News to Me: Carolee Schneemann, Barbara Loden, and the Velvet Underground
News to Me is Film Comment‘s weekly, curated roundup of news, reviews, interviews, and ephemera from the world of cinema and beyond.
Fuses (Carolee Schneeman, 1964-66)
1. Barbara Loden’s Wanda is set to see a Criterion release later this month (with an Amy Taubin essay in the Special Features, no less). Shonni Enelow would be quick to remind you, however, that Wanda wasn’t Loden’s only film—she in fact teamed up with Joan Micklin Silver in 1975 to direct The Frontier Experience, an educational film for Learning Corporation of America (also available as a Criterion extra). And for education’s sake, some further viewing: a 1972 episode of The Mike Douglas Show, featuring Loden alongside guest hosts Yoko and John.
2. “There are many aspects to defining your success as an artist. Some of them are economic, and some of them have to do with representation in major institutions, and some of them are about being an artist’s artist—I think the latter is more my situation.” Art world pioneer Carolee Schneemann passed away last week. See her speaking with MoMA about her work Up to and Including Her Limits (1973-76), or check out this extensive 2015 interview with BOMB.
3. After some time away on the festival circuit, Liverpool’s own Ray & Liz are finally coming home. Based on director Richard Billingham’s childhood (and adapted from his 1996 collection of photography, Ray’s a Laugh), the film follows Billingham’s eponymous parents as they struggle with the trappings of addiction. Read an interview with Stephanie Watts, in which Billingham discusses the differences between still and moving images, as well as the burden of bringing back the dead.
4. Alex Gibney’s 2017 documentary No Stone Unturned has been stirring up old Troubles, with reports stating that journalists connected to the film are being harassed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. For a filmic account of the 30-year conflict (not particularly informative, but certainly effective) check out Alan Clarke’s brutal short film, Elephant. We covered Clarke’s legacy in our May/June 2016 issue, unpacking his influence on the likes of Gus Van Sant (whose own Elephant follows in step) and the recently interviewed Harmony Korine.
5. A Blockbuster in Western Australia is closing its doors for good. Hardly newsworthy on its own accord, this does however mean that Bend, Oregon, is now home to the world’s last one. Tiffany Hsu at The New York Times writes about Netflix, nostalgia, and how we come to fetishize outmoded tech only at its point of extinction.
6. “We’re not a football club, we’re actually a sports entertainment media company . . . So we must create content. We must provide events, we must create shows, we must create drama.” Two great essays on sports-as-media cropped up this week: the above quote from The Baffler’s exposé on soccer’s increasingly corporate future; and this piece from the Paris Review, an ode to Lionel Messi.
7. With Khalik Allah’s Black Mother now in theaters, it’s a good time to look back on some of his earlier work. Check out this 2012 Allah-directed music video for Masta Killa’s “Things Just Aint the Same”—a hustling tour of New York’s quotidian historical sites (“A Train to the junction where the Gods is building / Canal Street jewelry, door knocker earrings”).
8. Our good friend Nick Pinkerton recently appeared on the Red Scare podcast. The critic joined actress Dasha Nekrasova (of Wobble Palace fame) and Anna Khachiyan for an Academy Awards wind-down. Tune in for a fresh helping of hot takes covering Green Book, incel rage, and the state of film criticism today.
9. “That a movie from 1980 could portray a utopian vision for working women that is still just as utopian (and fictional) in 2019 feels depressing, but that seems to be the case for 9 to 5.” At Jezebel, Hazel Cills breaks down the many ways in which the Dolly Parton–Jane Fonda vehicle continues to ring true today.
10. This incredible and recently digitized collection of 8mm film from The Portal to Texas History features some of the only known footage of the late ’60s Velvet Underground. If you’re like us, a brief, gloriously grainy glimpse of Moe Tucker silently wailing on drums in a Jets sweatshirt (starting at 07:45) will be worth the click.