Everyone who got upset when Zeitgeist vacated its now-demolished building in Hillsboro Village should visit its new digs on Hagan Street this weekend. Greg Pond: I'd Leave the Whole World Round is smart, precise, and has the unusual combination of warm and icy elements. It's the perfect match for a space that could be described with the exact same words.
Zeitgeist's new location, which lies just around the corner from Gabby's Burgers near Greer Stadium, signals a shift in ambition from a commercial storefront to a hub for the future of Nashville's art scene. (Leave it to a gallery owned by an architect to dictate purpose through a built environment.) Artists collective Fort Houston, indie galleries Seed Space and Threesquared, and studios for some of Nashville's most talented artists are all coming up within blocks of each other. Now that Zeitgeist, a stalwart of the independent creative community, has joined the fold, the neighborhood is shaping up to be the antipode of 5th Avenue of the Arts' safe middle-of-the-road fare.
The last time we saw rising star Greta Gerwig in these parts, she was standing in the Green Hills lobby after a Nashville Film Festival screening of her 2008 breakout film Hannah Takes the Stairs. (I'd offer details of our conversation, but frankly all I remember is being somewhat flustered talking to someone I'd just seen naked.) Not long after that, her career took off and she started getting major roles in movies by Woody Allen and Noah Baumbach (as well as the romantic lead in the remake of Arthur).
Her latest, Frances Ha, which she co-wrote with director Baumbach, is both a star vehicle and a love letter to Allen's black-and-white Manhattan as well as the past half-century of French cinema, from Godard to Leos Carax. Thanks to the magic of Skype, she'll host a Q&A after the 7:30 p.m. opening-night screening Friday at The Belcourt. Watch tomorrow's Scene for Steve Erickson's review.
For the second year in a row, comedian/podcaster/stoner Doug Benson decided to celebrate Memorial Day weekend in Nashville (“aka Hashville”), doing two shows at Zanies: a regular headlining stand-up gig and a live taping of his popular podcast Doug Loves Movies. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can listen to this weekend's podcast episode right now. Internet!
Joining Benson in the Zanies episode are regular opener Graham “Palmstrike” Elwood, Atlanta-based comic Joe Pettis and Matt Mira, who is best known as one-third of the Nerdist comedy hydra. But, really, it's mostly just Elwood and Mira, jabbering about the newest Fast and Furious movie, since they caught it in town before the show. Fair warning to spoilerphobes, the episode includes extensive discussion on the post-credits scene from Fast & Furious 6, which our own Jason Shawhan called "a mother of a scene." So. There's that.
In addition to the main show, Benson also released a mini-episode from the prior show, in which Elwood plays The Leonard Maltin Game — a Name That Tune-style game involving movies picked out of Leonard Maltin's movie guide — against audience members.
It would be criminal to talk about Cheekwood's Bruce Munro exhibit Light without also talking about James Turrell's “Blue Pesher.” Maybe that's unfair to Munro, a relatively unknown artist whose résumé boasts more lighting design jobs than capital-A Art — especially after Turrell opened his own major retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art just two days after Cheekwood unveiled Munro's second-only North American exhibition.
But that's all the more reason to enjoy the Munro exhibit — as I did at Friday night's opening reception — from inside Turrell's giant vessel. I recommend that all visitors to Cheekwood do the same, and combine a visit to “Blue Pesher” with every trip to Light.
Turrell is an important figure in California's Light and Space art movement of the ’60s and ’70s, and “Blue Pesher” is an example of all the reasons why he's so celebrated: It's at once a futuristic, Kubrick-esque temple to the sky, and a minimalist meditation on solitude. If Light is a Baz Luhrmann-worthy party, "Pesher" is the spaceship that crash-landed in the backyard.
Look for a feature-length review of Munro's Light in an upcoming print edition of the Scene. For more on Turrell, watch this Art21 video.
[Join Ettes leader Coco Hames as she moves through the Janus Films Essential Art House DVD box set one film at a time.]
FIRES ON THE PLAIN directed by KON ICHIKAWA (1959)
Running time: 104 minutes
Remember when I told you some of these films define their genre so intensely they come off almost as cliche? Fires on the Plain is one of 'em. 1959 Japanese arthouse war film? A broken soldier's solitary decent into physical and psychological annihilation? Picturing it? Good. You've got it! What makes this film definitive is that it seems to have influenced most every war drama that came after it. But you've gotta take a deep breath and pull out your patience before you watch it, because this film is RELENTLESS.
There's a menacing early horror vibe to Fires on the Plain, in the creepy way our soldier hero Tamura (Eiji Funakoshi) mime-walks around the desolate Phillippine front of 1945. All the big adjectives come to mind when you watch him drag himself through the film: agonizing, staggering, desperate, harrowing, unendurable. ... As they should: This is a portrait of war, its futility, and the degrading and dehumanizing horrors that are part of that daily life. And director Kon Ichikawa shows us every single instance of that life's brutality. Every. Single. One. Gross.
I am not keen on war movies in general because I am too sensitive and get really upset, so it was tough to even put this film on, let alone trudge through it with these guys. But really, I was being a baby: Fires on the Plain is pretty roundly awesome. You do want to pull your hair out at points because our lead character is sick to begin with (tuberculosis, but not sick enough to merit staying in the hospital, which is why he has to go about meandering in the first place ...). And so it's difficult to watch because he can't walk well or speak well or even eat. Then all of his teeth rot out, so he can't even join in the eventual cannibalism ...
Seldom has any television show angered its audience more than AMC's The Killing did a couple of years ago by not revealing the murderer's identity in its season finale. Veena Sud, in conjunction with Fox Television Studios and Fuse Entertainment, had up to that point done a mostly solid job of adapting the show from the Danish TV series Forbrydelsen (The Crime).
But after audiences faithfully watched the investigation by Seattle homicide detectives Sarah Linden (Mirelle Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) into the murder of Rosie Larson for 13 episodes, there was an uproar that resonated online for days when the finale did not provide definitive answers regarding either the murderer or reasons for the crime.
The show never regained its momentum in the second season, despite finally revealing the desired solutions. AMC acknowledged the PR fiasco by ultimately canceling the show following its second year. But things changed after Fox Television Studios approached both Direct TV and Netflix about reviving the program.
Eventually AMC decided to resurrect it, and a third season of The Killing returns 8 p.m. Sunday for another 12-episode run with some significant changes. The biggest involves Linden, who has resigned from the police force and tried to put that life behind her. Her former partner Holden is heading a search for a runaway girl, but then stumbles into a series of murders that are somehow connected to a previous investigation headed by Linden.
While Linden has zero desire to be a detective again, she reluctantly agrees to help Holden, mainly because she's also curious about aspects of the case. She soon finds herself right back in another controversial high-profile investigation — and at odds again with Holden.
Before the initial season's disastrous finale, The Killing had been AMC's second most popular show, but the bottom fell out in season two. Whether this new run can restore the program's popularity will determine if AMC has rescued a once-popular hit, or permanently damaged what could have been a consistent programming asset.
In this week’s edition of Generation VHS (a bracket that includes anyone born between the late '80s and mid-'90s, for those keeping score at home), I make a shocking claim that might soak up whatever journalistic credibility I have to my name.
It will send shivers down the spines of respectable film nerds — a potentially nightmare-inducing piece of knowledge that will strike fear into the hearts of millions.
I think that Space Jam is the defining cult film of Generation VHS.
Add this to the list of accomplishments by Nashville literary hero Ann Patchett: On June 9, she’ll join the ranks of Eleanor Roosevelt and Doris Kearns Goodwin when she’s presented with the Women’s National Book Association prestigious WNBA Award.
The WNBA was founded in 1917 — two years before women in America were allowed to vote — and it gives out an award every two years to a living American woman who “derives part or all of her income from books or the allied arts and has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession.”
The award reception will be held — where else? — at Parnassus Books, the independent book store Patchett opened with Karen Hayes in 2011.
Congratulations to Patchett, and thanks to all members of the WNBA, particularly the Nashville branch — one of the largest and most active chapters nationwide.
Here's a snazzy recap video of the rally organized by Nashville moped squadron The Dead Peds earlier this month, shot by Rebecca Dreyfus, who tells Country Life she choogled down from Kansas City with some friends for a weekend of camping, riding the Natchez Trace and hanging out with likeminded mopedders from around the country. (Some riders are sporting club patches from as far away as Detroit, looks like.) There's also dancing. And of course lots of cool-looking vintage bikes. And some tenderoni/sexual tension. And fire! Plenty of fire. Dreyfus also notes that while there are many such rallies throughout the year, this is the only one in/near Nashville.
In the latest issue of our sister publication The City Paper, which is hot off the presses today, I interviewed five Nashville-based creatives to learn a little more about the struggles they face practicing their trades in their respective industries — music, fashion, photography/videography, visual/graphic art and yoga — on a local level.
While I was familiar with some of the issues they brought up — juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet, finding limitations to how far they can advance in their career in the Nashville market — I was shocked by how frequently they're asked to work at a reduced rate or for no pay at all. I mean, I knew it happened, because most of my friends work in said "creative" industries, but it's happening way more than you think. At the risk of sounding dramatic, it's practically an epidemic in our city.
Here's the thing, Nashville. We have a lot of talented people here. With such a high concentration of talented people, there's always someone willing to do the job for less, or for free. And that is devaluing the work that everybody does. That is what makes people believe that they can hire someone for less and still get the job done.
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