Those whose interest may have been piqued by this site’s account of Electric Shadow Theater: Film Truth + Surreal Sound by Fushigi Kenkyūkai this past Tuesday evening at PianoFight may be pleased to learn that this program will be getting another performance at another venue. The venue is Second Act, which should be familiar to regular readers as a monthly site for “bleeding edge” activities. Apparently, there were some problems with the audio technology at PianoFight; so it is likely that this second performance of Electric Shadow Theater will be a new experience, even for those who attended the first performance.
For those unfamiliar with the background, “Fushigi Kenkyūkai” is Japanese for “paranormal research society;” and it is a collective of film and sound artists. Their performance is structured around Man with a Movie Camera, a 68-minute silent film created by Dziga Vertov (a pseudonym that means “spinning top”). First screened at the beginning of 1929, Man with a Movie Camera is now generally recognized as a classic (if that noun is not an oxymoron) in the canon of cinematic avant-garde.
The Fushigi Kenkyūkai performance involves live improvised accompaniment by a sextet of adventurous musicians. Four of the performers played for the PianoFight screening: Jorge Bachmann (electronics), Beth Custer (various sizes of clarinets and vocals), Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet), and Joe Lasqo (keyboards, objects, and computer software). However, the T.D.Skatchit duo of Tom Nunn and David Michalak, who specialize in playing invented instruments, will be replaced at Second Act by Bryan Day (another master of invented instruments) and Thomas Dimuzio (electronics).
Once again the old movie theater tradition of showing shorts before the main feature will be honored. The shorts will be the same as those shown at PianoFight. The first will be “Le Retour à la Raison” (the return to reason). This is basically a study of abstract shapes in motion created by Man Ray and lasting only two minutes in duration. This will be followed by Maya Deren’s fifteen-minute dream-narrative, “At Land.” Those who enjoy examining the photographs that accompany biographical books may be able to identify John Cage, who appears in one brief shot with Deren. At PianoFight the Fushigi Kenkyūkai sextet was divided into two trios, one for each of the shorts. Presumably this will again be the case at Second Act, but the members of the two trios have not yet been announced.
Second Act was built on the venue of the Red Vic art film house. It is located at 1727 Haight Street between Shrader Street and Cole Street. The performance of Electric Shadow Theater will begin at 8 p.m. on Sunday, October 4. Tickets are available in advance for $10 (plus a service fee) from a Brown Paper Tickets event page. The charge for tickets at the door will be $15.