Bar Games: Seeing Eye To Eye

How bored were Sean Linezo, James Miller, Michael Johnson and Jay Hufford? So bored that they took an interest in staring contests. They're screening their documentary, "Stare-Master" (of course), at bars--and then already-glassy-eyed patrons do battle. The rules: for two minutes, no smiling or breaking eye contact; last longer, and you're in what Linezo, 27, calls the "Dry Eye Death Phase." One of the semifinal matches in the movie goes on for 17 minutes. ("The American Academy of Ophthalmologists doesn't recommend staring contests," says a spokesman, "but we don't think they're a public-health hazard.") Amazingly, this movement has more than one leader. David Avery, 38, has been cohosting independent contests at performance-art spaces in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is saddened that he doesn't have a monopoly going. Still, he says, "it's really compellingly fun." NEWSWEEK lays claim to the burgeoning tiddlywinks movement.