Working at Disney and living in southern California in the late 80’s, I didn’t know anyone who wasn’t intrigued by or didn’t watch Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Personally I didn’t miss it. Just the quirkiness and the design of the set alone had me hooked. A lot of that had to do with the artist who is featured in the movie, Beauty is Embarrassing, The Wayne White Story. Wayne is a multi talented artist, and won a number of Emmy’s for his design work and puppetry on Pee Wee’s Playhouse.
The film is a documentary if you will on Wayne, his background and his journey as an artist. I found his sense of humor and kookiness hysterical and his work in different mediums inspiring; painting, puppetry, sculpture, often using cardboard, discarded, and found objects. He seems like such a playful artist and just does what he feels like is the flavor of the day.
Wayne is also known for his word paintings. Taking discardedor thrift store art and creating phrases in colorful letters with colorful messages that, well let’s just say aren’tvery politically correct. If you are offended by the “f” bomb, don’t watch. If you are intrigued on how this country boy from Tennessee ended up in New York, landing a job with Paul Reubens on Pee Wee’s Playhouse, then moving to LA to continue to work on the show, win three Emmys, plus come into his own as an artist, then give it a try. If you have Netflix you can stream it from the documentary section or rent it from iTunes.
You can also check our Wayne’s book, edited by designer Todd Oldham, Wayne White: Maybe Now I’ll Get the Respect I So Richly Deserve.