Aspyr Media
Timothy "Speed" Levitch was the star of the 1998 documentary The Cruise, one of my favorite films of all time, which profiled the New York City tour guide's unique perspectives on the city, his own transitory life and deeper questions of existence. Through a series of bus loops, interviews and walking tours, Speed displayed his enthusiasm, his intelligence, his inquisitiveness and his romantic quest for intellectual and spiritual fulfillment. One of the more eccentric oddballs ever captured on film, Speed's extraordinary linguistic gifts communicate his deep passion and jubilation at existence. His ideas are the perfect antidote for a world that every day moves towards irony and detachment, pessimism, cynicism and nihilism. Though it's a minor travesty that The Cruise has never been released on the DVD format (or even a VHS that doesn't cost upwards of $100), Aspyr Media recently released this short documentary also featuring Speed, made last year by Richard Linklater of Slacker. Linklater previously featured Speed in one segment of his animated masterpiece Waking Life, a rambling episodic film that dealt with the many solutions to existence offered by science, philosophy, magic and dreams. Clearly, he was impressed enough to direct this follow-up film, which deals primarily with Speed's response to the September 11, 2001 attack on New York City - its historical context, its ramifications, and Speed's unorthodox suggestion for what should be done with "Ground Zero." It is a refreshing film that completely transcends the seemingly endless parade of ridiculously schmaltzy, over-cautious and reverential garbage that has been said about the tragedy by nearly everyone since 9/11. Speed is anything but sentimental, living as he does in the eternal "now," and his suggestion for the proper commemoration of Ground Zero is uniquely inspired. The DVD also contains numerous extras, including picture-in-picture annotations by Speed himself, as well as some live appearances and readings from his recently published Speedology: Speed on New York City on Speed. Standing at Ground Zero, Speed pontificates: "9/11 was one of the many parables the great sagacious cosmopolitan guru has dropped upon this population to illustrate one of its greatest points: the creation and destruction that is the rhythm of the universe is a part of our universe. Creation and destruction: the dance of Shiva. New York City is an excellent dance floor for that specific choreography."