Thursday, December 18, 2008

Deleted Scenes

“Get Your Shit Together For The Holidays” is not just the final track on Deleted Scenes' debut album, Birdseed Shirt, but the phrase most likely to be screaming through the quartet's waking thoughts. After a fair amount of deliberating, the New-York-by-way-of-D.C. band will celebrate the arrival of its self-released full-length with dual record-release shows in its respective hometowns just before Christmas. Then there's a self-booked, three-week tour looming on the horizon. In short, there are bags to pack, e-mails to send, and a lot of achingly melodic and subtly spiritual songs to rehearse before the calendar rolls over into 2009. The A.V. Club talked to singer/guitarist Dan Scheuerman about the ways in which Deleted Scenes has been getting its shit together for the holidays for the better part of this year.

Saving Up Some Cash

The A.V. Club: You're self-releasing Birdseed Shirt. How are you trying to get the album out there for people to hear?

Dan Scheuerman: We've just been spamming blogs a lot. We can't afford to do anything else. We're only pressing the records as we can afford to press them and sending e-mails is free. I have time to do it, I have a really boring job--I answer phones and escort people up the elevator at a design firm in NYC. Temping is getting difficult though. The more people lose their jobs the more people want to temp. It used to be the perfect solution for musicians. You could go on tour and count on having employment. But as soon as Bear Sterns closed I spent the whole spring begging for an eight-hour shift. It was depressing. I felt like I was in a bread line.

Trying To Get Right With God

AVC: You've mentioned that you're a big fan of Danielson Famile. Are you into the Christian component of that music? Does it influence your approach to songwriting?

DS: My family is Catholic, but the expression of our faith was Charismatic Catholic--you know, the hippie branch of the Catholic Church. My understanding of human nature remains unchanged from the basic Christian idea of original sin and humility in general. That outlook is the biggest part of my lyrics. I wouldn't say they're Christian per se, but… I mean, “Mortal Sin” is a song about being an American swathed in luxury and taking shit for granted and being sort of a walking, sleepy, oaf of pleasure.

Reaching Out To Those Who Are Less Fortunate

AVC: You guys have done a couple of longer tours now. Are people starting to figure out who you are?

DS: Booking this tour was a lot more successful, the more people you meet and stuff. Certain cities are starting to know us now. People in Omaha and Nashville know who we are. But the process of booking a tour is one of the most tedious things ever. You compile a list of, like, 50 local bands and write to them all on MySpace. It's delicate because sometimes you're desperate if it's close to go-time--and there aren't 50 great bands in every city.

AVC: Do you like the music of all of the bands that you e-mail?

DS: Not always. It's the most disingenuous thing, sometimes I feel like shit. But we've also hooked up with some really awesome bands. We're actually making a mixtape of the bands that we're playing with to listen to in the car to get familiar with them.

Learning From Past Mistakes

AVC: Has the band suffered any soul-crushing disasters?

DS: The most depressing thing that ever happened, we were all in D.C., we bought our new van. It had no vinyl on the seats. We were driving this thing, going up the New Jersey turnpike and then something happened, it started making noise. It was our second New York City show and we felt like we really needed to get there. So we sprang for a rental van for $350 and then when we got there we played for, like, two people.

Singing A Few Christmas Carols

AVC: Are there other songs on the record that carry the spiritual vibe?

DS: It's all over the place, all over this record. There is obviously a song called “Got God,” which is a sort of nursery rhyme/drinking song. “Get Your Shit Together For The Holidays,” is definitely another. It's the most emotional song I've ever written. It's about forgiveness, going home for Christmas and being strung out and coming to terms with your family. There's a line in there, “The candles melt in the advent wreath.” This advent wreath just came into the song for me, lyrically, a symbol straight from Catholic symbolism.

AVC: Is the song autobiographical?

DS: It's pretty autobiographical, which is weird to admit, and the payphone in question is in College Park at the corner of Knox and Guilford Avenue.

Knowing That You Can Always Come Home

AVC: Not so long ago you moved out of D.C. and up to Brooklyn. How's that working out?

DS: Um, actually I'm probably going to be moving back to D.C. I like New York, but it smells way worse than D.C. After the tour I'm forecasting having a really hard time getting a temp job in New York. I'm probably going to be crashing on couches in D.C. --Aaron Leitko

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Homosexuals

Tethering psych-rock melodies and dub production to way too many chords, The Homosexuals were a little ahead of the curve for punk rock's first wave. During its original inception--lasting from 1977 to 1983--the band willfully subverted any chance at larger success by performing in no-rent squats, releasing limited-press records on obscure labels, and sometimes feeding their audiences mushroom tea. Still, due largely to a couple of well-researched compilation records, the music of The Homosexuals has survived--and even found an audience of admirers. Lead singer Bruno Wizard has revived the band as a live act in recent years, spontaneously forming new versions of the group from assorted well-wishers, friends, and similar-minded musicians. Wizard is a rather loquacious fellow, so much so that his recently adopted bandmates--a few of whom perform in the Brooklyn band Apache Beat--e-mailed The A.V. Club an advance warning that our conversation might carry on for a while. They were correct. Wizard was kind enough to discuss writing, the whereabouts of his ex-bandmates, and The Homosexuals' first recordings in more than 20 years for roughly 1.25 hours.

(3:05) Discussing life after the original incarnation of The Homosexuals broke up

Bruno Wizard: I'd never listened to my music for 20 years because I was busy working in other ways--making contact with creative conscious networks of people. In 1986, I actually closed the door to the studio in my head as a writer because it was too frustrating. I thought, "I can't carry on working like that, I need to write in another way, let me go and find people, and by building networks with them and helping them find their path they'll become my living, breathing songs, poems, sculptures."

(7:15) Discussing the late '70s and the beginning of punk music, then discussing how he met Apache Beat

BW: By the time punk started happening in '76, I thought, "Let's see how long it takes [the government] to destabilize this revolutionary energy of a generation." I was there for the whole thing and it took six months. By summer of '77 it was all over. But that didn't mean that the energy of those punk visionaries--the real visionaries never called themselves punk. The only people who attached the word punk to themselves were the atavists--and I include practically everybody in that. Anyway, what was the question?

The A.V. Club: How did you get hooked up with the guys in Apache Beat, who are now your backing band?

BW: I started playing with this band Imaginary Icons and we did a show at The Cake Shop. Then I met this young bass player called Mike from a band called Apache Beat and he was the best fucking bass player I had seen since Jim, the original bass player in The Homosexuals. He said, "If ever you need a band I can put it together with people that love the music and they're great players." Two days after that, I got a chance to do a really great gig and the drummer from Imaginary Icons couldn't make it. I rang Mike up and he said to come round to his studio.

(16:32) Discussing the origin of new song "Don't Touch My Hair"

BW: I had been in a tranny sort of electroclub. This track came on and I got up and started dancing. I'm always singing things over other people's music and I just started singing, "Don't touch my hair…" Within 10 seconds I had all these young trannies dancing 'round me, you know, doing this sort of formation dancing and I thought, "I've got a No. 1 record on my hands here." I went straight home and wrote out four pages of lyrics. But it's a very serious song, it's about the death of a girl in a disco when she takes ecstasy.

(26:45) Discussing how The Homosexuals can still be The Homosexuals sans any other original members

BW: The moment Anton [the original guitarist for The Homosexuals] joined the band we started writing "Hearts In Exile," "Neutron Lover," all of those things that people know and associate with The Homosexuals. But I chose Anton. I brought him into the band, I chose the name, and The Homosexuals was always a writing vehicle for me and the idea was that I would bring people in and out… but that's not to denigrate or take away the massive input that Jim had originally as a bass player. I'm actually working with Anton again after a 20-year break.

(42:40) Discussing "the scene," jamming, and the fate of said jams.

BW: As far as I was concerned, there wasn't really a scene. I was so busy just getting on, doing what I had to do survive. But as I was surviving I was making music. We used to jam for like 18 to 20 hours. Different people would come by and play. By 1982, I had this suitcase stolen with about 60-hours of music that Anton and I did with various people. Anton was, like, crying and I said, "You know what, we've been carrying it around, what was it but a load of tape with noises on it? If it was really that important we would have done something with it."

(1:12:54) Discussing the story Wizard wrote across all of the copies of the new Love Guns? release

BW: Yes, well it's a limited edition. I really wanted to keep it personal, so I said, "Look, I want to write a story. I'll number each one individually and then I'll write a story freestyle across the whole thing. I don't know what it's going to be, I'm not going to copy something I've already written, it will just be my little gift of love, my little gift to these people. When they get their copy it will be a unique copy and they'll know that I sat down and wrote that for them." --Aaron Leitko

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Cassettes

There's something slightly schizophrenic about Countach, The Cassettes' new album. The songs aren't so much composed as hammered together from utterly random cultural detritus: The Patrick Swayze film Black Dog, Navajo warriors, reptile people, Italian horror movie scores. Guitarist/vocalist Shelby Cinca--former member of spazz-core pioneers Frodus--describes Countach as "Choose Your Own Adventure" rock 'n' roll: a type of music where one page turn (or in this case, song break) can bring a disorienting shift in subject matter. Cinca helped lead The A.V. Club through The Cassettes' many digressions.

You are the leader of a Washington, D.C. band called The Cassettes and you are about to release your third album. If you want to release this record on an outdated, yet name-appropriate format, turn to page 46. If you're worried that cassettes are a dead technology, turn to page 19.

[Page 46]

Shelby Cinca: We always wanted to do a cassette, because of the name… I feel like CDs just get burned and then people throw them away or put them in their closet. Also, it fits our aesthetic: You're forced with the program. You can't skip around.

[Page 19]

SC: They also have an MP3 download card inside, in case people might not have cassette players. It's kind of a fun pack. There's cardboard, then a bag, the cassette, toys, the download card… If you were 12, you'd be really psyched. I like to think that if you were 30, you'd be really psyched.

You have begun to grow weary of dirigibles and robo-monocles. If you want to stretch the limits of traditional steampunk, turn to page 59. If you want to incorporate seemingly random elements into the record to avoid being pigeonholed, turn to page 14.

[Page 59]

SC: This record has more of what I actually think steampunk music should sound like. There's a lot more clanging, more metal. Maybe it's not steampunk-y in a role-playing-game, sci-fi sense--those people might be freaked out by it.

[Page 14]

SC: This one has a Lamborghini Countach, a helicopter, and an alien wizard man [on the cover]. It's a record that has some new-age-y channeling of our inner child… The last record there was a bunch of songs I wrote on my own. But this was all improvising, building something from the moment. It's really fun to not be confined by anything.

The tour for your previous record, 'Neath The Pale Moon, didn't go so well. If you think you should change your approach to songwriting, turn to page 31. If you'd rather believe that life's misfortunes are the result of conspiracies against you, turn to page 70.

[Page 31]

SC: It was a weird tour. We had some really bad shows where nobody was paying attention… When I was in Frodus in the '90s, [local] bands played last and they made sure everybody was there to see you. Now it's every man for himself. So now we just want to throw something out there that's crazy.

[Page 70]

SC: There was this guy David Icke, he was a reporter for BBC. He was like, "Fuck this, I quit," and started writing these books saying that we've been visited by reptilian aliens, that it's all part of grand conspiracy that's dumbing down and limiting humanity. I'd rather believe in something like that. It helps you deal with it when something weird happens. Like, if McCain becomes president you can just hate the snake and not the man.

The Cassettes have been offered a series of shows at various conventions. If you want to accept every offer you receive, turn to page 28. If you decide to draw the line somewhere, turn to page 74.

[Page 28]

SC: We're kind of getting into the events world: sci-fi conventions, comic book conventions, maybe the conspiracy theory convention… We played at Goddard Space Center for Yuri's Night. Then we were contacted by the city of Lancaster for an event. We've actually been contacted by steampunk conventions--they wanted us to play the White Mischief party, but it didn't work out.

[Page 74]

SC: We were even asked to play an atheist convention. We're always open to it, but the thing is [synth player] Stephen [Perron Guidry]'s Catholic and they had a comedy Jesus. That's not cool. They shouldn't be making fun. If it was just, "I believe in nothing," that would have been cool. But it's cooler to believe in aliens and parallel dimensions.

The title track to your new record is about a Navajo warrior but is named after a sports car. If you would like to offer an explanation for this unlikely juxtaposition, turn to page 90. If you'd prefer to leave it at that, turn to page 2.

[Page 90]

SC: It's about a [time-traveling] Navajo warrior coming back to now and everything is crazy. So he's like, "You gotta hit reset." It's a call to arms.

[Page 2]

SC: A Lamborghini Countach's a pretty sweet car. --Aaron Leitko

Screen Vinyl Image

[One Track Mind, Washington City Paper]

Fort Knox Five

image: Forward Arch: Fort Knox Five has a progressive notion of D.C.

[Record Review, Washington City Paper]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Points

The Points play vigorous three-chord Cro-Magnon rock in a city that, as of late, has been all about clean guitars and delicate introspection. In fact, everything about the band--formed in 2005 by former Poser Bill guitarist Geo White and drummer Travis Jackson, with Rebecca Dye, their favorite bartender, on keyboards--seems a little down-and-dirty, from the short, aggressive songs found on its recent self-titled debut to its current bare-bones tour setup. Drummer Travis Jackson spoke with The A.V. Club about Dye's recent departure, writing songs in a skate park while drunk, and why The Points aren't really a fighting band.

The A.V. Club: The Points practice in a skate park. How did that happen?

Travis Jackson: It's owned by this guy Dan Zeman. Geo and I have known him since we were teenagers. He's always lived in Blagden alley. Our truck broke down there and he helped us out. We started practicing at his old warehouse with Poster Bill. It's a trade-off--we book all of the bands for the parties, he makes a good cut from that. He's like a dad, he takes good care of us.

AVC: What were you doing in the alley?

TJ: We went to go see a show. Foo Fighters or something stupid like that.

AVC: How did you guys hook up with Rebecca?

TJ: She was a bartender who used to give us free pitchers. We used to bring her cool comp CDs, she was into them, so she started playing with us.

AVC: What were you putting on those CDs?

TJ: The Saints, old punk rock, stuff like that. There was one band--I can't remember, they just played here--that would just drive out all of the customers. I can't remember who they were. I've had 500 beers in four days.

AVC: Why did Rebecca leave right before the tour started?

TJ: I don't know. She was like, “Book the shows, book the shows, I can do it.” Then all of a sudden things started to get a little bit weird. She was getting distant. She dissed the art, dissed the master, then quit.

AVC: So you guys have some new people touring with you?

TJ: We have two dudes with us now, but we haven't thought about a full-time replacement. We've known these guys forever. Chad [Middleton]'s in the band VCR from Richmond. Danny [Darko] was in Murder Skit Corpses--we taught him all the songs in a day.

AVC: How are you getting around on tour?

TJ: We had a van, but it was Rebecca's. Right now we're touring in a Honda… something. We're borrowing bass rigs at every club. Geo has a small vox amp. I play a three-piece drum set. It all fits.

AVC: Does the car get really smelly?

TJ: Oh yes, it smells like shit right now. We're sweaty dudes.

AVC: Do you guys collaborate on your songs or does one person write the bulk of the material?

TJ: Me and Geo are the main songwriters. We would all meet up, get drunk, and write songs.

AVC: What does the drinking do for it?

TJ: Um… there's really just nothing else to do. Plus, being in a warehouse is pretty boring. It helps get the brain rolling.

AVC: Do The Points have a preferred beer?

TJ: Whatever's free.

AVC: Do you guys drink a lot on tour?

TJ: That's one of our favorite things about touring. We go places and they've got a shit-load of beer.

AVC: Have you guys ever gotten into trouble, fights, that kind of stuff?

TJ: There's never really been fights in the band. Once, we went on tour with our friends The Spins. They always fight each other. In New York we got really drunk on whiskey and I threw myself in just to see what it was like. I think I got a broken finger out of that. On our last tour at Virginia Beach, Geo got choked out by some guy.

AVC: What do you mean, “choked out”?

TJ: This dude with, like, a 300-pound arm grabbed him from behind and choked him until he passed out on the floor. Later on he got me, but friends pulled him off before I went unconscious. It looked like we had hickies all over our necks, you know, from the bruises. But we're not big fighters--we're tiny dudes.

AVC: What did you do to warrant the choke out?

TJ: I think Geo was just drunk and threw a beer bottle against the ground. And then, I guess I jumped on top of the table and started doing push-ups. This was before we even played, our friends Mas Y Mas were playing. He wasn't even the door guy, he was just some marine asshole. We want to get Tazers for next time.

AVC: But they let you back in to play the show?

TJ: We still played the show. The first half hour was just us talking shit. Then we played three or four songs and left. --Aaron Leitko

Kasai Allstars

[Record Review, Earplug]

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Under the Radar

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Like a musical Ikea, Stereolab has a record to fit almost any stage of modern life. With its clanging guitars and leftist lyrics, 1993’s Transient Random Noise Bursts With Announcements was the de rigueur soundtrack for days spent smoking cloves in front of the college dorm. Then came the classy fusion melodies of 1996’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup, which helped ease the transition into having to iron your clothes every day. When the passions of youth started to feel trying and pretentious, 1999’s indulgent Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night mirrored that sentiment. On its new record, Chemical Chords, Stereolab scales back and simplifies, ditching epic pastiche for straightforward girl-group pop. It’s a record for settling down and adjusting your expectations, but the simple melodies should at least help make that autumnal moment a little less bittersweet. STEREOLAB PERFORM WITH ATLAS SOUND AND CHESSIE AT 7:30 P.M. AT THE 9:30 CLUB, 815 V ST. NW. $20. (202) 265-0930. —Aaron Leitko

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Faraquet Reunion Show

[More footage here]

Under the Radar

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008



A few misconceptions about Faraquet

Looking back from 2008, the narrative seems pretty clear: In 1997, guitarist Devin Ocampo, drummer Chad Molter, and bassist Jeff Boswell form the power trio Faraquet. The band tours hard, pioneering a herky-jerky style full of confounding rhythms, odd harmonies, and the kind of dexterous guitar work that would baffle music nerds for a decade. Wild popularity ensues as D.C. thrills to the sound of compound triple meter. Faraquet goes on to release two singles, a split EP with Milwaukee's Akarso, and a full-length on Dischord Records before parting ways in 2001. But now, on the eve of the band's first complete-lineup show in seven years (Faraquet performed four dates in Brazil last summer sans Boswell), it seems that the story didn't really go that way.

Who knew that Molter couldn't play the drums? That nobody came to Faraquet shows--well, at least not for a few years? That King Crimson was not an acceptable punk-rock influence in 1997? Molter (who now resides in Colorado) reveals a few misconceptions about the band and hints at the larger--and sometimes lazier--picture.

Faraquet enjoyed widespread popularity as a result of hard work and heavy touring.

The A.V. Club: Do you feel like Faraquet became more popular once you disbanded?

Chad Molter: The interest definitely came after the band broke up. For the first couple of years we were just plugging away playing for nobody. Toward the end it started to pick up and opportunities presented themselves a little more often. Also, we weren't a self-promotion machine. We only went on three tours. [Molter later recalls two more short tours with Burning Airlines, bringing the total to five tours in roughly five years.] We played the West Coast once. Never did Europe. It's not surprising that it took people a while to come upon the band.

AVC: Why did it take so long for the band to do anything?

CM: Because we were really slow. It took us a while to write new songs. And we were a little bit lazy, too. And nobody cared.

Chad Molter knew what he was doing behind the drum kit.

AVC: At the beginning of Faraquet you had never played drums before. Devin's music is pretty technical--what was the learning process like?

CM: It actually was really painful. The kind of stuff Devin writes is pretty physically demanding, and I was definitely not there at the beginning. Those guys were very patient with me. It took a year or so. I figured out a few tricks. I'm not about the rudiments; I'm about tricks.

AVC: What are the tricks?

CM: I can't tell you.

Faraquet was a part of D.C.'s art-punk scene.

AVC: How did you guys fit in with the rest of the D.C. music community back then?

CM: Maybe this was true in the '90s more than now, but there was the arty crowd and then the not-so-arty crowd. We fell in with not-so-arty crowd even though I thought our music was pretty weird, but whatever.

AVC: Would I have seen you hanging out with The Cranium [a late-'90s art-punk D.C. band, members of which went on to form Gang Gang Dance]?

CM: No. [Laughs.] Never us and the Cranium hanging out. I remember the few times I went to The Embassy [a punk group house in Mt. Pleasant that was home to bands such as The Make-Up], it was like you get that silence where everybody stares at you, you hear a pin drop, and then the party resumes. I was definitely a fan of all that music and I knew a lot of those people, but we were just not a part of that whole thing.

It was cool to be into King Crimson in '97.

AVC: Did you feel sort of alone among your peers in terms of liking classic rock?

CM: People were into punk or whatever. Talking about being influenced by classic rock was looked down upon. But those were our big influences, even though we weren't a classic-rock band. But yeah, having that as an influence we felt a little bit alone at the time. Then again, we didn't care.

The full-length LP The View From This Tower cemented the band's status as an indie-rock powerhouse.

AVC: Did signing with Dischord change anything? Did more people start turning up to shows after the full-length came out?

CM: No. We recorded the album ourselves and paid for it ourselves. Then it took a while for Dischord to say "okay, we'll put this out." By the time it came out, the band wasn't around for very much longer--we did one more short tour, I believe, and then broke up. We didn't stick around long enough to see things change.

AVC: Did the record sell well? Has it continued to be popular since you broke up?

CM: It did. And it continues to sell pretty well--I mean, I'm comparing it to other Dischord releases. In that realm it has done pretty well. I haven't noticed any surge, I think that it has just steadily sold. [To date, the record has sold TK copies.] I don't know why or how it has happened. It resonates with a lot of people and still has a fan base eight years after the fact.

The members of Faraquet are ready for their reunion show.

AVC: Have you guys practiced?

CM: No. Not at all. I'm flying back [Thursday, Sept. 11]--we have a week to rehearse. Devin and I played these songs a year ago in Brazil. So I think we'll be okay. --Aaron Leitko.

Faraquet performs at 9 p.m. with Statehood and Red Tag Rummage Sale Friday, Sept. 18, at The Black Cat Backstage. Tickets are $8. Call 202-667-4490 for more information.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

David Lean Restored


In his later and best-remembered works like Lawrence of Arabia, British director David Lean firmly established the clichés of Oscar bombast—exotic locations, grueling three-hour run-times, and subtly insinuated sexual deviance. But in his earlier films Lean was at the service of queen and countrymen, firmly solidifying many of the British cultural stereotypes that we Americans still enjoy today. The National Gallery of Art will show restored versions of eight of these films, and the director’s collaborations with Noel Coward alone are a survey of mid-century Englishness. The World War I naval drama In Which We Serve (1942) revels in stiff-upper-lip military romanticism. The comedy Blithe Spirit (1945) serves up the requisite droll English humor. Brief Encounter (1946)—the tale of a middle-class English housewife’s unconsummated affair with a married physician—is positively brimming with cloistered emotions, unfulfilled passion, and guilt. You’d need a plateful of Marmite on toast and a cupboard full of Balearic techno 12-inches to get more British than that. Lean’s subsequent Dickens adaptations—Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948)—begin to introduce the grandiose settings and epic tendencies that the director would use to great effect later on, but they too make the British Isles’ industrial grayness and bad food storyline linchpins. Some of those stereotypes are up for revision, but until some brave U.K. auteur is willing to tackle his country’s inexplicable devotion to Manic Street Preachers, Lean’s work will continue to endure. “David Lean Restored” runs through Sunday, Dec. 28, at the National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium, Constitution Ave. between 3rd and 7th Sts. NW. Free. (202) 727-4215. —Aaron Leitko

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Alexander Kluge

If Alexander Kluge wasn’t the first auteur to apply the gray colors and paranoia that defined New German Cinema, then he was close at hand and holding a paintbrush. The Goethe-Institut’s retrospective on Kluge, “Film Will Survive,” features four of the director’s longer works, accompanied by relevant short films, beginning Sept. 8 with Kluge’s early triumphs Brutality in Stone (1966) and Yesterday Girl (1966). Brutality in Stone, an 11-minute montage assembled from footage of the ruined Nuremberg rally grounds, contemplates decaying Nazi architecture as a silent witness to Word War II atrocity. While that may seem old hat in the era of the History Channel, it resonated deeply back when Germany was desperately trying to look away and start over. Yesterday Girl, Kluge’s first feature-length film, critiques postwar German society by following an young and emotionally desolate Jewish woman from betrayal to betrayal as she tries to get ahead, ultimately descending into a life of petty theft. By using on-set improvisation, wild juxtapositions, and jarring narrative leaps, Kluge helped to establish a distinctive world for German cinema. But it’s a slightly harrowing one, where a common person’s soul generally gets crushed and birds don’t sing but scream in pain. The series runs to Monday, Sept. 29, at the Goethe-Institut Washington, 812 7th St. NW; see Showtimes for this week’s films; see for a complete schedule. $6. (202) 289-1200.

The Walkmen

[Performance Review, Washington Post]


Knowle West Boy

[Performance Review, Washington Post]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Ex & Getatchew Mekuria

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008