Monthly Archives: November 2012

Art & AutobiographyNews & Updates

Interview with Jonathan Caouette by


Jonathan Caouette is a filmmaker from Texas. His first film, Tarnation, debuted in 2003. In Tarnation Caouette incorporated over twenty years of footage to tell the story of his growing up and his relationship with his mother, Renee Leblanc. The film was executive produced by Gus Van Sant and John Cameron Mitchell. He also directed the 2009 documentary All Tomorrow’s Parties,  on the British music festival of the same name, and the experimental short film All Flowers In Time, starring Chloë Sevigny. His third film, Walk Away Renee, debuted at Cannes Film Festival in 2011. Walk Away Renee conveys the story of the voyage Jonathan and his mother make to move her from Texas to New York City, where Jonathan has lived for many years. The film begins its New York theatrical run tomorrow, November 30th, at IFC Center.

Kyle Tidd: Hi Jonathan! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. This was my side of our imaginary conversation, feel free to respond however you want, it can be totally unrelated, as you please.

Jonathan Caouette: Oh thank you, I am more concerned about passing out at the moment…I’m on pain medication from a fall last week, I’m waiting right now for a lot of test results to come back…I hope it’s nothing too bad…I just turned 40 and had to cancel my celebration plans and have made two doctor’s visits and two trips to the ER just in time for the opening of Walk Away Renee.

KT: Whoa, I hope everything’s ok! I’m only going to ask you a few questions then you should rest. Is there a connection between the title of the new movie and the 1966 song by The Left Banke?

JC: Yes, The Left Banke is one of my favorite bands of all time. My mother turned me on to Walk Away Renee (the song) and Pretty Ballerina when I was a baby. Also, if it weren’t for The Left Banke there would be no Belle and Sebastian…

KT: Would you say Walk Away Renee is to Tarnation kind of like what Amnesiac was to Kid A, i.e. material salvaged from the first work that elaborates further on the relationship set up between you and your mother in Tarnation?

JC: I love that analogy, yes it is! Well, actually in a nutshell—and I’m half joking about this—but for me, in a sense the film essentially feels like it could be an opulent DVD extra, an easter egg, on disc two, for a 20 year DVD (or whatever the format will be in 2024) anniversary of Tarnation…that I somehow traveled forward in time and stole it from myself just before I put it on that disc two DVD and then came back and just, well, presented it now in 2012.

KT: You’ve mentioned H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine before, and I’ve also heard you’re working on a film about time travel.

JC: I kid you not, and I’m not trying to sound like James Franco or anything, but I have seven projects in development, all of which are going to come down the pipeline as it were in beautiful even-keeled paced succession. One of these is in fact a narrative film I’m writing and directing about time travel.

KT: Can you talk a little more about your interest in time travel?

JC: Yes. Long story short, I wish I had a time machine so that I could leave this time and go back to, I don’t know, 1950 and live until 1986. I love the subject and I am really interested in exploring it in a way that I don’t necessarily think has been done before; the idea of completely personalizing that story really excites me.

KT: And the relationship between time travel and cinema?

JC: Well, I feel a bit like John Cusack in High Fidelity. I associate specific memories and directly correlate the memories to music and films that I had seen during particular times in my life.

KT: I realize that Walk Away Renee was made in relation to certain practical considerations (the need to move your mother to New York from Texas), but it my understanding that you have always wanted to make a classic roadtrip film. Would you say a roadtrip is like time travel in some ways? Your mother moved to New York in part because she was receiving inadequate medical care in Texas. There seems to be an undercurrent in your work between cinema, time travel, and story-telling. Could you talk about that?

JC: YES, but if I answer that all the way right now honestly and detailed I would be giving away the plot of the film, which I can’t do right now.

KT: I understand. Apparently there was a segment cut from the film that had to do with a Wilhelm Reich cult group called the Cloudbusters. Are you a Kate Bush fan?

JC: Huge, huge huge fan. She is like my demi-goddess. I grew up listening to the likes of Kate Bush, Lene Lovich, Nina Hagen, Le Rita Mitsouko, etc.

KT: Why were the Cloudbusters cut from the film?

JC: That scene, coupled with a lot of other scenes coupled with a structure that I could not properly and comfortably digest, was screened at Cannes. The Cannes version of Walk Away Renee is an entire book in itself. For me it was the right film but the wrong version at the wrong time at the right festival. I was so unbelievable gobsmacked grateful beyond words to have the opportunity to show the film as the work in progress at Cannes. But that version became re-tooled about three times just after that showing. The new and final version will be present at IFC this Friday, November 30th. My family and I will be at the last showing of the night. I’ll be on crutches!

News & UpdatesThe MovieUncategorized

4 Independent Spirit Award Nominations! by


Keep the Lights On has received four Independent Spirit Awards nominations: Best Feature, Best Director (Ira Sachs), Best Actor (Thure Lindhardt), and Best Original Screenplay (Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias). The ceremony, held in Santa Monica, is the largest for US independent film. The awards will be broadcast live on IFC on Saturday, February 23, 2013.

In other news, KTLO is available to pre-order on DVD and Blu-Ray. The DVD will be released on January 22. Special features include 4 deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes documentary, cast audition videos, and a commentary with Ira.

Gay New YorkNews & Updates

OPENING TODAY: The 25th NYC MIX Queer Experimental Film Festival by


Whether it’s archival footage of activists protesting against the release of Hollywood’s offensive film  “Cruising”, or an alien drag queen leading an army of flying penis monsters, NYC’s MIX Queer Experimental Film Festival yet again provides an intriguing program for everyone. Paying homage to its 25 year span, this year’s festival will acknowledge its past while exploring what it means to be a queer person in today’s society.

MIX was founded in 1987 by activist/author Sarah Schulman and filmmaker Jim Hubbard in response to the growing lack of original, limit-pushing films in other LGBTQ festivals. Since then, it has become one of the most anticipated annual events in the New York queer art community.

One of the programs everyone should be sure to check out is the Dirty Looks Selects: The First 25 Years of MIX program, which is guest-curated by Bradford Nordeen, programmer of the monthly queer experimental screening series, Dirty Looks.


Below is a statement from Bradford Nordeen on Dirty Looks and what we can expect from this year’s festival:

“Dirty Looks traces contemporary queer aesthetics through historical works, presenting quintessential GLBTQ film and video alongside up-and-coming artists and filmmakers. We exhibit a lineage of queer tactics and visual styles for younger artists, casual viewers and seasoned avant-garde film-goers, alike. So we’re understandably thrilled to be involved and to celebrate this momentous quarter-centennial! What we’ve done, here at Dirty Looks, is approached the entire back catalogue of the MIX film festival and selected one title per year throughout MIX’s history. In so doing, we tried to highlight works that either had a real significance or bearing over that moment of artistic production – or we selected titles or artists that have exhibited an amazing longevity and growth since their inclusion in the festival. Our “Selects” programs will be a REAL roller coaster, assembling very disparate titles and artists, voices and approaches – much like the festival itself!”     


The festival opens today and runs through Sunday November 18,  and is located at MIX Factory in Brooklyn (339 Butler Street).  Also at MIX NYC will be KTLO’s own In Search of Avery Willard, screening this Saturday the 17th at 8 pm!

Grab your Tickets now!




Gay New YorkNews & Updates

SIGNIFIED – Premiere and Dance Party this Friday, November 2 by


A lot of our friends, readers, and cast and crew for KEEP THE LIGHTS ON live in Lower Manhattan, so we hope everyone’s safe, and ok.

For those marooned in Brooklyn, we know things are getting a bit nutty, so if you’re in or around Bed-Stuy, check out this dance party tomorrow night for SIGNIFIED, an LGBTQ bilingual multi-media documentary web-series, Friday November 2, at the Freebrook Mansion. Here’s from Anna Barsan, co-creator of SIGNIFIED:

SIGNIFIED, an LGBTQ bilingual multi-media documentary web series, is thrilled to announce its third season. Shot in Colombia, Argentina & Cuba, SIGNIFIED’s latest season is spotlighting LGBTQ artists, activists & academics throughout Latin America.

In conjunction with La Joteria, a community of queer latina@s & QUEEROCRACY, a NYC based grassroots organization promoting social and economic justice, SIGNIFIED will launch the third season with a premiere screening and Latin dance party Friday, November 2nd, 2012 at the Freebrook Mansionin Brooklyn.Through interviews and events, SIGNIFIED works to provide a common space and platform for our diverse queer communities, both nationally and internationally, to participate in discourses regarding strategies of resistance. We seek to redefine resistance with narratives of collective education, radical interpersonal relationships, artistic creation and identity formation.

The inspiration for interviewing queer communities in Latin America came as a result of a number of discussions which took place during Season 1 and 2 which raised questions concerning accessibility, sharing of resources, and the degree to which cross-cultural dialogue was/was not happening between queer communities on an international scale.

Thanks in huge part to Carmen Torres, a member of the SIGNIFIED team originally from Bogotá but currently working in Buenos Aires, as well as Carlos Motta, one of our interviewees from Season 1, we had direct links to a number of individuals and organizations working in queer communities throughout Latin America. Anna and Carmen (half of the SIGNIFIED team) spent 5 months traveling from Winter 2011 to Spring 2012 to document and interview a handful of these community members.  We are now conducting interviews in the U.S. with Latin@ LGBTQ communities to foster and create spaces for international dialogue addressing the very complex issues of immigration/migration and the policing of brown bodies across borders (as well as within our own borders), U.S. imperialism, constructions of citizenship, colonial legacy, and the changing relationship – both culturally, economically and socially – between North and South America.

Our screening this Friday, November 2nd will feature 5 of our interviews from Bogotá, Habana, and Buenos Aires and provide a glimpse into the issues and topics we will be discussing throughout the upcoming season!