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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Video: Raleigh Murals Project Mashes Up Vibrant People and Public Paintings

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 12:15 PM

The colors of spring preceded the flowers in Raleigh this year, thanks in large part to the people of the Raleigh Murals Project, who work to catalog and highlight historic urban murals and to facilitate the creation of new ones (see Jane Porter’s article for more). They just released a fun new video that draws a parallel between the vibrancy of Raleigh's citizens and its public art.   Co-owner Jedidiah Gant is also a digital strategist at Raleigh video production company Myriad Media, where he worked with creative strategist Tina Haver Currin (disclosure: Currin is an INDY contributor) to produce...

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Video: Durham dance artists discuss the provocative Compagnie Marie Chouinard

Posted By and on Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 7:37 AM

Compagnie Marie ChouinardUNC's Memorial Hall Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 Carolina Performing Arts has presented two provocative co-commissions from the French-Canadian dance ensemble Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Orpheus et Eurydice in 2009 and Gymnopédies this month. The INDY sent two dance artists, rather than dance critics, to the latter, on a bill that also included an older Chouinard piece, Henri Michaux: Mouvements. They came back with a lot to say. Anna Barker is the founder of the company real.live.people.durham, which had its local debut in 2014 with the sold-out Motorco performances, presented by Durham Independent Dance Artists, of it's not me it's you, a...

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Video: Dave Yarwood performs on the theremin at Sean Michaels' Durham reading

Posted By on Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Us Conductors, the debut novel by Said the Gramophone founder Sean Michaels, is a finely written fiction about the early electronic instrument called the theremin and its inventor's relationship with Clara Rockmore, perhaps the greatest thereminist of all time. (Read our in-depth interview with Michaels.) Three days ago, Michaels visited Letters Bookshop in Durham and gave an engaging reading to a surprisingly large Sunday-afternoon crowd. Michaels enlisted local thereminist Dave Yarwood to open by performing a classical piece, Camille Saint-Saëns' "Le Cigne" ("The Swan"), on the theremin, accompanied by a recorded piano track. The INDY attended the event to make this video of Yarwood's performance,...

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Exclusive video preview: Renay Aumiller’s Acquiring Dawn at the American Dance Festival

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 4:59 PM

The American Dance Festival brings choreographers and dancers from all over the world to Durham (see our preview), but tonight at Reynolds Theater, it turns our attention to North Carolina natives in “Here and Now: NC Dances.”  A co-presentation with the NC Dance Festival, “Here and Now” features the work of four choreographers and companies: Renay Aumiller Dances, Gaspard & Dancers, Diego Carrasco Schoch and Leah Wilks’ Vector. Today, the INDY visited Aumiller’s tech rehearsal to create this exclusive video preview of Acquiring Dawn, which was inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road and finds beauty in a post-apocalyptic setting. “Here and Now: NC Dances” is at 7...

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

An impressive show of video art at Flanders Gallery

Posted By on Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 4:14 PM

It must be something about March, but many of my standard Raleigh gallery stops didn't have new openings this past First Friday. Luckily, that gave me a chance to revisit frames per second, a consistently fascinating, richly meditative video art show at Flanders Gallery. If you're in Chapel Hill or Durham and routinely stick to your city’s Second and Third Friday art walks, then this sharply curated group exhibit, which closes on March 16th, is worth the trip to Raleigh. Many of the pieces are available online, but when carefully installed in a darkened room—many have sculptural elements or play on enormous screens—the cumulative effect...

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Friday, July 12, 2013

DVD+Digital: Aging, apocalypse and After People

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 2:47 PM

courtesy of History channel Ever since aging through the sad end of the 18-35 demographic, I find my television tastes have drifted. When clicking around these days, I tend to linger on the pop scholarship offered by basic cable stations like History, Discovery, National Geographic and Animal Planet. My conclusion is that I like reality TV, I just don't like reality TV about people. As such, the three-disc collection After People — new to DVD from the History channel — is right up my misanthropic alley. After People trades in that brand of speculation and imagery sometimes called apocalypse porn....

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Friday, July 5, 2013

DVD+Digital: Mel Brooks, political correctness and The Producers

Posted By on Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 6:48 PM

courtesy of Shout! Factory As a filmmaker, Mel Brooks' brand of comedy is often broad, usually excessive and always delivered in the spirit of goofiness. In his best genre parodies — Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety — no gag is too obvious, no joke is too dumb. Brooks' first movie, though, was different. Released in 1968, Brooks' barbed satire The Producers was considered so edgy and radical that none of the major studios would touch it. The director eventually secured independent distribution, but the film opened in only a handful of theaters and quickly disappeared. Reissued this week in...

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

DVD+Digital: Old reissues, new technology and infinite TV/movies

Posted By on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 2:35 PM

courtesy of Shout! Factory It's a funny thing about new releases in the digital and DVD business — some weeks you get nothing particularly interesting, and some weeks you get everything under the sun. A recent flood of titles suggests the variety of options in that realm we can still call, with relative accuracy, home video. The landscape is changing rapidly these days. Popular Hollywood movies no longer just "come out on video." Instead, they're rolled out in waves, in various retail packages — single disc DVD, multi-disc DVD/Blu-ray combo packs — and digital formats. ("Digital" is the emerging catch-all...

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

DVD+Digital: Mike Leigh, British food trucks and Life is Sweet

Posted By on Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 3:41 PM

courtesy of the Criterion Collection British filmmaker Mike Leigh is known for his very particular way of making films. Rather than start with a script, Leigh works with his actors in a designated improvisation period before filming begins. The director provides sketched-out ideas and characters, but the actors become full collaborators in the creation of the story and the making of the film. It's a model that's used by other filmmakers, often in comedies. Christopher Guest takes a similar approach in his mockumentaries, as does Larry David in the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. But Leigh's technique is, by all...

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

DVD+Digital: Spalding Gray, the theater of war and Swimming to Cambodia

Posted By on Sat, Jun 1, 2013 at 4:31 PM

courtesy of Shout! Factory I first saw Swimming to Cambodia — the film version of Spalding Gray's groundbreaking monologue — on VHS my senior year of high school, by way of my first serious girlfriend Courtney. A fellow theater nerd, Courtney was also a dedicated goth girl and introduced me to many new and exotic things, like Bauhaus records and the BBC punk comedy The Young Ones. As cool girlfriends often do, Courtney improved my taste and expanded my horizons. Here was an entirely riveting performance that featured one man, sitting behind a desk, talking about war and art and...

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

DVD+Digital: Ex-cons, Viagra jokes and Stand Up Guys

Posted By on Thu, May 23, 2013 at 4:42 PM

courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment Slight, shaggy and sentimental, the crime comedy Stand Up Guys has exactly three virtues to recommend it. Those would be the film's trio of lead actors: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin. Nobody's gunning for glory with the performances here, but nobody phones it in, either. Anyway, these three could make a 90-minute film talking about the U.S. Tax Code and still be interesting. Pacino headlines as Val, a career criminal just getting out of the joint after a 28-year stint. Val took the fall for his crew after a botched robbery and ended...

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

DVD+Digital: Rooney Mara, antidepressants and Side Effects

Posted By on Thu, May 16, 2013 at 11:44 PM

courtesy of Open Road Films The latest and maybe final film from director Steven Soderbergh, Side Effects isn't the movie that it first appears to be. About halfway through, the story pivots and another film emerges. Then a most curious thing happens: It isn't that movie, either. Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) stars as Emily Taylor, a formerly upper-crusty sort whose life is upended when her financier husband Martin (Channing Tatum) goes to prison for insider trading. When Martin gets out of jail, Emily does her best to pick up the pieces, but she's paralyzed with severe...

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

DVD+Digital: Shane Carruth, psychic orchids and Upstream Color

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2013 at 10:06 AM

courtesy of Cinedigm Filmmaker Shane Carruth made his bones in the indie film world with the 2004 science fiction puzzle Primer. The ultra-low budget film, concerning a group of engineers who accidentally invent time travel, collected the Grand Jury Prize at that year's Sundance Film Festival. It's become something of a legend in filmmaking circles: Primer was made for a little over $7,000 with Carruth acting as director, writer, producer, cinematographer, editor, co-star and musical composer. For fans of thinky, conceptual sci-fi, it's a real gem. After seeing it on DVD, I spent hours online trying to figure out all...

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

DVD+Digital: Cyborgs, Shakespeare and Star Trek: The Next Generation

Posted By on Thu, May 2, 2013 at 1:06 PM

courtesy of Paramount Home Media If you only pay attention to what cycles around to Redbox, Netflix or your old-school video rental place, you might get the sense that only a handful of new home video titles get released each week. Not so. While the high-profile Hollywood titles get the most attention, new DVDs, Blu-rays and digital releases in any given week number in the dozens — new movies, old reissues, TV series collections, independent films, documentaries, foreign films and a disturbing number of Hallmark Channel original movies. If you're willing to spend an entirely disproportionate amount of time in...

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Friday, April 26, 2013

DVD+Digital: Guns, Molls and Gangster Squad

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM

courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures The period L.A. crime drama Gangster Squad — starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn and Emma Stone — is best known for its poor timing. Following the movie theater mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado in July 2012, the release date for Gangster Squad was bumped. The film's centerpiece action sequence depicted, yes, a mass shooting in a movie theater. The cast reassembled in August for additional shooting and the scene was replaced for the film's rescheduled opening in January, 2013. But critics didn't like it, audiences didn't notice it, the marketing was halfhearted and...

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

DVD+Digital: Cold feet, Lizzy Caplan and Save the Date

Posted By on Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 10:22 PM

courtesy of IFC Films The indie romantic dramedy Save the Date — new to DVD, Blu-ray and digital this week — starts in awfully familiar territory. Twenty-something Sarah (Lizzy Caplan) is a bookstore clerk and aspiring artist who's about to have her sketches premiere in a small gallery. Her boyfriend Kevin (Geoffrey Arend, Body of Proof) is the lead singer of an appropriately hip indie band. They've just moved in together. Meanwhile, Sarah's older sister Beth (Alison Brie, Mad Men) is planning her own wedding to fiance Andrew (Martin Starr, Adventureland), drummer for said indie band. Both couples are on...

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Friday, April 12, 2013

DVD+Digital: True love, bat demons and The Sorcerer and the White Snake

Posted By on Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 9:20 AM

courtesy of Magnolia Pictures And now for something completely different. A loopy Buddhist fable in the shape of a blockbuster action pic, The Sorcerer and the White Snake features several big-name Hong Kong stars battling snakes, demons and one another in ancient China. The movie was a big hit overseas in 2011 and has finally rolled around to home video release in the U.S. Based on a famous Chinese folk tale, the story concerns Abbot Fahai (Jet Li) — a battle-tested monk who leads his disciples in a perpetual war against the demons of the land. Fahai doesn't kill the...

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

INDY Week at Full Frame: What's the difference between bearing witness and exploitation?

Posted By on Sun, Apr 7, 2013 at 9:13 AM

At the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, INDY Week contributor Ashley Melzer spoke to several filmmakers and one festival-goer about the line between bearing witness and exploitation....

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

INDY Week at Full Frame: Why Documentary?

Posted By on Sat, Apr 6, 2013 at 1:04 PM

INDY Week contributor Ashley Melzer asked several filmmakers attending the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival what makes documentaries special. Indyweek asks: Why documentary? from Independent Weekly on Vimeo....

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

DVD+Digital: Baseball lore, Jedi masters and Knuckleball

Posted By on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 9:41 AM

courtesy of FilmBuff Behold the mysterious knuckleball. Unlike baseball's other pitches — the fastball, the curve, the slider — the knuckleball does not rely on spin and velocity to defeat hitters at the plate. Instead, the knuckleball floats in at a slacker's pace (60-70 mph, usually, as opposed to the fastball's 90 mph range) and ideally doesn't spin at all. That lack of spin causes interesting things to happen to the air currents around the ball as it travels to the plate. It swerves and dips, flutters and dives. The new documentary Knuckleball, new to DVD and digital this week,...

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

DVD+Digital: Crime thrillers, Swedish gangsters and Easy Money

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 8:37 PM

courtesy of the Weinstein Company Johan "JW" Westlund, ace student at the Stockholm School of Economics, likes to take risks. A poor kid from the Swedish equivalent of Iowa, JW hobnobs with the capital city rich kids, pretending to a wealth he doesn't have and lying to everyone he knows. He's the Talented Mr. Ripley of the Stockholm jet set, and he's looking for a fast track to the big money. Jorge is young Chilean drug-runner on the run from the cops and the Serbian mob. Recently escaped from prison, Jorge has aligned himself with an Arab crime syndicate and...

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Friday, March 22, 2013

DVD+Digital: Terence Malick, deep focus and Badlands

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 12:48 PM

courtesy of the Criterion Collection One of the more auspicious debuts in film history, the 1973 drama Badlands was director Terrence Malick's first project after film school. Loosely based on the real-life killing spree of Charles Starkweather in 1958, it stars Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek as Kit and Holly, two young lovers on the lam in the badlands of the American West. The Criterion Collection's reissue of Badlands, new to DVD and Blu-ray this week, packages the digitally restored film with several director-approved extras, including interviews with the editor and producer, and a lengthy new behind-the-scenes documentary with Sheen...

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

DVD+Digital: Sholem Aleichem, Mark Twain and Laughing in the Darkness

Posted By on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 1:28 PM

courtesy of Docudrama Films The well-made 90-minute film documentary may be mankind's most efficient mode of communication. When put together by skilled filmmakers, the feature-length documentary can convey quite massive amounts of information while providing wit and heart and functioning as, you know, a movie. Such is the case with the historical documentary Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness, new to DVD and digital this week. In the late 19th century, Aleichem was the world's most famous Yiddish author and playwright — his stories of Jewish life in Eastern Europe inspired the musical Fiddler on the Roof. He's often referred...

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

DVD+Digital: Eco horror, crustaceous isopods and The Bay

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 11:06 AM

courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment It's Fourth of July in the seaside tourist town of Claridge, Md., on the Chesapeake Bay. All is well. The parade is forming up on Main Street. The kids are tubing out in the harbor. The annual crab eating contest is in full swing. Then the bad things start to happen. A million dead fish wash into the marina. Blackbirds fall from the sky. Some Claridge residents begin to break out in terrible, painful lesions. Others start hemorrhaging. And the less said about that crab-eating contest, the better. That's the set-up for the found-footage horror...

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

DVD+Digital: Brando, Kazan and On The Waterfront

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 11:45 AM

courtesy of the Criterion Collection Director Elia Kazan's classic 1954 drama On The Waterfront tells the story of dockworker Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando), a once-promising boxer whose life is derailed when he gets mixed up with mobbed-up labor union honchos on the NYC waterfront. As you may have heard, Terry coulda been a contender. On The Waterfront is generally regarded as one of the greatest American films ever made and won eight Academy Awards in 1955, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Brando. New to DVD and Blu-ray this week, the Criterion Collection reissue of On The Waterfront features...

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