Dec 022017

Today, December 1st, is Day With(out) Art, a national day of action and mourning organized by Visual AIDS with arts organizations and institutions in response to the AIDS crisis. It is also World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the disease.

In 2014, on the 25th anniversary of Day With(out) Art, Visual AIDS commissioned seven artists/collaboratives to create short videos for a program titled ALTERNATE ENDINGS, which are now available to watch online.  This year Visual AIDS has created another video program –ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, previewed above.

From their Vimeo channel

Curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS, the video program prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic, commissioning seven new and innovative short videos from artists Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye & Ellen Spiro, Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia LaBeija, Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Brontez Purnell.

In spite of the impact of HIV/AIDS within Black communities, these stories and experiences are constantly excluded from larger artistic and historical narratives. In 2016 African Americans represented 44% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States. Given this context, it is increasingly urgent to feature a myriad of stories that consider and represent the lives of those housed within this statistic. ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS seeks to highlight the voices of those that are marginalized within broader Black communities nationwide, including queer and trans people.

The commissioned projects include intimate meditations of young HIV positive protagonists; a consideration of community-based HIV/AIDS activism in the South; explorations of the legacies and contemporary resonances within AIDS archives; a poetic journey through New York exploring historical traces of queer and trans life, and more. Together, the videos provide a platform centering voices deeply impacted by the ongoing epidemic.

Next week on 12/7 (Thursday), MOCA Grand Avenue in Los Angeles will be screening this program followed by a performance by Kia LaBeija and a discussion featuring Reina Gossett and Kia LaBeija in conversation with Day With(out) Art curators Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett. (this event is free)

In New York it will be screened on 12/4 (Monday) at Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture with a post-screening discussion featuring artists Cheryl Dunye, Ellen Spiro and Thomas Allen Harris in conversation with curators Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett. (free but make sure to register as the event at The Whitney filled up quickly)


Oct 312015

Thinking of staying in this Halloween? You can still enjoy the spirit of Halloween from the comfort of your home, courtesy of two films currently streaming on Netflix.

The first, The American Scream, is the story of three families in Fairhaven, Massachussetts and their personal quests to turn their homes into Halloween haunted houses. The perfectionism and creativity of the attraction creators combined with the support and help of their families, make for an incredibly touching film with plenty of humor mixed in. It’s also a portrait of the community, and it’s a joy to see people come out in large numbers to see the finished work on Halloween.

Part love story, part vampire film, part Western, Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, takes place in the fictional, often seemingly deserted Bad City in Iran (it was shot in California). With its ghostly oil rigs and a mysterious pit full of dead bodies, it’s also a place with a lot of bad things going on beyond just the local vampire. The Girl spends her nights wandering around town doling out justice and interacting with the troubled locals. One night she ends up making a connection with a young gardener who has done some bad things himself. Although less a traditional horror movie and more a surreal look at isolation and loneliness with horror themes, it is also beautifully shot with a great soundtrack.

Oct 222015

The Ramones- Pet Sematary

This song was written for the film adaptation of the Stephen King book of the same name and appears on the Ramones 1989 album Brain Drain.

Cinefamily on Fairfax is showing Pet Sematary as a double feature with The Oracle on Friday 10/23/15.

Also, if you are at Hollywood Forever for their Dia de los Muertos celebration on Saturday make sure to check out Johnny Ramone’s grave located near the mausoleum.

Oct 082015

Beirut- Elephant Gun

This video for Beirut’s song from 2007 was directed by Alma Har’el who also directed the famous Sigur Rós video Fjögur píanó which stars Shia LeBeouf (seen below). She also directed the documentary film Bombay Beach which takes place in the community near the Salton Sea.

Beirut are playing 10/8/15 at the Hollywood Palladium-

Mar 122015

Repo Man Trailer

Repo Man (1984), Alex Cox’s film about aliens, car repossession, and punk rock takes place in Los Angeles in the 1980′s and stars Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton. It received good reviews at the time of its release and has since become a cult classic. The punk rock soundtrack is great too and includes tracks like the one below- Black Flag’s TV Party, as well as songs from Fear, Iggy Pop and Circle Jerks, who make an appearance in the film.

Alex Cox went on to make Sid and Nancy and Straight to Hell (which features Joe Strummer and Courtney Love) .

Repo Man is playing at the Regent Theater on Sunday (3/15) with a performance afterwards by Harry Dean Stanton and a band that includes Harper Simon.

Feb 282014

Cutie and the Boxer- Official Trailer

Currently on Netflix streaming and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, Cutie and the Boxer is a glimpse into the lives of two artists, Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko.

Noriko was only a 19-year old art student when she met 41-year old  artist Ushio, and they have remained together ever since. While the film presents Noriko’s sacrifices and frustrations within the relationship, it also shows the process that goes into the artistic work itself for each of them. Now, forty years later, she is showing her own work and emerging from the shadow of her husband’s career.  It’s a fascinating, intimate portrait of the couple.

For more information on Ushio:

This is a good interview with Noriko:

Dec 072013

I first discovered Agnés Varda through the documentary, The Beaches of Agnés.  She’s an incredible person, who at 85 (80 in the film), is still making films. This unique presentation of her life is both compelling and inspiring.

Check out some of her work at LACMA’s Agnés Varda in Californialand.

Dec 072013


Image from Agnés Varda in Californialand at LACMA

Tonight (12/7) at 7:30pm, LIONS LOVE (…AND LIES) is playing at LACMA along with Black Panthers. Info from LACMA’s website for this event:

Agnès Varda’s first-ever American feature film was shot while she was living in Los Angeles with husband Jacques Demy (his own U.S. debut, Model Shop, was released the same year). LIONS LOVE (…AND LIES) finds Warhol superstar Viva joined by Hair cocreators James Rado and Gerome Ragni as the trio, in various states of undress, play host to visiting cinéma vérité luminary Shirley Clarke (The Cool World, Portrait of Jason) in a Hollywood bungalow. Sunsoaked Southern California counterculture, New York bohemia, and Left Bank abandon all intermingle in this film about a film. LIONS LOVE (…AND LIES) graced the debut cover of Warhol’s Interview magazine and is Varda’s anarchic paean to the age of aquarius and Tinseltown transience with guest spots by everyone from Eddie Constantine to Peter Bogdanovich. This is an encore screening of the brand-new, LACMA-supported restoration of this film—in partnership with the Annenberg Foundation and The Film Foundation—which is also the inspiration for the filmmaker’s LACMA exhibit Agnès Varda in Californialand.

Also screening, Black Panthers (1969, 30 minutes, color, DCP)—another film newly restored by LACMA, the Annenberg Foundation and The Film Foundation—and Varda’s American debut: a powerful document of the eponymous Oakland movement’s efforts to free activist Huey Newton.

Some interesting facts about Viva- aside from being one of the stars of this film and Warhol’s movies, she also had small parts in Paris, Texas; Midnight Cowboy; and Play It Again, Sam. Both her daughters, Alexandra Auder and Gaby Hoffman, are actresses as well. She currently lives and paints in Palm Springs.

Definitely two films worth checking out. If you miss this screening, clips from the LIONS LOVE(…AND LIES) are playing in the exhibition as well.