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Oct 142014



This Thursday is a busy night for art in Nashville. At the monthly Thursday Night Things at OZ, photographer and recent Nashville transplant Michael Weintrob is presenting his collection of 75 photographs dubbed InstrumentHead. Weintrob photographed Nashville musicians with their instrument of choice replacing their head. Full disclosure: I’m one of the musicians featured. For my portrait, I went with one of the first toys I circuit-bent, a sleep machine that plays sounds of the ocean, ticking clocks, chimes, etc to help people fall asleep. I bent it to make all sorts of crazy noises back in 2007. It was just something visually-interesting that I had handy at the time of the photo.

Many of the musicians profiled will perform Thursday evening, including Brian Siskind, Black Cat Sylvester, Roy Futureman Wooten, Jeff Coffin, Sam Bush, and more. The show opens at 6:30 p.m.with Brian Siskind kicking things off. Tickets are $12 at the door.

Over at Third Man Records, the Light and Sound Machine returns with the Czech mindfuck Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. I was lucky enough to see this at a private screening James Cathcart hosted for his birthday a few years back. I can’t say I loved it, but it’s definitely an experience. Tickets are $10 at the door. Show starts at 7 p.m.

Thursday night also marks the premiere of a new art series at Adventure Science Center’s Sudekum Planetarium. For years, I’ve been hearing people talk about what an amazing space our planetarium is … followed by wishes that it get used for more than star maps and laser light shows. Someone at ASC seems to be listening.  From the ASC press release:

What happens when you turn art and music loose … in a planetarium?

To find out, the Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center is opening Dome Club Nashville. This monthly event will showcase immersive programs and artistic experiences designed to envelop visitors within the unique fulldome planetarium environment.

Wait, what’s “fulldome”?

“Fulldome” refers to technology that covers the entire surface of a planetarium dome with graphics. Seated within our 63-foot diameter dome, you’ll be surrounded by visuals in front of, above, and even behind you. Without the rectangular frame of a TV or movie screen, you’ll feel a part of the scene. Powerful surround sound adds to the effect.

The Sudekum Planetarium presents fulldome science experiences every day. Dome Club provides a venue for alternative programs. These may include immersive cinema or visualization projects, dance, games, or concerts … anything that takes advantage of the fulldome environment. Dome Club is also a place to connect and enhance the lines between the art of science and the science of art.

The grand opening of Dome Club Nashville will be on Thursday, October 16, 2014, at 7:30 pm. This first night will feature Home Grown Dome, a 45 minute compilation of fourteen short works created by students, artists, and animators from around the world. These pieces were finalists in the annual DomeFest fulldome film festivals between 2004-2009.

Hell. Yes. Learn more at sudekumplanetarium.com/domeclub.

Jan 162014


Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre bring another wonderful selection to the experimental film series Light and Sound Machine. Tonight’s film is legendary underground filmmaker George Kuchar’s The Devil’s Cleavage preceded by his short Hold Me While I’m Naked. Read the below quote, watch the trailer for the enormously-entertaining Kuchar brothers doc It Came from Kuchar, and be at Third Man tonight!

“George Kuchar’s lovingly farcical re-creation of those (Forties and Fifties) melodramas, THE DEVIL’S CLEAVAGE, is a camp parody that sometimes directly steals from the genre, sometimes burlesques it, and often travesties it. As you might expect, it soon begins to mock all kinds of cinematic references, from Hitchcock to Preminger. But leave the exact details to pedants, laughter’s the thing here . Kuchar manages terribly well in terms of imagination and inventiveness, and just plain terribly in terms of such humdrum details of filming as using a light meter and tape recorder. Technical ineptness aside, we end up with a marvelous hybrid, as if Sam Fuller and Sternberg had collaborated in shooting a script by Tennessee Williams and Russ Meyer. Which is to say that excess is the most basic element of Kuchar’s method, even when (almost paradoxically) it’s an excess of cliche (‘Such language! Bite your tongue!’ ‘Bite it for me!) Douglas Sirk tells us, ‘Cinema is blood, tears, violence, hate, death, and love.’ Kuchar reminds us that cinema, like life, is also bedpans, earwax, sleazy fantasy, ineptness, compromise, and laughter.” — Chuck Kleinhans, Film Center program

Tickets are $10 at the door or $8 in advance for Belcourt members.

As always, thanks to Ben Swank and James Cathcart for putting this on!

The Light and Sound Machine presents The Devil’s Cleavage
Thursday, January 16th, 2014. 7 p.m.
$10 at door or $8 in advance for Belcourt members.

@ Third Man Records
623 7th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203

Nov 202013


Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre bring you the next installment of the underground film series Light and Sound Machine. Thursday’s film is the 1983 documentary Seventeen. See. This. Film!

Here’s what Third Man had to say about it on their YouTube account, accompanying a wonderful new trailer cut by the Belcourt’s Zack Hall and Light and Sound Machine curator James Cathcart:

A character-focused, emotionally driven counterpart to the institutionalism of Fredrick Wiseman’s HIGH SCHOOL, DeMott & Kreines’ SEVENTEEN soars far beyond its initial framing of middle-American slice-of-life filmmaking, offering perhaps the most unflinching and honest examination of the American teenager ever committed to celluloid. Embedded as intimately with its subjects as imaginable, SEVENTEEN gives it’s viewer a teen’s-eye view of the complexities and contradictions of youth, juxtaposing the pot-hazed revelry of underage keggers and sexual discovery with the visceral horrors of small-town racism, the chaos of public education, and that jarring moment when a young person discovers that poor decisions can lead to dire consequences – the cruel demystification of adulthood.

Produced in 1982 for the six-part PBS series MIDDLETOWN, DeMott & Kreines’ accomplished segment would never air – when the series’ corporate sponsor, Xerox, caught wind of the film’s undisparaging depiction of interracial dating, foul language, and substance abuse, pressure was exerted to pull the segment entirely, to which PBS obliged in one of the most disheartening examples of censorship in public television. The effect was only to bolster SEVENTEEN’s reputation as one of the most highly praised, though rarely seen, documentary films ever produced.

Jim Ridley wrote up a great preview over at the Nashville Scene blog Country Life. I’m more excited about this screening than any Light and Sound Machine thus far!

Tickets are $10 at the door or $8 in advance for Belcourt members.

As always, thanks to Ben Swank and James Cathcart for putting this on!

The Light And Sound Machine
Co-presented by Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre
November 21st, 2013, 7pm, $10 ($8 Belcourt members)

@ Third Man Records
623 7th Ave S – Nashville, TN 37203

Sep 182013


Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre bring you the next installment of the experimental film series Light and Sound Machine. Thursday’s film is Speaking Directly.

Attempting the summarize SPEAKING DIRECTLY, the first feature by the defiantly independent American auteur Jon Jost, is a bit of a feat. Like nearly all his subsequent films, it was produced on a pauper’s ransom, in this case a meager $2500 loan from Jost’s wealthy ex-lover. Yet, having been produced shortly after Jost’s release from prison for draft resistance, the culmination of two-plus years worth of ideas on cinema and society explode off the screen as though they were conceived in a pressure cooker. Its collage of kitsch Americana, socio-political essays, home movies, and interpersonal interviews opens itself to a myriad of interpretations. Self-described as a “State of the Nation address, from the perspective of someone other than the President”, it also serves as exploration into the complexities communication, an audit of one’s own existence, and can even be seen as a precursor to the sort of reporting by way of personal experience popularized today in outlets like NPR’s THIS AMERICAN LIFE. However you choose to read Jost’s impressive and complicated debut, one thing is for certain, as critic Jonathan Rosenbaum noted, you can think of no other film quite like it.

I pulled that quote from the Belcourt and Third Man sites.

Speaking Directly will be preceded by Owen Land’s short New Improved Institutional Quality: In the Environment of Liquids and Nasals, a Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops (1976, USA, 16mm, 10min).

Over on the Nashville Scene Country Life blog, Jim Ridley has a great write-up about Speaking Directly as well as previews of upcoming Light and Sound Machine picks. (Hint: buy your tickets in advance for the October screening!)

Tickets are $10 at the door or $8 in advance for Belcourt members.

As always, thanks to Ben Swank and James Cathcart for putting this on!

The Light And Sound Machine
Co-presented by Third Man Records and the Belcourt Theatre
Speaking Directly
September 19th, 2013, 7pm, $10  ($8 Belcourt members)

@ Third Man Records
623 7th Ave S – Nashville, TN 37203