Boston Calendar of Cultural Events 08/08/11

Film, Music, Concert, Performance

Nélida Nassar 08.08.2011

Wednesday August 10 – Sunday August 14, 2011
Central Square Theatre MATT & BEN 7.30 P.M.
by Mindy Kaling & Brenda Withers
directed by M. Bevin O’Gara, featuring Marianna Bassham & Philana Mia.
We all know the story: Best friends from Cambridge write a screenplay, star in the hit movie, win the Academy Award, and suddenly the world can’t get enough of them. But what’s the real story behind Matt Damon’s and Ben Affleck’s breakout success? Can fame literally land in your lap? Written by Mindy Kaling (of NBC’s The Office) and Brenda Withers, the gender-bending Off-Broadway hit Matt & Ben comes home to Cambridge with a sharp skewering of celebrity culture and an affectionate look at Boston’s favorite bromance. Bring a friend. Some things are meant to be shared. Running time: 70 minutes.

Wednesday August 10, 2011
Museum of Fine Arts Calderwood Courtyard 7.30 P.M. – 9.30 P.M.
Songstress Tift Merritt is a North Carolina native. Her father taught her guitar chords and Percy Sledge songs. With her longtime band, she has built a unique and critically acclaimed body of work of sonic short stories and poignant performances. She is the “disarming type of talent who can easily coax her way into any genre,” writing and performing “beautiful, aching folk-rock” that is both wide-reaching in its influences and instantly relatable (NPR). Her music “stands out like a diamond in a coal patch” (Emmylou Harris) and incorporates elements of country, folk, rock, and traditional Americana music. Legendary Buffalo Tom frontman Bill Janovitz opens the evening. Tickets $24 members, $30 non-members

Thursday August 11, 2011
Institute of Contemporary Art Music Performance
Harborwalk Sounds: Kiesza 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM Free
Berklee College of Music boasts some of the most talented students, alumni, and faculty at work in music today and there’s no better place to hear them than a summer evening at the ICA. Enjoy the best of both institutions with Harborwalk Sounds, a free series of concerts featuring rising stars in jazz, world, Latin, and more. Relax on the Vivien and Alan Hassenfeld Harborway with a refreshing drink from the Water Café and hot sounds from the coolest music school around. For Kiesza (pronounced Kye-za)–a former tall ship sailor, navy code-breaker, and Miss Universe Canada contestant–writing and perforing music is Calgary the native’s main passion. At 17, she joined the Canadian Navy, an experience that later inspired her to ship over 4,500 copies of her self-titled debut album to Canadian troops stationed in Afghanistan. A fervent sailor, much of the imagery in Kiesza’s music is drawn from her time exploring the sea. It’s been only four years since Kiesza wrote her first song on her mother’s old guitar. Often compared to Sarah McLachlan, the artist describes her music as orchestral pop-folk with a dash of funk.

Thursday August 11, 6.00 P.M. – 9.00 P.M.; Friday 12, 2011 4.00 P.M. – 7.10 P.M.;
Saturday August 13, 2011 1.15 P.M. – 4.25 P.M.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston “The Leopard (Il gattopardo)”
by Luchino Visconti (Italy, 1963, 186 min.). Alfond Auditorium
An epic on the grandest possible scale, the film recreates, with drama and opulence, the tumultuous years of Italy’s Risorgimento—when the aristocracy lost its power and the middle class rose and formed a unified, democratic country. Burt Lancaster stars as the aging prince watching his culture and fortune wane in the face of a new generation, represented by his upstart nephew (Alain Delon) and his beautiful fiancée (Claudia Cardinale). Awarded the Palme d’Or at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival, The Leopard translates Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel, and the history it recounts, into a truly cinematic masterpiece. “Stately, elegiac, ruminative, the film truly does now feel seamlessly all of a piece—and looks glorious” (Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times). There will be a 10-minute intermission. In Italian with English subtitles. Restored print.

Friday August 12, 2011
DJs On The Harbor: Mexican Institute of Sound with Clandestino Opening DJ set by Pajaritos 6.00 P.M. – 8.30 P.M.
The best waterfront dance party in Boston! Presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, the ICA brings some of the best DJs around to the Boston Harbor for three summer night’s of art, music, and dancing. Mexico City–based Mexican Institute of Sound fuses Latin American folk rhythms with the most up-to-the-minute hip-hop and electronica. DJ and producer Camilo Lara will turn the ICA into “a sweaty indie dance party below the bustling streets of [Latin America’s] most popular cities.”

Friday August 12, 6.00 P.M. – 9.00 P.M.; Saturday 13, 2011 4.00 P.M. – 7.10 P.M.
Sunday 14 2011, 3.00 P.M. – 4.45 P.M.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston “Age of Consent”
Alfond Auditorium by Michael Powell (UK, 1969, 103 min.). Bradley Morahan (James Mason), a highly successful artist, is frustrated working in New York City and decides to regain inspiration by returning to his native Australia. There, he encounters a young Cora (Helen Mirren), who has grown up wild under the supervision of her negligent grandmother. Morahan’s creative drive is reawakened as Cora serves as his model and muse, and an intricate relationship soon develops. “A fascinating example of Powell’s later work . . . an unjustly neglected film that is deserving of its eventual rediscovery” (Senses of Cinema).  Description adapted from Turner Classic Movies. Restored print.

Friday August 12, 2011
Harvard Film Archives “Wild Night in El Reno” 7.00 P.M.
Directed by George Kuchar. USA 1977, 16mm, color, 15 min.
This movie began the weather diary cycle and is the only one in a film format. I shot it with my Bolex camera. I think the filmmaker (and my ex-student) Curt McDowell visited me during this time because there are some stills of me peppered here and there in the movie. The motel I was staying at is the only one that had an underground cellar. This was comforting when twisters threatened but was not well managed as the doors were unhinged making it more like sliding open a lid rather than opening a portal. It eventually became filled with ankle deep mud which for one panicked mother was more terror inducing than a full-fledged tornado. She told me to hand back the baby I was holding as she preferred to ride out the storm above ground and wanted no part of that muck. Luckily for her and little junior, the violent funnel cloud lifted before hitting the town but it was a close call!

“Weather Diary 1” 
Directed by George Kuchar. USA 1986, digital video, color, 75 min.
This (just about) feature length documentary attempts to capture the feel of the Oklahoma experience as I lived it for about three or four weeks in May at a motel/trailer park. It was entirely edited in camera and shot in a start to finish manner with the time being manipulated and expanded upon by in-camera inserts. You get sneak peaks of the occupants of the facility and glimpses of their lives interspersed with threats of turbulent weather both above our heads and squeezed into a TV tube. There are also four legged mammals hanging around and some bugs here and there. I do my best to connect with them all, socially.

This first video in the series sets the gastric tone of all future visits to Oklahoma and delves into a menu of gassy goodies and gooey deposits. This motel (and the owners) no longer exist as death and the bulldozer have wiped them out. But they live on in this electronic format which has always seemed to shock and outrage viewers on many occasions and has been assigned the dubious distinction of a “dangerous live wire, so beware”! These sentiments (warnings) were issued by Scott McDonald as his screening of the video to his class created an horrendous uproar of disgust. It also shed a new and very unflattering light on the Flaherty Film Seminar in upstate New York as the audience, totally repelled by this white man spending time in Indian territory and exposing his greasy secrets, skin and imperfect teeth was too much to bear for politically correct academia. Since the other documentaries in that venue stressed racial confrontations and territorial hatreds, the fact that they had to endure sitting through this exposition of a Bronx boy’s friendly, if somewhat freaky, foray into Americana was too much to tolerate. The prestigious showcase turned into the Jerry Springer Show, and the animosity this video revealed from behind the cloak of academic respectability was truly awesome! I hope you enjoy it.

Harvard Film Archives “Better Watch Out!  10 P.M.
Directed by Monte Hellman. With Samantha Scully, Bill Moseley, Richard C. Adams
USA 1989, 35mm, color, 90 min
In the third chapter of the Silent Night, Deadly Night series, Hellman upends the standard slasher movie with a feminist take – pitting intuitive knowledge against the smug ambitions of science. Here, a scientist exploits the abilities of a telepathic blind woman to communicate with the comatose serial killer of the previous film – unleashing a string of violence which takes turns mythic, comic, and cathartic.

Saturday August 13, 2011
Harvard Film Archives “Weather Diary 2”  7.00 P.M.
Directed by George Kuchar. USA 1998, digital video, color, 25 min
Shot in 8mm video and edited entirely in the camera, this picture deals with meteorological and sexual desire on the Plains. It’s the only movie in the series where I interact with storm chasers. I’m a storm squatter as I never learned how to drive a car. The young meteorology student who pays me a visit was someone I met in Wisconsin at a screening of my films/videos a few years before. This was his first visit to Oklahoma to chase tornadoes, but the storm season proved to be a dry one. His presence lubricated me on a more personal level, and our friendship helped to sweeten the sourness that happens when nature doesn’t “put out”.

“Heavenly Features”
Directed by George Kuchar. USA 2005, digital video, color, 10 min
I had a little more money so I switched motels to one that had a pool. A little wooden friend accompanied me for a while, but when the puppet’s strings got tangled-up I ditched him. I sometimes interact with dolls and dummies so that the improvised dialogue can be directed at something other than the camera lens.

“Centennial”
Directed by George Kuchar. USA 2007, digital video, color, 13 min
There’s not much chatter in this video as I munch and chew my way through a series of scenes that eventually culminate in a celebration of the state’s existence. I stumbled onto this historical knowledge by accident as it was concentrated on a street corner.

“Chigger Country”
Directed by George Kuchar. USA 1999, digital video, color, 24 min
A chance to spend two weeks on a cattle ranch in southern Oklahoma makes this video an ode to the land more than the sky. The woman who invited me to the ranch was nicknamed Chigger and had been a student of mine many years ago. This place was a world very alien to me as instead of having cockroaches in the kitchen there were scorpions. It was like a giant park with no paths, streetlights or benches but it did have rattlesnakes, ticks, armadillos and cantankerous bulls. The ranch was all for the growth and well-being of the cattle and they had the run of the place which took up two counties. I got a chance to aim and shoot a rifle for the first time and (surprisingly) bonded with the firearm very quickly. I hope you will enjoy this vision of man and beast on the southern plains as this property was sold a short time later and I don’t know what it is now.

“Hotspell”
Directed by George Kuchar. USA 2011, digital video, color, 26 min
This is my latest weather diary and it follows me to Norman, Oklahoma, as I had a show at the giant university there and made some friends who came to visit me later when I moved on to my usual resting place, El Reno. It proved to be a turbulent stay both inwardly and outwardly as my libido mixed with the clashing seasons to create a vortex of violent forces, one of which threatened to wipe out the town!

Sunday August 14, 2011
Harvard Film Archives  “Iguana”  5.00 P.M.
Directed by Monte Hellman. With Everett McGill, Michael Bradford, Roger Kendall Italy/Spain/Switzerland/USA 1988, digital video, color, 98 min
Iguana is an allegorical fable of the abuses of power which follows a disfigured and fiercely misanthropic sailor who jumps ship to become the improbable king of a remote barren island. Featuring a haunting score by Joni Mitchell and starring Everett McGill as a man raging against the calcified hierarchies of 19th century society, Iguana has gained the reputation of a cult film maudit for its harrowing depiction of the savagely exacting master-slave society created by the despotic sailor. Among Hellman’s least discussed works, Iguana will be presented in its rarely screened extended director’s cut.

Harvard Film Archives “Cockfighter” 7.00 P.M.
Directed by Monte Hellman, Appearing in Person. With Millie Perkins, Jack Nicholson, Will Hutchins
USA 1968, 35mm, color, 82 min
One of Hellman’s undisputed masterpieces, The Shooting is a stark nightmare Western set in a barren desert wasteland and featuring mesmerizing performances by Warren Oates, Jack Nicholson and the alarmingly beautiful Millie Perkins. Expanding the tradition of the taut and minimalist “revolving poker game” narratives defined in the late studio Westerns of Budd Boetticher and Anthony Mann, The Shooting goes even further by embracing a gothic abstraction of story that transforms its characters into mysterious woodcut emblems of fate and human destiny. The script by legendary screenwriter Carole Eastman (Five Easy Pieces, Puzzle of a Downfall Child) brings a cryptic feminist dimension to the film.

Originally Published in Berkshire Fine Arts

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