In all the excitement over Moonrise Kingdom — we hear last night's midnight show was even more enthusiastic than the giggly screening of Magic Mike we were watching across town — keep an eye out for the movie opening in The Belcourt's other auditorium, Your Sister's Sister. Over at our sister publication The Pitch in Kansas City, Dan Lybarger has an interview with director Lynn Shelton that's got us psyched:
Lynn Shelton doesn't expect you to like her characters right away. In her fourth feature, Your Sister's Sister, the Seattle writer-director introduces her protagonist, Jack (played by Mark Duplass, star of her 2009 movie, Humpday), by giving him an angry diatribe to deliver — one that sours a party held in honor of his late brother.
"In general, I like to show these characters warts and all, and I sort of like the idea of warts first," she tells The Pitch by phone from Portland, Oregon. "You see him make this entire party really uncomfortable, and you're probably feeling pretty uncomfortable yourself, as an audience member, about what he's doing. I'm hoping that even by the end of that scene, you realize he's in an incredible amount of pain and that he really did love his brother, so it came out in this really twisted, black way."
Shelton's intimate comedy-drama follows Jack as he tries to get away from his grief by vacationing at his pal Iris' family cabin, outside Seattle. Instead of being alone, he discovers Iris' lesbian half-sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt, The United States of Tara), staying there. He winds up going to bed with her — even though he's nursing a crippling attraction to Iris herself (Emily Blunt, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen).
Last weekend, The Belcourt showed Wes Anderson's first feature, the 1996 caper comedy Bottle Rocket. It's the movie that introduced one of the great comic archetypes: Owen Wilson's Dignan, a fidgety idea man who pours his inspiration into low-yield robberies that he micro-manages as if he were tunneling into Fort Knox. But it also introduced the worldview Anderson would refine and elaborate over his next six films — the folly of thinking you can control your life if you just map it out obsessively enough.
The heroes of Anderson's subsequent movies — Rushmore's adolescent go-getter Max Fischer, The Life Aquatic's scuffling Cousteau stand-in Steve Zissou, the fantastic Mr. Fox — are whizzes at elaborate planning. Over the years, Anderson has developed a visual style to match their fussiness: tidily composed frames that look like shoebox dioramas, every detail fitted into place with a New Yorker cartoonist's eye for sight-gag arrangement. The compulsive order becomes the joke: There's no way anything so maniacally organized can hold, like an Eiffel Tower of toothpicks awaiting just one big sneeze. If a spirit animal haunts this realm, it's not suave Mr. Fox but hapless Wile E. Coyote.
And if knocking down these characters' matchstick houses were all Anderson cared about doing, his movies would be exercises in twee sadism. But the elements that disrupt his heroes' best-laid plans — other people, the stray bottle rockets whose path nobody can predict — tend to produce something better by demanding to be acknowledged. And so it is with Anderson's seventh movie, Moonrise Kingdom — which in some ways is exactly what you expect if you've been following his career, and yet still the loveliest surprise you're likely to get at the movies this summer.
There are some movies that transcend their cinematic boundaries and become wondrous experiences that defy all attempts at plot synopses, reviews and critical theory. They can never be described — only experienced. If ever there was an example of this transformational cinema it’s the 1974 Japanese martial arts epic of fists and plot points gone wild, The Street Fighter.
Starring the electrifying Sonny Chiba as the most despicably amoral, charismatic anti-hero the screen has ever seen, The Street Fighter is 91 minutes of nonstop, jaw-dropping WTF-ness. And of course the perfect place to see such a film is the grindhouse dungeon of the Cult Fiction Underground. I’ll be there Friday night, but don’t be surprised if after the movie they open the doors to find the audience has vanished — raptured away into B-movie grindhouse nirvana.
Watch the trailer after the jump.
I didn't know Karsten Soltauer. But after hearing so many of his friends comment on his passing this Monday, I almost feel like I do. His partner Kate O'Neill wrote a heart-wrenching tribute to Karsten on her blog post. This paragraph is particularly moving:
I think perhaps the key to processing a loss this immense and intense is to embrace the bothness of it: I have never experienced one emotion without the potential for its complement. I am nowhere near the master observer of absurdity that Karsten was, but I have been his student for nearly fifteen years and maybe I can see it a bit more than most. But if devastating loss is a swing to the left from the emotional equilibrium, I sense there is the opening of an often unnoticed rather large area to the right, into gratitude, appreciation, abundance, humor, and moments of joy and peace.
O'Neill is asking that you help her celebrate Karsten Soltauer by submitting memories, photos, artwork, video or words to email@example.com.
If you'd like to pay your respects to Karsten's friends, family and life, go to Boheme Collectif tomorrow for his memorial. In memory of Karsten, you should show up wearing something electric blue — and be prepared to participate in a community art project. Judging from the Facebook event page for the service, it's going to be a packed house.
P.S.! No. 7 will also serve as an art opening for the talented Rachel Briggs, who’s designed every one of the series’ terrific posters and — full disclosure — is my next-door neighbor. Her Sinister South exhibit goes up tonight, and that's her work you see on this page.
Below, a poem from Joshua Marie Wilkinson. See you tonight on the East Side.
Matt Christy: Arguing Alone is Lonely & Nicole Baumann: Fortune Holiday
When: 6-9 p.m. Friday, June 29
Where: Threesquared and Seed Space Galleries, 427 Chestnut St.
I’ve been singing the praises of the Chestnut Square building near Greer Stadium for a while, but just in case you haven’t been listening: It’s home to art studios for some of the city’s best artists, like Emily Clayton, Adrienne Outlaw and Kit Reuther. Two of the studios also house Seed Space and Threesquared, side-by-side galleries owned by vetted artists and operated by fresh-faced curators. This month’s dual gallery openings are the best excuses yet to check the place out.
Matt Christy, a lifelong Nashvillian and local art world heavy-hitter (he’s published reviews in Number and Art Papers, shown work at Twist and studied at Watkins) is packing up for grad school in Oregon. Threesquared is hosting his last exhibit as a full-time Nashvillian, and it’s called Arguing Alone Is Lonely. The exhibit focuses on a series of Christy’s paintings, drawings, textiles and collage works that revolve around the idea of the masses.
Next door at Seed Space, Nicole Baumann will be exhibiting Fortune Holiday, a piece that’s made up of small hand-embroidered cutouts arranged on a wall to create a larger image. The makeshift after-party, I’ve been told, is the Noa Noa show (see this Critic’s Pick for more on that), so if you’re down for a full night of emotional goodbyes, thoughtful art, electronic music and faintly musty sawdust smells, start your night at Chestnut Square.
If you're reading this, chances are you already know that I have officially crapped out of my pledge to see every single midnight movie screened at the Belcourt this year. Sadly (not that sadly), a little thing called Bonnaroo called me into service for our sister blog at Nashville Cream and it turns out that seeing Glenn Danzig nearly fight one of our photographers — I'm so proud! — is more important than midnight movies. Also, I carpooled, so I couldn't flee toward Nashville to see a SWAT team turn an exploding refrigerator into a battering ram during The Raid: Redemption.
I know. I'm terrible. But hey, why don't we talk about how your ill-conceived New Year's resolutions are going? No? That's what I thought.
In any case, I'm back on the horse and ready for another six months of midnight movies. This weekend, I eased ever-so-gently back into the routine with Bottle Rocket, the surprisingly down-to-earth first film by Wes Anderson.
The Frist Center's chief curator Mark Scala likes monsters. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Scala has a proclivity toward art that investigates the way the familiar can rapidly morph into the horrific (i.e. monsters), and how art can be a psychic tool offering a glimpse into dystopian (i.e., monstrous) landscapes. When the beastly works from the Scala-curated Fairytales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination left the exhibition space — returning to their hiding spots under beds, no doubt — they left behind a thematic thread that as Scala puts it, "conveys the dissolution of a coherent understanding of the world."
Featuring Middle Tennessee-based artists Erin Anfinson, Kristi Hargrove, Mark Hosford and Chris Scarborough, Metamorphoses is currently on display in the Frist's Conte Community Arts Gallery along its entrance hallway. It ardently salutes Ovid's ancient epic poem, as the title implies, but it also attempts to resuscitate the spirit of André Breton-era surrealism through a selection of two-dimensional works generated by 21st century Tennesseans.
When I was a kid, I always rooted for the bad guy — happily-ever-after endings were way more interesting when you wrapped them up with anticipation that evil would prevail. I’m pretty sure you can trace that bad-guy affiliation back to my love of The Misfits, the non-Danzig-led band of bratty punkers who rivaled Jem and the Holograms in everyone’s favorite music-based ’80s cartoon. Pizzazz was The Misfits’ leader, and a hero to defiant 8-year-old girls everywhere. What’s she been up to lately? Writing poetry in Nashville, of course.
Patricia Alice Albrecht was the voice actor who still maintains a level of fame for playing Pizzazz (she’s also got a roster of other voice-over work under her belt, such as Snorks and the New Kids on the Block cartoon series). Her poetry, which she’ll share with us tonight at Scarritt-Bennett’s Poet’s Corner, is filled with sweet observations that are intelligent and subtle. Her poem about a woman being observed at a shelter begins with William Carlos Williams-like minimalism — “It was the season of the resurrection / She was twenty when I first saw her” — before continuing on into a heartbreaking vignette of homelessness and religious austerity.
What I need is an editor. Someone to help me hone my taste for the obscure and the fascinating. So I asked some of my favorite Nashville artsy types for their all-time favorite titles, and I came up with a list of art books that I haven't read yet, but really want to.
First on my list is Dave Hickey’s Air Guitar, which was recommended by Emily Clayton. I've only just cracked the first chapter, but in the next few weeks I’ll start plowing through in earnest. If you're anything like me, and I bet you are, you'll want to follow along. More about Air Guitar after the jump.
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