Struggle for artistic self in “Billy Bates”



I was one of about 100 people who got to see the free preview of a new independent film “Billy Bates” at the Loft Cinema on Sunday, prior to its release nationwide tomorrow.  From the Loft’s website:

From director Jennifer DeLia and producer Julie Pacino comes a fascinating and absorbing portrait of a troubled artist, Billy Bates, walking the tight rope between brilliance and madness. Billy seeks solace in his beautiful lover, Kaia, an angelic singer he meets at an art show. As the two together attempt to navigate his mind-bending reality, the film becomes a cacophony of voices, music, and memories that take us through Billy’s kaleidoscopic world of underground parties, a psychotic break, and on the rise as an artist. All throughout this journey, Billy creates his newest body of work and is coined ‘the Warhol of his generation.’ Billy Bates stars James Wirt and Savannah Welch and features Margherita Missoni, Josephine de La Baume, Zoe Twitt, and Sally Golan. Music by Moby’s band The Little Death, the Trishas, the late Arthur Russell, and more. Original artwork by Burton Machen and featuring works from Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat. (Dir. by Jennifer DeLia, 2013, USA, 80 mins., Not Rated) Digital


I enjoyed the preview as this is a powerful film of resiliency due to abandonment issues, mental health and anger struggles, the search for love and a soul mate, and ultimately the belief in one’s artistry and passion in life.  The individual quest for “unlimited freedom” is explored by the actors, but I think the ultimate resolution is more about being true to your own self. The movie is also edited well with shots of Billy’s childhood past interwoven into his present reality of pain and transformation.

Actor Jimmy Wirt who was present at the Tucson showing portrayed all of these stages very well, as a budding photographer/artist in NYC. We got to meet him, director Jennifer Delia, and producer Julie Pacino at the after party celebration at the Roadhouse Cinema, with lots of beer courtesy of Nimbus Brewery.

The production crew is on a 10 city USA  tour and Tucson was the 2nd to the last stop prior to Los Angeles.  Prior to Arizona they were in D.C., Nashville Tennessee, Raleigh NC, Savannah Georgia, Kansas City Missouri, Houston and Austin TX.

More info at the film’s website, The film is being released tomorrow  November 18 and  you can download the film via itunes at


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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).