Variety Show: The Wide, Wonderful World of Wind-Up + Short Films
@ MASS MoCA
A new afternoon tradition: a variety show all based in nonfiction, hosted by humorist David Rees, known for as the creator of Get Your War On and for his pencil-sharpening prowess. He will teach us how to do things right. Archivist Rich Remsberg presents his “History Jukebox,” an interactive game show that reveals a few of the 20th century’s forgotten flotsam and jetsam. Photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally reveals the “The Boys of Troy” (NY) and musicologist David Rothenberg accompanies us to hear new songs of the humpback whale. Opening the show will be Francesca Shanks who rocks the uke and belts it out.
Plus THREE SHORT FILMS:
“Abandoned Goods” (dir. Pia Borg & Edward Lawrenson, 37 min.)
Between 1946 and 1981, patients at a rural English mental hospital participated in a pioneering art therapy program run by the artist Edward Adamson. Like a time capsule from inside the asylum, Abandoned Goods mines a rich archive of thousands of works to become a profoundly moving exploration of outsider art. The film explores the transformation of the objects in the Adamson Collection, from clinical material to revered art objects.
“World of Tomorrow” (dir. Don Hertzfeldt, 17 min.) from brilliant animator Don Hertzfeldt who tells the story of a young girl named Emily who meets a version of herself from the future.
“The And: Marcela and Rock” (dir. Topaz Adizes, 12 min.), a committed couple undertakes an intensely personal Q&A where they confront their demons and bonds.
Post-film conversation with Shawn Rosenheim and directors Pia Borg and Edward Lawrenson.
Very Semi-Serious is an offbeat meditation on humor, art, and the genius of the single panel cartoon. The film takes an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at the New Yorker and introduces us to the unhinged minds who “make the strange familiar, or the familiar strange.” Editor Robert Mankoff is journalistic royalty as he receives weekly entreaties every Tuesday from both legends like Roz Chast and BEK as well as promising up-and-comers like Ed Steed and Liana Finck, whose off-kilter charm (“it might be Asperger’s”) gives us hope that the new guard is not only taking the baton, but possibly in a fresh direction. Very Semi-Serious is a generous, big-hearted film with an affection for humanity, painting an optimistic picture of a world in which there is room for all comers.
Afterwards, veteran humorist BEK (Bruce Eric Kaplan) and upstart Liana Finck converse about how they mine their own lives for material.
Secret Lover, the finest Worcester band of its generation, shamelessly and lightheartedly channels the grandiosity of ‘60s girl groups, Blondie, and a number of post-punk bands. They call their music “graveyard glam.” Their eponymous debut album – “clearly the work of arsonists, and gleeful ones— is equal parts raw and luscious.” (Worcester Telegraph & Gazette).
Samuel James is a steel guitar phenom who has been called “the guardian of lightning” for his electrifying, stomping blues.