Kool Kat of the Week: “We were all gods.” – Jane Wodening (Brakhage), an Elusive yet Central Character in American Cinema, Discusses Art and Life During “Jane Wodening in Person” Hosted by Film Love Atlanta

Posted on: Feb 9th, 2016 By:

by Melanie Crewuntitled
Managing Editor

Jane Wodening, first wife to acclaimed experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage, is a central character in the avant-garde film world. Jane is set to speak about her life in and out of cinema, her collaboration and marriage to Brakhage, as well as her own writing, at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center on Sat. Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. Included in this event is the screening of three short films focusing on Wodening, all shot in 16mm: WINDOW WATER BABY MOVING (1959 – 12 min/Stan Brakhage); HYMN TO HER (1974 – 2 min./Stan Brakhage); and JANE BRAKHAGE (1975 – 10 min./Barbara Hammer). “Jane Wodening in Person” is hosted by Andy Ditzler [March 2011; see ATLRetro’s Kool Kat feature on Andy here] and Film Love Atlanta. Don’t miss out on this exciting and rare opportunity to delve into the life of Jane Wodening, in her own words.

Wodening’s marriage to Brakhage spanned three decades (1957-1987). Their marriage and family life, including rarely exposed intimate details, is the subject of many of Brakhage’s filmic endeavors. Although Brakhage is considered one of the of “the most important figures of 20th century experimental film,” Wodening’s collaboration with him is noteworthy in itself. She was not merely the subject, or “muse,” but was an active participant in the production of those films. Additionally, Wodening spent the last few decades churning out her own art; her written words (prose poetry, fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, etc.) can be found on her website here [FROM THE BOOK OF LEGENDS (1988); LUMP GULCH TALES (1993); BOOK OF GARGOYLES (1999); LIVING UP THERE (2013); BRAKHAGE’S CHILDHOOD (2015)] and most recently WOLF DICTIONARY (2016), which she will include at Film Love Atlanta’s event.

ATLRetro caught up with Jane Wodening for a quick interview about her life and collaboration with Stan Brakhage, her artistic influences,  the importance of the written word and her desire to write the biography of the 51+QfAD2iYL._SX359_BO1,204,203,200_Universe.

ATLRetro: You were a necessary component in the films of Stan Brakhage, as his wife and “muse.” Did you ever see yourself as something greater than the films themselves, or did you consider yourself a necessary part of the whole that was Stan Brakhage?

Jane Wodening: Naturally, I thought of myself as myself, but I felt that he was saying that I inspired him.

Stan’s films delved deeply into your marriage and family life. Did you ever feel overly exposed to the public? And how did you deal with that exposure?

When we were filming, we were alone. When the films were made and shown and people would ask me that, I’d say, well, that was then, and this is now. What I am is here before you, and I’m not those images.

Can you tell our readers about the roles you played in Brakhage’s films? Meaning, we see you onscreen, but did you assist in the techniques used? Did you work with Stan behind the scenes, preparing the films?

Yes. They were his films, always, but I did a lot. The world he photographed was my world; the children were under my guidance. Sometimes I’d run the camera, help him with editing, change things. We always discussed it if I did. Once or twice, I was the Sound Man. He said many times that “by Brakhage” meant by me also, AND the kids, and there was some truth in that. I was surely devoted to him and his work.

Stan, Jane - Still from WINDOW WATER BABY MOVING (1959)

Stan, Jane – Still from WINDOW WATER BABY MOVING (1959)

What are your thoughts on WINDOW WATER BABY MOVING? Were you supportive of Stan filming the birth of your first child? Looking back, what do you feel now that maybe you didn’t feel then?

I was agreeable to it. We were in this together. This was our life and he was a film artist. Naturally, he would want to film the birth. He filmed every birth. I liked having him there with me.

There must be an interesting story about how you and Stan met. Can you fill our readers in on your meeting?

I saw him twice before we met. The first time, I was coming out of the opera house with my date. We had gone to the matinee, and there on the street were two guys dueling. My date said, “Yes, they have a very off-beat little theatre in a tent.” But we didn’t have time to go to it. The duelists were Stan and Larry Jordan. The second time I was working across the street from Rockefeller Center in New York and I’d go to the Rockefeller Plaza to eat my sack lunch. When it rained I went into the mall where I found a Brentano’s Bookstore and bought books from him, but he would not look at me.

The third time was when I was introduced to him. He was renting a little house in Denver and my boyfriend at the time introduced me to him, said he was a genius. He started teaching a class unofficially with the film club, and my cousin Betsy and I sat in the back row giggling about “The Great Brakhage” because he seemed to be presenting himself that way. But one moment we stood together under a tree and fell in love. I was amazed when he didn’t contact me. He was with another girl who knew me, and finally said to him, “I think Jane Likes you.” By this time I was horribly depressed untitled (6)and sent him a letter, so he called me up and said he loved me and to come and visit him. It was about six weeks later that we married.

The ‘50s and ‘60s were a time filled with art and stories and experimentation in all forms. Can you tell our readers a little about your and Stan’s life in art before your children were born?

I entered the scene in 1957, and while the children were being born, we traveled a lot and met and befriended as many of the artists in all fields as we could. It was a very lively scene. We were all gods. We were very poor and we were going to change the world. We all knew each other, were drawn to each other like magnets, and we all agreed. It was exhilarating. And we did change the world.

We see that your most recent book, BRAKHAGE’S CHILDHOOD, is a retelling of Stan’s Depression-era childhood, as told to you in the ‘80s in conversations with Stan. In what ways do you think Stan’s formative years affected his art, his career, his family?

He was born a precocious child. He loved to get attention and he loved theatre. As a child, he put on shows, sang in the church, whatever. He had a rough childhood, pillar to post. He never outgrew being the center of the world.

Can you tell us a little about your most recent book, WOLF DICTIONARY?

I have it here. As a child, I ran with dogs, learned what they were communicating. I’ve always thought I learned dog WolfDictionaryCoverlanguage first and English as a second language. In my early 20s, I wanted to write a dog dictionary. Years later, three people told me about the time when they lived “way up the road beyond where the snowplow went across a winter and they watched a wolf and his mates.” I was very charmed by this story, but couldn’t figure how to present it. I finally realized that I could write it from the viewpoint of the wolf. But even then, people would read it and still they wouldn’t learn the language. So I added notes, talked about why the animal made that gesture, what it meant. To me it seemed obvious as pie. So that’s WOLF DICTIONARY. It’s a key to start understanding animals and what they are communicating.

How has your writing evolved over the years? Has there been a change in subject-matter? Tone? In your youth did you feel the need to express ideas that you don’t quite feel the need to express now?

In fact, I didn’t start writing until I was nearly 40, but even then, across the last 40 years, I have changed a lot in my writing. I never was interested in writing fiction. I always wanted to write to understand something that came to my attention. At first, I felt obliged to write a story with a beginning, a middle and an end, but then I got really excited about the realism of form that anecdote gave. Now I feel that biography can get to understanding the life if the motives and drives are shown and develop into acts and responses and perspectives. I’m now considering writing the biography of the earth, to clarify the legend that the scientists are excited about. It will be a sort of translation. I’m hoping I can show it as adventures.

untitled (5)Which writers (poets, novelists, etc.) influenced you the most?

I think my first big influence was Rembrandt who looks at me through his eyes and we look at each other. He tells me to work, to pour out vitality. Gertrude Stein is reassuring. She tells me it’s perfectly okay to be an odd-ball. Henry James tells me it’s all right to talk at great length about little details; just dance it, and I’ll have it right. Poe shows me how to put rhythm into my writing, to write the percussion and the beat. Vivaldi says to make living landscapes with whatever media. My father taught me to be blown away by a squirrel or an anthill or a bush.

With regards to filmmaking and art, who were your and Stan’s biggest influences?

I think I was his and he was mine.

Are there any filmmakers today (experimental and/or narrative) that you find intriguing?

Ken Jacobs, Ernie Gehr, Nathaniel Dorsky, all close to my age. I wonder if there are any young people doing art? I know there’s much that has been done in comic format. Rap seems full of energy, but it seems hard to avoid selling a message. I don’t know. It may be an in-between time, or possibly I’m unaware of what’s going on with the young. There is always talent, and talent is a beautiful thing, no matter what one does with it, but great periods like Baroque music or the Impressionists seem to be the blooming times.

What is your take on compartmentalizing art and films into genres? Do you think these types of creative outlets canuntitled (4) be properly tucked away into a single box? Or do you think most art (including film) overlaps several different genres?

When I tried to get agents or publishers to publish me, they’d say, but what is your genre? Evidently, if you’re writing in a genre, you know what you have to do and you get published. This doesn’t interest me. I write what I write.

Can you offer any advice to our readers about film, personal expression and creativity?

Whatever you do you’ll do what you’re told. The question is, who do you want to listen to? – The shop boss? There’s a steady job. – The pulse of the culture? – If you do that, you might starve and/or become famous. How about that inner voice? – How about writing what you want to know? – That’s where I’m at – I write to think.

What’s next for Jane Wodening?

I want to write the biography of the earth. There is some possibility that it will be the biography of the Universe. I’d like to put it all into common English, so anyone could know at least the theory of the moment – the amazing adventures of this planet and the life on it. I have a mess of little pieces of writing I’d like to put into shape – animal biographies, other thoughts. I really enjoy thinking. There’s nothing more fun than thinking.

Can you tell our readers what they can expect at Film Love Atlanta’s event, “Jane Wodening in Person,” on February 13?

51MKKshYY7L._SX350_BO1,204,203,200_They can expect to be surprised about a number of things.

We know you’ve done plenty of interviews, but is there something you’d like to tell our readers that they don’t know already?

I’m not sure what to say to this. I’m hoping they have open minds.

Photos courtesy of Jane Wodening and used with permission.

 

 

 

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This Week in ATLRetro, Jan. 14-20, 2019

Posted on: Jan 13th, 2019 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

Keep on keepin’ on in ATLRetro! Come see what we’ve found for you This Week!

Monday, January 14

Skip school and catch a screening of John HughesFERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (1986) at The Plaza Theater at 7:30pm! Rock on down to The Earl for a night with A Drug Called Tradition, Stonefield and the Mathis Hunter Band! Stomp on down to Smith’s Olde Bar for a night with The Threadbare Skivvies, Battlefield Collective and Jesse Nighswonger! Theatrical Outfit presents the Unexpected Play Festival through Jan. 15! Get jazzy with Maysa Leak at City Winery! Get funky and groove on down to Café 290 every second and fourth Monday of the month for a taste of Bumpin the Mango, ‘The groove that makes you want to move!” Boogie on down to the Northside Tavern and spend an evening with Lola at her famous Monday Night Northside Jam! And blues on down to Fat Matt’s Rib Shack for a night with Larry Griffith!

Tuesday, January 15

Get hellacious and rock down to The Earl for a night with Hank Von Hell, The Vaginas and Against the Grain! Rock out with one of the oldest Pink Floyd tribute bands (1988), The Machine, at City Winery! Grant Farm dishes out a night of Americana at the Red Light Café! Make your way to the Alliance Theatre for their presentation of EVER AFTER, running through Feb. 17! Jam it up with Joe Gransden and his jazz jam session at Venkman’s! The Star Bar delivers a night of retro shenanigans with DJ Quasi Mandisco’s Little 5 Points Dance Party featuring retro-soul, funk, ‘80s, ‘90s and more! Stomp on down to Blind Willies for a night with the BooHoo Ramblers! Get down with J.T. Speed at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! And as always, groove on down with Swami Gone Bananas at the Northside Tavern!

Wednesday, January 16

Get rocked with Jon Spencer & The HITmakers and Subsonics at The Earl! Bowie, trolls and goblins, oh my! WUSSY MAG presents Jim Henson’s LABYRINTH (1986) at The Plaza Theater with two events at 7pm and 9:30pm, including lobby shenanigans, prizes and more! Join the [REDACTED] Film Club, a free weekly film screening (different monthly themes) hosted by Videodrome and Patina Pictures, and catch a super secret screening at the Georgia Beer Garden at 7pm, through April 24 [January’s theme – Party Like it’s 1999]! Folk it up with Gregory Alan Isakov and the Shook Twins at the Buckhead Theatre! Get bewitched at The Bakery with The Witching Hour event! Catch a Flashback Cinema screening of Victor Fleming’s GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) at theatres across Atlanta [Northlake Festival Movie Tavern (Tucker); GTC Merchant’s Walk Cinemas (Marietta); Movie Tavern at Horizon Village (Suwannee); and The Springs Cinema & Taphouse (Sandy Springs)]! Catch a “No Resolutions” double feature of Peter Collingson’s THE ITALIAN JOB (1969) and Nicolas Winiding Refn’s DRIVE (2011) at Noni’s Bar & Deli during their Cinema Paradiso film event starting at 10pm! Or make your way to Studio Movie Grill’s (Alpharetta/Duluth/Marietta) screening of Elia Kazan’s A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) at 7:15pm! Get down with Louis York & The Shindellas at City Winery! Get the rockin’ blues with Willy Porter at Eddie’s Attic! Funk it up with the Mike Veal Band at Tin Roof Cantina! It’s a night of Honky-Tonk Karaoke with Andrea Colburn & Mud Moseley at The Star Bar! Get jazzy at the Red Light Café with The Gordon Vernick Quartet! Or make your way to the Northside Tavern for a rockin’ night of blues with the Tyler Neal Band! St. James Live! delivers their Hump Days Blues night, getting classic blues-style every Wednesday! Boogie down with Art Holliday at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! Blind Willies dishes out a a night of Chicago/West Coast blues with the Electromatics! And as always, it’s Ladies Night at Johnny’s Hideaway which plays hits from Sinatra to Madonna for a generally mature crowd.

Thursday, January 17

Videodrome and The Plaza Theater (Plazadrome) present a screening of John Woo’s ‘90s classic, FACE/OFF (1997) at 9:30pm! The Star Bar kicks off their Down South Show Down with Gunpowder Gray, Bad Spell, Pine & Tolliver Gimme Gimme Gimme and more! Get avant-garde as the High Museum and Film Love Atlanta (Kool Kat Andy Ditzler) kick off a retrospective film series, featuring films by Lawrence Jordon, Joseph Cornell, Rudolph Burckhardt and Stan Brakhage (check out our Kool Kat feature with Jane Wodening/Brakhage here)! Tasty vittles and killer tunes are what you’ll get when you make your way to Sweet Auburn BBQ for the Captain & Maybelle Benefit Dinner, featuring raffles, prizes and Graveyard Gospel! Get down to The Earl for BOWIE IN SWEATS: A Tribute to the Thin White Duke featuring T.T. Mahoney, Kool Kat Jeffrey Butzer & the Bicycle Eaters and TL Gunselman is Kate Bush! Jazz it up with the Atlanta Latin Jazz Orchestra at Venkman’s! Steve Tyrell jazzes it up at City Winery! Folk rock it up at Eddie’s Attic with Elenowen, Joshua Fletcher, Caitlin Canty and The Oshima Brothers! Brent Cobb delivers a night of outlaw country at Terminal West! Jazz it up with Rick Braun at Suite Food Lounge! It’s Mai Tai Thursday at Trader Vic’s so hula on down for a night of rockin’ island tunes and some killer island cocktails! Blues it up with The Shadows at Blind Willies! The Northside Tavern gets rockin’ with a little Chicago/Delta blues of The Breeze Kings! Get your boogie on at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, as Chickenshack featuring Eddie Tigner, delivers some honky-tonk blues! And as always, boogie down at Mary’s, as the East Atlanta venue gets funky with their weekly Disco in the Village.

Friday, January 18

Have a honky-tonk hoedown at Tin Roof Cantina with Kitty Rose & The Ramblers, Ghost Riders Car Club’s (Kool Kat Spike Fullerton) and the Voodoo Poboys! Catch a Legacy Series screening of Victor Fleming’s GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) at SCADShow at 7pm! Departure pays tribute to Journey at City Winery! Get some southern soul with Gareth Asher, Hunter Callahan and Hannah Murphy at Eddie’s Attic! Get your ‘70s rock fix with Deep Shag at Smith’s Olde Bar! Or bluegrass it up with The Devil Makes Three and the Lost Dog Street Band at the Variety Playhouse! The Star Bar dishes out day 2 of their Down South Show Down with Wyldlife; Mama; Ravagers; Sick Bags; Bad Sons; Ladrones; The Sadists and Pleather! Make your way to The Earl for a night with Steve Nebraska, Sara Rachele and Vito Romeo! Street Fighting Band with Kool Kat Rich Desantis dish out a night of Rolling Stones tunes at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre! Eighties it up with Kool Kat Becky Cormier Finch with Denim Arcade at The Bone Yard in Roswell! Grunge on down to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History for ‘90s Night! Or groove on down to Venkman’s for a night with Yacht Rock Revue! Get the blues with Stoney Brooks at the Northside Tavern! Or get down with George Hughely & The Shadows at Blind Willies! Get the Todd Prusin Experience at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! Time-Warp it up at The Plaza Theater as they continue their tradition of screening THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Saturday, January 19

Rev it up with Kool Kat Hot Rod Walt & The PsychoDevilles at the Dixie Tavern in Marietta! The Earl delivers a night with Brother Hawk, Evan Stepp & The Piners and The Pink Stones! Head into the Dixieland ragtime-style with Tray Dahl & The Jugtime Ragband at the Red Clay Theatre! The Star Bar continues rockin’ out during a Down South Show Down with Dirty Fences; RMBLR; Trouble Boys; BBQT; Brower; Crocodile Tears; Criminal Kids; Cheap Tissue; Kool Kat Rod Hamdallah; Fixed Faces; and The Fill Ins! Bluegrass it up with Greensky Bluegrass at the Tabernacle! Or get countrified with Aaron Watson at Terminal West! Make your way to Kavarna for a night with RUST and The Muckers! Swing by the Red Light Café for a night with Kool Kat Johnny Pine and his Live from Behind Bars, Chapter 2! Or groove on down to Venkman’s for a night with Yacht Rock Revue! Rock out at The Highlander with Magoo’s Heroes, Genki Genki Panic and the Lone Deaf Pig Dog! Get down with Pavlo at Center Stage! Nineties rock it up with Did Mommy Say Sorry? at Jekyll Brewing in Alpharetta! Rock out with Braxton & The Renditions at Smith’s Olde Bar! The Northside Tavern gets down with The Breeze Kings and Bill Sheffield! Boogie down with Harvey Brindell at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! St. James Live! delivers their Tribute to the Legends night every Saturday night! Spend the night with The Empress of Soul, Sandra Hall & The Shadows at Blind Willies! And as always, DJ Romeo Cologne and DJ Kwasi Mandisco transforms the sensationally seedy Clermont Lounge into a ’70s disco/funk inferno late into the wee hours of the night.

Sunday, January 20

Spend the night with Steve Earle, Channing Wilson and Shannon McNally at City Winery! Get jazzy with Shatka Jazz at Venkman’s! Catch a Flashback Cinema screening of Alfonso Cuaron’s HARRY POTTER & THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (2004) at theatres across Atlanta [Northlake Festival Movie Tavern (Tucker); GTC Merchant’s Walk Cinemas (Marietta); Movie Tavern at Horizon Village (Suwannee); and The Springs Cinema & Taphouse (Sandy Springs)]! Surf on down to the Cobb Energy Centre for The Beach Boys! Get some soul with Natalie Brady at the Crimson Moon Café! Indie folk it up with Pete Yorn at The Loft! Geek it up at the Center for Puppetry ArtsMystery Science Theater 3000 Puppet Unveiling at 7pm! Frankie’s Blues Mission gets down at Blind Willies! Funk it up with Risky Biscuit at Tin Roof Cantina! Get sweet and low down blues-style at the Northside Tavern with Uncle Sugar with Eddie Tigner! Or blues it up with Fat Back Deluxe at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack!

Ongoing

The Aurora Theatre presents A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2, through Feb. 10!

The Alliance Theatre presents EVER AFTER, through Feb. 17!

ATL CRAFT presents a magical occult Movie Night every second Friday of every month!

My Parents’ Basement goes old-school with their monthly Pinball Tournament, every first Wednesday of the month!

Geek it up and get to bowlin’ at The Comet Pub & LanesComet Cosplay, getting nerdy the first Monday of every month!

Dad’s Garage’s Big Boozy Nerdy Game Night brings out the kid in you, every first Monday of the month at 7pm! 

Union EAV rocks out with their Punk Rock Karaoke ATL, and every last Tuesday of the month!

The Highlander rocks out with their Punk/Metal/New Wave Karaoke Night, every Wednesday!

Get your vinyl fix during Little 5 Points Corner Tavern’s Records of Mass Destruction! event, every Monday!

Geek it up at My Parents’ Basement with their weekly Tuesday night Nerd Trivia at 8pm!

Nerd Film Mafia screenings at the Diesel Filling Station following NerdCore Trivia, every last Tuesday of the month!

The Plaza Theater Time-Warps it up as they screen, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Get your reggae fix with Rub-A-Dub gettin’ down at WildPitch Music Hall, every second Sunday of the month!

Every first and third Mondays are Big Band Nights at Café 290, featuring Joe Gransden and his amazing 16-piece orchestra playing jazz and swing standards in the tradition of The Glen Miller Orchestra and other legendary groups.  Second and fourth Mondays are Bumpin the Mango, ‘The groove that makes you want to move!’

Every first Wednesday is the Graveyard Tavern’s Graveyard Swing Night, featuring the swingin’ jazz and boogie-woogie sounds of the Savoy Kings!

If you have a suggestion for a future event that should be included in This Week in Retro Atlanta or see something we missed, please email us at atlretro@gmail.com.

Category: This Week in ATLRetro | TAGS: None

Kool Kat of the Week: Author and Filmmaker Frank Perry’s Official Biographer Justin Bozung Dishes on Atlanta’s Frank Perry Retrospective Presented by Videodrome

Posted on: Mar 28th, 2017 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

Justin Bozung, Atlanta author and transplant from the far reaches of the north is working closely with Videodrome staff as they present their Frank Perry Retrospective via their JavaDrome film portal, which kicked off in January 2017. The most recent in the series, THE SWIMMER (1968) screens Friday, March 31, at 8:30pm, and will include an introduction and Q&A with Bozung, as Frank Perry’s official biographer. Prior films in the series included MOMMIE DEAREST (1981); PLAY IT AS IT LAYS (1972) [never released on home video]. The series’ finale will be Perry’s LAST SUMMER (1969) screening in late April 2017 [yet to be released beyond its ‘80s VHS release].

Bozung has an expansive resume delving deep into the retro fantastic! He’s assisted in book projects documenting and analyzing Stanley Kubrick, has conducted over 400 interviews for several book projects, documentaries and magazines including Fangoria, Paracinema, Phantom of the Movies’ Videoscope and more. ATLRetro caught up with Justin Bozung for a quick interview about his work as the official biographer for Frank Perry, his extensive knowledge of Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING and Norman Mailer, and the importance of preserving film history.

ATLRetro: While we are a bit biased here at ATLRetro about this wacky little city of ours, what is it about Atlanta that drew you to our neck of the woods?

Justin Bozung: My wife! She received a job opportunity that was too good to pass up.   So we sold our house and packed up in Ann Arbor, Michigan in late 2014 and drove toward Atlanta. As a freelancer, I’m pretty open-ended and am able to work from anywhere so it made sense for us to leave the cold and snow behind. And I’ve always been fond of Georgia; having spent some time here over the years during various travels and vacations in the south. I’m a big soul, funk, and jazz music fan. So being able to come and live where Curtis Mayfield had his own record label, but also, be within driving proximity of where James Brown was born and lived many years of his professional life and owned his own radio station is great. Central Georgia also owns The Allman Brothers and Otis Redding—so living in the South is really a soul music lover’s dream come true! Memphis, the home of the great Stax Records, isn’t too far away either. And I’m completely fine–I’m not ashamed–in saying that as a Michigan-born guy, I’ll take Memphis and Stax Records any day of the week over anything produced at Detroit’s Motown. There’s something about the water down here that gives the music a special quality, something that Motown doesn’t have that Stax does... And let’s not even get started on the subject of Athens, Georgia and R.E.M.–

As Frank Perry’s official biographer, can you tell our readers a little about why you think he is one of the many undervalued and underappreciated filmmakers and why you wanted to spread the Frank Perry love via Videodrome’s JavaDrome film events?

Well, there’s a pretty easy answer to that. The internet is interested in Frank Perry.   Fortunately, today, with the rise of social media and bloggers pulling active duty–interest in Perry and his films has really grown in recent years. He made some really wonderful films, and it’s important to note that Perry was the first independent filmmaker to be nominated for an Academy Award. He was nominated in 1963 for his independently-financed and produced DAVID AND LISA (1962), which shot for approximately $200,000 in Pennsylvania. Perry was nominated for Best Director but he lost out to David Lean, who won for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)! Perry’s little film went up against LAWRENCE! Jean Renoir, said “I feel that this film represents a turning point in the history of film.”

Prior to Perry, where there had certainly been others producing independent films on the East Coast– John Cassavetes‘s SHADOWS (1959) being the touchstone–others like Russ Meyer and his THE IMMORAL MR. TEAS (1959), and H.G. Lewis in Chicago with his “nudie cuties” were also bringing independent film to attention. Perry was the first to make a “respectable” independent film and to be noticed by the mainstream. In his way, he changed things. Even with someone like Cassavetes, who by 1959 was a well-known and very established Hollywood film actor–his film SHADOWS still didn’t afford the average guy the idea that maybe he himself could just go out and raise the money and make his own film as a profiteer. Perry had no experience as a filmmaker, really. On the first day of shooting DAVID & LISA, he couldn’t figure out how to turn the camera on. And in pre-production he read several books about film directing. His film school was the library.  It really makes one remember what was going on in independent film in the late 80s or early 1990s with directors starting out like Robert Rodriguez. While Perry had come from the Actors Studio and done some Second Unit work for hire prior, he had not really directed anything on that scale before. His gift was in working with actors. I consider him a conscious, classical director. He worked very much like George Cukor who loved working with actresses and literary adaptations. Frank set the wheels on fire and got indie film some important notice in Hollywood. DAVID & LISA made the studio system, although on the verge of completely crumbling, sit up and take notice that things were shifting culturally.

On March 31, JavaDrome will screen Perry’s The Swimmer (1968). Were there any particular reasons you chose the films that are slated for screening?

Well, the guys at Videodrome split the selections down the middle for this retrospective on Perry’s films. I hand-picked two and Matt Owensby picked the others. THE SWIMMER was a film that Matt really wanted to show as part of this retrospective. It should be stated that this retrospective on Perry’s films here in Atlanta marks the first multi-film retrospective of his work in the USA since the mid 1980s. In fact, I can’t help but suggest that the recent Los Angeles retrospective of his work last month, put on by Quentin Tarantino at his New Beverly, was directly inspired by our own little retrospective here in Atlanta–knowing how Tarantino seemingly likes to monitor video stores all around the United States and see what they’re up to.

Videodrome is our little purveyor of the forbidden fruits of the video and film world and are avid supporters of film preservation, which of course is why they hold a sweet spot in our hearts. As a historian, can you tell our readers a little bit about why you think film preservation is important and how important businesses like Videodrome are to the preservation of film?

I’m just starting to get acquainted with a few of the guys that work at Videodrome. The fun part about going into the store is that they really have a massive selection of titles, but more importantly, Matt and John and the rest of the crew really embrace you. And they’re not elitist or snobs either. They care about and endorse the films of Truffaut just as much as they love and admire the films of Greydon Clark. The latter–preservation, is important as well, certainly. I’ve been struggling with that myself working with Frank Perry’s Estate. Frank made two films that are impossible to see.  The first, I recently discovered the master materials for in an archive in California. We’re talking with some film preservation folks now about financing the restoration of one of these, his JFK: ONE MAN SHOW (1984)–which was made and shown on PBS twice before vanishing off the face of the earth, it seemed until I located it. And then there’s his 1968 documentary that Perry fans aren’t even aware of that he made about political unrest in the Middle East, because it’s mysteriously not listed on his IMDb page. The Estate has access to the last print that is known to exist. Just to use these two instances as an example, if there weren’t people “out there” tracking down films or storing prints or whatever–archiving cinema–we may all lose out in the future.  So it’s the key to film studies, really.

You also collaborated with Colorado’s Centipede Press in putting together a large volume entitled Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film. Can you tell our readers what role you played in the process? Did you learn anything enticing with this publication that isn’t common knowledge about Kubrick or The Shining?

The book came out in the early spring of 2015 and sadly, it’s already out of print, I believe. It was a massive 750-page book on the making of the film. I was involved with the book, as a project, very early on, researching and getting clearances for many of the previously-published essays and interviews that are included. I also dug up some visual ephemera, and conducted about 45 hours of interviews with most of the cast and the crew from the film itself—which are all included in the book. I interviewed or was in touch with the entire crew and most of the living actors that starred in the film. The book was edited by Danel Olson, but, 350-400 or so of those 750 pages are my contributions to the volume. The book is filled to the brim with new information about Kubrick–things that people didn’t know about him and the film itself including line items about his attention to detail, his admiration for baseball, his love of driving cars fast and more.  There’s information in the book about what went on behind-the-scenes of the film that has never come to light prior and addresses his notorious reputation, but also looks at his craftsmanship. It’s page-after-page with new information on Kubrick.   I tried to debunk many rumors that have been swirling around in the zeitgeist for many years about Kubrick and I used the interviews in an attempt to give readers a doorway onto the set in England for 13-months back in 1978/79. When it came out, ROOM 237 was really on everyone’s lips–so there’s a lot of talk in the book about that documentary as well. It’s a great book, though.  I’d suggest that it’s an essential addition to any film lover’s library. Michael Dirda of The Washington Post called the book “a major advancement in film studies,” or something like that.

We see that you’re also involved with author Norman Mailer’s estate and that you work on several projects dedicated to him. What can you tell us about those projects?

I become involved with Norman Mailer in early 2014 and made a 12-hour audio documentary about his much-maligned 1987 film, TOUGH GUYS DON’T DANCE, my favorite film. I interviewed most of the crew members and some of the actors and visited some of the shooting locations in Provincetown, MA. My interest in the film came out of my friendship with TOUGH GUYS actor, Wings Hauser. He first introduced me to the film in 2011, when I was about to interview him for a magazine.   The documentary was released online, and the Norman Mailer Society invited me to talk about the film in the fall of 2014 at Wilkes University. Shortly after that, they asked me to become involved in several projects that they were working on. One was Project Mailer, and another was archival search-related. I created a Mailer podcast for them, which runs bi-monthly on ProjectMailer.net. Basically, I just present audio from the Mailer Archives ala podcast format ala the old Grateful Dead Hour with David Gans.    In early 2015, I started putting together a dense, academic study on Mailer’s films.

He made 6 films from 1947-1987.  I love his films, even though, most of the Criterion Collection audience doesn’t. Criterion released Mailer’s 1960s films through their Eclipse series in 2013. They scratch their heads as to why CC would put out such “awful” films. They’re very important works of art that not only comment and inform on Mailer’s influential texts of the 1960s, but also, in their way, influenced his writing in the process of crafting them. They also have historical context in relationship to the direct cinema movement of the mid 60s with films by D.A. Pennebaker and the Maysles Brothers. There, likely, may never have been an ARMIES OF THE NIGHT without WILD 90 (1968), for example. Mailer wrote himself into that book as a character–in the third person–directly out of the influence that the editing of his first film, WILD 90, had upon him while he was writing that Pulitzer Prize-winning “novel as history, history as novel”–to use Mailer’s description. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, “I was looking at myself as a character,” during the editing of his own movie.

His film MAIDSTONE (1971) is a obvious pre-cursor to reality television. I certainly do not lay the blame on reality television on Mailer, but he was creating that type of aesthetic tension and propaganda–and recording it–on film, some thirty years before reality television came along. Cinema was in Norman Mailer’s blood. He had a keen interest in cinema, and a fine grasp of cinema aesthetics very early on in his life–before he became the writer enfant terrible of the 1960s that many remember him as today.   He was a frequent guest at Amos Vogel‘s legendary Cinema 16 in New York City. He saw the films of Brakhage, Kenneth Anger, Warhol, Mekas there. He helped to fund the films of Robert Downey Sr. and Ron Rice. Mailer’s writing is profoundly cinematic, and the cinema is one of his strongest and most-used metaphors in his writing and it’s throughout his texts. His ideas on film are really in sync with filmmakers that would be his peers of the era. My book, The Cinema of Norman Mailer: Film is Like Death comes out this September via Bloomsbury.  It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now. And this September I’m starting work and collaborating with the Mailer Estate on another book on Mailer, but this time around, it’s about the writer, not Mailer: The filmmaker.

As a film buff and historian, what was your gateway drug into the land of cult film, or film in general?

I’ve always been interested in film, for as long as I can remember. I grew up as a classic, indoor-type of kid. I grew up in the VHS and pay cable era of the 1980s.  My parents gifted me with HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime. I recorded everything off and watched it over-and-over. Film has always been very important to me as an art form. I love all film. I don’t pay attention to genres or labels. Film is film. There aren’t any “good” or “bad” films, just films. I love Larry Buchanan, Michael Bay just as much as I do Delbert Mann, King Vidor and Jerry Lewis.

You’ve also published several articles and interviews in magazines such as “Fangoria,” “Paracinema,” “Shock Cinema” and “Phantom of the Movies’ Videoscope.” If you had to choose a favorite interview and/or article that you contributed, which would it be and why?

I’ve done a lot of interviews over the years. I think around 400 or so. I may be the only person you’ll meet who has done over 75 interviews with various crew and cast members from several Stanley Kubrick movies, hundreds of hours logged, and all on tape. I imagine myself as being in the Guinness Book of Work Records under “Most Interviews Done Associated with Stanley Kubrick.” My favorite though….I have two.   The first was with actor Wings Hauser, because we became great friends out of the experience. The other is with comedy legend and screenwriter Bill Richmond. Richmond wrote almost all of the Jerry Lewis solo movies like THE PATSY (1964) and THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1963). He wrote for TV shows like The Carol Burnett Show, Bewitched, All in the Family, Welcome Back, Kotter, Blossom etc… He was a mad genius of comedy. It was just one of those great one-in-a-lifetime experiences, where, consequently, we stayed friendly with each other after it was over.  Bill sent me the best birthday present the year after even…and when he passed away last year—that was really sad for me.

Can you tell our readers a little about your Frank Perry biography and any other current projects your working on, and where our readers get their hands on your published works?

The biography on Frank will be published mid-2018 and is a full-scale biography blended with some analysis. I’m finishing it up now. I’ve been working on it since early 2015, but there was a full year where I didn’t work on it at all, due to some legal tangle with his Estate and an outside party. It is the first book, first study on Perry. I’ve been working closely with Perry’s family and estate on the project and I worked closely with his wife, Barbara, before her recent passing. But also, Tom Folino, Perry’s long-time friend, assistant-turned producer. I’m in touch with his surviving family members and as with all of my projects, I’ve got about 200-hours of interviews in the can with various crew members and actors, family friends in support of the work itself. The book looks at Perry’s life and his films, but also looks closely at the projects that slipped through the cracks–like his near adaptation of Terry Southern‘s naughty-satire novel Candy which looked like it was going to be made as early as 1964 into a film.  This, of course, lead to Perry making of THE SWIMMER, but I’ll talk about how that all happened this Friday at the screening with Videodrome. Your readers can find all of my work on Amazon here. This year I also expect to finish up an academic volume on Michael Bay, called Michael Bay: High Art / Low Culture.

Do you have any advice for those writers just starting out?

Quit wasting time on Facebook. Write every day. Research and research. When you think you’ve found everything. Stop. Then wait 2 weeks and research some more. You’ll always find something extra. If you say you’re going to write tomorrow, then you better do that. Don’t put it off, because it damages your unconscious, and that’s where all the words come from–from inside of you. Don’t piss off your unconscious. Don’t write anything for free. Your time is valuable. Writers should say something new; they need to formulate new and profound ideas. So do that. And last but not least, opinions are so very rarely ideas.

Can you give us five things you’re into at the moment that we should be reading, watching or listening to right now—past or present, well-known or obscure?

Well, I’m more of a reader than I am anything else these days. I read one magazine currently–Philosophy Now. It’s my favorite. Some things I’ve enjoyed tremendously this year so far would be Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story by Carlos Baker. It was published in 1968 and it’s probably the greatest biography ever written; Free Fall by William Golding –a classic, but undervalued work of existential literature; Jurgen by James Branch Cabell — one of Margaret Mitchell‘s favorite novels published in 1919; Margaret Mitchell: Reporter reprints Mitchell’s pre-Gone with The Wind Atlanta journalism; Claire Vaye Watkins‘s Battleborn–a fresh, newer voice in short fiction with family ties to The Manson Family; Altamont, Joel Selvin‘s incredible recounting of the dark, metaphysical Rolling Stones 1969 Atlamont music festival; and Manly Health and Training by Walt Whitman.  As far as music goes I’m really a jazz and soul guy, so anything by John Coltrane. My favorite Coltrane record is GIANT STEPS although I’m very attracted to his metaphysical explorations like ASCENSION. Anything Sun Ra. Sonny’s album NUCLEAR WAR is relevant with today’s political climate. His writings are wonderful as well.  James Brown‘s REVOLUTIONS OF THE MIND, the new Otis Redding: The Complete Whiskey A Go Go Shows Box Set is always on my stereo or phone!  Films I’m currently into are Michael Bay’s Director’s Cut of PEARL HARBOR (1999) shows Bay in his Abel Gance-meets-John Ford glory. Vincente Minnelli’s TEA AND SYMPATHY (1955), Paul Morrissey‘s 1980s trifecta: FORTY DEUCE (1982), MADAME WANG’S (1981), and MIXED BLOOD (1984) are important works. Morrissey is the last great absurdist of the 20th century. Paul and I have talked some over the last couple years about doing a book together, and I would love to do a book on Morrissey, but he’s too cantankerous. Melvin Van PeeblesTHE STORY OF A THREE-DAY PASS (1968), James BridgesMIKE’S MURDER (1984) are masterpieces, and PICASSO: MAGIC, SEX & DEATH, a 4-hour 2001 documentary is a must-see!

And last, but not least, care to share anything that our little world of Atlantans don’t know about you already?

I don’t want to share anything else about myself, but I would like to suggest this little hiding spot out in Smyrna, Georgia that I visited recently. A restaurant called Vittles.  It’s a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that still allows patrons to smoke inside while you sit there eating. Not that I’m standing up for smoker’s rights here, but it’s cancerously-nostalgic. It’s like stepping into a small-town diner in the early 1980s. You can get 4 massive buttermilk pancakes covered in butter, two huge deep-fried pork chops in corn flake crust, and two eggs scrambled all for $6.99. Their claim to fame is their gift shop, which is basically a garage sale that is going on every day concurrently while food is being served. You can buy cement statues of dogs and “Man with No Name” poncho sweaters.  It’s a pretty awesome place that I highly suggest visiting for the delicious food and the bargains. You can fill up and then spend a few hours huffing it over on the Silver Comet Trail which runs from Smyrna to well into Alabama. Forget about Krog Market or Ponce, Vittles is where you need to go!

Photos courtesy of Justin Bozung and used with permission.

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This Week in Retro Atlanta, Feb. 8-14, 2016

Posted on: Feb 7th, 2016 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

Hey all you lovers and hep vintage rockin’ romantics! It’s a week of love and lust and romance, oh my! So, if you’re searching for that Funny Valentine or would prefer to forget the day, we have everything your wretched little heart could desire! So, come on out and take a peek at what Retro Atlanta has in store for you!

Monday, February 8

Make your way to the Alpharetta Branch Library for their screening of Daniel Petrie’s classic, A RAISIN IN 2.8BOBTHE SUN (1931) at 10:30am! Skye Paige, “Queen of Slide Guitar” rocks out at the Little Vinyl Lounge! Blast-Off Burlesque starts your week off right with a night of adults-only trivia, Country Music edition, at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club at 8:30pm! Get funky and groove on down to Café 290 every second and fourth Monday of the month for a taste of Bumpin the Mango, ‘The groove that makes you want to move! Bill Sheffield dishes out his acoustic roots and blues at Blind Willie’s! Boogie on down to the Northside Tavern and spend an evening with Lola at her famous Monday Night Northside Jam! The Cody Matlock Band delivers a night of blues at Darwin’s Burgers & Blues in Marietta! And blues on down to Fat Matt’s Rib Shack for a side of Dry White Toast and a plate full ‘o finger lickin’ BBQ!

Tuesday, February 9

The Landmark Midtown Art Cinema delivers their “Wim Wenders: Portraits Along the Road” series with a The American Friendscreening of THE AMERICAN FRIEND (1977) at 7pm, with an intro and Q&A after the screening! Let Kool Kat Katherine Lashe and the burly-Q gals of Syrens of the South spice up your evening with their Tease Tuesday: Hearts & Heartbreakers edition getting’ naughty at the Red Light Café! Paul Leder’s documentary, GOIN’ TO CHICAGO (1991), chronicling the migration of African Americans from the rural south to northern cities after WWII, screens at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center at 4pm! Catch the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival’s 40th Anniversary screening of Martin Ritt’s THE FRONT (1976) at the Lefont Theatre at 7:20pm! Get funky Big Easy style on Avalon Avenue in Alpharetta during their Mardi Gras Pub Crawl! Or get your Cajun fix and Mardi Gras it up with Hair of the Dog at Steve’s Live Music! Get funky with The Mar-Tans at Blind Willie’s! Lola gets down and dirty at Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint! The Star Bar delivers a night of retro shenanigans with their Downtown Tuesday Night Dance Party featuring retro-soul, funk, ‘80s, ‘90s and more! Jam it up with Joe Gransden and his jazz jam session at Venkman’s every Tuesday! And as always, The Entertainment Crackers get bluesy with their folksy Americana at the Northside Tavern!

Wednesday, February 10

Get cinematic with “La Nouvelle Vague” at Emory Cinematheque’s screening of Francois Truffaut’s THE SOFT SKIN (1964) during their “French New-Waves: Classics & Rediscoveries” series at 7:30pm! Catch a screening ofThe_Soft_Skin_Poster Jerry Zucker’s GHOST (1990) at Studio Movie Grill (Alpharetta) at 7:3opm! The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival presents its second 40th Anniversary screening of Martin Ritt’s THE FRONT (1976) at the UA Tara Theatre at 11:30am! It’s Chicken Picken’ Wednesday at Venkman’s, so come on out for a night with Sans Abri! Stomp on down to Blind Willie’s for a night with the Boohoo Ramblers! Jazz it up with The Gordon Vernick Quartet at the Red Light Café! The Star Bar gets to twangin’ with their Cowboy Karaoke event, featuring live-band old-time country and western tunes with Dry Gulch! Or rock on downstairs to the Little Vinyl Lounge for a night of retro shenanigans with Kool Kat Jeff Clark and Stomp & Stammer’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Trivia at 8pm! Or make your way to the Northside Tavern as Danny ‘Mudcat’ Dudeck fires it up with his rockin’ blues! St. James Live! delivers their Hump Days Blues night, getting classic blues-style every Wednesday! Get the blues with Frankie’s Blues Mission at Fat Matt’s! And as always, it’s Ladies Night at Johnny’s Hideaway which plays hits from Sinatra to Madonna for a generally mature crowd.

Thursday, February 11

It’s a night of murder ballads made popular by Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Nirvana and a whole lotta’ bloody maniacal mayhem at The Earl with their second annual Bloody Valentine’s event, featuring Kool Kat Aileen Loy with Till Someone Loses an Eye; circus shenanigans with The Thimberling Circus and more bloody romantic fun! 2.11HighlanderBlackhearts and anti-V-day miscreants, rock on down to The Highlander for their Broken Hearts & Bloody Valentines Art Show, delivering a night of multi-media art! Or, for the black-hearted, make your way to Mary’s for their Goth Nite St. Valentine’s Massacre dance party featuring classic Goth anthems!

Mark Michelson & Friends pay tribute to The Eagles at Steve’s Live Music! Joe McGuinness and Bill Sheffield get down and dirty at Eddie’s Attic! Rock out with Wilco at the Tabernacle! It’s a night of gypsy jazz and bluegrass with the Jon Stickley Trio and Control Burn at the Red Light Café! Rev it up with Kool Kat Hot Rod Walt & the Psycho-Devilles at The Pointe (Conyers)! Sweet Betty & The Shadows get the blues at Blind Willie’s! It’s Mai Tai Thursday, so surf on down to Trader Vic’s for a helluva beach party! Fatback Deluxe dishes out a night of blues at Venkman’s! It’s a night of Texas country and old-time shenanigans at Smith’s Olde Bar with Kinky Friedman, Brian Molnar and The Jugtime Ragband! Stagger on over to Noni’s Bar & Deli for their Bitter Heroes event featuring DJ Brian Parris as he gets charmingly morose with a little New-Wave, The Smiths and The Cure! The Northside Tavern gets rockin’ with a little Chicago/Delta blues of The Breeze Kings! Get your boogie on at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, as Chickenshack featuring Eddie Tigner, delivers some honky-tonk blues! Darwin’s Burgers & Blues gets down and dirty at their Blues Jam hosted by The Cazanovas! And as always, boogie down at Mary’s, as the East Atlanta venue gets funky with their weekly Disco in the Village.

Friday, February 12

Valentine’s Day Eve-Eve is chock full of retro shenanigans! Swing on by The Earl Smith Strand Theatre for 2.12SOBDouglas Cameron’s 17-piece Big Band! The Famous Pub gets kinky cabaret-style with RITUAL’s Moulin Rouge Valentine’s Day Party, featuring The Black Sheep Ensemble! Get smooth and make your way to Park Tavern for an evening of silly love songs with Yacht Rock Schooner! Or get sinfully seductive at 7 Stages for Kool Kat Katherine Lashe and the burly-Q gals of Syrens of the South’s 9th Annual Vixen’s Valentease Vaudeville & Variety Show! The Highwire Comedy Co. presents their Happy Valentine’s Day Mr. President comedy show at the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge! The Red Light Café presents THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES benefit performance for V-Day’s One Billion Rising at 8pm!

Jade Lemons hosts “We Can Be Heroes” celebrating the life and music of David Bowie at Smith’s Olde Bar! Rock out at The Star Bar’s Leather Jacket Night featuring performances by M.O.T.O, The El Caminos and The Go Nowheres! Jazz it up with Anat Cohen and the Gary Motley Trio during the Emory Jazz Fest at the Schwartz Center! Cannibal Corpse invades the Masquerade! Rat Pack Now croons on down to the Red Clay Theatre! Catch the premiere of MacGillivey Freeman’s 2013 documentary, NATIONAL PARK ADVENTURE, commemorating the U.S. National 2.12StarBarPark Service’s 100th anniversary at the Fernbank Museum’s IMAX! Kool Kats, The Head rocks out at the Drunken Unicorn! Make your way to Center Stage for a night with Todd Rundgren! ‘80s it up at Wild Wing Café in Dunwoody with Kool Kat Becky Cormier Finch and Denim Arcade! Get old-timey with Kool Kat Caleb Warren & the Gents at Nik’s Place! Funk it up with the Atlanta Funk Society at the Elliott Street Pub! Bluegrass it up with the Yonder Mountain String Band at Variety Playhouse! Get to the root of it all with The Donna Hopkins Band at Steve’s Live Music! Blues it up with George Hughley & the Shadows at Blind Willie’s! Ralph Ellis and The Breeze Kings deliver the blues at the Northside Tavern! Pay tribute to Tom Petty as Refugee rocks out at Venkman’s! Get folksy under the dinosaurs at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s Martinis and IMAX event with Lilac Wine! Get some soul with Dark Water Rising at Darwin’s Burgers & Blues! And as always, time-warp it up and get naughty with some uber musically-inclined transsexual aliens at The Plaza Theater as they continue their tradition of screening THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Saturday, February 13

Shake a tail feather this Valentine’s Day Eve! Boogie down at The Star Bar’s Blackheart’s Ball, featuring The Midnight Larks, Shantih Shantih, Coma Girls, and Emily Marie Palmer & Kool Kat Jeffrey Butzer! Find2.13Kavarna some goodies for your sweet/blackheart and make your way to My Parents’ Basement for The Valentine’s Day Bizarre Bazaar featuring 13 local artists and designers, including Kool Kat Chris Hamer of Urbnpop! Ghosts and love collide at the Historic Oakland Cemetery with their Love Stories of Oakland tours running through Feb. 14! Catch a screening of Michael CurtizCASABLANCA (1942) at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre at 8pm! ATL Collective presents Sade’s “Love Deluxe” at Venkman’s! Shimmy on down to the Shakespeare Tavern for Hearts Ablaze Production’s Pantheon of Divini-TEASE with Kool Kat Talloolah Love, Kool Kate Persephone Phoenix and more! The Center for Puppetry Arts presents their Valentine’s Date Night (adults-only) with puppet shenanigans and complimentary desserts! Get funky and boogie on down to Aisle 5 for their Funky Good Time Valentine’s Dance! The Red Light Café presents a second performance of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES benefit performance for V-Day’s One Billion Rising at 8pm!

CasablancaIt’s a night of avant-garde and experimental film with Film Love Atlanta’s (Kool Kat Andry Diztler) Jane Wodening in Person event at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center at 7pm [Keep your eyes peeled for our Kool Kat interview with Jane Wodening (Brakhage’s first wife)]! Surf on down to Kavarna for Kool Kat Chad ShiversSouthern Surf Stomp! featuring performances by the Beech Benders, Blacktop Rockets and Gemini 13! It’s Big Band Night with the Gary Motley Trio at the Schwartz Center! Catch a screening of John Singleton’s ROSEWOOD (1997) at the Scott Candler Library at 1pm! Rat Pack Now croons it up at the Red Clay Theatre! The Park Tavern presents Oysterfest, featuring live performances by the Shawn Spencer Band, Secondhand Swagger, Kool Kat Blair Crimmins & the Hookers and Moontower! Get jazzy New Orleans-style with Ruby Red’s Band at Venkman’s, during their Bottomless Mimosa Brunch! Bluegrass it up with the Yonder Mountain String Band at Variety Playhouse for a second time! Get the juke joint blues with The Scissormen at Darwin’s Burgers & Blues! The Dirty Bourbon River Show delivers New Orleans gypsy brass circus rock with Rodeo Twister at The Earl! Get folksy with Tom Rush at Eddie’s Attic! Beverly “Guitar” Watkins gets down at Blind Willie’s! Blues it up with Ike Stubblefield at the Northside Tavern! St. James Live! delivers their Tribute to the Legends night every Saturday night! And as always, DJ Romeo Cologne transforms the sensationally seedy Clermont Lounge into a ’70s disco/funk inferno late into the wee hours of the night.

Sunday, February 14

It’s V-day folks and you know what that means! We’ve dug up a variety of rockin’ vintage shindigs taking place tonight,Pretty in Pink that we know will get your blood pumping and all set for that shot to the heart, so, keep your eyes peeled for our top picks and comprehensive guide for all things Retro and Valentine-y!

Celebrate 30 years of Howard Deutch’s ‘80s classic, PRETTY IN PINK (1986), screening at several local theatres, including AMC Barrett Commons 24 (Kennesaw); AMC Sugarloaf Mills 18 (Lawrenceville); Cinemark Tinseltown 17 (Fayetteville); Regal McDonough Stadium 16; Georgian Stadium in Newnan and Regal Hollywood Stadium 24 (Chamblee) at 2pm/7pm! Get really retro and catch the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival’s 85th Anniversary screening of Sidney M. Goldin’s HIS WIFE’S LOVER (1931) at Lefont Theatre! Get funky and rock out with Meshell Ndegeocello at Terminal West! Get the blues with Steve “The Blues Dude” at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! And get sweet and low down blues-style at the Northside Tavern with Uncle Sugar!

Ongoing

The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center transforms into a Parisian bohemian cabaret as the Atlanta Ballet presents “Moulin Rouge: The Ballet”, shaking a tail feather through Feb. 13! (LAST CHANCE!)

The Actors Express murders with their presentation of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” at 8pm, killing through Feb. 28!

Blast-Off Burlesque geeks it up with a night of adults-only trivia at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, every Monday at 8:30pm!

Union EAV rocks out with their Punk Rock Karaoke ATL, and every last Tuesday of the month!

Geek it up at My Parents’ Basement with their weekly Tuesday night Nerd Trivia at 8pm!

Nerd Film Mafia screenings at the Diesel Filling Station following NerdCore Trivia, every last Tuesday of the month!

The Plaza Theater Time-Warps it up as they screen, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Every first and third Mondays are Big Band Nights at Café 290, featuring Joe Gransden and his amazing 16-piece orchestra playing jazz and swing standards in the tradition of The Glen Miller Orchestra and other legendary groups.  Second and fourth Mondays are Bumpin the Mango, ‘The groove that makes you want to move!’

Every first Wednesday is the Graveyard Tavern’s Graveyard Swing Night, featuring the swingin’ jazz and boogie-woogie sounds of the Savoy Kings!

If you have a suggestion for a future event that should be included in This Week in Retro Atlanta or see something we missed, please email us at atlretro@gmail.com.

 

Category: This Week in ATLRetro | TAGS: None

This Week in Retro Atlanta, February 1-7, 2016

Posted on: Jan 31st, 2016 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

Shake a tail feather in Retro Atlanta this week!

Monday, February 12.1

Make your way to the Alpharetta Branch Library for their screening of Stanley Kramer’s classic, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER (1967) at 10:30am! Skye Paige, “Queen of Slide Guitar” rocks out at the Little Vinyl Lounge! Blast-Off Burlesque starts your week off right with a night of adults-only trivia at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club at 8:30pm! Get folksy with Jamie Laval at Steve’s Live Music in Sandy Springs! Swing on by Big Band Night featuring Joe Gransden and his amazing 16-member orchestra at Café 290 every first and third Monday of the month! Boogie on down to the Northside Tavern and spend an evening with Lola at her famous Monday Night Northside Jam! The Cody Matlock Band delivers a night of blues at Darwin’s Burgers & Blues in Marietta!

Tuesday, February 2

2.2StarBarThe Landmark Midtown Art Cinema delivers their “Wim Wenders: Portraits Along the Road” series with a screening of KINGS OF THE ROAD (1976) at 7pm, with an intro and Q&A after the screening! Or join the miscreants in the land of detention at the Northlake Festival Movie Tavern during their screening of the John Hughes’ ‘80s classic THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985) during their “Classic Films on the Big Screen” series at 7:30! Bluegrass it up with Control Burn at Steve’s Live Music! The Star Bar delivers a night of retro shenanigans with their Downtown Tuesday Night Dance Party featuring retro-soul, funk, ‘80s, ‘90s and more! Catch a screening of Harold RamisGROUNDHOG DAY (1993) at Studio Movie Grill (Alpharetta/Duluth) at 7:30pm! Andrew Black fires up the blues at Blind Willie’s! Jam it up with Joe Gransden and his jazz jam session at Venkman’s every Tuesday! And as always, The Entertainment Crackers get bluesy with their folksy Americana at the Northside Tavern!

Wednesday, February 3

Rock out with Super X-13, The El Caminos and Lust at the Clermont Lounge! Or get the garage rockin’ blues with Jared Swilley (Black Lips), Kool Kat Rod Hamdallah and Old King Cole Younger at 529! Get cinematic2.3EC with “La Nouvelle Vague” at Emory Cinematheque’s screening of Francois Truffaut’s SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER (1960) during their “French New-Waves: Classics & Rediscoveries” series at 7:30pm! The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival presents the 40th Anniversary edition of John Schlesinger’s MARATHON MAN (1976) at the GTC Merchant’s Walk Stadium (Marietta) at 7pm! Geek it up at Battle & Brew during their Science Fiction Geek Trivia Night at 8pm! The Variety Playhouse delivers a night of rock with Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes! It’s your last chance to make it to the Northlake Festival Movie Tavern for their screening of the John Hughes’ ‘80s classic THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985) during their “Classic Films on the Big Screen” series at 7:30! Atlanta Boogie dishes out a night of Kansas City and West coast blues at Blind Willie’s! Make your way to The Earl for a night with Low! Eddie’s Attic delivers a night with Parker Gispert (The Whigs) and Slow Parade! Lola gets down and dirty at Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint! It’s Chicken Picken’ Wednesday at Venkman’s, so come on out for a night with In the Wheelhouse! Boogie on down to East Atlanta’s Graveyard Tavern for their Graveyard Swing Night, held the first Wednesday of every month, promising an evening of swingin’ jazz and jive with the Savoy Kings! Jazz it up with The Gordon Vernick Quartet at the Red Light Café! Stomp on down to The Star Bar for their Cowboy Karaoke event, featuring live-band old-time country and western tunes with Dry Gulch! Or rock on downstairs to the Little Vinyl Lounge for a night of retro shenanigans with Kool Kat Jeff Clark and Stomp & Stammer’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Trivia at 8pm! Or make your way to the Northside Tavern as Danny ‘Mudcat’ Dudeck fires it up with his rockin’ blues! St. James Live! delivers their Hump Days Blues night, getting classic blues-style every Wednesday! And as always, it’s Ladies Night at Johnny’s Hideaway which plays hits from Sinatra to Madonna for a generally mature crowd.

Thursday, February 4

Rock out and honkytonk it up at The Star Bar with The Legendary Shack Shakers, Pine Hill Haints and The 2.4StarBarGartrells! It’s a night of gritty rock ‘n’ roll at 529 with Bear Girl, The Fire Tonight, Swank Sinatra and Plague of Pilgrims! It’s “Exile on Amsterdam Avenue” at the Red Light Café with Caroline Aiken, Drew de Man, Jon Waits and Noel Sumrall! Blues it up with Tab Benoit at the Variety Playhouse! Beverly “Guitar” Watkins gets down at Blind Willie’s! It’s Mai Tai Thursday, so surf on down to Trader Vic’s for a helluva beach party! Mojo Davis dishes out a night of blues ‘n’ jazz at Venkman’s! It’s a night of tributes at Smith’s Olde Bar with Stone Tribute Pilots (Stone Temple Pilots) and Rusty Cage (Soundgarden)! Stagger on over to Noni’s Bar & Deli for their Bitter Heroes event featuring DJ Brian Parris as he gets charmingly morose with a little New-Wave, The Smiths and The Cure! The Northside Tavern gets rockin’ with a little Chicago/Delta blues of The Breeze Kings! Get your boogie on at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, as Chickenshack featuring Eddie Tigner, delivers some honky-tonk blues! Darwin’s Burgers & Blues gets down and dirty at their Blues Jam hosted by The Cazanovas! And as always, boogie down at Mary’s, as the East Atlanta venue gets funky with their weekly Disco in the Village.

Friday, February 5

Get traumatized and HORROR-fied this weekend as the Days of the Dead Convention kills it at the Sheraton 2.5DOTDAtlanta hotel for three days of ghastly gore-filled events, running through Feb. 7! You won’t want to miss monstrous retro celebrity guests Ted Raimi (EVIL DEAD II); Heather Langenkamp (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET); Oliver Robins and Martin Casella of POLTERGEIST fame; John Dugan (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE); C. Thomas Howell (E.T.); masked menace Kane Hodder of FRIDAY THE 13TH fame; Tony Todd (CANDYMAN); the 48-Hour Horror Film Fest; a hell raisin’ Friday night party featuring Celebrity Scaryee-Okee and more! So, get your fill of the blood-bath that is, Days of the Dead!

Get experimental with Film Love Atlanta as Kool Kat Andry Diztler presents “An Evening of Stan Brakhage Films” at Emory White Hall at 7:30pm, featuring all 16mm prints [Keep your eyes peeled for our Kool Kat interview with Jane Wodening (Brakhage’s first wife)]! Geek it up at Medieval Times for Dragon Con Night! New Wave it up at Avondale Towne Cinema with Devomatix and The Fantastic Plastics! Rock out with Colin Hay at the Variety Playhouse! Make your way to the Buckhead Theatre for a 2.5ATCnight with Graham Nash! The Buggs shake it up at Steve’s Live Music! The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center transforms into a Parisian bohemian cabaret as the Atlanta Ballet presents “Moulin Rouge: The Ballet”, shaking a tail feather through Feb. 13! Funk it up with Cadillac Jones at Venkman’s! Rock on down to the Masquerade for a night with Led Zeppelin 2! Pay tribute to Motorhead at The Highlander with Bitch! Get funky with Zydefunk at the Northside Tavern! Boogie under the dinosaurs at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s Martinis and IMAX event with the Lethal Rhythms! Rock out roots-style with The Donna Hopkins Band at Darwin’s Burgers & Blues! Get saucy and blues it up with Sandra Hall & the Shadows at Blind Willie’s! And as always, time-warp it up and get naughty with some uber musically-inclined transsexual aliens at The Plaza Theater as they continue their tradition of screening THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Saturday, February 6

It’s Day 2 to get spooked at the Days of the Dead Convention at the Sheraton Atlanta! Get your blood curdling 2.6ATCfill of monsters galore with “Mistress of the Dark” Elvira (today only in full costume!); Billy Dee Williams (STAR WARS); the Son of Celluloid Show; a Chaostume Showdown; and an epic dance party a.k.a. Carnage at 11pm, that will have you rattlin’ your bones deep into the night!

Hollyfest VIII invades The Star Bar with a night of rockin’ tributes to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, with performances by the Southern Ska Syndicate, Rodeo Twister, Dusty Booze & the Baby Haters, Johnny McGowan, Kool Kat Caroline & The Ramblers, The Mystery Men?, Skye Paige, Superpill, The Honey Lungs and Burning Truck! Punk rock it up with The Queers, Antagonizers ATL and DDC at the Drunken Unicorn! Snag a new look with a vintage Valentine’s clothes pop-up at Vintage Soiree, from 11am-6pm! Or rock out with 2.6StarBarEurope at the Masquerade! Get your swampy ragtime fix at Avondale Towne Cinema with Mayhayley’s Grave and Cold Heart Canyon! Make your way to the Georgia Freight Depot for The Pancake & Booze Art Show, featuring 60+ emerging artists, live music and free pancakes, from 8pm-2am! New Wave it up at the Variety Playhouse with The Producers and Indianapolis Jones! Get to the root of it all with Delta Moon at Blind Willie’s! Fire up the blues with Danny ‘Mudcat’ Dudeck at Darwin’s Burgers & Blues! The Northside Tavern delivers the Allman Brothers Tribute Band! Rev it up with Kool Kat Hot Rod Walt & the Psycho-Devilles at Mule Camp Tavern in Gainesville! Funk it up New Orleans-style with The Mar-Tans at Venkman’s! St. James Live! delivers their Tribute to the Legends night every Saturday night! And as always, DJ Romeo Cologne transforms the sensationally seedy Clermont Lounge into a ’70s disco/funk inferno late into the wee hours of the night.

Sunday, February 7

It’s Day 3 and your last chance to experience the rockin’ blood and horror fest, the Days of the Dead Convention!2.7 Today’s events include horrorific panels, including a POLTERGEIST panel, so, come on and check out all the swell and retro horror goodness while you can! You won’t want to miss the Super Sunday Collector’s Con, featuring comics, toys and more at the Atlanta Marriot Century Center from 11am-5pm! The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival presents the 60th Anniversary edition of Max Nosseck’s SINGING IN THE DARK (1956) at the Lefont Theatre at 11am! Jazz it up with Francine Reed at Eddie’s Attic! Rock on down to the Crimson Moon Café for their Boomers Gone Wild event, delivering a night of ‘60s and ‘70s covers! And get sweet and low down blues-style at the Northside Tavern with Uncle Sugar!

Ongoing

The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center transforms into a Parisian bohemian cabaret as the Atlanta Ballet presents “Moulin Rouge: The Ballet”, shaking a tail feather through Feb. 13!

The Actors Express murders with their presentation of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” at 8pm, killing through Feb. 28!

Blast-Off Burlesque geeks it up with a night of adults-only trivia at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, every Monday at 8:30pm!

Union EAV rocks out with their Punk Rock Karaoke ATL, and every last Tuesday of the month!

Geek it up at My Parents’ Basement with their weekly Tuesday night Nerd Trivia at 8pm!

Nerd Film Mafia screenings at the Diesel Filling Station following NerdCore Trivia, every last Tuesday of the month!

The Plaza Theater Time-Warps it up as they screen, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Every first and third Mondays are Big Band Nights at Café 290, featuring Joe Gransden and his amazing 16-piece orchestra playing jazz and swing standards in the tradition of The Glen Miller Orchestra and other legendary groups.  Second and fourth Mondays are Bumpin the Mango, ‘The groove that makes you want to move!’

Every first Wednesday is the Graveyard Tavern’s Graveyard Swing Night, featuring the swingin’ jazz and boogie-woogie sounds of the Savoy Kings!

If you have a suggestion for a future event that should be included in This Week in Retro Atlanta or see something we missed, please email us at atlretro@gmail.com.

 

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Kool Kat of the Week: Why Andy Ditzler Loves Avant-Garde Films and Why You Should, Too

Posted on: Mar 22nd, 2011 By:

SMILE JOHN: Includes HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JOHN (1972), Dir: Jonas Mekas; FILM NO. 5 (SMILE) (1968), Dir: Yoko Ono; Fri. March 25, 7 PM; Plaza Theatre; $10 ($8 if attending 9 PM screening, too)

SKY, BED PEACE: Includes BED IN (1969), Dir: Yoko Ono and John Lennon; APOTHEOSIS (1970), Dir: Yoko Ono and John Lennon; Fri. March 25, 9 PM; Plaza Theatre; $10 ($8 if attending 7 PM screening, too)

Yoko Ono and John Lennon Montreal Bed-In, 1969 Photo by Ivor Sharp ©Yoko Ono.

Since he started Film Love, his provocative avant-garde film series, in 2003, Andy Ditzler has explored everything from the beat cinema subculture to American racism. But this Friday March 25 at the Plaza Theatre, audiences will be treated to filmmaking as love-making between two intensively creative people with the first two of five installments of YOKO ONO: reality dreams, which Film Love is co-presenting with Emory University and Atlanta Contemporary Art CenterJohn Lennon and Yoko Ono certainly must be one of the most famous couples of the 20th century, but these experimental films are rarely seen and aren’t available on video.

ATLRetro recently caught up with Andy to ask him about his own passion for avant-garde film, the origins of Film Love, what Frequent Small Meals are, and why you should spend Friday night getting to know John and Yoko better through some extraordinary movies.

From what I understand, you started Film Love in 2003 with a beat cinema series at Eyedrum. How did you become so interested in and passionate about experimental and avant-garde cinema?

In the early ‘90s, I was living in Boulder, where the great avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage was teaching. I attended his screenings and classes. He showed the wildest films, things I had no idea how to process or even understand. Yet Brakhage had a way of talking about the films that made it clear that watching them was to be considered an adventure, that you could figure it  out, and most of all how important it was that we gather to watch these films.

Andy Ditzler, founder & curator of Film Love.

Some of the films were so small, so obscure, that they almost disappeared off the screen. I was hooked. One day Stan showed THE END and THE MAN WHO INVENTED GOLD by Christopher Maclaine. Maclaine was a shadowy figure, long dead, and his films of Beat San Francisco in the ‘50s were completely haunting. I totally connected with them.

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