Sunday, April 13, 2014

Seattle Cinerama's Second Annual Science Fiction Film Festival: May 1 - 12 | Katsuhiro Otomo's "Short Peace" Anthology at Grand Illusion Cinema: Apr 24 - 27

Seattle Cinerama's Sci-Fi Festival returns! It's first incarnation in 2012 featured both blockbuster wonders, cult oddities and even some of the of the more adventurous auteur works within this genre cinema. It's second iteration was bumped from the schedule last year due to the extended screening of "Iron Man 3", but thankfully returns this May for a twelve day run. Like the inaugural fest, many of these are single screenings, with multiple films being shown throughout the day. With sci-fi being a common foundation of the pop culture lexicon, I don't feel a need for exposition here, nonetheless 35mm and even 70mm prints of the selections are rare treats. Requiring no small amount of effort to procure a 70mm of Kubrick's "2001: A Spacy Odyssey", (with effects maestro Douglas Trumbull in attendance!) or even of "Tron" for that matter. This year again features a number rare opportunities to witness these spectacles of design, concept and execution of a screen and soundsystem of the immensity as the Cinemrama. David Lynch's proto-Steampunk vision of "Dune" makes a return, as does Terry Gilliam's stylistic Dystopian "Brazil", and the bodily horror of David Cronenberg's "The Fly". There are also double-hitters from both Stanley Kubrick with "A Clockwork Orange" and John Carpenter, with the return of his arctic biological terror, "The Thing" and the 1980's dark urban camp of "Escape from New York". A lot has been said recently about Ridley Scott's collaboration with Dan O'Bannon and the dream design team of Mœbius, H. R. Giger and Martin Bower on "Alien", and groundbreaking in quite a different light, the animated adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's epic paranormal Cyberpunk manga, "Akira". Speaking of Otomo, his first animated short film anthology in two decades "Short Peace", featuring works by his contemporaries Hajime Katoki, Hiroaki Ando and Shuhei Morita's award winning "Possessions", will be playing at the Grand Illusion Cinema for three nights only later this month. Rounding out the bill at the Cinerama, one of the anomalous transmissions from the French New Wave, Francois Truffaut's adaptation of Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451", and another space oddity, in the form of Nicolas Roeg's "The Man Who Fell to Earth". Lastly, a smattering of original 1950's classics, including Fred Wilcox's "Forbidden Planet" (with it's groundbreaking score by Louis and Bebe Barron), and a rare theatrical showing of Henry Levin's "Journey to the Center of the Earth". To get a sense of the series' scope, here's the full line-list of titles: 2001: A Space Odyssey (70mm) • Akira Barbarella • Brazil • A Clockwork Orange • Close Encounters of the Third Kind • Dune • E.T. • Flash Gordon • Forbidden Planet • Star Trek 2  • Star Trek: First Contact Terminator 2 • Tron (70mm) • War of the Worlds • The Road Warrior • Planet of the Apes • The Thing • Escape from New York • The City of Lost Children • Fahrenheit 451 • 12 Monkeys • Logan's Run • Alien • Aliens Tron (70mm) • The Man Who Fell to Earth • The Matrix • Journey to the Center of the Earth • Gattaca • The Fifth Element • The Fly • Predator • Brainstorm (70mm) • UFOTOG • Dark City

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Godflesh with Cut Hands, Pharmakon & House of Low Culture US Tour: April 10 - 25

Thursday at Neumos! After the cancelled tour of this past Fall, the west coast finally gets the out-of-nowhere revival of one of the all time defining Metal acts of the 1980's-90's, Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green's Godflesh. Reports from their New York show of last week is that they've reformed to play some of the most punishing, loud, assaulting music ever created by man and machine. If this sounds like hyperbole, then it's safe to say you weren't at the shows on their final US tour for the "Songs of Love and Hate" album of 1996. An album that at the time made 'Albums of the Year' lists for magazines as disparate as Terrorizer and The Wire. "Songs of Love and Hate" and it's companion " Dub" were a convergence of the purity of Metal assault of earlier Godflesh with a growing fascination with the weighty rhythms and hooks of Reggae and Hip Hop. The latter coming to inform Justin Broadrick's splinter project with The Bug's Kevin Martin through the late 1990's as Techno Animal. The rumored new Godflesh material promises to be a return to the era of just straight-up punishing Metal/Industrial assault, ala "Pure" and "Streetcleaner", with a forthcoming album in the works tentatively titled "A World Lit Only by Fire". Broadrick gave a recent in-depth interview with Pelican's Trevor de Brauw discussing his new solo work under the Jesu moniker, "Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came" and the past, present and future of Godflesh for Self-Titled; "When Pelican Met Jesu", that's pretty much essential reading for any fans of contemporary Metal. For their west coast leg of the tour, Broadrick and G.C. Green are joined by William Bennett's Cut Hands project involving a brutalist contemporary approach to traditional African rhythms. Yes, this is William Bennett of seminal 80's noise act Whitehouse we're talking about. Bennett who happens to have one of the largest private collections of traditional African instruments in the UK and since it's a 55(?) year old British gent who's been unrelenting about his aesthetics/approach to sound/physicality since the early 1980's, don't expect him to stop now. What we were witness to in Decibel's 2012 Modern Love showcase was a deluge of brutal African percussion, distortion and extreme frequency f*ckery; a evolutionary/mutagenic leap of the Whitehouse sound/agenda for sure. Joining Godflesh and Cut Hands as the initiating act on the bill, Aaron Turner's House of Low Culture project, which has included contributions from SUNN O)))'s Stephen O'Malley and Luke Scarola of Old Man Gloom, should go some way to establish the necessary ambiance. Photo credit: Greg Cristman