian Chris Sievey, who had a long and tumultuous, yet largely unknown career in the late 20th century in the UK.

The film tracks Sievey from his young teenage years of taking acid and loving The Beatles, to his adult life of a musician, most well known for his time with a pop-punk band called The Freshies. To build excitement about The Freshies, Sievey created the character of Frank Sidebottom, who was The Freshies’ number one fan. Frank, however, was really just Sievey with a large paper mache head of a cartoon boy.

Over the years, Frank became a national sensation, performing skits, writing comic strips, singing spoofs of popular songs, and even starting his own soccer team.

Viewers also get a behind-the-scenes (or should we say, behind the head) look into Sievey’s personal relationships with his friends, wife, and three children, all of whom appeared in the film. We learn that behind the goofy, inventive liveliness that was embodied in Frank was a man troubled by debt, alcoholism, drug addiction, and infidelity.

Being Frank is a classic exploration of fame, notoriety, and the trials of a creative spirit. It is directed and produced by Steve Sullivan.

By Steph George

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