The Sound Unseen Festival, Oct. 7-16
class=img_thumbleft>City Pagesreviews the films
, Terri Sutton riffs ondocs about dead dudes
, and theSound Unseen festival site
otherwise runs down itsfull schedule
of movies and music from Friday, Oct. 7 through Sunday, Oct. 16. To sort it all out, here's an opinionated guide to everything essential about the fest (and you might as well mark your calendars now forShawn Hewitt
at the Entry on Saturday,DJ Spooky's live "remix"
ofThe Birth of a Nation
at the Varsity on Monday, andScene Minneapolis, 1977-1984
at the Oak Street on Thursday, Oct. 13). All films screen atOak Street Cinema
unless otherwise noted...
Friday, Oct. 7 (Opening Night)
fans in Minneapolis/St. Paul, tonight is your freakfest. Some of you might own the 1972 cult filmBorn to Boogie
, but the filmscreens here
in 35mm (Dylan Hicksdigs it
), preceded by a cool local band,Little Man
), and followed by a"T. Rex Trashy Prom"
atFour Seasons Dance Studio
near Loring Park, featuring theShim Sham Shufflers
, a dance contest, and more.
Saturday, Oct. 8
class=img_thumbleft>With a sound so fresh, you'll remember where you were when you first heard it,Shawn Hewitt and the National Strike
are the sort of unlikely indie-R&B act thatmust
come from Canada:The Soft Society
(Universal) is likeRufus Wainwright
, orMarc Dorsey
, and otherwise fits Hewitt's own "prog soul" description. The band performs at the7th St. Entry
preceded by ascreening of Canada Now!
, featuring rock videos from Hewitt,Broken Social Scene
,Death From Above 1979
, theNew Pornographers
, and more. With openers theSwiss Army
, and Beatrix Jar.
Otherwise, camp out today and Sunday (between noon and 9:30 p.m.) at the Walker Art Center for a series of classic and bizarre musical films, curated by Christian Marclay. Highlights include Walt Disney's Fantasia in 35mm and "Skeleton Dance" on 16mm, rarely screened Mauricio Kagel films on video, a Sonic Youth re-creation of "Piano Piece #13" on video, Peter Moore's 1964 short Stockhausen's Originale: Doubletakes on 16mm, and the four-and-a-half-hour Rameau's Nephew by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen on 16mm, which Rob digs (that screens on Sunday at 7:00 p.m.) Here's a full schedule of the two-day festival-within-a-festival.
class=img_thumbleft>Also essential is930 F Streeet
, a 2005 video doc about the Washington, D.C. venue the9:30 Club
of D.C.), whichscreens at 9:30 p.m.
, and again on Oct. 13. One particular former 18-year-old went to the club many times at its old location circa 1988-1990, and it permanently shaped his ideals for multi-culti punk/hip-hop clubgoing. The vidshows with
a 2003 Mission of Burma video doc I haven't seen.
There's also theTownes Van Zandt
2005 documentary on 35 mmscreening today
at 7:30 p.m. (Terriwrote about it
Watch the 1979 reunion of Count Basie, Big Joe Turner, Jay McShann, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Parker on 35mm in 1979's Last of the Blue Devils, which screens at 5:00 p.m. (as well as Sunday at 3:30 p.m.) (Though this, too, is available on DVD.)
Finally, for cool family fare, consider today's 1:15 p.m. screening of The Point, the 1971 16mm animated "classic" narrated by Ringo Starr.
Sunday, October 9
2005'sTragedy: The Story of Queensbridge
9:00 p.m. and again October 14 at 10:00 p.m.) a video about the notorious New York housing project that produced so much great hip hop.
Otherwise, Christian Marclay's Sound Art Cinema series continues at the Walker (see above).
For its important and largely untreated subject, Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth seems worthy. The 2004 video doc protrays the great P-Funk keyboardist (who hit on my then-girlfriend before his last show at First Avenue), and screens at 5:30 p.m. today (and again on Tuesday). Dylan lamented the absence of the man himself and much of his music, but it could still be a nice slice of funk history. Screens with the appealing-sounding 2005 video The Human Hambone.
Hipsters will descend upon As Smart as They Are, a 2005 video documentary about the McSweeney's house band, which should play to a pre-sold audience of McSweeney's enthusiasts and might be as funny. It screens at 7:30 p.m., and again on Oct. 10.
Thom York fans, meanwhile, probably shouldn't miss a screening of Radiohead Television, the 2004 vidfest.
Monday, Oct. 10
class=img_thumbleft>I'm still wrapping my head around this one:DJ Spooky's ReBirth of a Nation
features the greatillbient DJ
orchestrating a live, multi-media "remix" (on three screens) of D.W. Griffith's 1915 silent film "classic"The Birth of a Nation
, a founding work of cinema and awhite supremacist document for the ages
(based on the bookThe Clansman
by Thomas F. Dixon, Jr., which heroizes the KKK). As someone who just paged through hundreds of local newspapers from 1915 and 1916 while researchinga history
of tonight's venue, theVarsity Theater
(which also opened in 1915), I can say with confidence thatThe Birth of a Nation
was hugely popular in Minneapolis, just as it was across the U.S., enjoying a long run downtown with prominent advertisements. The ranks of the Ku Klux Klan swelled as a result of the success, as did the popularity of "movies" (then still taking quotes). By 1923, the Pioneer Press was reporting the presence of a KKK unit in St. Paul, and a University of Minnesota's homecoming parade had included aKKK float
). By now Griffith's claim on history is seen mainly by film students (MN Film Arts' Search and Rescue projectrecently unearthed
a print at the U of M) and others curious about the work's anti-inspiration for Spike Lee. The "remix" features a new soundtrack and new imagery, so look for a review in Culture to Go. Showtime at 7:30 p.m. at theVarsity Theater
in Dinkytown, with anafter-party
at the same club featuring Spooky,DJ Nikoless
's duo withJessy Greene
, Urban Ivy.
the 2005 35mm filmFavela Rising
, whichscreens at the same time
at Oak Street, and which Britt describes as a Brazilian "hybrid ofHotel Rwanda
, andWalking Tall
." But at least this screens there again on October 13: Go to the Varsity tonight.
Same forRough Cut and Ready Dubbed
, a 1982 video (also onDVD
) and newly restored obscuro punk documentscreened with Chuck Statler's accompanying James Chance video
(sweetening the deal) at 9:45 p.m. atBryant-Lake Bowl
. It screens again at Oak Street on Oct. 12, so go to the Varsity tonight.
Either way, you can still make a 5:00 p.m. screening of Spectrum: Minnesota Soundtracks Vol. 3, the latest and by far the best collection of locally-produced music videos associated with the event, which recalls the inspiration of MTV's toddler years (and the wildly varied budgets), with vids finding visual and conceptual hooks as well as pop ones. One turns Heiruspecs into hip-hop icons just by letting each musician get face time (who knew rapper Felix should have belonged in Handsome Boy Modeling School?). There's rich entertainment just in seeing otherwise familiar faces from the local scene (Vox Vermillion, Chariots, Revolver Modele, Ela, Jessy Green, the Soviettes) look glammer than life on the big screen. (Here's the Star Tribune preview.)
There's also a Death Cab For Cutie 2005 video doc screening at 5:00 p.m. at Bryant-Lake Bowl, but it screens again at the same venue on Oct. 12 and it's already on DVD (though this has timing going for it: the band plays the same evening at First Avenue).
Tuesday, Oct. 11
class=img_thumbleft>Here's the kind of event these festivals exist to bring. Screening only once, tonight at 7:30 p.m.,Scene Minneapolis: 1977-1986
collects vintage local rock footage by Mike Rivard, Craig Sinard, and Chuck Statler from the late '70s and early '80s, of bands including Things That Fall Down, the Psychenauts, the Wallets, Johnny Rey, the Suburbs, and more. Let's hope this includes the Replacements footage Rivard has never released. Screens with the 2005 premiere ofSoul Asylum: Never Too Late, Never Too Soon
from Harder/Fuller Films, which features long-lost concert footage shot in December 1987.
Otherwise, the Bernie Worrell 2004 video doc screens again at the Bell tonight.
Wednesday, Oct. 12
class=img_thumbleft>This could be amazing:Search and Rescue's music edition
digs up a treasure trove of vintage 16mm footage from the archives of the University of Minnesota. Screens at 9:40 at theBryant-Lake Bowl
Meanwhile,Life in a Box
, a 2005 video doc about the gay country duoY'All
, actuallysounds fun
And Rough Cut and Ready Dubbed (see above) re-screens at Oak Street.
Thursday, Oct. 13
class=img_thumbleft>Terri didn't care for
this 2005 video doc on grunge icon/Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood,Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story
, whichscreens at 7:30
. But it's a subject of inherent interest to a lot of locals, who for years viewed the Seattle scene like a sister.
There's also a screening of the 2004 video TV Party, a vintage punk document that has not (so far as I know) reached DVD.
Saturday, Oct. 15
class=img_thumbleft>The weekend's musical highlight is theChairkickers' Union Party
(here's thenew label site
!) hosted byLow
's Alan Sparhawk (pictured) at the331 Club
in NE, withPaul Metzger
,No Wait Wait
, and "DJ Sparhawk."
Otherwise, the 16mmMingus: Charles Mingus 1968
sounds like the kind of lost nugget these festivals are great for catching. Itscreens at 6:00 p.m.
More family fun: The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T also sounds good--I like the idea of a cult 1953 kids movie on 35mm.
Sunday, Oct. 16 (Closing Night) At last, chill time at the Wrap Party in Robot Love, on 27th and Lyndale, with music by Dave Wesley of Sursumcorda and Minneapolis musicman Tom Rimarcik. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
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