Humans Being is a film written and directed by Ken Shelf. The film takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area, and follows a small community of people who are facing the challenges of how life goes on, sometimes long after the thrill of living is gone-or at least long after the time has passed where one can just spend days making art, doing lots of drugs, and ignoring such unsexy issues such as health insurance, savings accounts, and aging parents. The people in Humans Being struggle to find their places in the world, to balance work and art, and are torn between the ideals of youth and the realities of adulthood. Meanwhile, in the city around them rents rise, art spaces close, and dumb-ass drivers continue to ignore bicycle riders on the road.
Welcome to the lives of Beth, Adam, Phil, Madeline, and Dylan.
These five lived and worked together in Santa Cruz, where they were part of the performance group "MonkMonk". Although they had quite a following in the sleepy beach town, they one-by-one made their way to SF in search of wider audiences, better job prospects, and a place to live where you can leave your house without being guaranteed to run into someone you slept with.
Beth Lane, played by the wonderous Holly Ayster, is around thirty. She makes her living as a bike messenger (as if she could ever spend all day in a fucking office) and is frequently seen with her trusty video camera-making shorts, being the voyeur/observor, and giving herself a healthy dose of therapy in the process. Beth always has some new, cute lover (boys and grrrls), but no one she can really deal with for more than a few weeks. No surprise Beth can't get close to anyone: her brother, Andre, is a junkie, her mother is a superficial, image-conscious, suburban yenta, and her father couldn't care less.
Adam Roth, played by the stupendous David Mapother, is around thirty. Adam has been a painter for years and is finally starting to make it. His first big show opens at the Gallery Rousseau to a lot of positive media attention. Adam is close to his family, and they have all relocated to the Bay Area from Anasio, Connecticut where Adam grew up (along with his oldest friend, Phillip Sandler.) Adam is the successful son; his brother, Dan Roth, is in a miserable career and failing marriage. Adam is single and, despite frequent propositions from the opposite sex, seems intent on keeping it that way. The wonder boy has a bit of a secret that only he, his computer, and his trusty right hand know.
Phillip Sandler, played by the amazing Asher Lyons, is around thirty. Phil, a painter like Adam, takes a late on-ramp to the internet superhighway, but is quickly in the left lane making big cash. Phil has a history of transforming himself though; when he moved to California from Anasio, Connecticut, he left behind the good little orthodox jewish kid he grew up as. As Phil grows apart from his friends, he is also acutely aware of how they are all changing. He accepts it more than some, but doesn't want to just forget.
Madeline Berger, played by the fabulous Anne Feinsod, is around thirty. She works at a vintage clothing store where she is underpaid and treated like shit. But at least she always has really cool clothes. Madeline is a performance artist, but hasn't been performing for a while since the members of MonkMonk started going in different directions. Madeline and Dylan Bradley have been going out for years. They were engaged to be married at one point, but Madeline called it off. Madeline is fighting the whole "growing up" thing. She is not ready to settle down and settle for less, but she finds herself at odds with her friends and her lover, who all seem to be moving on.
Dylan Bradley, played by the superb Michael Orick, is around thirty. Dylan plays a mean-ass sax-he has been known to get entire rooms of people howling and wailing by ripping so hard. But Dylan is sick of being broke and idealistic, sick of having to borrow money from his parents when he gets sick or to pay rent (but this usually happens when he and Madeline buy weed or gourmet food products that they want but just can't afford.) Dylan has a promising office job, that offers benefits and a corporate ladder to climb. He loves Madeline and will love her forever, but is not willing to be with her if that means he'll never buy a house or save for his retirement.