Spring break, Spring Breakers and Garland Gallaspy: a threesome made in dirty Heaven. When I heard that Garland — who I wrote about last year upon the release of his self-published book Tender Moments — was on the crew of Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, the subject of this week's Scene cover story, I knew we’d be in for a whole lot of debauched party pictures. Turns out, he’s made a whole book of ’em.
Breakers; Spring is the brand-spanking new volume of Polaroids Garland took while on the set and behind the scenes. It’s currently only available through Garland — contact him at iamnotjuliemartin (at) yahoo (dot) com to request your copy — but I snuck a few snapshots of the book and have posted them below for your perusal. Expect lots of tastelessness and NSFW action.
Where: Vanderbilt's Buttrick Hall
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22
There’s no denying that Garrett Hongo was a driving force behind the further advancement of Asian-American literature. In 1993, five years after winning the Lamont prize for his lyrical, elegiac collection The River of Heaven, also a Pulitzer finalist, he edited perhaps the most essential anthology of its kind — The Open Boat: Poems From Asian America, which introduced new audiences to poets like Agha Shahid Ali and John Yau.
Hongo remains an important figure in contemporary poetry, writing and teaching in the University of Oregon’s vaunted writing program. His latest, Coral Road, continues his exploration of personal memory and lived history.
You can read his poem "What For" after the jump.
At 7 p.m. at Third Man Records, the new Light and Sound Machine film series is offering one of 2012's most acclaimed releases not to play Nashville: The Unspeakable Act, a character study of siblings with a somewhat incestuous bond by director and revered film critic Dan Sallitt. Bilge Ebiri has a terrific review in tomorrow's Scene that may help tip the scale, especially since this is the movie's first and only Nashville screening.
But wait! At 7:30 p.m. at Vanderbilt's Sarratt Cinema, as part of the "International Lens" series, legendary experimental filmmaker Robert Beavers will attend a rarer-than-rare screening of his work outside its usual venue: a pastoral outdoor screening area in Greece. Also in tomorrow's Scene, in an equally persuasive piece, Michael Sicinski makes the case why this is pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime event.
So: two never-to-be-repeated screening events by acclaimed filmmakers outside the mainstream — and they both fall on the same night at the same time. It's a good problem to have, I guess, considering the dearth of such options we've faced in the past. But missing one of them — well, it's a problem nonetheless.
I've spent a lot of quality time at The Belcourt's film retrospectives over the years. Their Kubrick series was epic, Hitchcock was thrilling, a back-in-the-day Cassavetes line-up blew my mind, and the recent Sergio Corbucci film screenings were a timely revelation to anyone who was counting the days until Tarantino's Django Unchained premiere.
Another series that deserves a mention was last summer's Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata and the Masters of Studio Ghibli. That series offered 15 movies in just under two weeks, programming numerous daily screenings including both dubbed and subtitled versions of some of the greatest films made by the celebrated Japanese animation house. Even the trailer for the series was gorgeous and thrilling, but, despite my best efforts, I was only able to catch a couple of the flicks before the end of the run.
If, like me, you wish you had a second chance to see these films on the big screen, you're in luck. The Belcourt has brought 7 of director Hayao Miyazaki's best titles back for A Return to Studio Ghibli — a Saturday morning program of matinees for kids of all ages. Miyazaki is a genuine cartoon auteur who writes, directs, draws, animates and even penned some of the song lyrics for the film Spirited Away which will screen this Saturday.
StudioVU: Mendi + Keith Obadike
Where: Vanderbilt's Wilson Hall
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 20
In 2001, artists Mendi + Keith Obadike auctioned Keith's blackness on eBay. The auction was closed after only four days due to "inappropriateness," but received 12 bids during that time, and peaked at $152.50. An article from the August 2001 edition of the South African art journal Artthrob states that Keith's blackness was listed under the "Collectibles/Culture/Black Americana" subsection of eBay, "where it appeared alongside old Amos 'n Andy records, slave tags, 'lucky black voodoo dolls' and other items that speak volumes about the construction of black identity."
It's a compelling piece, and I hope that the Obadikes address it in tonight's StudioVU talk at Vanderbilt. Joe Nolan wrote a Critic's Pick about the lecture (read that below), and I've highlighted the benefits and warnings of Keith's blackness below.
The very busy Mendi and Keith Obadike will be stopping in Nashville today to be a part of Vanderbilt’s StudioVU series of art lectures. The pair writes literature, records music and makes art. They’ve put out two albums on Bridge Records, published a book of poetry, and are currently exhibiting their sound installation African Metropole: Sonic Cities, and touring their opera-masquerade Four Electric Ghosts. With such an eclectic output, it’s tough to predict what today’s talk will encompass. Keith grew up in Nashville and was an in-demand sound designer in the hip-hop scene while he was still a teenager. Mendi is a Californian and a poet. The Sonic Cities projects pair sound collage with recordings of poetic odes to various African cities, and it’s likely there will be more than just the artists to listen to at tonight’s presentation. —JOE NOLAN
Join Ettes leader Coco Hames as she moves through the Janus Films Essential Art House DVD box set one film at a time.
ASHES AND DIAMONDS directed by ANDRZEJ WAJDA (1958)
Polish with English subtitles
Running time: 103 minutes
From the Essential Art House liner notes: "Andrzej Wajda's 'war trilogy' of the 1950s announced the emergence of the 'Polish school' of filmmaking." As a huge fan of Krzysztof Kieslowski, this matters and makes sense to me. I start there simply because it is true and I can't say it better. This is one of those movies whereupon viewing any of its screen shots you go, "HEY, wanna watch some post-war Polish cinema?" in your most sarcastic tone, because it looks so bleak and depressing (if artistically framed).
Yes, Ashes and Diamonds is so gloomy and miserabilist it's pretty much the mocker's punching bag for European art cinema. But once you see past that stereotype and open up to it as a story and a film, you get an experience that is part of why this collection exists: it's an expression of an era we'd have a hard time understanding otherwise. That's what films can do. 1958 was a long time ago. It wasn't forever ago, but for instance: I wasn't around. And I wasn't in Poland. Part of why these films are so important is because in addition to being works of art, they are also time capsules that give us insight into a different time and place.
Ashes and Diamonds is the third installment (after 1954's A Generation and 1957's Kanal) in Wajda's aforementioned "war trilogy" and takes place on May 6, 1945, the day Germany officially surrendered. To bluntly summarize (which often helps me in wrapping my head around such dense and serious films) our hero Maciek (played by Zbigniew Cybulski, "the Polish James Dean") is an assassin, a part of a resistance to the growing force of Communism in the country at the time.
When the film opens, we are introduced with a bang (yep, literally) which sets this dizzying film off right, jarring and confusing and practically putting us there with a sight on our backs. The story is his story, and we follow him through his assignments, meeting his friends, enemies, and (especially) a lover along the way. Like James Dean, Cybulski's Maciek sulks, scowls, fights, loves, and has existential crises. And like Dean, his presence is so strong and yet so vulnerable, you identify with him as you grit your teeth and hope he makes it out alive. Unfortunately, also like Dean, Cybulkski died young, killed in a train accident in 1967.
"Attendance for our classical concerts on Thursdays was much lighter than we had hoped," says Alan Valentine, the NSO's president and CEO. "People who go to our pops series are entertainment buyers who are attracted to the hall for different reasons, and we think those concerts can be more profitable. The bottom line is we need to bring in a lot more revenue to support the hall."
That fact became painfully apparent last week, when the orchestra posted a note on its website indicating it would not renew a letter of credit on about $100 million in bond obligations. The NSO is hoping that action will prompt its lenders to renegotiate the amount of its debt, which was incurred to build the Schermerhorn.
Given that you can't make a classical symphony be more efficient — it takes the same number of musicians to play Beethoven's Fifth Symphony today as it did when it premiered in 1808 — it's hardly surprising that Valentine has decided to focus most of his energies on increasing revenue. Astute observers of the Schermerhorn have probably already noticed some big changes.
Over the past year or so, the Schermerhorn has gone from being primarily a symphony hall to being a regional entertainment presenter. On nights when the symphony isn't performing, the Schermerhorn has been booking comedians such as Bill Cosby and Sarah Silverman, and popular music acts such as Lyle Lovett and B.B. King.
The NSO hopes to increase revenue from its pops series next season by bringing in higher-profile acts like Chicago and Kenny Loggins. It's also looking at replacing the pops series' signature table seating with aisle seats, which can accommodate many more people. Moreover, the orchestra recently hired a new director of artistic administration, Laurence Tucker, a veteran artist representative who is as adept at handling temperamental maestros as schedules and programming.
And in perhaps its biggest coup, the NSO has talked Amy Grant and Vince Gill into moving their popular Christmas show from the Ryman Auditorium to the Schermerhorn. Grant was instrumental in saving the symphony when it fell into bankruptcy in the 1980s. Now Grant and Gill's Christmas show could become the Schermerhorn's version of the Nashville Ballet's annual Nashville Nutcracker — the cash cow that makes the rest of the year possible.
Classical fans are not being left totally in the cold. The symphony has cut seven Thursday performances, but it is adding a new Coffee and Classics Series, which will feature three short Friday morning concerts. Admittedly, the NSO will present just two performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 7 next season. But it will make up for the loss with bigger stars, such as gala headliner Renée Fleming.
"Classical music will always be the Nashville Symphony's core product," Valentine says.
Read the full story in tomorrow's Scene. Below, the NSO release with the entire concert schedule.
"From his stage-fright laden debut at Untitled's Jungle Show to performances at The Belcourt Theatre and Burning Bajos, Butler has amused and confused audiences for decades with his brand of spoken word, music and visual art," he says in a typically self-deprecating release.
The Social Club will be present only on tape, alas, but Butler has stage presence to spare. And he's on a bill that includes musical guests Ole Mossy Face and Stephen Simmons, fellow spoken-word artists Nicole Branigan, Ben Burr and Jamie Givens, East Side Story proprietor Chuck Beard, and visual artists Barbara Clark and Shaun Shively.
The show begins at 6 p.m., and admission is $10. Full release below.
Where: Ground Floor Gallery in the Chestnut Square Building (427 Chestnut St.)
When: 6-9 p.m. Friday, March 22. After that, it's by appointment only.
Another Friday night, another killer show at Chestnut Square. This time it's at Ground Floor Gallery, a relatively new venture by Watkins prof Willard Tucker. Here's the press release/exhibition statement:
Baroque Times is an exhibition of selected works by Watkins affiliated artists: Terry Thacker, Patrick DeGuira, William Stewart, David King and Robert Grand. Swapping themes of masculinity, work and pleasure across a dialectic of sensual desire and rugged utility, these works investigate aspects of the historical Baroque, a time bolstered by ecclesiastical excess and emotionally saturated in self-glorification. Sacred and profane gestures of productivity and decadence invite exploration into such unlikely frontiers as belly button rings, motorcycle mayhem and queer affects of baseball cards.
The Frontier of the Belly Button Ring: My new favorite nickname for the Chestnut Square studios. Can't wait to see what these guys have come up with.
I don't know much about local video production house Gems on VHS, but this spot gets my vote for most entertaining shortform self-deprecating, self-promoting video featuring a speeding car and a baby — not together, fortunately — I've seen in the last seven days. Check out some of their work here.
The shooting location for hard bodies gym was formerly the Paramus, NJ location of Tower…
This is like a flashback to the '80s, when Ted Turner was colorizing CASABLANCA and…
That clip is horrifying. It looks like postmortem makeup. Very uncanny valley.
AGGGHHHH that last picture!
LE JOUR SE LEVE is far superior to its American remake, THE LONG NIGHT (1947),…