Brent Green and I are continuing to tour with a joint program of our short live cinema pieces. In May we’ll be at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto and the Exploratorium in San Francisco. With this show, Brent and I take turns narrating short films and share a fantastic band featuring Brendan Canty (Fugazi), James Canty (Nation of Ulysses), Becky Foon (Thee Silver Mt. Zion), and Kate Ryan. The program is a lot looser than my normal work and fun to perform.
Stay tuned for details – we’ll be doing several nights at an illustrious NYC performance venue at the end of this year.
Four years after the premiere of The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, Yo La Tengo and I continue to screen the piece. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the continued interest in it. We recently did a terrific screening at SUNY Oswego and in a few weeks will screen the piece at one of my favorite venues in the world: Teatro de la Ciudad in Mexico City.
That’s the theater where I saw Guy Madden do a live version of his fantastic film Brand Upon the Brain way back in 2005 – the show included live narration by Isabella Rosellini, live soundtrack, and live foley and was a huge inspiration for me in developing my own form of live cinema. Looks like we’ll finally be screening LSRBF in Los Angeles in the fall. Stay tuned for details.
I was interviewed recently for WNYC’s podcast Only Human. The episode is called Bacon, Booze and the Search for theFountain of Youth and is about Supercentennarians (people over the age of 110). I spoke with the reporter Kenny Malone about the current oldest person in the world Susannah Jones and her 116th birthday party in Brooklyn last summer, which I filmed for my new project The Oldest Person in the World. I’m always a bit wary of being interviewed by other filmmakers or media people (being familiar myself with how the sausage gets made), but this piece is actually really good. My section starts at 19:00. Take a listen here.
I’ve been working on an exciting new project for a while now but have not been public about it. I recently got a grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund, so it’s now out there on the internet. I guess it’s official. The new project is a live documentary about the Kronos Quartet and the group’s 40-year history. Kronos will play a live score for the piece, and I’m especially excited about this odd, meta form. Ultimately the piece, which is currently called Untitled Kronos Project, will be a meditation on music itself – the act of listening closely to music, the experience of feeling music deeply, and the power of music to change people and change the world. This new project came out of the great experience I had making a short documentary about Kronos for the ensemble’s 40th anniversary. Find that full video here.
Had a great time on the road with Pop-Up Magazine in September and October. This was the most ambitious project yet from Pop-Up. In the old days, it was just a one-night event in San Francisco. Then a while back we did three cities. This time it was a full-on, seven city cross country tour. A big pleasure to share the stage w/ people like Davy Rothbart from Found Magazine, podcasters Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu, John Mooallem, NYTimes writer Jenna Wortham, the mind-blowing Manuel Cinema, and many others. My piece was about Susannah Mushatt Jones who is currently the oldest person in the world. She’s 116 years-old, lives in Brooklyn, and I filmed for a couple of days with her over the summer. This piece is part of a much larger and ongoing project documenting all the people who become the oldest person alive. Stay tuned for more details. Was very excited to wrap up the Pop-Up Magazine tour at BAM, where I’d never performed. A big thrill to be on stage at the Harvey.
I’m thrilled to screen The Measure of All Things in London on August 26th as part of David Byrne’s Meltdown Festival. The Talking Heads were a huge part of my adolescence, and in recent years I’ve come to really admire David Byrne for his creativity, the broad range of his interests, and the obvious hard work involved in producing so much work. So it’s a huge honor that he invited us to take part in the festival. Brendan Canty, Todd Griffin, Catherine McRae and I are doing one show of MOAT at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in the Southbank Centre. Tickets on sale here: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/the-measure-of-all-things-92716
My old friend Rebecca Solnit recently wrote a mini-essay about my work. Rebecca’s one of my all-time favorite writers, so it’s a real honor to have her so articulately express many of the thoughts and feelings around live cinema that inspire me. To read, click here.
I did a new short piece about Louis Armstrong at Pop-Up Magazine in San Francisco recently. The show was at the fantastic Davies Symphony Hall – completely sold out. I had worked hard on the piece – it was far more ambitious in its craft than anything I’d done before – and was happy it worked. Leah Garchick wrote a nice item about it in her Chronicle column.