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    John Palmer + David Weisman – Ciao! Manhattan

    February 27th, 2009

    John Palmer + David Weisman - Ciao! Manhattan.

    Ciao! Manhattan is a scripted art film based on the life story of an early super model named Edie Sedgwick, who fell in with Andy Warhol’s Factory crowd in 1965, starred in some of his underground films, and got hooked on hard drugs, only to enter a slowly decaying orbit. After staggering through a series of mental hospitals, electro-shock therapy sessions and endless amounts of drugs and alcohol, her ravaged organs gave up the ghost in Santa Barbara, California in 1971.

    Holed up at a California mansion in an empty swimming pool covered by a makeshift tent and filled with gigantic photos of herself and friends from her glory days in New York, Susan Superstar (who is really just Edie playing herself), filmed in full color in 1970, tells her life story to a young, naive Texas drifter named Butch through a series of black and white flashbacks filmed in 1967. After years of severe substance abuse, Edie is a sloppy mess with a quivering voice who stumbles around and can barely stand up, let alone walk. Although Edie was 27 years old at the time of filming, she comes across almost child-like.

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    Lee Ranaldo + Leah Singer – Drift

    February 21st, 2009

    Lee Ranaldo + Leah Singer - Drift.

    Since 1991, Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo and moviemaker Leah Singer have been collaborating on a series of live performances that combine sound and film. Appropriately called Drift, it’s comprised of poignant, itinerant poetry that glances through decades of Lee’s life supported by dark, meandering electric guitar clouds that blend with blurry 16 mm movie images shot on the road by an apparent errant cinematographer.

    Like some sort of vintage 1960s double feature flickering simultaneously on twin screens, Leah’s projector clicks and clacks as her imagery unfurls: Flowering trees accompany neon signs. A huge electric arrow points toward GIRLS. Blurred city lights, truck tires, abandoned fire trucks and shoes support an x-ray hand that attempts to “reach out and touch someone,” anyone on a floating rotary phone. These photos combine in myriad, random ways to inspire different stories in each viewer.

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    Ira Cohen – The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda

    February 21st, 2009

    Ira Cohen - The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda.

    The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda is a 20-minute art film directed by Ira Cohen in 1968. It features a bit of straightforward footage that alternates with a whole lot of trippy, twisted mylar reflection and split screen techniques. The stars of this show are grotesquely attired humans who are completely covered in outlandish, over-the-top, Eastern-inspired costumes, make-up and masks. As they writhe around in a seething fairytale opium den full of equally bizarre and intricate backdrops and surroundings, these troubadours of the visual cortex blow bubbles, taste butterflies, light up opium pipes with a demonic candle and dance the day away in a most surreal way. And when the mylar scenes kick in, the proceedings explode into infinite kaleidoscopic dimensions of hyper-reality. It’s breathtaking and breathgiving all at once. And it looks not so much like it was filmed in the ’60s, but rather some sort of strange, eternal dream state.

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    George Lucas – THX 1138

    February 15th, 2009

    THX 1138

    Set in the 25th century, the story of THX 1138 takes place entirely inside a vast, technologically advanced civilization constructed under the Earth’s surface. This gleaming white dystopia is chock-full of a population of humans who are forced by their government to shave their heads, wear all white clothes and consume a daily regimen of sedative capsules to keep them in line. Mindless production and consumption are the norm, while sex, love and emotion are forbidden.

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    Chad Freidrichs + Paul Fehler – Jandek on Corwood

    February 13th, 2009

    Jandek on Corwood.

    Let’s say your head has been buried deep between two pillows since 1977, and the only nutrients you’ve been given to sustain yourself are a few crumbs of bread, a glass of water and a tiny transistor radio blaring Billboard‘s Top 40. You have no idea there’s an underground, much less a king of it. For a quarter of a century–from 1978 to 2003–a mysterious recording entity called Jandek released over 30 albums of very personal, dissonant folk blues that mostly emanated from a monotonous mouth and a strangely tuned guitar.

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    Rudiger Nuchtern – Amon Duul II Play Phallus Dei

    February 8th, 2009

    Amon Duul II Play Phallus Dei

    This is the DVD debut of a rare 16 mm art film featuring soon-to-be krautrock legends Amon Duul II fucking shit up back in 1968 right before they recorded their first record. It’s a gloriously minimal aural and visual treat comprised of footage from one stationary camera on a tripod that captures the band wailing away in front of a churning psychedelic backdrop. Additional simple scenes that range from a slow sunrise to dark, pastoral landscapes passing by are occasionally peppered into the mix to form a beautiful organic whole.

    Awash in grainy film and crude lo-fi sound, the band starts out their 25-minute long jam with some subtle, moaning ambience, then quickly make their way into various stages of a shambling, improvised rock maelstrom and drum jams of a very tall order. They pretty much go completely nuts on guitars, bass, drums, violin, tambourine and the most shrill, tweaked vocal and horn abstractions. Incredible. The package comes complete with a beautiful eight-page booklet of stills from the film and informative liner notes. And hey, it was a hit at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1969, so now you know you gotta see it. Warning: Fans of slick, professional productions should definitely steer clear of this release.

    Label: Repertoire Catalog Number: REP 3017 Format: DVD Packaging: Clear plastic case Tracks: 1 Total Time: 28:00 Country: Germany Released: 2003 More: Last.FM, Official, Wikipedia

    Partch at the REDCAT 2008

    February 8th, 2009

    Los Angeles, California
    May 31, 2008

    This is the full gallery to accompany the original Partch at the REDCAT 2008 article.

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    The Source Family and Ya Ho Wha 13

    February 8th, 2009

    The Silent Movie Theater
    Los Angeles, California
    November 15, 2007

    The Echoplex
    Los Angeles, California
    November 16, 2007

    This is the full gallery to accompany the original The Source Family and Ya Ho Wha 13 article.

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    Partch at California Plaza

    February 7th, 2009

    Los Angeles, California
    July 20, 2007

    This is the full gallery to accompany the original Partch at California Plaza article.

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    Partch at the REDCAT 2007

    February 7th, 2009

    Los Angeles, California
    May 30, 2007

    This is the full gallery to accompany the original Partch at the REDCAT 2007 article.

    Read the rest of this entry »