When filmmaker Avery Willard didn’t use the penname Bruce King, he developed his films under the title of Ava-Graph Films. These pieces weren’t for commercial use, they were the kind of art he would create in his apartment specifically targeted for a small audience, then tucked away in a box until now. This coming weekend, In Search of Avery Willard will screen with a rare full program of Willard films, Unveiling Avery Willard, at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, January 26th and 27th. More…
Tag Archives: Gay New York
If you missed KEEP THE LIGHTS ON in theaters this past September, there’s one last chance to catch it on the big screen, when the film re-opens at New York’s Cinema Village, next Friday, December 21!
Ira will be present for Q&A at the 7pm Fri, Dec. 21 and Sat., Dec. 22 shows. Tickets are on sale now (additional showtimes will go on sale soon):
TICKETS (Additional showtimes on-sale soon)
Fri., Dec. 21, 7pm – Q&A With Director Ira Sachs
Sat., Dec. 22, 7pm – Q&A With Director Ira Sachs
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!
Back in the early days of Keep the Lights On.com (when, like this weekend, we were faced with a hurricane), we shared our love of the The Slope, a web-based comic series by Desiree Akhavan and Ingrid Jungermann about a superficial homophobic lesbian couple in Park Slope: ”Like Jonathan Lisecki’s Gayby, Akhavan and Jungermann repurpose the style of deadpan comedy seen in shows like The Office, Parks & Recreation andCurbs Your Enthusiasm with their unique strand of queer humor,” Chelsea Lora wrote.
The Slope went on to find a loyal audience, with Akhavan and Jungermann being named in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film for 2012. Now, co-creator Jungermann is shooting a spin-off, F To 7TH, a comedy follows her character’s descent into middle age as she struggles to find herself in a world where gender and sexuality have left her old fashioned lesbianism behind. The show also features queer cinema alum Ashlie Atkinson (MY BEST DAY), and Gaby Hoffmann (LOUIE).
The team is in the last week of their kickstarter campaign to raise production funds for their shoot next month. As we know, comedies about lesbian, intersex, and trans issues are a rarity, so if you can, lend them a hand. Stay dry this weekend!
My Best Day may be named after a (fictional) racehorse, but this new film by director Erin Greenwell has little need for luck to come out ahead of the pack. With a cast of quirky yet relatable characters and bittersweet comedic moments, My Best Day delivers a familiar small town slice of Americana while still retaining a unique voice all its own.
United in Anger: A History of ACT UP is a unique feature-length documentary that combines startling archival footage that puts the audience on the ground with the activists and the remarkably insightful interviews from the ACT UP Oral History Project to explore ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) from a grassroots perspective – how a small group of men and women of all races and classes, came together to change the world and save each other’s lives.
Oh these little earthquakes
Here we go again
These little earthquakes
Doesn’t take much to rip us into pieces
-Tori Amos, ‘Little Earthquakes,’ 1992
Good Year for Hunters, a new play from Jess Barbagallo and Chris Giarmo, opened last night as the debut performance at New Ohio Theatre’s Ice Factory 2012. Inspired by Tori Amos’s seminal album, Little Earthquakes, Good Year For Hunters is a queer horror play about a mysteriously orphaned brother and sister who fall in love with a closeted husband and wife. Like Amos, the characters struggle to find their own voices under oppressive religious, cultural, and sexual circumstances. Using a poor theatre aesthetic of minimalist design and physical acting, the Hunters cast creates a darkly comedic landscape of yearning turned nightmare.
Five years ago, Barbagallo approached long-time collaborator Giarmo with the idea to write a play based on Little Earthquakes. “What emerged,” Barbagallo told NYC theater blog Theater in the Now, “was this apocalyptic horror show about growing up queer and closeted.” More…
Matt Wolf is a New York filmmaker whose documentaries focus on music, teenagers, and artists who he describes as gentle gays. He made the film Wild Combination (2008) about the avant-garde cellist and disco producer, Arthur Russell (whose music is used in Keep The Lights On). Currently, Wolf is working on Teenage, a documentary about the invention of youth. While working on Teenage, Wolf created a short film, “I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard”, where he pays tribute to one of his favorite artists and writers, Joe Brainard. Like Arthur Russell, Brainard’s life ended prematurely due to AIDS.
It’s New York Gay Pride this weekend, and there are plenty of film screenings (the hilarious Gayby at BAM CinemaFest and Rooftop Films), articles (an excellent piece by David M. Halperin) and parties (too many for parentheticals) to help celebrate.
For a narci, any communal event forces introspection (or more accurately, navel-gazing), and right now, I can’t stop thinking, and cackling, about Robot House, a place that for me as a college underclassman, felt like an model for living, and the coolest continual Pride Celebration I had ever been too. It was an Evanston, Illinois flop house that felt worlds away from the Northwestern University campus. The upperclassman that lived there – Rachel, Jackie, Stacy, Anna – were film production majors unlike anyone else – mainly because they were always, always creating things and never asking for permission.
They had copies of BITCH Magazine on the table, and made shorts like Ultimate Dino Remix 2005. It’s a lesbian love story about a nerdy girl in love with a cheerleader who tries to woo her by wooing her with dinosaurs and a song called Put Your Ballot Inside My Box.
My favorite memory of their house is making this video , Maggie and Judi Make Flapjacks. I played Judi Dench and my friend, Paul, played Maggie Smith, and we made pancakes. It definitely bears the influence of Jack Smith, without really understanding Jack Smith. At Robot House, I was free to camp, vamp, and eat purple pancakes. It felt like pride.