The Bentley Film Festival is a night of discovery.

The Unknown 

The Bentley Film Festival is a night of discovery.

WED 12/17

Last year's Bentley Film Festival -- for which brave souls turned in undeveloped 8-millimeter film they had shot and didn't see the results until the audience did -- was nerve-racking for Kit Shea. She had never made a movie. "I just sat there and drank the whole time," she says with a hearty laugh.What did she think when she finally saw it? Apparently not much. "I actually poo-pooed my own movie. Right when it was done, I went thththththpppp!"

That night, Shea went home with a third-place prize, the best thing that could have happened given that her whole point was to see if she had the goods. Moviemaking being an expensive hobby, she didn't want to invest in it if all she was going to do was suck. "Normally," she explains, "if you want to participate in a film festival, you need to rent lights and a camera and all that. For this one, all you need is a cheap Bentley camera. So I thought I'd try and figure out if I had any talent, because otherwise it's like I'm one of millions and millions of people who want to make movies, and I can pack it up and forget about it."

She knows her third-place prize wasn't exactly a free ticket into the industry, but it validated her interest enough that she quit her job and got one that took less time so she could practice filmmaking. This year, she wants to win.

"We'll see," she says. "It could be really crappy, and this year I've invited a whole lot of people." To join them, head to the Fahrenheit (1717 West Ninth Street) at 7:30 p.m. For information, see ifckc.com.-- Gina Kaufmann

He Feels So Bad

SAT 12/13

Millage Gilbert looks happy enough, but he's a bluesman, and therefore he sings about feeling bad -- "like a ball game on a rainy day," to be specific. He plays every Saturday afternoon at the Grand Emporium (3832 Main), where the more desperate his lyrics become, the harder and louder his regulars cheer. It's nice to sit in a bar in the afternoon, with people ordering coffee as often as mixed drinks, enjoying and really paying attention to the music. They come in fedoras and respectable long coats. The unpretentious fun starts at

4 p.m. for a $5 cover. For information, call 816-531-1504. -- Kaufmann

Cheap Trip

FRI 12/12

Want the moon and the stars? Turns out small telescopes can deliver, but you gotta know what you're buying before you lay down your hard-earned Christmas-shopping cash. Some models look sleek and high-tech, but the bulk of your money ends up going into the thing's fancy electronics and computer control. Others look almost primitive but, for a lot less cash, can take you to the edge of the galaxy and back. Robert Haler of Lymax Astronomy, an Independence retail store, will explain what to look for in a telescope at the monthly gathering of the Astronomy Associates of Lawrence. The group meets at 7:30 p.m. in room 1001 of Malott Hall (1251 Wescoe Hall Drive) on the University of Kansas campus. For information, call 785-864-4626.-- Tony Ortega

Con Leche

DAILY

Hector Casanova's DisGrace, the parable of a girl who dances with the devil, is so steeped in the tradition of magical realism that it practically smells of dirt and chocolate. With Gabriel Garcia Marquez's autobiography just out, what better way to spend a December afternoon than curled around a hot cup of coffee, reading about Mexico and contemplating Casanova's waltzing woman? DisGrace and other works by artists from the Kansas City Comic Creators Network hang at Muddy's (1719 West 39th Street) through the end of the year. This is original work from the Show and Tell anthology, available at the register along with the aforementioned cup of joe. For information, call 816-756-1997.-- Kelly Sue DeConnick

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