LOVE SONG dates for Portland and Seattle

I’m excited to announce that tickets are now on sale for upcoming Seattle and Portland performances of THE LOVE SONG OF R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER. I’m going to be screening the film as Yo La Tengo performs their original score live at the Moore Theater in Seattle on 9/11 and at the Washington High School in Portland on 9/12. (The Portland show is part of the fantastic Time-Based Art Festival.)

One of the things that I really like about this “live documentary” form is that we can tailor the film to every city we visit. Buckminster Fuller was a Johnny Appleseed–like character—always on the road for new projects and lectures. So he has connections to almost any city.

In Seattle, we are going to incorporate the Laser Dome into the piece. (Who knew that there was still a venue out there dedicated to laser light shows????) The Seattle Laser Dome, originally called the Spacearium, was actually designed for the 1962 World’s Fair by a former student of Fuller’s named TC Howard. The dome is pictured above, on the top being built before the fair, and on the bottom in its current incarnation.

Info and tickets are available for Seattle here, and Portland here.

Buckminster Fuller Installation Shots

Many thanks to Mark Decena and Forrest Pound of Kontent Films for recently going to the SFMOMA and taking some fantastic pictures and footage of “Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area: a Relationship in 12 Fragments (inspired by the Dymaxion Chronofile)”—this is the installation I made at the museum for their exhibit on Fuller. Many people have asked for more photos, so here you go. And if you’re in SF, the show will be up through the end of July, so do check it out in person.

LOVE SONG at TBA Festival, Portland

So it’s official: we’re going to be screening/performing THE LOVE SONG OF R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER as part of the Time-Based Art Festival in Portland this September.  TBA is the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s annual performance festival, and I’ve had a few conversations w/ the curators over the years about screening something there. This is the first time it’s worked out, and I’m really thrilled. The lineup is a very interesting mix of dance, performance, and Laurie Anderson! This is actually a dream context for me to screen LOVE SONG.

The night before TBA we’ll be screening the film in Seattle at the historic Moore Theater. This is a show we set up w/ a rock promoter there, so it’ll be a totally different vibe. One of the most interesting things about this ‘live documentary’ biz is getting to slide between genres with the piece and see how much the screening context shapes an audience’s expectations and experience.

I’m booking a lot of shows for the fall and will post details here as plans develop.

Images: Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, John Wiseman via Flickr; Moore Theater Interior, Bob Cerelli via STG Presents

LOVE SONG World Premiere

Photo by Pamela Gentile, Courtesy San Francisco Film Society

So the world premiere of THE LOVE SONG OF R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER went super well—better than I could have hoped! We did two screenings of the piece on May 1st at the SFMOMA. Both were sold out and there was a lot of energy in the theater. Yo La Tengo and I had been running the piece for several days and had a pretty good handle on it, but still… I was nervous as hell. That’s one of the interesting things about live cinema, you never know how a piece is working until you do it for people. Do the music and images work together? Are the jokes actually funny? Does the timing feel right? These are all questions that only an audience can answer. I was really pleased and hugely relieved by the response. It seems like the piece works. Georgia and Ira and James were happy about it too.

Here are a couple of articles about LOVE SONG’s premiere: San Francisco Chronicle & Filmmaker Magazine

I’m excited to now start setting up screenings for the fall. The first one I can confirm is the TBA Festival in Portland, OR on September 12, 2012—looking forward to it already!

And then here’s another great response. One of the Facebook trillionaires posted these nice words about the film last week; I hadn’t known that he was in the audience!

Back in NYC

So the installation is finally done! It was a huge amount of work, but I’m happy with the way it turned out. The whole SFMOMA exhibition is up too, so if you’re in San Francisco, stop by the museum and take a look. My video is called “Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area: A Relationship in 11 Fragments (inspired by the Dymaxion Chronofile).” The piece is a series of vignettes about different connections Fuller had to San Francisco.  It’s on a loop, so it’s always playing.

The sculpture part of the installation is inspired by Fuller’s Dymaxion Map of the World and was designed by SF projection company Obscura Digital. One of the huge challenges for me was to create a piece that would take advantage of the sculpture and feel almost collage-like but at the same time work as a coherent narrative. There were definite stories that I wanted to tell here, so that clarity was necessary.  We found, through trial and error, that too much “collage” made it impossible for the viewer to follow things––the piece became overwhelming––but not enough “collage” and it felt like we were squandering the potential of this cool sculpture. Finding that balance was the real work, and I hope that we’ve done it.

I’m back in NYC now, working on the second part of my commission for the museum: a “live documentary” about Fuller that I’m going to premier on May 1st. The band Yo La Tengo will be performing a live soundtrack, so I’ve been going out to Hoboken all week to work with them. It’s been a super interesting collaborative experience. Making music for movies is always a complex and challenging process; there’s no right or wrong way to go about doing it. And even the language is tough––as a director, you find yourself saying weird things like, “Could you add a little more heartbreak to that song?” Anyway, we seem to have found a pretty organic way of developing the soundtrack, and I’m very excited about the songs that are taking shape. More details in the next post.

Yo La Tengo image courtesy of Josh Sanseri Photography.