Friday, November 30, 2012

The Great Silence vs. The Who: Sunday Night Showdown

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Now here's a dilemma: the only 35mm screening we may ever have in Nashville of Sergio Corbucci's super-cool spaghetti Western The Great Silence vs. The Who playing the landmark Quadrophenia album live at Bridgestone Arena — and they're both 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Listening to Quadrophenia on the way to The Belcourt, the choice didn't seem so hard: The Who's first (and probably last) Nashville concert, playing a phenomenal record that's like a succession of crashing waves. But then I saw a reel of The Great Silence as the projectionist was testing it. Holy mackerel. Not only is the movie among the absolutely essential spaghetti Westerns, its wintry landscapes and tension-ratcheting compositions just pop on the big screen — and the print's eccentricities (scratches! crackles! simultaneous French and German subtitles!) give it that grindhouse whiff of rotgut that means oh so much.

In other words, this is a tough call. The movie is cheaper. The concert is longer. Klaus Kinski at billboard size, all leering menace and bad intent. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey in the flesh, life-size and yet so much bigger.

In classic spaghetti Western tradition, it's every man for himself. Or let Repo Man director and spaghetti Western authority Alex Cox break the tie:

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Felicidades! Casa Azafrán Grand Opening Tomorrow

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Back in September, in the Scene's Fall Guide, Steve Haruch previewed Casa Azafrán, the ambitious new multi-use community center by which Conexión Americas hopes to bring Nashville's many immigrant communities closer together and to the city:

When director Renata Soto says, "We are a mosaic," she isn't referring to just Nashville's Latino community, which Conexión has ably served for a decade. And while Soto does see the new Casa Azafrán cultural center — a 28,800-square-foot, $5 million development just south of the fairgrounds — as a "symbolic marker for the growth of the immigrant community," she also sees it as something much bigger and more significant than that. Soto calls the center, still under construction at 2195 Nolensville Pike, a "connection between downtown and Nolensville" — a physical manifestation of the ties between Nashville's established centers of influence and some of its newest residents.

The new center is ambitious in scale and scope. Bringing United Neighborhood Health Services, Family and Children's Service, the YWCA, Justice for Our Neighbors of Tennessee and The Global Education Center under one expansive roof, Casa Azafrán will host a range of services for anyone in the community — Latino, Kurdish, Anglo, Somali, Nashvillian — including health care, financial advice, computer skills and entrepreneurial training.

In addition to the raft of service partners and Conexión's own administrative offices, Casa Azafrán will house gallery and event spaces. The first art exhibit is slated to feature the winning entries from a Conexión-sponsored photo contest aimed at showing off Nashville's cultural diversity. And the event space, which opens onto a stone-enclosed courtyard, sits adjacent to what is planned to be a 1,500-square-foot commercial-grade kitchen and cooking demonstration area, with four pantries available for rental. ...

"We are super excited," Soto says — not only for the space itself, but for the chance to bring together segments of the broader community that might not otherwise cross paths. "This will bring Nashville in," she says, and she means all of Nashville.

The big day of Casa Azafrán's grand opening has arrived, and tomorrow, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the center will celebrate with a festival of music, dance, food and all-around jubilation. You'll want to stop by, especially to see the enormous 12-by-30-foot mosaic featuring thousands of pieces hand-laid by local volunteers — an instant piece of Nashville iconography addressed in the video above.

Below, the full schedule for tomorrow's public events after the invitation-only 9:45 a.m. ceremony.

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Awesome Shopping Opportunities in Nashville This Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 2:59 PM

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This weekend, you have the opportunity to cross everything off your holiday lists, folks. A couple of suggestions:

Porter Flea at Marathon Music Works, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.: Hit the handmade and vintage jackpot with this popular semi-annual event. In addition to offerings from clothing designers such as Tuft, Blooming Leopold and Chase Ash, the market has vintage (Sabrosa Vintage, Honeybean Boutique), home decor (Modern Arks, Holler Design) and plenty of things to fill your jewelry box (Acorn + Archer, RINjuel). There will be food trucks, too, including Riffs and Deg Thai (plus coffee from Beve and ice cream from Jeni's) so make a day out of it! Info here.

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A Primer on Grace Coddington & Karen Elson

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 11:45 AM

At Coddingtons 70th Birthday Party
  • At Coddington's 70th Birthday Party

Scene intern Hannah Hyde came up with a primer of everything you should definitely know about before you go to The Frist's Grace Coddington/Karen Elson event on Sunday at 2 p.m. For more on that, read the article about Coddington, her new memoir Grace, and the Frist event that I wrote for this week's Scene.

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On the Inadvertent Brilliance of Glenn Beck's Pee Pee Obama

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 7:16 AM

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Let me just say up front that I'm not an art critic by any stretch of the imagination. I don't know what art is good or why. But I'm kind of blown away by this picture of a plastic Obama supposedly submerged in Glenn Beck's pee.

I can't stop thinking about it. Not because I'm upset at the artist — Glenn Beck, in this case — but because I think this might, unintentionally, be the most illuminating piece of contemporary religio-political art made in years. I believe that if you understand this photo, you understand just about everything in American religion and politics in the past five years.

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The Late Shift: Red Dawn

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 5:27 AM

What's up, turkeys? While most of you were cramming your faces with various types of reheated poultry and falling asleep in front of the TV to the sound of football and/or A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, I joined a few dozen true Americans to see reactionary cinema at its finest. The Belcourt screened the original Red Dawn as counter-programming to the newly released (and, by all regards, completely terrible) remake. But let's not talk about that little engine that could — but probably shouldn't. It's Patrick Swayze time.

Red Dawn is the improbable story of Calumet, Colo., a sleepy mountain town that is besieged by communist forces in a hostile takeover of America. Why does the combined might of Russia, Cuba and Nicaragua want to occupy a tiny town that — in reality — was abandoned in the 1970s? Hell, I don't know. What are you, some kind of a commie? Point is, Swayze Dogg and a motley crew of jocks, nerds and assorted randos take to the mountains, waging guerrilla warfare on the occupiers in a fit of vengenance-fueled liberation.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

This Don't Suck: Disney's The Black Hole in Rare 35mm Screening Saturday at Belcourt

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Springing from the same late-’70s/early-’80s post-Star Wars sci-fi boom that produced Alien, Starcrash, Battle Beyond the Stars, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture — and coming off like the perfect average of all four — Disney's first PG-rated film The Black Hole is a grand insanity that serves up laser battles and genocide in equal amounts.

A research vessel headed into the depths of outer space makes two shocking discoveries: the titular phenomenon, a star that has collapsed in on itself and now wields an inescapably powerful gravitational force, and a majestic starship thought lost 20 years before that somehow defies the pull of the black hole. Further investigation reveals an army of robots, a captain/mad scientist (Maximilian Schell, equally handy quoting scripture or Nietszche and dropping bons mots like “I am here to prove that the end does justify the means!") and an unspeakable mystery.

You just can't go wrong with this film. You've got a great Falstaffian turn from Ernest Borgnine, Oscar winner and the man who learned the language of love at the hands of Ethel Merman. You've got Schell and Anthony Perkins’ seduction-by-knowledge subplot yielding scientifically uncharted subtext. You've got that psychedelic Cathar freakout of an ending that still boggles the mind. You've got the evil, hulking, red slice-and-dice master robot Maximillian and the two anthropomorphized good robots (uncredited voices by Roddy McDowall and Slim Pickens, natch). And you have Disney doing something unquestionably weird (see also The Watcher in The Woods for similar traumatizing madness) with its opening credits, the first fully computer-generated anything in movie history.

This was supposed to play The Belcourt two weeks ago, but a mishap waylaid the 35mm print and nixed the screening. It was worth the wait, folks, until the theater could reschedule it for this Saturday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Do not miss your chance to see a 35mm print of this.

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Clean Up on Aisle Three, and Four, and Five, and … The Uncut Intruder at the Cult Fiction Underground This Weekend!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 12:19 PM

The late shift employees of Walnut Lake Supermarket are having a really bad night. In addition to slicing prices for a going-out-of-business sale, someone is slashing the employees into tasty bits. So goes Intruder, one of the lost legends of 1980s slasher films that will be screening this weekend in its restored, director’s cut version at the Cult Fiction Underground.

Directed by Scott Spiegel, a charter member of the Sam Raimi-Bruce Campbell-Coen Brothers cabal, Intruder was Spiegel’s feature film debut as a director after co-scripting Evil Dead 2 with Raimi. (Spiegel has since gone on to produce or executive-produce all three of the Hostel films, and he directed the third.) As with most productions from the Raimi circle, Intruder was intended to push the genre’s boundaries to the extreme, making it more than your average Spam-in-a-can slasher film by upping both the gore and intelligence levels.

Released in 1989, it hit the censoring hands of the MPAA during one of their most skittish periods. Sadly, the cuts required for an R rating not only reduced the splatter to a light drizzle, they rendered the movie largely incomprehensible.

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Django, Sing — If You Can't Sing, Shoot!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 9:31 AM

As threatened in the Scene's film story this week on the Sergio Corbucci retrospective starting Sunday at The Belcourt, here's the trailer for Corbucci's biggest hit, the 1966 film that launched the successful Django franchise. It closes the retro Dec. 12-13.

More to the point — and we offer this as a warning — here is the diabolically catchy theme song, the true weapon in gunslinger Franco Nero's holster. We caution that after you hear this, every action you perform today will be punctuated by a female chorus cooing, "Djahnn-go!" Think of us kindly when you're closing a car door ("Djahnn-go!"), flushing a toilet ("Djahnn-go!") or boldly exiting a breakroom ("Djahnn-go!").

Then again, this may have positive effects as well. After hearing a few dozen lusty "Djann-go!"s followed by the stabbing twang of an electric guitar, my office mate Steve Haruch said, "You know, I suddenly feel virile and capable."

It hasn't worked on me yet, but here's hoping. "Djahnn-go!"

(UPDATE: This post now featuring the Rialto Pictures release trailer with added awesomeness. And dig that amazing poster in the Rialto link. "Djahnn-go!")

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Spread the Word: See Holy Motors at Belcourt Before It's Gone

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 5:28 AM

You like musicals? See Holy Motors. You like pantomime? See Holy Motors. You like hitman movies? See Holy Motors. You like movies that prowl Paris by night? See Holy Motors. You like silent comedy? See Holy Motors. You like animated tentacle porn? See Holy Motors.

You like movies that send you out with your eyes and mind buzzing? See Holy Motors. You like movies that challenge the way you watch and absorb movies, teasing you to seek out and make connections? See Holy Motors. You like movies that function at one level as criticism, dense with allusions and autobiographical associations? See Holy Motors. You like getting swept along by a flood of dazzling images? See Holy Motors.

You like movies? See Holy Motors. While there's time.

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