Heart Attack Island Film Tour
Portland-based artists Bill Daniel and Vanessa Renwick touring the Pacific Northwest
with their experimental/documentary video work.
TWO PORTLAND SHOWS!
August 26th7PM $7
NW Film Center Guild Theater829 SW 9th Ave
September 12th 8PM$5 21 and over show
Meow Meow320 SE 2nd Ave
with special musical guests: The Watery Graves
______________Tour Schedule _____________________
Thurs Aug 26 Portland NW Film Center
Fri Aug 27 Orcas Island
Sat Aug 28 Olympia Capitol Theater
Sun Aug 29 Orcas Island Grange Hall
Mon Aug 30 Bellingham Pickford Dream Space
Tues Aug 31 Tacoma King's Books
Wed Sept 1 Seattle Consolidated Works
Thurs Sept 2 Pt. Townsend Pt. Townsend Community Center
Fri Sept 3 Victoria BC 50/50 Arts Collective
Sat Sept 4 Vancouver BC The Butcher Shop Gallery
Sat Sept 11 Astoria Columbian Theatre
Sun Sept 12 Portland Meow Meow
Film bums on the road again
Portland-based artists Bill Daniel and Vanessa Renwick (of the Oregon Dept. of Kick Ass and Lucky Bum Film Tour) are back in the van, hauling their latest program of documentary and experimental video up Interstate-5. Collectively, the videos on the Heart Attack Island Tour poetically explore reality and redemption, and offer critical perspectives of life in these times that range from the allegorical to the expository. The 90 min. show is comprised of single, double and triple-projection pieces, and utilize creative approaches to non-fictional material, such as the juxtaposition of raw archival footage with experimental music. The tour's final show closes with a performance by Portland's acoustic-quixotic Melville-esque spacemakers, The Watery Graves, whose shows often include having the entire audience participate in a session of good old-fashioned letter writing. (The band passes around pens, paper and and stamped envelopes.)
In Daniel's outdoor installation, Ponder Yonder; a consideration of the end of the Oil Age is fashioned into a metaphorical sculpture in which video is projected onto sails mounted atop the filmmaker's tour van. Renwick and Wilkerson's videos are all minimal, non-narrative compositions built from documentary film footage that are carried by intense, haunting musical soundtracks.
Projections, Projectiles and Predators
The program begins with Renwick's Britton, South Dakota, (8 min) a mesmerizing film constructed solely of haunting portraits of children filmed standing in the street of a desolate town in 1930. The footage was shot by the owner of the town's movie theater to be screened before the features as a promotional gimmick to bring in the local folks. 70 years later the sometimes smiling, sometimes tortured faces of these children seem to tell everything that has happened since that windy, sunny day in South Dakota. The film is made all the more melodramatic by Portland artist Johnne Eschleman's emotive score. (Awarded Best Experimental Film at the NW Film Festival by James Benning in 2003)
Next is Travis Wilkerson's National Archives V.1, (15 min) (Screened at the Viennale in 2001) A daring exercise in agit-prop that utilizes imagery obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, in which gun-camera footage of U.S. bombing runs over Vietnam is disturbingly and poetically juxtaposed with a soundtrack created by Sonic Youth's Jim O'Rourke. The footage of lush blue-green jungle passing below the jet is superimposed with the pilot's electronic gun site. The constant gunning creates a trance-inducing rhythm that is syncopated by simple intertitles that name the targets. Converted from raw documentation into sublime meditation, much like Bruce Conner's atomic mushrooms in Crossroads, the film becomes an ethical bomb, exploding issues of hi-tech imperial warfare that we are faced with again.
The screening climaxes with Renwick's new 25-minute, 3-screen projection piece Hope and Prey which features stunning wildlife cinematography of animals hunting and being hunted. In composing 3 reels to play side-by-side in a panoramic view Renwick notes, "The view is like that out in nature, it's a wide landscape where a predator could come at you from anywhere. It is also playing with the fact that predators have eyes on the front of their heads, while prey have eyes on the side of their heads. In this movie the audience definitely has to keep an eye out for danger." The adrenal-pumping dramatic and sometimes brutal nature cinematography is transformed and elevated through black and white high-contrast recomposition and a hyper-dynamic score by Portland's infamous underground composer, Daniel Menche.
Global warming is God's plan
The 2nd part of the program, Bill Daniel's Ponder Yonder, is a video essay on counter-cultural survival strategies in the post-oil age that is projected onto sails rigged on top of a '65 Chevy van. The sailvan -- a 2-masted gaff-rigged schooner built by the filmmaker-- functions as tour vehicle, while it's sails provide a projection screen for the 2-projector video piece. The video is based on the story of Noah's Ark and explores issues of social and ecological collapse as told through interviews with a salty crew of characters that include a homeless street preacher, a punk pirate-styled young woman who builds traditional wooden boats without using electricity, an early '70's hippie house boater floating in San Francisco Bay, as well as some urban anchor-outs who live free aboard their boats anchored-out in Vancouver's False Creek. The video installation suggests a thematic parallel between the global flood described in the Bible and our current petroleum-based catastrophes.
On why he was motivated to rig sails atop his '65 Chevy van, Daniel explains, "I've always wanted to build my own sailboat and escape society. The romance of boatbuilding and sailing seemed the perfect antidote to this ecological anxiety I feel about the fate of the planet. So the closest thing I could manage was to build a boat out of my van and use that as a platform for a video about these impending tribulations. Oil wars, global warming, hi-tech alienation� all of this stuff I could address with this simple metaphor."
Our Musical Brethren, The Watery Graves (performing at the Meow Meow show)
The Watery Graves of Portland are the sounds and atmosphere created by Curtis Knapp on piano and Adrian Orange and/or Jona Bechtolt and/or Adam Forkner on brushed drums and Davis Lee Hooker on a usually upright bass. The music is Satie-like in its mercurial deliberation, a sort of "old school" instrumental improvisation but not lawless, and sometimes verges on the bar room ragtime: perhaps inspirational elevator music, or filmic rhythmic furniture music gets the idea across. Their live shows include free stamped envelopes and office supplies, encouraging audiences to write loved ones during the show.
The Watery Graves of Portland encourage you to visit their website, marriagerecs.com, for more information and samples, and to check out the other artists and recordings on Marriage Records, the Portland art and music label founded by members of this band.