The 23rd edition of PXL THIS, one of Los Angeles' longest-running film festivals and a gloriously offbeat realization of Marshall McLuhan's theory that “the medium is the message,” is all about movies shot in black-and-white with '70s-era Fisher-Price toy camcorders. Spawned by freewheeling “media ecologist” Gerry Fialka, it's a wildly disparate collection of talents and themes — artist profiles, a frolicsome day at the beach, withering indictments of Obama's drone warfare and corporate America's corruption — from a roster of contributors that includes 10-year-old kids, creatively conscripted homeless, wild-eyed avant-gardeners, Hollywood professionals and some of the underground film community's most lionized provocateurs. The camera's limitations somehow invariably imbue its subjects with a strangely liberating quality, crashing into an uncharted region where high concept and low technology collide with oft-spectacular impact. PXL THIS never fails to stimulate its audience into a churning state of passionate intellectual arousal, and while it's gained an international flair, at its core the festival is genuine California culture at its marvelous best. Unurban, 3301 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; Mon., Dec. 9, 6 p.m. preshow, screenings at 7 & 9 p.m.; free. (310) 315-0056,

Mon., Dec. 9, 7 & 9 p.m., 2013

LA Weekly