posted January 12, 2009

Knickerbocker Theatre to Show “A Man Named Pearl

The Hope College Knickerbocker Film Series will present the movie "A Man Named Pearl" on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 23-24; Monday-Wednesday, Jan. 26-28; and Friday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.

"A Man Named Pearl" is a documentary that tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar. It offers an upbeat message that speaks of respect for both self and others, and shows what one person can achieve when he allows himself to share the full expression of his humanity. Stung early on by racist comment about how African-Americans keep their lawns, Pearl has gone on to have his yard work studied by artists and landscapers alike.

Pearl has been featured in dozens of magazines and newspapers, including "The New York Times," as well as several television programs such as "CBS Sunday Morning." The media interest that Pearl and his topiary garden generates helps steer much-needed tourist dollars into the declining town of Bishopville and LeeCounty, the poorest county in the state of South Carolina.

But the impact that Pearl and his art have had on his community is not just economic. He also had a profound spiritual influence. Visitors who wander Pearl's three-and-a-half-acre property quickly recognize that love is the garden's central theme. These are the guiding principles by which Pearl lives his life and how he's been keeping up his yard for nearly 30 years.

Bill Thompson from the "Charleston Post and Courier" has said, "In a sea of pedantic, heavy-handed political documentaries, 'A Man Named Pearl' offers both an effective social statement on race relations and human potential."

Tickets are $6 for regular admission and $5 for students and senior citizens, and will be available at the door.

Additional information about "A Man Named Pearl" and other upcoming films may be obtained at the Knickerbocker Web site, which can be reached through www.hope.edu/arts.

The Knickerbocker Theatre is located in downtown Holland at 86 E. Eighth St.