Even if you are not a resident of Sag Harbor, you may still be very familiar with the 16-foot sculpture “Legs” created by long-time Hamptons resident and well-known artist, Larry Rivers (1923-2002). Although cast from fiberglass, the owners of “Legs,” the real legs of art collectors and gallery owners, Ruth Vered and Janet Lehr, who purchased the work in 1994, kicked up quite a storm in the village since placing the work on the side of their home located in the historic district in 2008.
Alas, with all juicy local tales this one raged on for quite some time. The issue – Is “Legs” art or a structure? In 2012, a judge upheld the Village of Sag Harbor’s Zoning Board of Appeals’ position that “Legs” is indeed a structure and was not compliant with zoning codes because it was not set back from the property line.
This issue, which pitted neighbor against neighbor in a village swarming with artists and writers, has been reinvented in yet another art form as a 76-minute documentary by Forever Films Inc.’s Beatrice Alda (daughter of actor Alan Alda) and her life and film partner, Jennifer Brooke. The film focuses on life in a small town with big name artists and long-time residents whose opinions differ drastically on exactly what constitutes something falling under that broadest of terms – art.
The ladies, who are married, began Forever Films in 2003, and co-directed a 2009 documentary feature “Out Late,” examining the lives of five individuals who revealed their sexual orientation at various ages, from 50’s to 70’s, have now turned their cameras to focus on the sometimes peculiar sentiments of what exactly life is like in a small town directly from those who actually live in a small town. Colorful characters representing all ages, sexes, professions and vocations all weigh in to define who they are and their role in a small town, and why their diverse opinion(s) matter most. Additionally, the film also features a score by resident artist-musician Dan Rizzie, who worked with guitarist and “Saturday Night Live” bandleader, G.E. Smith.
Acknowledgement of Alda’s and Brooke’s realistic and revealing components of life in such a small town has received a big recognition as “Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town” has been recognized with placement on the 2016 Hamptons International Film Festival’s Views From Long Island roster. This category is described by HIFF as “Comprising one docu-series sneak preview, two features and two shorts, the HIFF 2016 Views From Long Island section focuses on local filmmakers, the area’s unique landscapes, and the important social and political issues facing Long Island communities, and is supported by the Suffolk County Film Commission.”
Rivers, who passed away at age 78, and who was also a painter and filmmaker would most certainly have been delighted that his work “Legs” is still kickin’ it. See you at the movies!
The 24th annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place Thursday, October 6th through Monday, October 10th. “Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town” will screen at Bay Street Theater (1 Bay Street, Sag Harbor) on Monday, October 10th at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15.
For more information visit hamptonsfilmfest.org.