HCAF’s screenings in the Brasil Courtyard were so successful last November, that Brasil owner Dan Fergus invited us to come back with a monthly series. I’d been thinking about the “Artist’s Choice” idea for a while – inviting artists to select and talk about a favorite film on their own chosen art form. There never seemed to be room for this in the always-overcrowded festival program, and so Dan Fergus’ invitation provided the opportunity I had been waiting for.
The first artist I approached was Geoff Winningham, the renowned photographer (Friday Night at the Coliseum and nine other books) who has been teaching at Rice since 1969. Geoff is a familiar face at Brasil, and has shown new work at the gallery next door, most recently last fall. Geoff had two photography film suggestions right off the bat—Michael Almereyda’s William Eggleston in the Real World and Thom Andersen’s Eadweard Muybridge’s Zoopraxographer. A tough choice, but Andersen’s 1975 film has only just been restored and eminently deserves rediscovery, and so Muybridge won and will kick off the series on April 20. A connection between Andersen and Winningham is the influence on both by James Blue, who advised Andersen while he was working on his film at UCLA and who became Winningham’s good friend and colleague in the Seventies at Rice University.
My next invitation went out to Greg Boyd, artistic director at the Alley Theatre. Greg recently moderated a great conversation with Julie Taymor on the opening night of our last festival, and had written us a nice appreciation of the other theater films we had screened, especially Rumstick Road with Spalding Gray. Greg responded with an impressive list of favorite theater films, including The Band Wagon, Floating Weeds, The Seventh Seal, All About Eve, Limelight, All That Jazz, Children of Paradise, To Be or Not To Be, and Story of the Last Chrysanthemum. Also on the list, to my surprise and delight, was the 1973 horror/comedy Theater of Blood, starring Vincent Price and Diana Rigg. That one won out because, unlike most of Greg’s other selections, it has a manageable running time for a weeknight screening (June 16), and because I can’t wait to hear what Greg has to say about it.
Our third Artist’s Choice guest will be Trish Herrera of the Mydolls, whose significant claim to movie fame is her band’s appearance in Paris Texas, Wim Wenders’ film shot in Houston. At the top of Trish’s list were two films that are at the top of my own roster of favorite rock n’ roll movies, Robert Frank’s Cocksucker Blues and Quadrophenia. We went with the Who’s Quadrophenia since Cocksucker Blues can and should only be seen on the big MFAH screen. You must come on August 17 and see this fantastic British neo-realist musical with a great Who soundtrack and a striking performance by a young Mr. Sting.
Which artists should I invite to select future Artist’s Choice screenings? Suggestions are welcome, and if you’re an artist yourself, tell me on Facebook what films you’d nominate and you may get an invitation from me to come present a film at Brasil.