Great Danes! SF IndieFest 14 opens Thursday at San Francisco’s Roxie Theatre, 14 days of brilliant, weird, and doggie! independent films, February 9-14, 2012
The 14th Annual San Francisco Independent Film Festival (IndieFest) starts Thursday, February 9th, 2012 bringing two weeks of the very best of category-defying independent film on the planet to San Francisco’s Roxie Theater. This year’s line-up includes 30 features, nine documentaries, six locally produced films, six shorts programs, and a host of special events. And there are more inspired wild theme parties than ever before, all over San Francisco, including an opening night Spinal Tap Tribute, the (9th Annual!) Big Lebowski Party, a Roller Disco (half-price if you show up in costume), and a special Valentine’s Day Love Bites: 80’s Power Ballad Sing-a-long. But the program that most captured ARThound’s attention is Everything Is Terrible!, which includes the film DOGGIEWOGGIEZ! POOCHIEWOOCHIEZ! which is composed entirely of found VHS dog footage and an accompanying “live in the fur show” program. The film promises to be a diamond in the Ruff and its creators, the Chicago –based collective Everything Is Terrible!, will be in full body mascot delivering a psychedelic show which they promise will pick up where Cirque Du Soleil and The Rock-A-Fire Explosion took off.
But wait—there is a serious component to DOGGIEWOGGIEZ! POOCHIEWOOCHIEZ! and the zany group behind it. Everything Is Terrible! is a collective of seven furry, lovable internet monsters who are first order archivists and artists─they take forgotten VHS tapes of all kinds and edit them down into easily digestible videos that go viral. They trolled old VHS footage for over a year to produce this feature-length film.
DOGGIEWOGGIEZ! POOCHIEWOOCHIEZ! is a zany remake of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s brilliantly weird 1973 psychedelic cult classic The Holy Mountain (La Montaña Sagrada). This epic─screened at Cannes in 1973, honored as a Cannes Classic in 2006, and released on Blue-ray last year─is the journey of a Christ-like vagabond and thief who encounters a spiritual guru who introduces him to six wealthy individuals who each symbolize a planet in the solar system. Together, they embark on a spiritual pilgrimage to the holy mountain, to unseat the gods and become immortal themselves. Lots of drugs were consumer in its making. As much as The Holy Mountain was a product of its time, so is DOGGIEWOGGIEZ! POOCHIEWOOCHIEZ!
Sergio Caballero’s feature debut Finisterrae is another film that seems destined for cult status and cleverly uses humor and absurdity to deflect from its metaphysically hefty theme. Two Russian –speaking ghosts, in white sheets (evoking large trick-or-treaters) embark on a fantastical pilgrimage to the Spanish holy city of Santiago de Compostela in search of new bodies to inhabit. One of them occasionally rides a dappled gray horse or a wheelchair and the other carries around a colourful wind flag as they travel through rich landscapes that are the stuff of dreams and home to some fantastical oddities. There’s a forest of trees wearing plastic ears and whispering in Catalan, a vivid flashback to Catalan video art of the 1980’s, and a singing hippie. All this, cased in lush and languid cinematography, is a container for a philosophical discussion on the meaning of life and dreams. As weird as it all sounds, the film is mesmerizing and comes together as a powerful surreal odyssey. Finisterrae grabbed the top award at the 40th International Film Festival Rotterdam. Finisterrae’s director, Caballero, a multidisciplinary musician and artist, is also the co-director of Bacelona’s acclaimed Sónar, the International Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art.
Stay-tuned to ARThound for more IndieFest coverage. And if you missed last year’s IndieFest coverage, you likely missed another doggie classic, “Worst In Show,” a riveting behind-the-scenes documentary by filmmakers Don Lewis of Petaluma and John Beck of Benecia that covered the entrants in Petaluma’s 2010 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. Click here to ARThound’s coverage.
Details: “Everything is Terrible 2012” is Friday, February 17, 2012 at 9:30 p.m. at Roxie Cinemas, 3117 16th Street (at Valencia) in San Francisco. Tickets are $15.00; buy them here.
General Information about IndieFest: All screenings take place at the Roxie Cinemas, 3117 16th Street (at Valencia) in San Francisco. Film tickets are $11 for each regular screening and $20 for Opening Night (includes the film plus the after-party). 5-film vouchers are $50, 10-film vouchers are $90; $160 for FilmFestPass good for all films and parties. The parties are $10 each or free with ANY festival ticket stub. Remember, passholders are always admitted first. For advance tickets or more information, call 1-800-838-3006 or click on www.sfindie.com.
Same day tickets are only available at the venue. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first show of the day. For all screenings, please arrive at least 15 minutes before show time to assure seating.)
Ensemble Parallèle Presents “The Great Gatsby,” a chamber opera with the swagger and pizzazz of the roaring ‘20’s─at Yerba Buena Center, February 10-12, 2012
Ensemble Parallèle is bringing what promises to be a very inventive contemporary opera to Yerba Buena Center’s Novellus Theatre this coming Friday-Sunday (February 10-12, 2012): the world premiere of Jacques Desjardins’ chamber orchestration of composer John Harbison’s “The Great Gatsby.” Based on the beloved 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the opera was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to celebrate James Levine’s 25th anniversary as its musical director. It premiered in 1999, with just one subsequent performance at the Lyric Opera in Chicago, mainly because it called for an orchestra of 120 musicians. Aware of the need to make Harbison’s important work accessible to performing groups, Ensemble Parallèle, a professional ensemble-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, embraced the project and commissioned its re-orchestration from 120 to 30 musicians, keeping the rich sound of Harbison’s music─ which includes 17 original vernacular pieces─tangos, Charlestons, jazz songs─not your traditional opera to begin with. The cast includes 11 singers─some very well known in the Bay Area and some newcomers. This is the first time in ten years that the piece, which opened to mixed reviews at the Met, will be performed on stage and it is Ensemble Parallèle’s most ambitious project to date. Recognizing music’s power to transform and raise consciousness, this presentation of a classic, with some story enhancements, with should be an exciting event. If you haven’t been to an opera before, the best thing to do is literally jump in─get tickets and go! At 2.25 minutes with one intermission, and all in English, this opera—jazzy and emotionally gripping─should be a great introduction for newcomers. And, if you haven’t been to Yerba Buena Center’s modern Novellus Theatre for a performance, you’re in for a treat. Unlike San Francisco Opera, these seats are much more user friendly and the site lines are exceptional.
The cast looks fabulous. Lyric tenor Marco Panuccio, a newcomer to the Bay Area, is Jay Gatsby. Panuccio portrayed Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon for Lyric Opera of Chicago. Soprano Susannah Biller, a Bay Area favorite and former SF Opera Adler Fellow, with a rich and powerful voice, who portrayed Eurydice in Ensemble Parallèle’s spring 2011 production of Philip Glass’ Orphée, is Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby’s fixation. Baritone Jason Detwiler, who played St. Plan in Ensemble Parallèle’s summer 2011 production of Four Saints in Three Acts, is Nick Caraway, the opera’s narrator. Casting also includes tenor Dan Snyder as Tom Buchanan, Disy’s husband; baritone Bojan Knezevic as the machanic George Wilson; mezzo soprano Erin Neff as his wife Myrtle Wilson and mezzo-soprano Julienne Walker as Jordan Baker. All come together to present the gripping story—in music─of a very shallow lot of characters who make a tragic mess of their indulgent lives. The setting is deco and the drama transpires against the colorful backdrop of the roaring ‘20’s, when American society enjoyed great prosperity, endured Prohibition and the dance music of the day was jazz.
Gatsby marks the fourth major presentation of fully-staged contemporary chamber operas by Ensemble Parallèle’s duo–Artistic Director/Conductor Nicole Paiement and Stage Director and Production Designer Brian Staufenbiel. Gatsby follows last year’s Orphée by Philip Glass, Alban Berg’s Wozzeck in 2010 and Lou Harrison’s Young Caesar in 2007–all to acclaim from audiences and critics. Last August, in conjunction with SFMOMA’s fabulous The Steins Collect, Ensemble Parallèle presented a critically acclaimed production of the rarely performed Four Saints in Three Acts by composer Virgil Thompson and librettist Gertrude Stein. (Read ARThound’s coverage here.)
Paiement founded Ensemble Parallèle in 1994 to perform new music and to collaborate with various artists such as dancers, choreographers, and visual and multimedia artists— as the Ensemble’s name suggests, in parallel. These collaborations have allowed Ensemble Parallèle to reach a wider-ranging and younger audience. In 2007 Ensemble Parallèle began to focus exclusively on contemporary chamber opera, producing works with vitality, edge, and appeal, so important in world of opera.
Gatsby Insights at 7:15 PM, prior to each performance
Run-time: 2.25 hours with one intermission
Sung in English/English Supertitles
Details: All performances are held at Novellus Theatre, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, San Francisco, 94103
Friday, February 10, 2012
– 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 11, 2012 – 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 12, 2012 – 2:00 PM
Tickets are $35 to $85 and are on sale at the YBCA Box Office. Call 415-978-2787 or order online at:
A Fitzgerald gem to ponder:
I was thirty. Before me stretched the portentous, menacing road of a new decade.
It was seven o’clock when we got into the coupe with him and started for Long Island. Tom talked incessantly, exulting and laughing, but his voice was as remote from Jordan and me as the foreign clamor on the sidewalk or the tumult of the elevated overhead. Human sympathy has its limits, and we were content to let all their tragic arguments fade with the city lights behind. Thirty – the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning brief-case of enthusiasm, thinning hair. But there was Jordan beside me, who, unlike Daisy, was too wise ever to carry well-forgotten dreams from age to age. As we passed over the dark bridge her wan face fell lazily against my coat’s shoulder and the formidable stroke of thirty died away with the reassuring pressure of her hand.
So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight. (Nick, The Great Gatsby, Chapter 7, pp 307-309)