DER KINDER DER TOTEN


DER KINDER DER TOTEN

dirs. Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska, 2019
90 mins. Austria/United States.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – 7:30 PM + 10 PMw/remote Q&A with filmmaker Kelly Copper
(These screenings are $10.)
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 – 7:30 PM 

The Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s first foray into feature filmmaking is a silent movie-style zombie feature based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Austrian horror novel by author Elfriede Jelinek (The Piano Teacher), using classic silent film tropes (and corpses) to critique the country’s not-so-distant Nazi past. Producer Ulrich Seidl (director of IMPORT/EXPORT and the PARADISE TRILOGY) and the New York-based experimental theatrical troupe reenvision Jelinek’s 666-page epic as a Super-8 backyard slasher from the Hinterlands, “imbued with a midnight movie spirit reminiscent of John Waters and Guy Maddin” (AFI).

ANTI-VALENTINE’S 2020

This February, Spectacle presents a wide array of dreamy, twisted, hilarious and psychedelic tales of love, lust, blood, guts and everything in between.


PSYCHOS IN LOVE
dir. Gorman Bechard, 1987
88 mins. United States.
In English.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22 – 7:30 PM w/filmmaker Gorman Bechard in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – 10 PM

A strip club owner and a manicurist bond over their hates and loves, quickly learning of their mutual love for bloodshed, which leads to an increasingly morbid race to one-up each others murderous accomplishments as their relationship gets more serious.
 
The rare horror comedy that succeeds on all fronts – managing to be funny, grotesque, and dare we say sweet, in the same beat


UNMASKED PT 25
(aka HAND OF DEATH)
dir. Anders Palm, 1988
88 mins. United Kingdom.
In English.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9 – 5 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14 – MIDNIGHT

Jackson, a lonely and terribly disfigured serial killer in a hockey mask, begins to question the point of all the killing he’s been doing when he befriends a beautiful blind woman. Will he be able to stop his murderous ways and lead a normal life?  That rare horror-spoof that manages to be both funny and sincere while nonetheless delivering on the jump scares + gore, UNMASKED PART 25 is sorely in need of another look. We’re screening the film in a glistening new digital remaster courtesy of our friends at Vinegar Syndrome.


LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET
dir. Roger Watkins, 1977.
77 mins. United States.
In English.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21 – MIDNIGHT

Following a failed career as a pornographer and a stint in prison, unpleasant man Terry Hawkins (Roger Watkins) finally finds his calling as a director of snuff films. Exhausted with workaday pornography, a cortege of weary, nihilistic members of the leisure class finance his ventures. Terry shows his gratitude by making them the subjects of his next production. With most of the budget dedicated to the procurement of methamphetamines, director Roger Watkins nonetheless fashioned a singularly repellent work pitched somewhere between the grindhouse market and the Dada repertory. Beyond a genre curiosity, LAST HOUSE employs shock in the service of a dream-like exploration of dingy environs and irredeemable personalities.

[Content warning: Scenes in this film depict graphic torture, sexual assault, degraded yuppies indulging in racist iconography, and general unpleasantness.]


LABYRINTH OF DREAMS
(ユメノ銀河)
dir. Sogo Ishii, 1997
90 mins. Japan.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

“A Freudian fable of the night, filled with moons, rain, dark tunnels and imminent collisions.”Tony Rayns, Senses of Cinema

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7 – MIDNIGHT
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29 – 10 PM

Ishii’s Hitchcockian tale of romantic obsession and aggression begins in a surrealist mixture of dream, memory, and rumor.  When bus conductor, Tomiko (Rena Komine), gets assigned to work with bus driver Niitaka (Tadanobu Asano, of ICHII THE KILLER and BRIGHT FUTURE), not only does she think that he looks like the man from her dreams, but that he also might be the man who married and killed her friend and co-worker. Determined to get revenge, Tomiko seduces him. But when she finds herself irresistibly attracted to him she gets obsessed with testing the sincerity of his murderous desires. Shot in dreamy black and white, Ishii melds many of the guttural DIY techniques of his early punk years with moody expressionist compositions reminiscent of Maya Deren to create a film both aggressive and disorienting as well as melancholic and contemplative.

OF HUMAN BONDAGE
Dir. John Cromwell, 1934
83 mins. United States.
In English.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1 – 10 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25 – 7:30 PM

Upper-crust scribe W. Somerset Maugham’s epic novel of class-crossed romance gets the pre-Code treatment from maestro of melodrama John Cromwell (ANNE VICKERS, SCANDAL STREET) in Of Human Bondage, arguably the classiest title in our nation’s Public Domain. Screen idol Leslie Howard stars as the club-footed narrator, whose sensitive disposition is no match for the sailor’s mouth and sloe-eyes of co-star Bette Davis. In a scathing and sympathetic turn, Davis plays against type (and her Boston Brahmin bona fides), delivering a smoldering performance that is sure to leave you begging for more. The ur-anti-Valentine picture, Cromwell’s adaptation is a pre-cursor to Pialat that delivers its uglier scenes with a side of soft Hollywood shimmer.

IT MAY BE FINISHED, BUT IT ISN’T OVER: ANDREW HORN

We were deeply saddened by the death this past August of our friend Andrew Horn (1952-2019), director of the longtime Spectacle classic DOOMED LOVE as well as the seminal 2004 documentary THE NOMI SONG, which Andy presented alongside DOOMED LOVE and his last completed work, WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER! when he last visited New York City just a year before. At that time, Andy was working on a documentary about artist Robert Wilson’s 1970s performance enclave known as the Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds – of which he was a member, an experience which laid the groundwork for a dazzlingly rich career in the downtown scene over subsequent decades before he relocated to Berlin in 1989. Andy was relentless: beyond his exhaustively researched documentaries and Brechtian dramatic features, he was a dancer, a punctilious craftsman, a tenacious researcher, graphic designer and journalist. In the words of his longtime collaborator John Meaney, Andy had a fascination with kitsch and an admiration for Hollywood melodramas, with little interest in “realism”. A curious mixture of baroque sensibility and radical aesthetics marked his style. Andy’s love of ritual and artifice was used in his films as an acute reflection on art, and its illusions.

While Andy’s films reveal a droll and exacting mind, they’re also inseparable from a close circle of collaborators, including painters Amy Sillman and Pamela Wilson (who made the muslin backdrops of DOOMED LOVE), musicians Evan and John Lurie (of The Lounge Lizards), filmmakers Robyn Brentano and John Meaney, dancer-choreographers Kenneth King and Andrew deGroat, composer Michael Galasso (IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE) and songwriter Lenny Pickett (Tower of Power) as well as performance artist and playwright Jim Neu, who wrote DOOMED LOVE and the 1988 noir followup THE BIG BLUE. We’re thrilled to present both films as a memorial tribute, alongside a collection of newly unearthed short form works straddling Andy’s careers in black-box theatre, dance cinema and video art.

“You can say what you want about the past / I think that’s true / But, not to pay attention is not to be immune / I think that’s true / It may be finished / But it isn’t over…”

This retrospective is possible thanks to Hisami Kuroiwa, Chris Horn, Robyn Brentano, John Meaney, Cindy Banach and Carol Mullins. Special thanks to Cindy Banach (PALM Pictures) and Yoram Mandel (producer of THE BIG BLUE).


DOOMED LOVE
dir. Andrew Horn, 1984
72 mins. United States.
In English.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14 – 7:30 PM w/actress Rosemary Moore for Q&A
(This event is $10.)
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29 – MIDNIGHT

Made in piecemeal payments while Andrew Horn worked as a graphic artist in Koch-era Manhattan, DOOMED LOVE is a delectable hunk of sunken downtown treasure. Painter Bill Rice (SUBWAY RIDERS, THE VINEYARD) stars as Andre, an aging professor of romantic literature who decides, in the film’s doleful introductory passage, to commit suicide after losing the love of his life. Andre is tragicomically unsuccessful, but the attempt leads to a new acquaintance with a psychiatric nurse named Lois (Rosemary Moore), with whom he uncorks a kind of under-acknowledged romance of the soul. Whatever margins that once separated Andre’s work as an academic and his reasons for going on (or not) have completely dissolved; Rice’s monologues – scripted by the great playwright and longtime Horn collaborator Jim Neu – set a tone of deadpan monotony and piercing repetition.

“Life goes on, so to speak:” Horn’s vignettes from Andre and Lois’ – trapped in a state of paralyzing reverie, and newly married to Bob (Allen Frame), respectively – play against jawdropping 2-D backdrops mounted in the Lower East Side’s Millennium Film Workshop where DOOMED LOVE was filmed. Amy Sillman and Pamela Wilson’s muslin and cardboard “sets” make Horn’s film a dour-yet-sweet exercise in epic theatre buttressed by an sparkling minimalist score from Evan Lurie (of The Lounge Lizards), with original songs by Lenny Pickett. At every opportunity – but especially this month, commemorating our annual ANTI-VALENTINE’S program as well as celebrating Andy’s rich body of work – Spectacle is pleased to resuscitate this no-wave classic.

“DOOMED LOVE was my first feature film. It was made in the midst of what was then New Wave Cinema, but instead of the East Village I was taking my cues from Daniel Schmid and Werner Schroeder. I wanted to make an opera – without much knowledge of what opera was – and it became a musical. I wanted to make something mythic and only later discovered just how personal it was. I wanted it to be on a grand scale, which could only play out in a confined and artificial space. In those days we perversely wanted to alienate the audience and dare them to leave. In that I (thankfully) failed miserably.” – Andrew Horn

screening with

PASSAGES OF TIME
dirs. Andrew Horn & Robyn Brentano, 1978
16 mins. United States.
In English.

Adapted from Carter Frank’s 1976 dance “Solo for Body and Clocks” and unforgettably performed by Jane Greengold, Horn’s first collaboration with dancer Robyn Brentano is a melancholic reverie on, well, time: how we measure it, mark it, deny is, create it and clock it. While her limbs mimic the movement of the hands on a clock, her voiceover narration leads a meditation on her own life’s relationship with time, mirrored by the clocks and contraptions along the wall behind her.

“To be aware that waking dreams it is not how to sleep, but another dream – and that the death that our flesh goes in fear of is that death which comes every night, and is called sleep. To see in a day or in a year a symbol of the days of man, and of his years, to transmute the outrage of the years into music, a murmur of voices and a symbol – to see in death, sleep, and in the sunset, a sad goal: such as poetry, which is immortal, and poor. Poetry returns like the dawn and the sunset.”

and

LIEBESTODT U.S.A.
dir. Andrew Horn, 1982
5 mins. United States.
In English.

Never before shown in public, LIEBESTODT U.S.A. is a brief vignette of the abortive first version of DOOMED LOVE, starring Susan Berman (SMITHEREENS) as Lois and Adam Macadam – star of Horn’s earlier short film ELAINE: A STORY OF LOST LOVE – as Andre. While the framing and blocking are near-exact in consistency with DOOMED LOVE, the result is a surreal (if not hallucinatory) contrast, a vision of what the movie would have felt like in the hands of two different actors.

THE BIG BLUE
dir. Andrew Horn, 1988
100 mins. United States.
In English.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – 7 PM w/Andrew Horn’s longtime partner Hisami Kuroiwa for Q&A
(This event is $10.)
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – 10 PM

THE BIG BLUE follows a snoop for hire named Jack (David Brisbin) contracted by a dissatisfied housewife named Myrna (filmmaker Sheila McLaughlin, of COMMITTED and SHE MUST BE SEEING THINGS) to spy on her husband Howard, played by the film’s screenwriter Jim Neu. Myrna thinks Howard is cheating on her, but he’s actually involved in a drug trafficking deal with Max (John Erdman), a goateed East Village entrepreneur having a romance with a free-spirited and beautiful blonde named Carmen (Taunie VreNon). Problem is, Jack is surveilling Howard while having his own dalliance with Carmen (who dresses completely different every time she leaves the house), giving way to a four-way meditation on loneliness – with art director Anne Stuhler juxtaposing Horn’s tortured ensemble against a vertical maze of staggering German Expressionist-style skyscrapers.

Shot on a bigger budget than DOOMED LOVE, THE BIG BLUE also brings back Bill Rice, this time as a bored ex-cop living in the suburbs with his grandchildren, feeding Jack tips over the telephone. There’s a continued fixation on circuits and radiowaves: no less lovelorn than the ensemble of DOOMED LOVE, these down-but-not-out characters measure their lives against the people they listen to on tape and watch on screens, usually stars of classic potboilers and sun-drenched soap operas. (Horn’s fascination with variety shows and sitcoms is visible across this retrospective.) The image of Jack, shoulders hunched at a diner bar as he watches TV, forms a telltale inverse of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks – a lost soul belonging to a generation raised on detective shows.

THE BIG BLUE was not helped by the coincidence of Luc Besson’s clairvoyant dolphin epic of the same year. It’s a smoky and beguiling nesting-doll of a mystery potboiler chock full of unforgettable images, whose characters speak with Neu’s signature droll, rhyming rhetoric. Neu’s performance as Howard, whose wisecracking gentility masks a savage worldview, is the stuff of noir distilled, channeling the phantoms of Humphrey Bogart or Fred MacMurray. Sung by Soozie Tyrell (of the E Street Band), the title song was composed by Lenny Pickett (who also wrote songs for DOOMED LOVE), with lyrics by Jim Neu – it originally appeared in Neu’s live performance Straightman.

In the hope that this retrospective stokes further interest in Andy’s work, we are pleased to show THE BIG BLUE for the first time since it opened over three decades ago, albeit in two imperfect versions: one, a vibrant but blotchy PAL transfer with German subtitles; the other a U-Matic dub heroically undertaken by Spectacle volunteers to reexhume the film’s image from 3/4” tape.

screening with


MUTUAL NARCISSISM
dirs. Andrew Horn & Jim Neu, 1985
20 mins. United States.
In English.

Commissioned for playback at The Kitchen in 1985, Jim Neu and Andrew Horn’s trilogy of short video works known as MUTUAL NARCISSISM uses the same Brechtian distancing techniques as DOOMED LOVE and THE BIG BLUE, this time to satirize the Reagan-era obsession with self – including a brief send-up of the infamous commercial for Calvin Klein bluejeans starring Brooke Shields.

ELAINE AND OTHER SHORT FILMS
dirs. Andrew Horn, Robyn Brentano and John Meaney
100 mins. United States.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – 5 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23 – 5 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – 7:30 PM

CHROMA
dir. Andrew Horn, 1974
8 mins. United States.

Shot at New York University, Horn’s wordless, mindblowing student film CHROMA might be the missing link between the avant-garde cinema of the 1970s and Horn’s later dance films to follow. The silhouettes of three dancers (red, green and blue) are played off one another while the grids and ladders of the modern metropolis – one feature that’s recognizable across almost every film made by Horn – crossfade and overtake the screen. CHROMA received a special award of merit from the Academy of Motion Picture arts and Sciences; on his CV, Horn described the film like this: “real images are manipulated through special effects and printing to create an artificial dreamscape.”

ROPE DANCE TRANSLATIONS
dir. John Meaney, 1974
20 mins. United States.

Andrew Horn was technical director on this black-and-white document of Andrew deGroat’s hypnotic, swirling “Rope Dance Translations”, originally performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music by Robyn Brentano, Frank Converso, Charles Dennis, Ritty Ann Burchfield and deGroat himself. It was shot in a single day and lit by Carol Mullins (wife of Jim Neu, who would write DOOMED LOVE and THE BIG BLUE). The introductory text describes the dance as “relying on each individual dancer’s energies and response to the ropes. The ‘choreograph’ for this dance is the geometry of the ropes, the centrifugal force of the spinning from and the strict revolving patterns of solo and chorus.” The music for ROPE DANCE TRANSLATIONS was composed by Michael Galasso, who would go on to provide unforgettable string compositions for Wong Kar-Wai’s IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE.

ELAINE: A STORY OF LOST LOVE
dirs. Andrew Horn & John Meaney, 1976
30 mins. United States.
In English.

A joint thesis project of Horn (at NYU) and his longtime collaborator John Meaney (at Montclair), the crushing and tragic ELAINE: A STORY OF LOST LOVE is adapted from an obscure Guy de Maupassant novella, lifted from a paperback bought by Meaney as an undergrad for 99 cents. What’s evident is Horn’s fascination for squared-off blocking and choreography, including a glimpse at a performance of Orpheus and Eurydice in minature. Star Adam Macadam brought on other members of Charles Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theater Company, many of whom would return to work on DOOMED LOVE.

Featuring ancient costumes on loan from the Metropolitan Opera (repurposed from early twentieth century productions of Tosca and La Traviata), ELAINE aspires to high gothic on a shoestring budget. Horn and Meaney shot at locations including the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights, the Frick, and the Carnegie Hall Cinema, then operated by Sid Geffen and Jackie Raynal – the programmers responsible for hosting the first-ever New York City screenings of films by Marguerite Duras, an influence on the filmmakers (alongside Daniel Schmid, Douglas Sirk and Alain Resnais.)

ELAINE was originally screened on a quadruple-bill alongside films by Bary Shiils, Robert Mapplethorpe, Rudy Burkhardt and Jacob Welliver; J. Hoberman called ELAINE “a well-crafted, if precious, vehicle for Black-Eyed Susan and other members of the Ridiculous Theater Company.”

CLOUD DANCE
dirs. Robyn Brentano & Andrew Horn, 1979
14 mins. United States.
In English.

Collaborating again with Andy De Groat, Horn and Brentano staged this film version of his Cloud Dance underneath a massive “Four-Armed Clod Sculpture” of 13,000 hanging strings, designed by the artist Lenore Tawney (and again scored by Galasso.) Rather than mere documentation, CLOUD DANCE a surprisingly intimate and hypnotic “cine-dance”, with the camera following deGroat in uncanny sync against a voiceover poem written and performed by Christopher Knowles.

SPACE CITY
dirs. Robyn Brentano & Andrew Horn, 1981
28 mins. United States.
In English.

Collaborating this time with dancer Kenneth King, Horn and Brentano’s most ambitious dance film anticipated the production value of Horn’s later dramatic features. The action begins in an 18th century attic before slowly moving through the passages of a modern metropolis’ early development, with King dancing to guide the action as the world expands – including a ghoulish and haunting superimposition of King dancing atop the Manhattan skyline.

In an interview with Millennium Film Journal, Horn pointed out that SPACE CITY put onscreen a number of personas adopted by King in his previous dance performances: “the old man, the little man that dances, the figure of the dreamer, the dancer.” Brentano described it like this: “From the moment that the artist Rick Brintzenhofe suggested that he paint the city on these folding screens and modules we knew that we wanted to do a variety of set-ups and to edit those setups together using various orders so that it was like taking a deck of cards and shuffling them all together.” SPACE CITY takes the viewer through the thresholds of dreaming, waking, and transcendental awareness, using real and painted images of the city, a 19th century attic and outer space. King’s voice recounts a dream of space without walls, a time of childhood and ecstasy.

ANDREW HORN’s work encompassed a wide range-from making films on post modern dance in New York to writing for one of German’s most popular soap operas, from film musicals to music documentaries, from Eastern Europe to the East Village.  His feature films DOOMED LOVE (1984) and THE BIG BLUE,(1988) as well as the documentary feature EAST SIDE STORY(1997) (named as one of the 10 best films of the year in Time Magazine), and his film THE NOMI SONG (2004) won the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. These, as well as his earlier short films, have been widely shown all over the world and appear in the collection of Museum of Modern Art in New York, BFI, Cinemateque Francaise, MunichFilm Museum, Deutsche Kindermatheke and the Lincoln Center of Film Library of  Performing Arts.

Born in New York, Horn graduated from New York University School of the Arts where his junior thesis film CHROMA was nominated for an Academy Award.  After living in New York as a filmmaker and graphic artist, he came to Berlin in 1989 as a Guest of DAAD Berlin Exchange Artist fellowship program, where he worked for the rest of his life as a filmmaker, writer and journalist for such magazines as Screen International, Moving Pictures and Variety, as well as an Emmy Award winning film researcher for projects for BBC, ZDF, Arte, Channel 4, PBS, HBO, The Paul Robson Foundation, Michael Moore and Spike Lee. His last film was the 2014 documentary WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER; at the time of Andy’s death he was preparing BYRDS, a documentary about the early era of Robert Wilson’s Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds. He is survived by his son, Kai Kuroiwa.

ROCKUARY 2020

The genesis of Rockuary has faded into legend, however it remains a February institution of music in film, music on film, the country love letter, and the occasional rock opera at Spectacle.

This Rockuary features Cyrill Schläpfer’s folk-a-delic alpine feast UR MUSIG, a suckumentary called DRUGS ARE NICE: A SUCKUMENTARY, a primo slice of vintage John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards at the peak of their powers, a reprise run for Mark Robinson’s Butch Willis documentary AMATEUR ON PLASTIC, filmmaker Q&As for THE UNICORN – one of 2019’s most slept-on films, a searing portrait of pioneering NYC country musician Peter Grudzien – and much more.

 


 



UR-MUSIG
Dir. Cyrill Schläpfer, 1993
107 mins. Switzerland.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29 – 7:30 PM

Meaning “Primitive Music”, UR-MUSIG is a journey into the world of traditional Swiss folk music. Presented without comment or narration, the film focuses on the sounds of Central Switzerland and Appenzellerland; such as yodeling, the alpine blessing, the ringing of cowbells, and more. Visually augmented by the lush, gorgeous landscapes of the Alps as seen in every season of the year, each more staggeringly beautiful than then the next. Showcasing the inherent relationship between the film’s subjects’ musical expression and the land in which it inhabits. The film has gained a cult reputation after screening as a continuous Sunday matinee for 2 years in Zurich.

Poster by B. Tuttle


 


DRUGS ARE NICE: A SUCKUMENTARY
dir. Lisa Carver, 2005
59 mins. United States.
In English.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25 – 10 PM

Rollerderby writer Lisa Carver reflects on her time in the touring scuzz revue Suckdog (ca. 1987-1998). Founded by Carver and Rachel Johnson, Suckdog was a showcase for psychosexual operettas characterized by wildly convoluted tales of seduction. Fractured Casio melodies, aggressive falsettos, and sloppy, passionate orgies were mainstays of Suckdog productions. Featuring Meat Cake artist Dame Darcy, renowned baritone GG Allin, Bill Callahan (aka Smog), and the feral French performance artist Jean-Louis Costes.

 


 


FONOTUNE: AN ELECTRIC FAIRYTALE
dir. FINT, 2018
75 min. Germany/United States.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7 – 7:30 PM w/remote filmmaker Q&A!
(This event is $10.)
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22 – MIDNIGHT

NEW YORK CITY PREMIERE!

On a single strange day in an undefined future, street hooker Stereo (Yuho Yamashita), lo-fi cowboy Analog (Kazushi Watanabe, of Takashi Miike’s VISITOR Q) and wordless drifter Mono (director FINT) cross brutalist cityscapes and blasted desert wastelands to deliver a cassette tape to the mysterious Blitz (Guitar Wolf Seiji, in his first feature film role since 1999’s WILD ZERO). Meanwhile, mankind has grown indifferent to the world, and one major thing seems to have gone unnoticed: It’s the last day on earth. With a rockin’ soundtrack featuring Guitar Wolf, Electric Eel Shock, Stereo Total, Antoni Maiovvi, and Nackt!

 


 


THE UNICORN
dir. Isabelle Dupuis & Tim Geraghty, 2018
92 mins. United States.
In English.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24 – 7:30 PM

All screenings with filmmakers in person for Q&A!
(These events are $10.)

THE UNICORN follows Peter Grudzien, the one-man musical force behind The Unicorn, possibly the first gay country album. An incredibly prolific songwriter, Peter composed, performed and recorded The Unicorn LP (1974) in his childhood home in Queens, NY. It is now a cult classic. Peter would eventually compose and rearrange more than 900 songs throughout his lifetime, but the toll of mental illness cut short any hope of commercial success or recognition. Now 65-years-old, Peter and his twin sister, Terry (who suffers from schizophrenia) share their dilapidated childhood home with their nonagenarian father, Joseph, in Queens, New York, struggling each day to maintain a precarious balance on the margins of society.

When not battling outbursts of paranoia, Peter, the more functional of the pair, spends his life struggling for recognition as a musician – billing himself as a “gay country singer”. He enjoys limited notoriety as an ‘Outsider Musician’, but the promise of commercial success stops there. Peter lives inside of his music, surrounded by records, instruments and home-recording gear, using the chaos of his life and mental illness as a springboard for his musical ideas. He tests his new material, from love songs for Johnny Cash to Country ballads of dehumanization, on stage at a local gay karaoke bar.

While THE UNICORN began as a grad school short, it blossomed into a full length feature, a two and a half year slice of life portrait of a dedicated artist at the edge of the world. Reluctantly embraced by Peter and his family, Dupuis and Geraghty are granted unfettered access to a world lurking just beneath the surface brimming with tenderness and an eye for detail. Presented in earnest without a hint of sensationalism, the wrecking ball moments hit especially hard. After a year of touring and scooping up awards all over the world, THE UNICORN lands back in Brooklyn this February.

 


 


WE DON’T CARE ABOUT MUSIC ANYWAY
dirs. Cédric Dupire and Gaspard Kuentz, 2009
80 mins. France.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – 5 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20 – 10 PM

Packed with appearances from improv stalwart Otomo Yoshihide, Hiromichi Sakamoto (Pascals), Fuyuki Yamakawa, and hardcore band Numb, Cédric Dupire and Gaspard Kuentz’s kaleidoscopic documentary on the various edges of the Tokyo musical underground is sparingly light on rock doc cliche and fortunately heavier than a death in a family.

 


 


AMATEUR ON PLASTIC
dir. Mark Robinson, 2019
77 mins. United States.
In English.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2 – 5 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24 – 10 PM

Making its NYC debut to two packed houses last year as part of Rockuary 2k19, Spectacle is thrilled to revive AMATEUR ON PLASTIC, Mark Robinson’s (of Teenbeat Records, Unrest) idiosyncratic portrait of Butch Willis, titan of D.C. rock.

Born and raised in Beltsville, Maryland, Byron Henry “Butch” Willis came of age in the late ’70s post-hippie subculture of Takoma Park. After sharing an apartment with infamous local music icon Root Boy Slim, Butch was inspired to become a rock’n’roll star himself. The unique and unusual brand of “outsider music” that Butch Willis & The Rocks created captivated the local D.C. music scene beginning with their appearance at the seminal Primitive Night at the Psychedelly in Bethesda in 1984.

AMATEUR ON PLASTIC chronicles Butch’s life and career from the ’80s all the way through to present day. It features a host of Butch-appointed band managers Joe Lee (Joe’s Record Paradise), Jeff Mentges (No Trend), Jeff Krulik (Heavy Metal Parking Lot), and director Mark Robinson (Unrest/Teen-Beat). Also co-starring is Al Breon, the Rocks’ innovative “throat guitarist.” The film combines archival footage, interviews with Butch, and performances of his hit songs “Drugs,” “The Garden’s Outside,” “TV’s From Outer Space,” and “The Girl’s on My Mind.”

 


 


JOHN LURIE AND THE LOUNGE LIZARDS LIVE IN BERLIN, 1991
dir. Garret Linn, 1992
87 mins. United States.
In English.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1 – MIDNIGHT
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9 – 7:30 PM w/filmmaker Garett Linn in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – MIDNIGHT 

Ever-hip purveyors of 80’s cool, John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards slam out their post-free-jazz music on stage in Berlin at the height of their powers. In an almost never seen film documentary of a sold-out performance in 1991, Lurie and the band bring down the house.

The New York Times called it “engaging” and Variety said it was “enlightening”. A rare jazz treat recovered from obscurity, JOHN LURIE AND THE LOUNGE LIZARDS LIVE IN BERLIN, 1991 is No-Wave Jazz at its best.

JOE CASTLE BAKER: Me Alone With No Friends


ME ALONE WITH NO FRIENDS
Joe Castle Baker, 2019

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14 – 10 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Join comedian Joe Castle Baker as he unveils a secret time capsule on a floppy desk he created himself in 2000. Childhood suffering, pain, and calcified social anxiety awaits!
JOE CASTLE BAKER is a comedian based in Brooklyn. His solo shows have been presented at ARS NOVA amongst other venues. He has been featured at Comedy Central’s Corporate Retreat and he showcased for Comedy Central’s Clusterfest in 2019. He hosts Get Reel, a monthly comedy show where comedians dub over movie clips live, with Max Wittert.

BAPHTA: A Kirsten Dunst Retrospective

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

BAPHTA is a bi-monthly multimedia comedy show that celebrates legendary cinematic artists. Hosted by Andy Ward, Manning Jordan, and Tim Kov, BAPHTA is anchored by original monologues, characters, and videos inspired by the honoree’s body of work. In addition, special guests are invited to put their spin on these visionaries of the seventh art.

Our December installment will focus on an actor about to make her directorial debut in 2020, the consummate Kirsten Dunst.

Arguably one of the most versatile performers working today, Dunst has lent her talents to a variety of projects including INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, DICK, MONA LISA SMILE, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, BRING IT ON and MELANCHOLIA.

Join BAPHTA as we survey Dunst’s body of work and envision what the future holds for her and her upcoming adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

Although Hollywood has been overlooking Dunst’s artistry in recent years, all eyes will be on her at this edition of BAPHTA, as we proclaim “DUNST IS CINEMA!”

Celebrate December with your favorite blonde ingenue-turned-auteur whose mischievous snaggletoothed smile has inspired a generation!

TIM KOV is a writer and performer whose work has appeared all over New York. He hosts and produces Hail Mary: Our Queer Saints, a Kennedy Center Honors-style ceremony honoring gay icons, Power Broker, a Robert Caro themed standup show, and My Little Tonys, a theater history podcast. Last summer, he completed an artist residency at Mall of Found in New Lebanon, NY, where he developed two plays, Peg and Rubbed the Wrong Way: A Prostate Play.

ANDY WARD is a Brooklyn queer comedian and writer.Andy is a recent New York transplant from Phoenix, Arizona where he hosted a monthly storytelling show “SHOW&TELL.” He hosts a monthly comedy variety show RED FLAGS. He has performed at Union Hall, Littlefield, Bellhouse, Club Cumming and has been featured in Buzzfeed.

MANNING JORDAN is a lesbian comedian/playwright. You can see her do stand up around Brooklyn, or on MNN public access network on her variety show called, HEY NOTHING. She has a monthly show at Brooklyn Comedy Collective called Monologues with Manning. As a playwright, Manning has self produced four plays, three of which were in Fringe’s FRIGID festivals for three consecutive years (2017, 2018, 2019). On July 11th her latest play, “Les Museums” premiered at Dixon Place. Her work has been shown at Dixon Place, The Kraine Theater, Manhattan Rep, Theater Under St. Marks, Vital Joint, The Footlight and more. Her short film THOSE WHO CAN’T has been named an Official Selection of the Reel 13 Short Film Contest, and her pilot SUNNY & 70 was accepted as a Fastidious Official Selection.

BURNING FRAME: A Monthly Anarchist Film Series

CALLING ALL LEFTISTS! The past few years have been a whirlwind: exhausting, invigorating, and ripe with potential. It’s tremendously difficult, when in the thick of it, to pause, reflect, or even find a moment to catch a breath. Especially when “it” refers to the rise of fascism on a global scale, with any number of future cataclysms hovering just over the horizon. But we digress.

Join us, then, for a series that asks: if not now, when? Come for great works of radical political filmmaking, stay for the generative discussions, or even just to gossip and gripe. The hope isthat this forum for authentic representations of successes, defeats, and the messy work of political action, will be thrilling, edifying, and maybe even inspire your next organizing project. To butcher the title of a great film for the sake of a moderately applicable pun: “Throw away your dogma, rally in the cinema.”


SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

A screening of short works by NYC-based anarchist video artists Sherry Millner & Ernie Larsen. Stick around for a post-screening Q&A with the filmmakers.

Shot in Paris, Athens, Thessaloniki, Barcelona, and at an anti-fascist festival in Serbia, the video essay ROCK THE CRADLE centers on the fierce aftermath of the December ’08-January ’09 insurrection in Greece, during which an unprecedented array of the excluded and the intransigent took to the streets: the fed-up, the legions of radically disillusioned youth, the unemployed and the under-employed (the precariat), autonomous unions, angry refugees, anarchists and anti-authoritarians. The video reaches a startling climax when dozens of police attack Micropolis, an anarchist social center in Thessaloniki.

HOW DO ANIMALS AND PLANTS LIVE? is a radical inquiry into the sudden eviction and demolition of the self-organized anarchist-supported migrant squat Orfanotrofeio (an abandoned orphanage) in Thessaloniki, Greece, in July 2016—under the direct orders of the Syriza government in cahoots with the Orthodox Church, the biggest landowner in Greece.

On-site testimony of a young West African migrant, first-hand exploration of revealing remnants of the bulldozed ruins of the orphanage, and performative translations from a Greek-language children’s schoolbook that the filmmakers found amid the rubble when they broke into the padlocked site pointedly coalesce to ask and answer : how is this possible?

If indeed “no one is illegal,” then this video salvages from the ruins the structure of a new commons–on the basis of such anarchist principles as self-organization, autonomy, solidarity, assembly, and direct action, at an historical moment when the status of the refugee has become a global paradigm.

Sherry Millner and Ernie Larsen co-created the interventionist video project State of Emergency, collaborating with more than 15 artists in a silent shout-out against U.S. invasions of the Middle East and the global plague of neo-liberal ideology. Together they have also produced several situationist films, including PARTIAL CRITIQUE OF SEPARATION, two anti-documentaries redefining crime, and a series of semi-autobiographical videos focusing on the authoritarian structures indispensable to capital. Millner is also an installation artist and photomonteur; Larsen a novelist and media critic; his latest nonfiction novel is The Trial Before the Trial (Autonomedia). They have co-curated many programs of short-form radical experimental media at such venues as the Oberhausen Film Festival, the Subversive Film Festival, and the Flaherty New York series. They are co-producers of Disruptive Film: Everyday Resistance to Power, more than forty films in two volumes, available (in DVD) from Facets.

STORIES FROM THE SOUTHSIDE

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11 – 7:30 PM
With filmmaker Brian Chu in conversation with Wesley “El Bongocero” Ferrer and Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

For ONE NIGHT ONLY, Spectacle is thrilled to host local filmmaker Brian Chu for a screening of his short documentary THE B-SIDE FIGHTER, alongside other works made within (and about) the neighborhood our theater calls home, the South Side of Williamsburg. Following the shorts program, Chu and his collaborator/subject Wesley “El Bongocero” Ferrer will hold a discussion with Antonio Reynoso, Council Member the 34th District.

THE B-SIDE FIGHTER
dir. Brian Chu, 2019
15 mins. United States.
In English, and Spanish with English subtitles.

The south side of Williamsburg (Brooklyn, NY) a neighborhood built on industry and hustle. From these streets emerges a young boxer named Wesley Ferrer, AKA “El Bongocero” because of his rhythmic punching style. Wesley was originally born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Brooklyn when he was a teenager. When his father Mateo took him to the boxing gym one day, he immediately saw his potential for greatness.

Wesley quickly worked his way through the amateurs and won the prestigious Golden Gloves tournament which started his professional boxing career. Alongside his father Mateo, who became his trainer, they held an undefeated record of 12-0 and continued to chase their dream of becoming a champion.

It’s been over a year since their last fight and this inactivity is tough on a boxer. Stuck in the politics of boxing, all they can do is continue to train and patiently wait for their next fight. Balancing the life of a professional athlete and being a kid living in Brooklyn pushes Wesley and Mateo to the edge of giving it all up. All they want is a chance to prove themselves in the ring.

This event is a collaboration with UnionDocs, WEREHAUS and the office of City Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

XFR Collective Presents: Queer Gems from our Leslie Lohman Residency

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY! (This event is $10.)

ONLINE TICKETS         FACEBOOK EVENT

Radical tape transfer collective XFR is back with another grab-bag of goodies from their summertime residency at the Leslie-Lohman Museum, Manhattan’s foremost collection of queer art and culture! These recently-digitized jewels were transferred from original materials provided by museum members, and offer a rare glimpse into the bygone world of queer home video culture.

From consciousness-raising protests to community-made PSAs and drag queen beauty contests, the films included in this program represent the equally radical and joyous past of LGBTQI filmmaking. Thanks to the technical whizzes at XFR, we can continue to exhibit these incredible films well into the future.

Members of XFR Collective and TBD guests will provide introductions, anecdotes, and contexts throughout the screening.

POETIC VISIONS / SHATTERED DREAMS REAL ART WORKS
dir. Carlos Gutierrez-Solana. 8 mins.

Gutierrez-Solana memorializes the friends and loved ones he has lost to the HIV/AIDS crisis through a performance art piece wherein he shatters large panes of glass while an audience looks on.

LESBIAN AVENGERS SKATE-IN 
dir. Clarity Haynes. 14 mins.

Lesbian Avengers Skate In protest during the summer of 1993 in Fairfax, Virginia for greater visibility of lesbians in American culture.

GMHC DANCE-A-THON PSA
dir. David Mandel. 3 mins.

Produced by Gay Men’s Health Crisis Multimedia Department, this short PSA was created to help gay men become aware of how HIV/AIDS is spread and how to practice safe sex.

MISSFIRE ISLAND 1995
dir. David Mandel. 29 mins.

This is a drag competition that takes place yearly on Fire Island, called Miss Fire Island. Each of the many contestants are introduced on stage in front of a large audience.

ISLANDS IN THE STREAM
dir. Larry Krone. 5 mins.

Music video for the song made famous by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

INTERVIEW AND CLIPS FROM HOMO TEENS AIRED ON DYKE TV
dir. Joan Jubela. 7 mins.

Looking to capture a sense of what it is like to be an LGBTQ teen, filmmaker Joan Jubela offered cameras to New York City’s young people for them to capture their own lives. Jubela also interviews them about their experiences.

BLUE BATHROOM BLUES PRESENTATION
dir. Frederick Weston. 8 mins.

Weston presents poems and slides from his series Blue Bathroom Blues at the Neuberger Museum of Art for World AIDS Day, held in cooperation with Visual AIDS.

Bob Kaufman Film Rarities


SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!
(This event is $10.)

Spectacle is thrilled to host author and curator Raymond Foye as he presents a program of film rarities honoring the late poet and painter Bob Kaufman. Our feature is Will Combs’s recently restored HEARTBEAT (c 1978 b/w, digital transfer, 24 minutes) a film long out of circulation. About this work, the filmmaker has written:

“As a young film student immersed with the works of Godard and cinema verite’, Will Combs barged into the backyard of the remaining Beats in San Francisco’s North Beach in the mid 1970’s. Using surplus film stock and a spring-wind Bolex, he began to capture the temperament of the Era, kabuki style. HEARTBEAT features rare and personal footage of Bob Kaufman, Jack Micheline and Hube the Cube in their environment, infusing poetry with a concise inquiry into the Beat Era.”

Also on the program are recently discovered and remastered film and video footage of Kaufman, including excerpts from his famed reading at Malvina’s Cafe in San Francisco on December 6, 1974, his first major reading since he broke a ten-year silence, and his 1979 reading with Philip Lamantia at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Poet and publisher Kaye McDonough will be present to discuss her friendship with Kaufman and read from her North Beach diaries from the 1970s and 80s.

This program celebrates the recent publication of the Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman by City Lights Books.

WILL COMBS, a renowned visual artist, maintains an active studio on Sonoma Mountain.

RAYMOND FOYE is a publisher, editor, writer and curator who has lived in New York’s Chelsea Hotel since 1979. He studied film with Stan Brakhage at the Art Institute of Chicago, and attended the San Francisco Art Institute. He worked as an editor at City Lights Books (The Unknown Poe, 1980) and New Directions (Bob Kaufman: The Ancient Rain, 1981). From 1990-1995 he was Director of Exhibitions and Publications at Gagosian Gallery, New York. Since 1995 he has independently organized dozens of art exhibitions worldwide, including the first gallery exhibitions of Allen Ginsberg’s photographs, and the art works of Harry Smith. He serves as literary executor for John Wieners, James Schuyler, and Rene Ricard.

KAYE MCDONOUGH was born in Pittsburgh and studied literature at Vassar College, and UC Berkeley where she earned her degree in Art History. She has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence Colelge. She is a poet and printer, who lived in the North Beach community for 20 years (1965- 85). She founded the Greenlight Press, devoted to fine letterpress editions including the classic Jack Micheline book Purple Submarine. She is the author of Pagan: Selected Poems (New Native Press, 2014) and Zelda: Frontier life in America (City Lights, 1978), she is currently working on a memoir: The Spell of Bohemia: Twenty Years in San Francisco’s North Beach 1965 – 1985.

BOB KAUFMAN was born in New Orleans, and had a career as a merchant seaman and labor organizer before turning up in San Francisco in 1957. He founded Beatitude magazine, while his books and broadsides were published by City Lights and New Directions. His defiant stance against police authority led to repeated beatings and incarcerations. In 1963 he took a ten-year vow of silence following the Kennedy assassination. He resumed writing and making public appearances in 1973 and continued to produce important work until his death in 1986.