Congratulations to Nashville talk-radio host Phil Valentine, whose new doc An Inconsistent Truth — a riposte to An Inconvenient Truth that takes a few pages from the Michael Moore playbook in setting up Al Gore as an elusive foil — actually topped the nation's per-screen box office chart last weekend.
In its first week of release, on one screen at the Regal Hollywood 27, the documentary grossed a whopping $20,733 — more than twice as much as the next closest film, the Bollywood action drama Agneepath. That's also more than three times as much as the weekend's No. 1 movie in total box office, the Liam Neeson thriller The Grey, made on average at each of its 3,185 screens.
In a comment earlier on a separate Country Life post, my friend and co-worker Christy described the scene this weekend at the Hollywood 27:
I was half expecting to walk into a sleepy theatre with a few curious liberals and a handful of cranky conservatives. Instead the room was filled with the most vivacious and interactive movie-watching crowd I’ve experienced. Throughout the 90 minute film there was plenty of laughter and more than a handful of condescending comments thrown toward various clips of Al Gore’s responses and declarations about Global Warming pulled from both his testimony before the Senate and his film. ... Between the combination of amens, laughter and synchronized nods, it reminded me of sitting in a charismatic church service.
Above: a deleted scene for Valentine completists. Below: a glimpse of Valentine in his first film role. Watch for Poison's Bret Michaels and "a special appearance by Charlie Sheen."
My cursory research (read: emailing a few friends) has not turned up any leads as to where in Nashville this amazing lip sync video might have been recorded. I assume the flashdance you see above was probably produced inside a mall kiosk, or perhaps at a long since-demolished amusement park. As it stands, I could see this piece of pulsating, cookie-cut flashy trash serving as the looped video in an installation of some sort — a meditation on the post-Madonna, pre-Gaga pop universe, or on the commodification of youthful desire, or on the aesthetics of white high-tops. These days, anyone can make this sort of thing on their own device, so the novelty of mouthing the words to a sex jam in front of a phalanx of star explosions isn't quite what it was back in 1987. But Photo Booth doesn't have any filters anywhere near this cool, at least not yet.
In this episode of PBS' art21, Trenton Doyle Hancock describes Mounds as "half-human, half-plant mutants that came to life about 50,000 years ago when an ape man masturbated in a field of flowers." He's created an entire universe around this mythology, and each artwork he creates is some sort of appendage of the story. The very first of the species (Legend), a superhero character named Torpedo Boy, an opposing tribe called The Vegans — all of his paintings incorporate his invented world in some way.
Several of Hancock's works will be in The Frist's upcoming Fairy Tales, Monsters and The Genetic Imagination exhibit, which opens Feb. 24. On the 25th he'll be at an artists panel at The Frist called "Invented Bodies/Hidden Meanings: Fables for our Times," along with Saya Woolfalk and Meghan Boody. In addition to all of that, Vanderbilt recently announced that they've scheduled Hancock to give a lecture as part of their Studio VU series, which is scheduled for earlier that week, on Feb. 22.
Watch the art21 clip for a quick primer on Hancock's work, and get ready to be an expert on him by the end of the month.
Studio VU Artist's Lecture: 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Vanderbilt's Stephenson Center
Fairy Tales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination opening: Friday, Feb. 24, at The Frist
"Invented Bodies/Hidden Meanings — Fables for our Times" Artists Panel: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 at The Frist
More urgently, for the seamsters and seamstresses out there: Today is the very last chance for aspiring fashion designers to apply for NFW consideration. Eligibility requirements, in brief: You must "live in or have connections to Nashville and/or Middle Tennessee"; your fall 2012 collection must consist of original designs, "debuting at Nashville Fashion Week with 15-20 cohesive looks"; and you must be available to show during the Fashion Week you're applying to show at. Does this sound like you? You've got until midnight to apply, and you can do that at the NFW site.
Also today, all-access passes for Fashion Week are on sale for $250 — a $100 discount that ends Feb. 7. These passes, of which only a limited number are available, entitle you to: reserved seating for all five nights; a "premium gift bag"; admission to afterparties on both opening and closing nights. Buy those at Now Playing Nashville. (If you're holding out for individual tickets, those are $75 and go on sale March 1.)
I've been envious of Belcourt program director Toby Leonard ever since he got back from Sundance last week and told me he got to see the documentary I want to see most in 2012, Room 237. Turns out there are cults of people who see hidden messages threaded throughout Stanley Kubrick's movie version of The Shining, and director Rodney Ascher's film consists of various interview subjects laying out their theories over clips from the movie. (Check out Robert Ito's article from last Sunday's Times.)
One subject sees an allegory of genocide against American Indians (keep your eye out for those Calumet baking-powder cans). Another sees a coded statement about the Holocaust. Still another — Leonard's favorite — makes an elaborate case for the movie as Kubrick's mea culpa to his wife for having helped to stage ... the faked NASA moon landing! (Which makes some sense — you wouldn't entrust a cover-up on that scale to the dude who made Moon Zero Two.)
The clipreel-as-essay-film is one of my favorite movie subgenres, exemplified by Thom Andersen's revelatory Los Angeles Plays Itself. (The long-awaited DVD of Godard's Histoire(s) du cinema looms on payday.)
Alas, the very thing that makes these films so appealing — their use of recontextualized film clips — makes them all but unreleasable, as their rights clearances are a logistical nightmare. (Bye-bye, Joe Dante's legendary four-and-a-half-hour The Movie Orgy.) But hope springs that we'll get to see Room 237 in Nashville, preferably in combination with The Shining. Oh, and while we're wishing — we love the idea (not ours) of a film series built around this monster.
A Twisted Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Where: Nashville Public Library
When: Reception at 6:15 p.m., followed by a talk at 7
You’d be forgiven for mistaking Leigh Rubin’s “Rubes” for Gary Larson’s “The Far Side.” Both are single-panel comics. Both rely heavily on similarly drawn cows, witches, cavemen and cowboys to tell their stories. Both series began around 1980. But where Larson’s work is dry enough to land juuuust this side of cornball, “Rubes” rests smack in the middle of cornball, relishing in it, masticating it, like the funny-pages version of a Jeff Foxworthy joke.
Still, Rubin’s been at it for close to 30 years, and his strip is syndicated in more than 400 publications worldwide. It’s hard to shrug off those statistics — his work has an undeniable appeal. He’ll be at the library’s main branch tonight as part of the “Night at the Library” series, where he’ll speak about his work and career. The event promises music, food and humor, and there will be tons of merchandise available, including the “Rubes” 2012 comic-a-day calendar.
Bryce inherited his first printing press from his uncle, and his studio now houses several of the enormous contraptions, each of which weighs several tons. But there's enough levity in his studio to outweigh the machinery — archives packed in old Mickey's malt liquor boxes, 1970s-era children's toys, antiquated scientific tools, and about as much patriotic imagery as anyone could ever hope for. I stopped by to catch up with Bryce and see how the new location was coming together. Check out some pictures I took after the jump.
The McSweeney's piece is the 19th installment in Rice's Flip: A Column About Skateboarding, titled "An Introduction to Literature, Part IV." If A Column About Skateboarding has you expecting lots of "dude!," "suhweet!" and "totally stoked!" ... well, think again. There are references to Dostoevsky, Rice's Shakespeare-denying great-grandfather, and the grisly murder of a college coed, and it begins thusly:
It’s common for students to conflate the “voice” in a given work of literature — be it a poem, novel or short story — with that of the author’s. Of course, even when a narrator speaks in first-person, this does not necessarily signal that this “voice” belongs to that of the real-life author. Obviously, crime fiction author Raymond Chandler is not the same person as his fictional creation, the hard-boiled private detective Philip Marlowe. It is, at best, usually misguided to assume that novelists or short story authors have direct, first-hand experience of what they choose to write about in fiction.
A brief autobiographical sketch of the author, after the jump ...
It seems to me that, as a full-grown human, the only thing that really counts is showing up for the people you love. To my mind, there’s nothing as scary or as humbling or as fundamental as that. There’s that great Robert Hayden line about “love’s obscure and lonely offices.” And I really believe that changing a diaper or a surgical dressing is a radical act of love. If you can show up for those things, you can show up for anything. If you can change a diaper with love, then you can change the world. Caring for my grandmother clued me in on how shamefully inadequate I am as a person, but it also pointed me in the direction of everything that I think is really important.
Leleux will discuss the book at 6 p.m. tonight at Parnassus Books.
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