October 29, 2005 The Huntington Beach
International Surfing Museum will be sponsoring a show of recent film
documentaries by Mendocino County filmmaker Paul Kraus. The Jumping Flea, a
cross-cultural and historic look at the ukulele, has its premiere showing
Saturday, October 29th at 7:30 pm at Mann's Pierside Pavilion 6 Theater, 300
Pacific Coast Highway, directly across from the Huntington Beach Pier. On
the same ticket, showing at 9:30 pm, is The ShapeMakers, a documentary about
surfboard shapers featuring personal interviews with renowned shapers in
California, Hawaii, and Australia. Come to the theater at 6pm to enjoy beer,
wine and some great snacks provided by our supportive sponsors.
Paul Kraus, who worked in special effects first in Hollywood and later
in Marin County, settled on the North Coast of California in 1979. His resume also
includes designing houses, page design for Surfer Magazine, and nearly 40 projects for
Lionel Toy Trains under the ownership of musician Neil Young.
Kraus is a lifelong surfer, and learned the basics of surfboard shaping
and guitar making from his father in the 1960's. Five years ago, he renewed his interest
in hand built musical instruments, and concentrated on the ukulele. In the process, he
found a complete subculture of musicians, craftsmen, and just plain fans. The
instrument's most famous player might be Tiny Tim, a fringe character of the 1960's to
1980's. But Kraus is quick to note that Beatle George Harrison was a fan and proponent of
the small, 4 stringed uke, for its portable size and the ability to compose
melodies on it.
Kraus named his film The Jumping Flea as a reflection of the fun the
instrument holds for musicians. Jumping Flea is a translation of the Hawaiian word
Ukulele. And while the ukulele may suffer from a lack of respect from the music listening
public, Kraus has discovered some remarkably talented players who crush the idea that the
ukulele is not capable of creating serious music.
He also aimed his camera at many of the master craftsmen who make the
four sizes of ukulele, including a third generation shop in Hawaii and a maker of
steel resonator ukes in New Zealand. It is not surprising that the ukulele has a great
many collectors of the finer handcrafted versions.
The screenings are part of a reunion celebration honoring the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum's supporters for over two decades of service. Paul Kraus, Tom Morey and co-producer Victoria Bard will be on hand to answer questions and
sign a limited edition poster and ShapeMakers DVD's. This "meet and greet" will take place from 4pm-5pm at
the museum for no charge.
The Jumping Flea will be available in limited theatrical release and on
This calendar does not guarantee accuracy of information as events are subject to change.