Yo La Tengo, a.k.a. the Buckminster Fuller Band
Documentaries have something of a reputation for being, well, serious, and perhaps a bit boring, depending on your movie tastes. After all, they’re supposed to be “interesting,” and you’re supposed to “learn something” from them. But what about a documentary that consists of still and moving pictures being described by the filmmaker, in the flesh, telling stories, and live musicians playing original tunes composed specifically to complement the visuals?
It's a thoroughly modern mash-up, mixing visuals controlled by the narrator from a laptop (think PowerPoint, but not boring), with a score provided by a live band, like the in-house orchestra that would have accompanied a silent picture in the pre-talkie days. And for one night only, September 12, 2012, it's what's happening at Washington High School, as part of the TBA Festival. Check it out.
Sam Green is the filmmaker, Yo La Tengo is the band. It's a night not to be missed. We'll have a review in Culturephile afterward, but go see – and hear – for yourself.
Filmmaker Green is interested in the communal aspects of movie-watching – something of a lost art in this era of streaming digital on your smart phone or watching DVDs in a "home theater." He, his laptop, and Yo La Tengo have performed their piece a few times by now (including September 11 in Seattle). Green expects the show will vary in "vibe" and even content depending on its venue. He wants to tailor each performance to the host city if possible, in keeping with Fuller's sensitivity to local places.