Local artist Mark Escribano's documentary, "The Super Noble Brothers," made its debut at the Milwaukee International Film Festival in 2007. It screens again Thursday, Jan. 15 at the Oriental. The 7 p.m. screening is preceded by a Fashion Ninja fashion show.
The 85-minute film was shot over the course of about eight years in Milwaukee and elsewhere. The version being shown at this screening is a different cut never before seen in Milwaukee, Escribano says.
Escribano, a photographer, filmmaker and performance artist, traces the paths of Andy, Tommy and Davey Noble, three brothers active in Milwaukee's music and art scenes.
Interviewing their parents, friends, collaborators and fellow scenesters, Escribano uses the Nobles' dedication to their passions as a means for exploring how people choose to live their lives. In these cases, all three Nobles have eschewed traditional paths and middle class indicators of success to focus on what makes them happy and what satisfies them.
Andy Noble suggests there is a likely a big word to describe their focus on themselves and their pursuit of happiness, but for this viewer, hedonism doesn't seem to be it. That would suggest that the trio lives a life of worthless partying.
In fact, Davey Noble's paintings are some of the most vibrant and exciting to come out of Milwaukee and Tommy and Andy have enriched the music scene in Milwaukee on every level, via their work with bands The Pacers, The Thousandaires and others, as the Super Noble Brothers DJ team and as proprietors of Lotus Land Records.
The Nobles' story is also a story of driving passion. Tommy and Andy are fueled forward by an unscratchable itch to find great records and to sell them at their store and share them via their record label and DJ gigs. Davey, on the other hand, has continued to paint, and to paint at an apparently furious pace, in order to attempt to sate his unquenchable thirst to create.
Especially interesting are the ways the brothers have interacted -- sometimes collaborating, sometimes distancing themselves from one another.
Escribano's years of labor have been fruitful. Using footage from Milwaukee, New York, California, Madison and lots of clips of other footage from Brazil and other locations, the film is visually engaging and the story is captivating on many levels.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.