The electro post-rock band Collapsing Scenery has been hailed as “the voice of LA’s new underground,” so it only makes sense that their tripped-out, abstract videos are essential to their music. Cool, but doesn’t every synth-dominated band these days sorta need visuals to make what is by and large a cold-blooded genre cluster feel even remotely emotive? And what’s so special about swiping a bunch of “found footage” from YouTube, throwing on a glitchy distortion filter, and calling it a “short film”? If you answered “yes” and “nothing,” in that order, then you’re exactly right– only, not about Collapsing Scenery.
Posts by Nicole Disser:
Saturday April 22, 10 pm at Spectacle: $5
OK, before you LMFAO at the premise of this Jack Harris film, put yourself in the shoes of either Ted or Margi, the young couple who find out on their honeymoon (of course) that there’s a roadblock standing in the way of (early) marital bliss. Like, that blows. Especially for such a young couple, because for the most part isn’t it true that marriage–am I pronouncing that right? may-raj…? mar-ridge..?–these days either ends in de jure divorce (courthouses, lawyers, and custody battles, etc.) or de facto divorce (separate beds, six-month yoga retreats, and the like).
Wolf Eyes, Eartheater, Twig Harper
Saturday April 22, 8 pm at Brooklyn Bazaar: $13
Wow, what a whirlwind couple of years these must have been for Wolf Eyes– and this #blessed bestowance is well deserved for the band, which started out making noise, then moved toward not-noise-at-all noise that really was noise, until they transcended noise altogether. The comeuppance has meant, among other things, a new record label to call their own, a music festival in their honor (Trip Metal Fest will be back this year for a second go-round), a stream of sold-out shows in places that are just slightly above the underground and well beyond the borders of Metro Detroit, and now Undertow, a new album hot on the pup paws of 2015’s I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces.
On any given night Molasses Books, the tiny bookshop/bar in Bushwick, draws a colorful crowd to readings and other happenings– really, on any given night of the week you are bound to find cool characters. But on Tuesday, an especially great group made it out to Chess Night, a newish event popping off once a month at the shop. At one point, my friend who had invited me to the casual, come-and-go-whenever get-together, looked up from his chess game and remarked, “I’ve heard, like, five people mention polyamory tonight.”
Ghost in the Shell (1996)
Thursday April 13, Saturday April 15, and Sunday April 16 at The Metrograph: $15
No better time to see the original Ghost in the Shell, now that the anime classic has been remade and lost a good chunk of its futuristic/cyborg ambiguity in the process via the casting of a decidedly blonde, white bombshell in the lead. In the remake, Scarlett Johansson plays Major, i.e. an Anglicized version of the already Anglized Cyborg Major Kusanagi from the anime version.
The year is 2029, and this “perfect specimen of human-brained computer engineering” has been tasked with tracking down the elusive and amorphous villain known as The Puppet Master, whose precise plan for overthrowing the world– a Blade Runner-like super-city megalopolis where the human race has become so consumed by technology, that they are now inseparable and, at times, difficult to distinguish. The film deftly navigates the ethical and existential quandaries that are dramatically more real than they were in 1996 when the animated film was made.
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Thursday April 13 through Thursday April 20 at Nitehawk: $12
It’s true that one of the saddest sights in the world is a lifeless party struck down by under-attendance. We’ve all been there, at some point, and the sorry scene is always the same: a mostly empty room forms into a joy-sucking vacuum, where laughter feels forced and boozing looks like desperate denial. But nightlife veterans know that parties too big for their britches can be just as bad, and that even great parties will start losing their collective spirit as more and more people pack it in.
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Panteha Abareshi specializes in cutthroat portraits that pair the rawness of ecstatic creation with the realness of first-hand experience. As a young woman of Jamaican and Iranian descent, it seems only natural that she paints other women who look like her. But according to Abareshi, there’s much more at stake than the physical appearance of her subjects.
“I draw women of color only,” she has said of her effort to bring greater visibility to women who are so often left out of, or invisible, in the art world (not to mention under- and misrepresented everywhere else, too). But there are no smiling models or perfect angels in any of the paintings on view at The Girl Who Loves Roses, a show of Abareshi’s work at the new downtown gallery Larrie, NYC (“It’s a women’s space,” founder Emily Spitale told me). Instead, the women you meet are brooding, suffering, and embattled. Often they are splattered in blood, wearing a vacant expression, and seemingly staring at a target point that hovers right between your eyebrows.
Tournament, Big Huge, Barbed Wire, Dealer
Saturday April 15, 8 pm at The Glove: $10
Grow a pair (or a pear?) and show your face at this pair of shows featuring some unfamiliar faces and others you know well. But don’t expect some double-mint/doppelgänger situation either, as these shows are mirror images of one another in a variety of ways.
If you’ve never been to a Pink Mass show, and everything you had ever wanted to know about BDSM (but were afraid to ask real people) you learned from 50 Shades of Grey, then grab your smelling salts for this one. Even I found myself flinching at photos of the bands live performances– gory scenes of large, sweat-soaked men sheathed in balls-to-the-wall bondage gear, bending into various shapes of mastering and submitting, and abiding strictly by the band’s stated “personal interests”:
i hate myself 🙂
Friday April 7 through Thursday April 13 at Anthology Film Archives: $11
Joanna Arnow’s Bad at Dancing highly personal, and highly awkward documentary–appropriately titled i hate myself :)– makes Welcome to the Dollhouse look like a film about a well-adjusted family. Arnow sums up her motivation in the form of a question at the film’s outset: “Is James a good person to be dating?” Prepare to laugh your sphincter right out of your butt when the BF climaxes following a reluctant hump and tells Arnow sweetly: “Feels good, babe. Thanks for just lying there.” What a hero.
Xiu Xiu, Dreamcrusher, Gold Dime
Thursday April 6, 8 pm at Brooklyn Bazaar: $13
If you’re wondering what Xiu Xiu is all about, take Morrissey’s whinny, combine with scratchy dance music and pop presence, and dump the resulting liquid on the ground, because Xiu Xiu is anything but rut-stuck. If there’s one habit that the depresso-electro outfit can’t quit, it’s danceability. Leading vocal dude Jamie Stewart might sound like he’s violently ripping his hair out at the moment, and so sad that he might tip over a newspaper stand if he comes across one, but he’ll never get in the way of you and your shimmy.
Sometimes I hate my friends. Like right after the release of Pokémon Go. Nearly every single one of them not only downloaded the dang thing, but actually used it in public. In broad daylight. In front of other people. Meeting up for a drink at the bar turned into scavenging the streets for more bars with more Pokémons. This had to be an ironic thing that my pals would forget after a day or two, I assumed. But after weeks of this nihilistic nonsense, I was feeling like so many of the little things that make life tolerable had been invaded by an army of tiny, mind-numbing jerks. Pokémon Go seemed like a harbinger of the kind of voluntary sedation that could become the norm in response to some scary stuff from above. So maybe Oliver Stone came across as just slightly insane when he likened Pokemon Go to “totalitarianism,” but I kind of agree with him. Pokemon Go feels like nothing less than a small, but important sign of the coming cultural apocalypse.