Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A/V Geeks HQ

Last week I infiltrated the high security compound known as the A/V Geeks Headquarters, home of 16mm film collector Skip Elsheimer and Germaine Fodor in Raleigh, NC. Skip and Germaine live in an eight bedroom boarding house with 18,000 films, misc. film strips, a telecine, assorted projectors, and a whole lot of small objects that *could* choke a toddler like the one pictured here (Gigi). Perhaps in retaliation, Gigi inserted an everything bagel into their VCR.

Every good Aurora-ite knows about Skip's ongoing thematic screenings of educational films, which have screened at Aurora every year since 1999. But did you know that Skip is also in the business of film transferring and stock footage licensing? Among his clients are Wonder Showzen, VH1, The History Channel, and other people he asked me not to mention.

The complete A/V Geeks photographs are on the Aurora Flickr site.

The Yes Men in the News

The Yes Men (Mike and Andy) at Aurora December 2005

The Yes Men have successfully pranked again. This time
"Andy" posed as a HUD representative in New Orleans.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Diane Shamash

Diane Shamash, curator, writer, public art presenter, and founder of Minetta Brook, passed away on Sunday, August 13 at her home in New York. I had the privilege of working with Diane on the Floating Cinema in Houston this past June. Diane was a visionary, affable and elegant woman, whose demeanor earned her the ability to produce some of the most challenging large scale public art works. Among her many accomplishments was bringing to fruition The Floating Island by Robert Smithson, 32 years after his death. Diane also was behind Riverrun-- projections on New York's Holland Tunnel ventilation system (a collaboration between Minetta Brook and the Whitney), The Thames and Hudson River Project (a public art collaboration between New York and London) and many others. For someone who could move mountains in the public art realm, Diane was rarely in the spotlight but the impact of her vision is lasting and beautiful. She will be missed.

Seattle Post Intelligencer obituary here.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Floating Cinema

June 10, 2006, fireworks, fried food, jugglers, CCR, live TV coverage, and then quiet, structuralist landscape films. These are professional photos from the Buffalo Bayou Partnership's grand opening of the Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade in downtown Houston. Andrea Grover of Aurora Picture Show and Diane Shamash of Minetta Brook curated the films, which included Peter Hutton's Two Rivers, James Benning's Ten Skies, and Andy Warhol's Sunset. The floating cinema is the creation of artist Jon Rubin.

As you can see, there were thousands of viewers, and we are now considering contacting Guinness Book to see if we broke the world record for attendees to a structuralist landscape film screening.

Top two photos by Jim Caldwell
Bottem photo by Raymond Groscrand
(Courtesy of Buffalo Bayou Partnership)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Take Me to Monkeytown

The July 27 show at Monkeytown was chest-poundingly good. I screened the Best of Aurora, Volume 3 (Jona Bechtolt, Tommy Becker, Andre Silva, Gerald Straub, Jim Finn, Skip Elsheimer, Eileen Maxson, Jeff Butterworth, Adad Hannah, Arthur Jones, Matt Hulse, Enid Baxter Blader, Bill Daniel, Andy Mann), and got to reconnect with some top Aurora buddies.

The Monkeytown screening room is a theater in the square, with gi-normous screens on all four walls, a killer sound system, and futons with coffee tables for food service. Initially I thought the four screens would be distracting, but not at all. The brain works miracles when given too much information, and settles into plain old stereo vision. Monkeytown started out in the apartment of Montgomery Knott, and was later underwritten by some investors who thought it a pretty good idea. I agree. The current home of Monkeytown is a storefront on 3rd Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It's more comfy than Alamo Drafthouse, Austin-- the futons and coffee tables invite people to lounge and hang out. I wonder if Montgomery was influenced by Alamo, as he is a former Austinite.

In attendance at the screenings were your friends and mine: Colleen Burke (We Ragazzi), Mary Ellen Carroll, Nick Hallett, Sara Hines (Apex Art), Arthur Jones, Ryan Junell (Slomo Video), Kyle Lapidus (Lovid), Marisa Olson (Rhizome), Caspar Stracke and Gabriela Monroy (Mostra), and Butcher Walsh. There was also a big group from an design agency called Farenheit 212. I read somewhere that Jonas Mekas once said that advertising professionals were some of the biggest clients for film rentals from Filmmakers' Coop.