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 is that 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.”

WHEN YOU PLAY ME LOUD VOL. 1: POP AGAINST COPS
dirs. Various, 1967-2020
80 mins.

SUNDAY, MARCH 22 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, MARCH 31 – 7:30 PM

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“Someone afraid of dancing is somehow afraid of many other things, you know?”Claire Denis

Your friendly neighborhood anarchists humbly offer a tour of the music video and its discontents. If you love to hop, wiggle and boogie then come on by for a showcase of sound colliding with image, iconographic subversions and praxis lived to the hilt. But still you ask, why this? We’ll give Emma the final word: “I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to became a nun and that the movement should not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. ‘I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.’ Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything.”

DIE KINDER DER TOTEN


DIE KINDER DER TOTEN

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

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – 7:30 PM + 10 PM  w/filmmaker Kelly Copper in person for Q&A!
(These screenings are $10.)
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 – 7:30 PM w/filmmaker Kelly Copper in person for Q&A!
(This screening is $10.)

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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

ONLINE TICKETS         FACEBOOK EVENT

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

ONLINE TICKETS         FACEBOOK EVENT

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26 – 10 PM

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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 theater director 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 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), Music Box Films, Jay Jay French 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 and painter Amy Sillman in person
(This event is $10.)
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29 – MIDNIGHT

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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

poster by Tom Henry
screening with

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

Horn’s first collaboration with dancer Robyn Brentano shows choreographer Carter Frank performing in Jane Greengold’s “Passages of Time” exhibition of objects, images, and sounds related to our experience of time. The sound score is by Jane Greengold with reading by Ann Beckerman. While Greengold’s limbs mimic the movement of the hands on a clock, Beckerman’s voiceover narration leads a meditation on her own life’s relationship with time, mirrored by the clocks and contraptions along the wall behind her.

In their original press release for PASSAGES OF TIME, Horn and Brentano described its structure as follows: “The piece was divided into three sections: the first a minimal movement from side to side was shot three times with no cuts, each time from a different perspective in the room.  Through editing, he body remained constant while the background changed.  The second section of rising and falling movement was broken up and expanded through through the use of repetition and phasing in editing.  here the awareness of subjective time was heightened by the ellipses and the close-ups of parts of her body.  A moment is reached when time seems to cease completely.”

“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/director of photography Carl Teitelbaum and 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

ONLINE TICKETS         FACEBOOK EVENT

Everything looks extremely unlikely,
Everything looks like it’s all the same,
You don’t know what happened
But you know it happened to you…

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.

poster by Tyler Rubenfeld
screening with

MUTUAL NARCISSISM (Video Excerpts)
dir. Andrew Horn, 1984
11 mins. United States.
In English.

MUTUAL NARCISSISM is the title of a 27-minute live performance written and directed by Jim Neu and sk dunn with music by Lenny Picket played by the Borneo Horns presented at The Kitchen in 1984. In video inserts made for the show, Horn applies the same flat, distancing techniques as DOOMED LOVE to the format of broadcast television, satirizing the Reagan-era obsession with self. These excerpts include a brief send-up of the notorious commercial for Calvin Klein bluejeans (starring Lydia Mahan in the role made infamous by Brooke Shields), and a bizarre spin on the late-night talk show with Neu acting opposite Roberta Levine.

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 with actor Duncan Hannah (ELAINE: A STORY OF LOST LOVE) in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – 7:30 PM

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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 – another 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 Neil Welliver; J. Hoberman called ELAINE “a well-crafted, if precious, vehicle for Black-Eyed Susan and other members of the Ridiculous Theater Company.”

vintage poster for ELAINE by actor/artist Duncan Hannah

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

Collaborating again with deGroat, Horn and Brentano filmed his improvised dance in “The Four-Armed Cloud,” a large cube-shaped sculpture of thousands of linen threads by the artist Lenore Tawney at the NJ State Museum in Trenton. At a time when dance film convention was to show full bodies in continuous movement, Horn and Brentano worked with de Groat to develop movement sequences for the camera. They then developed a kind of relational editing by matching incongruous movements and using blackouts to create a visual logic that resulted in a surprisingly intimate and hypnotic cine-dance. Later, they added a poem by Christopher Knowles, read by Arby Ovanessian and a violin score improvised by Michael Galasso.

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.



THE NOMI SONG
dir. Andrew Horn, 2004
97 mins. United States.
In English.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25 – 7:30 PM

“The way I look is part of it. It sounds affected but I do see myself as a piece of living art. People do accuse me of being just decorative or an escapist. Well, I am. That’s what I do. So long as they realize that I am other things as well. I do kind of transcend the song and give it a different meaning. But satire would be too simple. There are moments in my show which are very moving as well as amusing. People should allow me to be many things, really give me room to put things in another dimension.”

Looks like an alien, sings like a diva – Klaus Nomi was one of the 1980s’ most profoundly bizarre characters. He was a cult figure in the New Wave underground scene, a genuine counter tenor who sang pop music like opera and brought opera to club audiences and made them like it. He was a performer with a “look” so strong, that his first audiences went wild before he even opened his mouth. Klaus presented himself as “the perfect video star” yet his star burned out just before the mass explosion of MTV. On the verge of international fame as a singer, he became instead one of the first gay artists to die of AIDS. In the end, his recorded output consists of re-reissues, in various forms, of only two LP’s and a live album. For those who do know him, the reaction he provoked was so strong, that he is still unforgettable, even 20 years after his death. Even now, Klaus is somehow still winning new fans among those too young to have known him when he was alive. And a quick check of the Internet reveals that all his records are still being sold.

Part documentary, part music film, part sci-fi, THE NOMI SONG is a “non-fiction film”, or maybe even an oral history. It’s not just the tale, it’s the telling. But it is also visual, partly because Klaus himself was so visual, someone who’s main concern was putting forth an image of himself in everything he did – literally illustrated by the photos, films, videos and artworks that go with it and featuring many never before seen live performances. However, there are also the images that the stories conjure up, images that no actual picture could capture, that emerge out of impressions, memories and even exaggerations, fermenting in somebody’s brain for twenty years. It’s like a novel with a whole cast of characters and supporting players – revealing themselves as much as (and sometimes more than) they do Klaus – with subplots, background stories, flashbacks and contradictions.

What unifies the various elements of interviews, performance and various visual elements is Klaus himself, not only the all-pervasive image he put out, but, more importantly, his effect on others. It’s a story that grows out of a group of people who influenced him, loved him, idolized him, felt pity for him and felt guilty because of him; people who felt used, cheated yet, over all, inspired by him. It’s a story of love of music and love of performing and a time when it seemed as though everyone was struck by a sense of urgency to make something – or anything – and the feeling that “somewhere in the great cosmic plan we all knew that we only had a finite amount of time together and we had to make the most of it.”

Nomi is, of course, a manufactured personality. But by all accounts the character he created for himself was clearly more significant, more “real” than the man behind it. If he was a mystery, he was completely open about it. He constructed his own myth out of elements so completely “wrong”, yet so deliberate, that it all seemed oddly possible. And right up to the end, it almost was. He was as much a genuine talent as he was – however naively – the engine of his own destruction. He was an alien amongst the outcasts and an obviously tortured soul who, at the same time, radiated optimism at a time when optimism was “officially” out of fashion. His appeal is not easy to explain in words. He has to be seen – and heard – to be believed. Whether you knew him personally, saw him perform, discovered his music or even just saw his picture, one has to admit, he is pretty unbelievable.

Featuring the music of Wire, The Marbles, The Bongos, Pylon, The Mumps, Chi Pig, and, of course, David Bowie, not to mention numerous live Klaus Nomi performances, many never before seen, and including Klaus’ ultimate performance of The Cold Song with full orchestra.

“ILLUMINATING AND MOVING! Offers a wealth of information about Klaus Nomi’s career, the construction of his space-alien persona, and the new-wave scene he sprang from. With Klaus Nomi as the focus of our attention, all conventional notions (and notions of convention) are altogether burned away. Dazzling!”Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly

“Andrew Horn’s strange and fascinating documentary about the late New Wave singer and art object, Klaus Nomi, gives off a rich whiff of the New York punk bohemia of the late 1970s and early ’80s.”Kurt Loder, MTV

“A strange personage – sad clown to some, incomparable genius to others. (…) He deserves a special mention in the annals of rock history as the first who dared sing an operatic aria to the habitués of Max’s Kansas City.”Le Matin, 1983


WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER!
dir. Andrew Horn, 2014
135 mins. United States.
In English.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22 – 5 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23 – 7:00 PM w/Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister) in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

The Beatles’ trial by fire was those two years playing in the bars in Hamburg. For Twisted Sister, it lasted for 10.

Back then, they were the Grand Funk of Glam and the NY Dolls of Metal. Some considered Twisted Sister a joke, others called them the greatest bar band in the world. While the microcosm of Punk and New Wave was taking over downtown New York in the mid 70s – early 80s, Twisted Sister was battling their way to the top of a vast suburban, cover-band bar scene that surrounded Manhattan in a 100 mile radius, yet existed in a parallel universe.

The film follows them from their beginnings as a cross-dressing glam band, playing cover songs for 4 shows a night, 6 nights a week – from New Jersey bowling alleys and Long Island beach bars, to the suburban mega-clubs of the late 70s/early 80s, and on to their bust-out appearance on the UK rock TV show, “The Tube”. Through it all, Twisted stood ready to do or die, not just for the music, but also “the show”. They refused to play the usual bar band role of “human juke box for drunk and horny teens”. Every night, the band would give their all to the crowd, and mounted a full frontal attack on anyone not participating. They were going to force you to pay attention – and you were going to have fun whether you liked it or not.

They regaled their audiences with comedy rants, dragging them on stage for vomit inducing drinking games, engaging them in fits of disco record smashing and, at their most extreme, whipping them into club-destroying frenzy. The performances were low on style and heavy on the humor and attitude – but behind it all, always smart and full of self awareness. Spinal Tap may have been clueless but Twisted Sister knew exactly what they were doing.

It was both a great living and a dead end because once you reached the peak – headlining clubs attracting audiences of 2, 3 or 5 thousand a night – there was nowhere left to go. As big as Twisted got on that circuit, in the eyes of the world, ie the music business establishment, they were nothing but a bar band.

If you’re expecting a tribute film recounting the well known events of Twisted Sister’s rock star career, be prepared for something very different. This is not about their hit songs, the MTV videos and their massive stadium shows, rather it’s the untold story of how they became that band – one full of strange, and often hilarious, twists and turns. It’s a story of Rock ‘n Roll and the business of Rock ‘n Roll. It’s about perseverance and things blowing up in your face. It’s about finding yourself, finding your audience and doing literally anything, however wild, to connect with them. And even though we know how it ends, the roller coaster ride of getting there is what it’s really all about. A mesmerizing, and wickedly funny story of a 10 year odyssey to overnight success.

Twisted guitarist Jay Jay French sums it up: “the history of Twisted is really those 10 years in the clubs. The years we spent clawing our way through the bar scene. It was learning how to make order out of chaos and how to win in bad situations. And it was unique to Twisted. I talk to hundreds of bands and nobody’s ever gone through what we went through. It’s who we are, and it’s why we are, and why we do what we do.”

“‘One of the most surprising movies I have seen in quite some time.(…) a film for everyone, not just fans, one which [imparts] a deeper understanding of and respect for the men who lived it.” – Pamela Glasner, Huffington Post

“Hilarious and revealing interviews (…) as well as plenty of riotously entertaining footage from the band’s Seventies Tri-State club heyday. Immensely compelling.”Dan Epstein, Rolling Stone

“The time flies by, director Andrew Horn concocting a compelling, take-no-shit tale of Twisted Sister’s stuttering rise to stardom.” – Geoff Barton, Classic Rock Magazine

“I’m not a Twisted Sister fan and, in fact, knew very little about their scene in general—but this is a fascinating documentary.”David Hudson, Fandor

“Noise, mayhem, pathos, endless reversals and plenty of uproarious comedy.”The Independent (UK)

“Believe it or not, WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER! was born out of a scene in THE NOMI SONG. Actually out of one line. In the Nomi film, Twisted band leader Jay Jay French describes the almost riot that ensued when, believe it or not again, Klaus Nomi opened for them at the Soap Factory in New Jersey. “This was NYC performance art done in a blue collar suburban bar”, he explained. I knew almost nothing about Twisted at the time but I knew enough to know this was a hilarious confluence. But then after the NOMI film was finished Jay Jay started to explain to me what Twisted was doing doing onstage with their club audiences back then which struck me as very much it’s own kind of performance art, just dedicated to that whole other crowd. So it was the performance art idea that got me into it, little realizing that there was story there that was just as epic as NOMI’s.

Interestingly, both stories take place in almost the same time in almost the same geographical area, but they may as well have been in parallel universes. On the surface, TWISTED and NOMI couldn’t be more different – but at the same time, I came to realize there was a great similarity between the two. Each had their vision of who they were and what they wanted to do and they both had the courage to just ram it home no matter what. Both flew in the face of the establishment music scene, but both had their dedicated audiences that were ready to follow them anywhere. And both were able to meet each fallback and turn it into the next step forward. A review of the Twisted film said, ‘Stardom is interesting, but the long road that leads there is fascinating’ and that’s what appealed to me about both stories – the roller coaster of getting there is what it’s all about.”Andrew Horn

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

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

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

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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/Q&A featuring FINT and GUITAR WOLF!
(This event is $10.)
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22 – MIDNIGHT

NEW YORK CITY PREMIERE!

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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.)

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

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

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

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

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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 

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

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.