Let's Get real, real Real for a change

Venus of Mars screens Friday at 9:30 p.m. at Oak Street Cinema as part of the Get Real City Pages Documentary Film Festival, with an All the Pretty Horses afterparty at the Cabooze: Venus (top) and Lynette Reini-Grandell photographed by Darin Back
So, you're depressed about the election and First Avenue closing. You're not alone: I actually moved this post from Thursday to leave more room for the much-trafficked First Avenue story below, which will include new links at the bottom as they come.
But if you're in Minneapolis, there's no need to stay home and grouse--why not grouse in public? At the movie theater? Every time I come out of a film during the Get Real City Pages Documentary Film Festival, I feel both transported and more alive to the world. This is the balance I need at the moment, and I consider it the happiest coincidence that the seven-day festival, now in its fourth year, coincides with my birthday--a week packed with premieres and afterbars, including last night's free Robyn Hitchcock show (see below), and guided by the good taste of curator Rob Nelson. All screenings at Oak Street Cinema (309 Oak Street SE, Minneapolis, 612.331.3134). Here's a complete schedule with links and comments:
7:30 p.m.: I, Curmudgeon DIRECTOR ALAN ZWEIG PRESENT
Zweig in his last curmudgeonly movie, Vinyl

So as the festival progresses, I'll go back and review these movies here in this post. This opening night movie on Thursday was truly, unexpectedly great. If an hour and a half of talking heads on the subject of being a "curmudgeon" doesn't sound appealing, you have to see this to believe it. Not only does the film, which is beautifully and intuitively and obsessively edited, make personality seem political in a new way, but it makes you question your own. I suddenly wanted all of my friends who are more or less curmudgeons to see the movie and know they aren't alone. For any human being with a hyperpowered bullshit detector and an unedited mouth, this is your life.
There was a fun after-party at the Kitty Cat Klub, where Robyn Hitchcock mingled with film people and First Avenue people. I missed his performace (damn) due to an errand, but I hear Steve McClellan himself helped out with the Cedar show, a review of which I linked on the First Avenue's Black Tuesday page.


Rob Nelson and Chuck Olsen (local director of Blogumentary, below) will be on Fox 9 News in the morning between 6:15 and 8:30 a.m. They will have four segments talking about the films and festival and numerous teasers leading in and out of commercial breaks.

7:30 p.m.: Blogumentary DIRECTOR CHUCK OLSON PRESENT

New chuck12312312:

A truly funny and humane look at the artform you're reading right now: blogging. If you missed this documentary, kick yourself, or I'll come over and kick you for you. Chuck Olson gives maybe a couple minutes more than necessary to the Howard Dean-blog connection, and I would have liked to find out more about blogs by people other than Americans. But he gives equal time to the right-wingers who deserved to celebrate over their take-down of Dan Rather (a drama I watched unfold in real time via Little Green Footballs) and keeps everything humorous, even when dealing with how blogging helped our mutual friend Crystal out of depression.

For background, Rex, one of my favorite bloggers interviewed Chuck, also one of my favorite bloggers, in this interesting Q&A for City Pages.

9:30 p.m.:
Here's my review of this incredible film (the low rating in the Strib accompanying a neutral-sounding review really puzzles me, I gotta say), combined with an interview with the director (here's her film's official site), and with the band All the Pretty Horses. Obviously, I think this is an important, entertaining, big deal. Here's my take, in short:

Easily the best Minnesota rock documentary since 1998's Driver 23, this one is like a film version of the Replacements' "Androgynous": part love comedy, part long prayer against the tyranny of gender. The film makes its Minnesota premiere tonight (at 9:30 p.m.) as part of the 4th Annual Get Real City Pages Documentary Film Festival, with a midnight-2:00 a.m. after-party performance by starring band All the Pretty Horses at the Cabooze (917 Cedar Ave., Mpls.), with openers Kubla Khan, and HanZolo. Doors 9:00, music 9:45, Cover $6.00, 18+ (Note: All this occurs after Matthew Sweet's early show, relocated from First Avenue, which is closed. Doors 6:00 PM, Music 7:00 PM, Tickets $12.00, 21+).

Midnight: Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (some reviews at Metacritic).

This looked great, but I missed it due to rocking out at the clubs.

Also Friday night: Brian Jonestown Massacre at the 400 Bar:
Bar-hop between All the Pretty Horses at the Cabooze and the Brian Jonestown Massacre at the 400, with openers High Strung and Leolo Ferone

DIG! is the most talked-about rock doc of the year bar Metallica's meltdown, a kind of '90s alt-rock Amadeus that follows the friendship and rivalry between the respective frontmen of the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols. (It screens Saturday at midnight at Oak Street Cinema, 309 Oak St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.331.3134; citypages.com/getreal).

As fate would have it, the more spectacular (and less successful) of the two bands, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, arrive in person on Friday night to defend their bad name at the 400 Bar--a perennial live psychedelic experience that's worth having in any year, but shouldn't be missed this weekend. With High Strung and Leolo Ferone. 21+. $12/$15 at the door. 8:00 pm. FRI NOV 5, 400 Bar, 400 Cedar Ave S (at Riverside Ave), Mpls.; 612.332.2903 Map It!


Rural Americans speak out on the Iraq war, with scary results. Here's the director's site, and a review. I missed this one.
3:30 p.m.: I Like Killing Flies. I missed this one, too.
5:30 p.m.:
A League of Ordinary Gentlemen

I watched this one, and though I was entertained, I was also disappointed. The director got some great scenes in a milieu that I previously knew nothing about, but there just isn't enough here to justify a movie, in my eyes. I'm still glad I saw it--definitely enlightening and fun. Maybe if the director took a stronger point of view, on either the players or the corporate handling of the game, the film would have more shape. As it is, it feels like a more slack version of Spellbound. There was an after-party following the screening at Bryant Lake Bowl, 810 West Lake Street in Minneapolis (612.825.3737). Join us from 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. for 2 in 1 drink specials.

7:45 p.m.: Mondovino

Wine-making as metaphor for the corporatization of nearly everything. "The other documentary in competition for the Palme d'Or at Cannes this year (besides Fahrenheit 9/11)," this was actually very good, if about 20 minutes overlong. Far too fast with information to be followed too closely by the non-French speaker, it's still dazzling visually, with its shakey camera shots of every interview subject, and intellectually, with its outlining of the subtle imperialism and corruption in the wine business. Much of this movie should have ended up on the cutting room floor, including about hald the dog shots, but this is a trip worth taking, recommended with good wine.

10:00 p.m.: Monster Road

The amazing world of underground clay animator Bruce Bickford. (Here's the trailer from the film company's official site.) I missed this.

Midnight: DIG!

(See above.) This looks hilarious. Here's the official movie siteone review, and another one. I missed this.


I missed all of Sunday because I had to finish a book for work. Too bad, I heard great things about "Army of One" and "Guerilla."


7:30 p.m.: Los Angeles Plays Itself

Besides the first three movies in this festival, this was the big hit for me: A wonderful exploration of urban history and architecture with a few real-life shots and stills, combined with a gazillion scenes from Hollywood movies that show L.A. in the backdrop, all narrated by a voice that's angry and smart and opinionated, but not tiring. At three hours, it was way too short: Really, it should be a TV series.


7:30 p.m.: Checkpoint

I saw this at the Wisconsin Film Festival and it's stuck with me ever since. I think this might be the best documentary about Israel-Palestine ever made. Highly recommended.

9:30 p.m.: No. 17

I will have to miss this, unfortunately.


7:30 p.m.: Tarnation DIRECTOR PRESENT
This looks like another highlight of the fest. See you there.

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