Friday, August 07, 2009


Annie Clark, St. Vincent, Actor


In brief(s):

Doug Cummings at Film writes about the effort being galvanized to help reverse the decision recently made by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to shutter their film exhibition program. Thankfully, Kenneth Turan’s outrage over this matter is shared by a lot of people, and some pretty big and (hopefully) influential names too. Bertrand Tavernier, Alexander Payne, Paul Schrader, Philip Noyce, George Chakiris, Luc Sante and critic Dave Kehr are among the thousands (yours truly also included) wo have signed the Facebook petition to save the LACMA film program, a lin to which can be found at the dedicated blog site Save Film at LACMA. If you haven’t yet signed up, even if you aren’t a Los Angeles resident, please consider stopping by and signing the petition to show your support. Tavernier, in expressing his support for the effort, eloquently wrote:

“For me, LACMA was the pride, the honour of Los Angeles. It was an Oasis remembering us that the past is not dead. It is not even past. To cancel the film program is a very important sign and symbol. An act of allegiance, submissiveness towards the dictatorship of the present, towards the dictatorship of ignorance."

Hopefully the momentum swinging away from ignorance and back toward embracing the vital art form at one of the city’s most vital art centers will continue with the help of the efforts of the people focusing their efforts at these two sites.


Film classics will get a different venue in which to demonstrate their vitality during the month of August. Turner Classic Movies has teamed up with DeAnza Corporation, owners of the Mission Tiki Drive-in in Montclair, California, the Rubidoux Drive-in in Riverside, California, the South Bay Six Drive-in in San Diego and the Starlight Drive-in in Atlanta, Georgia, to present Classic Movie Nights Under the Stars, a unique opportunity for drive-in fans in California and Georgia to see four terrific classic movies in a setting these days usually reserved for blockbuster family fare. What makes the program special is the choice of films-- Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Viva Las Vegas (1964), To Catch a Thief (1955) and, incredibly, Stanley Kubrick’s version of Lolita (1962). I’ve actually heard some complain about the programming choices, that movies like Bonnie and Clyde and especially Lolita are not appropriate drive-in fare—Who wants to come out with the family, spread a picnic basket, watch a bunch of gangsters get perforated with bullets, or a sleazy pedophile do his thing, and then go home depressed?

What folks with these kinds of concerns forget is that in their heyday drive-ins were not exclusively venues dedicated to B-movie exploitation. Many of them were, as they are today, first-run outlets that showed a variety of pictures that catered to teenage and adult tastes. Has our blockbuster mentality gone so far that we can only imagine seeing stuff like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra at a drive-in, or movies like Grease or American Graffiti when we want to get car clubs out to celebrate the nostalgia of seeing a movie outdoors? I know for a fact that Bonnie and Clyde and Lolita played at drive-ins near me when I was growing up, and I suspect To Catch a Thief and Viva Las Vegas did too. (One person writing on a drive-in message board even complained about the inclusion in TCM’s program of the Elvis movie, claiming that it was too silly and misogynist for the kind of audiences that flock to drive-ins these days!) I say bravo to TCM and DeAnza for giving some of us the chance to catch movies like these under the stars—and at one dollar a carload, how can the response be anything but, “Let’s jump in the station wagon, kids, and go see a show!”?

Get the whole scoop at Turner Classic Movies, which provides the full rotating schedules of each movie throughout the month as well as links to each of the drive-ins.


Here’s the good word from Geoff at De Palma a la Mod about the upcoming Brian De Palma Blog-a-thon coming September 7-16 at Tony Dayoub’s keen blog Cinema Viewfinder. A blog-a-thon devoted to De Palma seems like a no-brainer, yet I don’t think I remember ever coming across one in the past five years, so this ought to be a lot of fun. I fully intend to participate, even if it’s only to trot out a couple of old pieces with some elaboration. But I truly hope that I’ll find the time and inspiration to contribute something new. If you feel similarly moved, let Tony know right away and get ready for some good reading come September.


Finally, a new hit in heavy rotation on the SLIFR Jukebox is St. Vincent, the name of a band but also the assumed nom de plume of the central creative force, singer-songwriter-accomplished shredder Annie Clark. They’ve been around a while and appreciated in music circles far more raveled, experienced and esoteric than my own, so to some of you news of this band may be old news indeed. But I happened to catch a repeat performance on The Late Show with David Letterman from last month while up late last night writing, and I was seriously blown away by the tune she and the band knocked out of the Ed Sullivan Theater, entitled “Marrow.”

In the interview above, Clark reveals her cinematic influences, which are quite apparent in the dramatic art/funk/rock soundscape of “Marrow”—she claims she soaked in the Criterion Collection while writing her new album, appropriately entitled Actor. Do your research and check out the rest of her offerings to see if the band and Clark’s vision is for you—I’ll be doing the same thing. But for now, press play and let “Marrow” throttle you for three and a half minutes. I suspect your brain will be glad you did.



Tony Dayoub said...

Thanks for spreading the word about the Blog-A-Thon, Dennis.

Murray said...

Love that photo of Melanie Griffith, if that is indeed Melanie.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

No problem, Tony! Now, should I write about Wise Guys or The Bonfire of the vanities? Actually, I'm only half kidding. I am trolling for a less-worn angle, though I've got a couple of other older posts I'll probably resubmit. Looking forward to it.

And I know, Murray, what De Palma movie you'll want to hear more about, based on your reaction to that pic!

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