The Genre Discussion Group will not be meeting in June so I’ll see you in July for our first Salon Discussion of the year! This week we met to discuss documentary films.
A colorful character who was not only ahead of her time but helped to define it, Peggy Guggenheim was an heiress to her family fortune who became a central figure in the modern art movement. As she moved through the cultural upheaval of the 20th century, she collected not only art, but artists. Her colorful personal history included such figures as Samuel Beckett, Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp as well as countless others. While fighting through personal tragedy, she maintained her vision to build one of the most important collections of modern art, now enshrined in her Venetian palazzo.
Recovering addict and amputee John Wood finds himself in a stranger-than-fiction battle to reclaim his mummified leg from Southern entrepreneur Shannon Whisnant, who found it in a grill he bought at an auction and believes it to therefore be his rightful property.
This Sundance Festival sensation has attracted attention because of its jarring images of Amish kids immersed in debauchery: plain-dressed girls in white bonnets slugging back beers and flicking ashes from their cigarettes, boys passing out in the back of pickups after all-night parties, even Amish teens in bed together. But like a good drama, it's the characters themselves and their heartbreaking dilemma that linger in the mind. In the Amish vernacular, "Devil's Playground" refers to the "English" or outside world. The protected teens are suddenly thrust into this world upon their 16th birthday as they begin "Rumspringa," a period during which they decide whether to join the church as adults. Crystallizing this predicament is the 73-minute documentary's most compelling figure, 18-year-old Faron, a preacher's son fighting drug addiction. His earnest intent to return to the church and astonishing articulateness makes his misadventures in the drug underworld and penal system undeniably poignant. --Kimberly Heinrichs
What if our last act could be a gift to the planet? Musician and psychiatrist Clark Wang prepares for his own green burial in this immersive documentary. While battling lymphoma, Clark has discovered a burgeoning movement that uses burial to conserve and restore natural areas, forgoing typical funeral practices that stress the ecosystem. Boldly facing his mortality, Clark and his partner Jane have become passionate about green burial, compelled by both the environmental benefits and the idea that one can remain within the cycle of life, rather than being cut off from it. The spirited pair have inspired a compassionate local cemetarian, and together they aim to use green burial to save North Carolina woods from being clear-cut.
In the early 1960s, Herb & Dorothy Vogel a postal worker and librarian began purchasing the works of unknown Minimalist and Conceptual artists, guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. They proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists. HERB & DOROTHY provides a unique chronicle of the world of contemporary art from two unlikely collectors, whose shared passion and discipline defies stereotypes and redefines what it means to be a patron of the arts.
A PASSION SHARED: WORKS FROM THE DOROTHY AND HERBERT VOGEL COLLECTION MARCH 14, 2010 - JUNE 06, 2010 // JEMISON GALLERIES
In 1992, the Vogels pledged more than 2,000 works to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Staff at the National Gallery then worked with them to make plans for the further dissemination of their collection. In 2008, the Fifty Works for Fifty States initiative was announced, giving 50 works of art to one institution in each of the 50 states. The Birmingham Museum of Art received the gift for Alabama, owing to its “importance as an educational and cultural institution in our region.” This exhibition featured all 50 of the donated works by an international roster of well- and lesser-known artists. It was a great opportunity to see the work of a number of contemporary artists whose work has never before been exhibited in the Southeast.
The Walter Anderson Museum opened in 1991 and is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the works of Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965). Anderson is celebrated as an American master, whose depictions of the plants, animals, and people of the Gulf Coast have placed him among the foremost of American painters of the Twentieth Century. A visit to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art (WAMA) is an enchanting and unique experience. During a visit to the museum, visitors are offered insight into the artistic vision of Walter as well as his process and the natural environment that inspired him. The museum also strives to preserve and educate the public on the work of Walter's brothers: Peter Anderson (1901-1984), master potter and founder of Shearwater Pottery; and James McConnell Anderson (1907-1998), noted painter and ceramist.
Birmingham Art Crawl (coming up tomorrow!!!)
Join the Crawl every first Thursday of the month from 5-9 p.m., rain or shine, along 2nd Avenue North surrounding The Pizitz building. Art Crawl is a great way to meet local artists and performers, buy and appreciate their work, and be part of the rapidly growing art scene in Birmingham. An estimated 3,000 art enthusiasts attend each month to support over 75local artists, musicians, and performers.
One of the most popular albums of all times, Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album "RUMOURS" spent 130 weeks on the U.S. Billboard album chart and won the Album of the Year award at the 1978 Grammy Awards. It has been certified for sales of 19 million albums by the RIAA. The record almost wasn't made. John and Christine McVie were in the process of seperating, the relationship of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks was on the fritz, and the turmoil between the five members was high. These emotions were channeled into the songwriting process in Sausalito, California that became "RUMOURS". Featuring interviews with Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks, along with the studio engineers and producers, "Rumours" tells the story of the making of this smash album.
Rock group U2 travels across the U.S. during their sell-out Joshua Tree tour.
From BAFTA award--winning director Asif Kapadia (SENNA), AMY is the incredible story of six--time Grammy(R) award winner Amy Winehouse - in her own words. Featuring extensive never-before-seen archival footage and previously unheard tracks, this strikingly modern, moving, and vital film shines a light on the world we live in, in a way that very few can.
I Am Heath Ledger is a feature length documentary celebrating the life of Heath Ledger: actor, artist and icon. The documentary provides an intimate look at Heath Ledger through the lens of his own camera as he films and often performs in his own personal journey - extravagant in gesture and in action. It was his creative energy and unshakable willingness to take risks that instilled such an extraordinarily deep love and affection in the people that entered his life. Heath's artistic nature and expression set him apart from the Hollywood mainstream, vaulted him to stardom and endeared him to the world.
In 1942 soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a secret military program was launched to recruit female mathematicians who would become human computers for the US military. Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII shares a story of the women and technology that helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age.
See the gripping rise of the first all-girl hard rock band, its hopes and dreams, and its eventual disintegration as the result of media belittling, in-fighting and drug use amidst rumors of verbal and emotional abuse by the band's management.
The Red Pill (not in the PLJC system)
The Red Pill chronicles filmmaker Cassie Jaye's journey following the mysterious and polarizing Men's Rights Movement. The Red Pill explores today's gender war and asks the question "what is the future of gender equality?" Cassie Jaye’s journey exploring an alternate perspective on gender equality, power and privilege forces her and others to question their own beliefs.
This show takes the viewers across the country and celebrates the funky-looking buildings :from Clam Box in Ipswich, Massachusetts, to Bondurants' Pharmacy in Lexington, Kentucky, to a drug store in the shape of a giant mortar and pestle; and the hot-dog-shaped Tail o' the Pup in West Hollywood, California, and everywhere in between. We'll also visit the Mother Goose house in Kentucky and visit with Bill Griffith, the man behind Zippy the Pinhead cartoon strip.
It pulls, stretches, bubbles, hardens, crunches, and melts! We eat about 7-billion tons of it yearly. We're talking about Candy--loved by kids and savored by adults. Candy-making evolved from a handmade operation to high-tech mass production. Nowhere is that more apparent than at Hershey's. On a tour of their newest production facility, we learn how they process the cocoa bean. At See's Candy, we see how they make their famous boxed chocolates--on a slightly smaller scale than Hershey's. We get a sweet history lesson at Schimpff's Confectionery, where they still use small kettles, natural flavors, and hand-operated equipment. Then, we visit Jelly Belly, purveyors of the original gourmet jellybean. Saltwater-taffy pullers hypnotize us on our sweet-tooth tour, we gaze at extruders making miles of licorice rope, and watch as nostalgia candy bars Abba-Zaba and Big Hunk get packaged. And in this sugary hour, we digest the latest sensations--gourmet chocolates and scorpion on a stick!
Toyland takes you inside the high stakes world of the 22 billion dollar toy industry, where fun and fortune awaits those who know how to get inside the mind of a child. Meet the people behind the biggest playthings in history.
This documentary follows the ups-and-downs of a flock of urban parrots in San Francisco and the aging bohemian who befriends, feeds and names them. Along the way, we meet many unforgettable characters and learn just how wondrously similar the human and animal worlds really are.
Marjoe Gortner, today known primarily for his acting roles in B-movies, was at one time a boy faith healer and evangelist. Wildly popular in the American South, he could fill huge tent revival meetings with his promises of eternal salvation and healing. What the people who came to his meetings didn't know, and what this documentary shows, is that he was a fake who was used by others to make money.
The bearded-face of Burt's Bees, a pioneering company in all-natural personal care, is not an imagined icon slapped onto distinctive yellow packaging, but the likeness of founder Burt Shavitz. Documentarian Jody Shapiro (How to Start Your Own Country) draws an intimate portrait of the lesser-known man behind the brand in Burt s Buzz. The project, suggested and produced by Isabella Rossellini, never exoticizes the 76-year old recluse, but thoughtfully approaches his contradictory public and private life. Hardly resting on the unaided appeal of his strangely charming subject, Shapiro frames emotion and wry humor with subtlety to create a layered, lively documentary.
During an adventure spanning two years and two countries, two mega-fans of “A Christmas Story” set out to discover all the film’s shooting locations. Along the way they uncover forgotten facts, discover little-known locations and recover long-lost movie memorabilia.
Page One deftly gains unprecedented access to The New York Times newsroom and the inner workings of the Media Desk. With the Internet surpassing print as the main news source and newspapers all over the country going bankrupt, PAGE ONE chronicles the transformation of the media industry at its time of greatest turmoil. It gives us an up-close look at the vibrant cross-cubicle debates and collaborations, tenacious jockeying for on-the-record quotes, and skillful page-one pitching that produce the daily miracle of a great news organization. What emerges is a nuanced portrait of journalists continuing to produce extraordinary work under increasingly difficult circumstances. At the heart of the film is the burning question on the minds of everyone who cares about a rigorous American press, Times lover or not: what will happen if the fast-moving future of media leaves behind the fact-based, original reporting that helps to define our society?
The meaning of art itself comes into question in this documentary about Shelby Lee Adams' controversial photos of families in Appalachia.