Read Nicole Gluckstern's interview with documentary filmmaker Marie Losier about her new film, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, here. Below, extended thoughts from Losier and film subject and musician-performance artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
On serendipity: Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: It was Lady Jaye, when we started to take the whole idea of pandrogeny more seriously and dedicate our lives to it, she immediately said, "We really need to find somebody to just follow us around and film us." And within a week we'd met Marie. We call it the "of course" factor. "Of course" we met Marie, because we were supposed to meet Marie, and it's amazing how often that comes up, the "of course" thing. So from then on it wasn't conscious anymore, it was just that Marie was around whenever she felt there was something to film, or she would say "I have this idea that I would like you to dress as a mermaid and pretend to swim with a house on your back...."
On influence: Marie Losier: Mike [Kuchar] is the person who taught me how to make films, just to make them. He's actually the first person I made a film with, ever ... the person who taught me how to load a roll of film in my camera. And he's so clumsy, and everything always falls apart ... so I didn't think twice, like "Oh, ok, if I can make a film that way I don't have to think too much [about the process], no worry." And it works. It's also a joy. Mike and George [Kuchar] were always like, "filmmaking is a hobby, just enjoy it."
“Celestial Observatories for Cyanobacteria” illuminate the knowledge gap at the San Francisco Arts Commission
“The purpose of our lives is to celebrate the grandeur of the cosmos" -- William Kotzwinkle, Dr. Rat
At the age of eight, possibly inspired by my first encounter with Madeleine L'Engle’s A Wind in the Door, the notion occurred to me that just as individual cells were undetectable (to the naked eye) in the human body, so were individual human beings virtually undetectable on the great organism that is the world, and just as the planet earth was virtually undetectable in the vastness of a single galaxy, that single galaxy was virtually undetectable within the infinite scope of the universe.
Every year it feels like it’ll be impossible for the ever-inventive Boxcar Theatre company to top their last season, and somehow each year they pull it off. After launching an ultra-ambitious repertory program of four Sam Shepard plays, to be performed in two separate locations over the course of the next two-and-a-half months, artistic director Nick A. Olivero -- who isn’t just producing the festival, but also directing “Fool For Love,” and co-starring in “True West” -- still made time for an internet interview about “Sam Shep in Rep.”
“City of Lost Souls” at ATA, and “Awkward Dinner Party” at the EXIT Theatre, subverted the Valentine spirit.
Talk about a hot mess. The florid, fluid, City of Lost Souls (1983), Rosa von Praunheim’s seldom-screened, "transgendered ex-pat food-fight sex-circus musical extravaganza" begins with a motley cast of unapologetic misfits sweeping up a trashed-out Berlin burger joint, the “Hamburger Königin” (Burger Queen). Shimmying on the counter, falling out of her lingerie, punk rock’s first transwoman cult darling, Jayne County, belts out “The Burger Queen Blues” while her fellow wage slaves, Loretta (Lorraine Muthke), Gary (Gary Miller), and Joaquin (Joaquin La Habana) gyrate suggestively across the linoleum until the boss-lady, Angie Stardust (as herself), a regal, “old school” transsexual wrapped in an enormous fur coat, curtails their goofy antics with a whistle and megaphone.
In stern German she orders them back to work—preparing for the next round of abusive food fights, which characterize the “service” at her uniquely unappetizing restaurant. A Theatre of the Ridiculous-style foray into the secret lives of gender outlaw ex-pats in flirty, dirty Berlin, “Lost Souls” isn’t your typical romance—but it’s a love story all the same.
The Phenomenauts and Alley Cat Books shoot for the moon.
Trapped in a world they didn’t create, the spacecraft-garage band known to us as The Phenomenauts must surely come from a more evolved time and place, as evidenced by the spiffiness of their natty uniforms -- and the electric jolt of their stage shows. As refinement and heroism (the band motto is “Science and Honor”) are qualities in tragically short supply among your run-of-the-mill rock groups, bands which contain both are bound to stand out, with or without the additions of attention-grabbing technical flourishes such as pinpoint lasers, billows of stage fog, and the custom-built Streamerator 2000, which shoots festive streamers of toilet paper out onto the frenetic crowd. Speaking of frenetic, I love a band that can make San Franciscans dance as if possessed by dervishes with hyperkinesis. For that feat alone, they deserve an intergalactic medal for courage in the face of cosmic indifference.
From the dark corner of the stage throbs the low rhythm of a skin-clad, Celtic-style drum and the strum of acoustic guitar, while in the light a man clad in a white dress shirt sways in hypnotic time, eyes shut tight, arms flung wide. “Sleeping, sleeping,” he croons softly, “I’m only sleeping.” Still swaying, he begins to tell the tale from the beginning, about a little baby boy whose “brain is knitting itself in an unusual way.”
You’d be forgiven for thinking in this first moment that the man is speaking of his own infancy, after all, brains don’t come knit much more unusually than that of East Bay-based avant-gardian Dan Carbone. But the infant’s name is not Dan’s, and though his brief and tragic backstory reverberates through much of the rest of the play, the infant soon yields the spotlight to his younger brother, the creator of the piece, “Father Panic,” which made its stage debut at the Garage on Friday.
The fact that it's raining makes it an unexpectedly perfect night to attend the San Francisco Tape Music Festival. The water rushing through pipes and sweeping across the rooftop of the ODC Theatre adds an extra layer of ambience to the cacophonic tones emitting from a modest bank of speakers, squatting on the stage like forbidding monoliths. The here-and-now intrusion of the rainfall ties even the most outré compositions of the evening together in an entirely unanticipated manner, from the oldest (dated 1857) to those created this still-young year by members of the current incarnation of the San Francisco Tape Music Collective and sfSound.
The Crucible’s “Machine: A Fire Opera” puts a blowtorch on it
First off let’s just all admit that fire is freaking cool. Or, rather, hot. And fire art? That’s about as hot as it gets. ‘Cause it’s art, see, but it’s also fire, and fire is awesome. Unless it’s busy burning down your apartment, then maybe not so much. But we are talking abut fire art right now, and if it’s fire art you want, then the first place you’re going to want to go is West Oakland’s Crucible, one of the most intriguing arts studios in the Bay Area.
Mugwumpin’s deconstructive history of Tesla electrifies
It is one day and 69 years after prolific inventor and notable oddball Nikola Tesla died of a heart attack, yet in the raw, unfurnished basement of the Old Mint, he stands quite alive before a contingent of captive theatre-goers, explaining his views on solitude.
“Be alone. That is the secret of invention,” he assures us, smiling in the manner of a man who knows he is about to be disagreed with. He has a lot of opportunities to display that same tight-lipped countenance throughout Mugwumpin’s “Future Motive Power,” as being disagreed with is one of the most recurring themes of Tesla’s biography. A man of compulsive and erratic habits and stubbornly-held views on the future impact of his own inventions, Tesla’s indomitable personality could be as hard to fathom as his scientific contributions were impossible to discredit. Channeled by Mugwumpin artistic director Christopher W. White, he alternates -- in a manner akin to his most famous electrical system -- between comedic mania and tragic inflexibility, as the patterns of his life entwine literally and figuratively with those of his dearest-held principles and hard-won triumphs. Read more »