Kate Plays Christine
Friday August 26 through Thursday September 1 at IFC Center: $15
This year at Sundance, there were two films focused on Christine Chubbuck, the Florida news reporter who killed herself live on the air in the summer of 1974 during the broadcast of her talk show– although the filmmakers in each case took a wildly different approach to exploring not only the story of Chubbuck’s death but our own unrelenting fascination with her suicide and how knowing that it was caught on film makes the whole situation strangely titillating.
The Childhood of a Leader
Wednesday July 20 through Thursday July 28 at IFC Center: $14
Actor Brady Corbet’s directorial debut follows the coming-of-age of a seriously naughty child who is maybe the scariest looking blonde-maned creep you’ve ever seen standing 3-feet tall in a Victorian drop-waist looking slightly underfed. Maybe early cutoff from the teet is to blame– always look to the mother, right? Well, maybe– but this isn’t Corbet’s first sociopathic-character-study rodeo (see: 2013’s Simon Killer where Corbet played the part and helped co-write with director Antonio Campos), so let’s trust that he goes a little bit farther than some yawn-worthy evolutionary quibble.
Nelson Sullivan’s Downtown: ’83 – ’89
Monday July 18, Tuesday July 26 (7:30 pm and 10 pm) at Spectacle: $5
When Nelson Sullivan, the tireless documentarian of the 1980s downtown party scene, died suddenly of a heart attack in 1989, not only did he refuse to go quietly into the ’90s and subsequently save himself from the disappointing developments of the aughts, but he left over 1,200 hours of footage in his wake. It was a “treasure trove of late-night videos,” according to Michael Musto. As the former Village Voice writer whose beat was the ins and outs of the Downtown party scene (he was largely responsible for some of the first coverage of the Michael Alig murder case), Musto should know some good gossip when he sees it.
Wednesday June 8 at Union Docs: $10
We knew that the last event held by the No Filter Screening Series– which spotlighted the polarizing and always irreverent Reverend Al Sharpton at his most bombastic, big-bellied, 1980s self in Big Al– would be a tough act to follow. But one of the few figures who could hold even a birthday candle to Sharpton’s fiery diction and billowing mane would have to be Ingrid Newkirk. As the founder of PETA, she might just be one of the most controversial activists of our time.
If one of Peelander-Z’s superfans is insisting you go to their Brooklyn Bowl show next Sunday and you’re wondering what to expect, start by imagining a cross between GWAR and Shonen Knife. Like GWAR, the self-described “Japanese action comic punk band” claims to be from another realm (the Z area of Planet Peelander, to be exact) and each of its costumed, color-coordinated members has a distinct identity: Peelander-Purple, for instance, hails from the planet’s “dark side.” And like Shonen Knife, they sing Ramones-esque pop-punk ditties about silly things like tacos and star bowling.
Anyone who has visited the IFC Center in winter knows the particular pain of waiting in line for a popular film in the freezing cold. No, it’s not an effort to separate the diehard arthouse film enthusiasts from the weak dilettantes. The center, formerly the Waverly Theater and before that a church, is just really old and the owners sacrificed lobby space for screens. But now, relief for those long lines– and much more– may be on the way. The IFC Center is preparing for a serious upgrade, with plans to double the size of its building and add six new screens.
Dog Star Man
Saturday, March 5, 7:30 pm at Anthology Film Archives: $9
Stan Brakhage’s series of several short films shot and released sequentially during the first half of the 1960s are what make up the 78 extremely dense minutes of Dog Star Man, screening as part of Anthology’s Essential Cinema program. In spite of its brevity, the film is often described as epic, grueling, and intense. And, you know, trippy. You know what to do before going to the theater. (Just please don’t do it in the bathroom of Biang noodles down the street, it wasn’t at all pleasant explaining to the servers that no, I wasn’t smoking jazz grass in the bathroom, actually I had a vaporizer back at the table.) And, I know it’s easy to mix them up, but go for the chiller strains– trust, you’ll need to keep your cool after your brain melts into you popcorn bucket.
Friday January 15 through Thursday January 21 at Village East Cinema
It’s about time we got a moon-landing conspiracy theory comedy– I mean, it’s all right there in front of us: everyone’s super loving the ’70s right now (don’t pretend you haven’t seen betches in bellbottoms recently, it’s happening whether we like it or not), cynicism regarding the government and Hollywood is at an all time high, and people are finally realizing there’s a high probability that lizard people rule the world.
Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art
Friday January 8 through Thursday January 14 at IFC Center: $14
Save for a few grainy photos in art history books and the factory settings on our Macs, few of us have had much contact with land art, a movement started by a group of New York City-based artists in the ’60s. Now, land art (also called environmental art and earthworks)– stone mosaics, tree branch sculptures floating in a misty lake, flattened grass forming massive patterns that can only be really appreciated from the sky– is the stuff of screen savers, but Troublemakers makes the case for a fascinating foundation.
Michel Auder + Rebekah Rutkoff: Sunsets and Other Stars
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 7:30 pm at Light Industry: $8 at the door
French artist, photographer, and filmmaker Michel Auder left France in the ’70s for New York City, where he’s resided ever since. He’s maybe best known as Cindy Sherman’s ex-husband (JK, but for real — how do you compete with Cindy Sherman?). Much of his video work (though apparently Auder “did not consider it fine art”) consists of ethnographic snapshots and sceney vignettes, the stuff of Auder’s cool Downtown life amongst artists like Annie Sprinkle, Larry Rivers, Hannah Wilke, among others.
But another good chunk of his focus was deadly personal. Take My Last Bag of Heroin (For Real), a 1993 piece which shows the filmmaker, who battled with heroin addiction for many years, breaking apart a glassine baggie of heroin onto a piece of aluminum foil and smoking the stuff. The video demonstrates the banality of drug use, often depicted as an explosively orgasmic experience, particularly in film.