If art is a religion, this last weekend was an evangelical tent revival…
I saw three great movies:
Foo-Foo Dust- A documentary about a mother and son struggling with drug addictions, and their love for each other. Devastating, sad, and beautiful in it’s exploration of two people clinging to each other as they slide towards their doom.
Film as Subversive Art- A documentary about Amos Vogel, pioneering avant-garde film programmer and distributor. Inspirational story of a young Jewish immigrant who escaped Hitler in Austria and came to NYC. There he created Cinema 16, a highly influential film society that helped introduce important filmmakers to American audiences, and shook our ideas of what film should be.
Bitter Jester- Okay, maybe not great, but definitely worth the investment. Another doc, but this time about the nightmare world of stand-up comedy. Maija Digiorno is our guide as she tries to get her career back on track after cursing out an industry audience at the Aspen Comedy Festival. Insightful and funny, her boyfriend/producer Kenny is the most frightening human being I’ve encountered on a movie screen this year.
Oh, and can’t forget the shorts…
Most memorable so far:
Terminal Bar- Made almost entirely from still photos, this is a look back at NYC of the 70’s. A son tells his father’s story as a bartender in one of the diveyest dives of all time. The Terminal Bar sat on the corner across from the Port Authority on 42nd St. First a hangout for Jewish mobsters, it became the seedy center for pimps, hustlers, cruisers and losers. This is a love letter to a NYC that doesn’t exist anymore.
Fast Film- A fun little short, made entirely from bits of iconic imagery from movie history. This is every story that has ever been told.
But by far, the highlight of the weekend was Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
This made me so very happy. It was like seeing Ali vs. Forman, it was Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis at Sun Studio, it was Bukowski in the Tenderloin district, Burroughs on heroin, and Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial.
These men played music, and the audience soaked it up. We were thirsty for something we didn’t know we were without. And Wynton…it’s like the man is channeling every great blues and jazz musician and history through his horn. Even when he’s playing soft and low, he blows straight through you. Damn.