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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

LA premiere postponed

Drag superstar Jackie Beat reacting to the postponement of the LA premiere of Paul Festa's film Apparition of the Eternal Church, in which she stars

On Sunday, I got a call from the organizers of the LA screening saying it had been moved back a day, from Saturday the 19th to Sunday the 20th. Monday came profoundly depressing email: Bill Viola would not be involved (this was presented as a scheduling conflict but it turns out he decided he just didn't have that much to say about the movie). This morning brought a third adjustment in the plan, which is that the screening is postponed indefinitely.

Having already gone through a half dozen stages of grief over the Viola news, I was more relieved than anything else by this morning's call. This whole event came about since the Jacaranda people got wind of the movie from Alex Ross's blog mention, in late September. We haven't had time to organize the event and publicize it properly, and I've been tearing my hair out and pulling all-nighters trying to finish the book in time. I'll still go down to LA and we'll have a small screening for people we'd like to involve in the project, and I'll bring my fiddle so pianist Mark Robson and I can take a first whack at the Fantaisie. My friend Billy Burgess invited me to this party Sunday night. Otherwise, I'm free in LA for most of five days. Let me know if you want to hang out.

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Paul Festa’s first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006, 51 min), captures the responses of 31 artists to the apocalyptic music of Olivier Messiaen (with Justin Bond, John Cameron Mitchell, Harold Bloom; screenings: Grace Cathedral, Barbican Centre, Library of Congress; “Remarkable”The New Yorker; “Stunning”Chicago Sun-Times; “Sublime”Globe & Mail; numerous awards). Festa performs the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes, in his award-winning second film, The Glitter Emergency (2010, 20 min), a silent-film drag ballet comedy (“Enormous visual and musical inventiveness…full of pleasure and joy...Festa gives a bravura performance."—Film Threat). He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010, 80 min: with Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, Peter Coyote; screenings: Geary Theater, KQED; “Intriguing...entertaining...a valuable record”—Variety). Performances as violinist and actor: ODC Theater, Center for Performance Research, Kunst-Stoff, TheatreFIRST, North Bay Shakespeare, Albert Fuller's Helicon Ensemble (Merkin Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall). US, Boston, NYC, SF, LA and DC (Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on the “Betts” Stradivarius) premieres of Messiaen’s Fantaisie for violin and piano. He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, and several anthologized essays, and has written for The Daily Beast, Salon, Nerve, and The New York Times Book Review. Current projects include a novel and Tie It Into My Hand (2014, ca. 80 min), a documentary feature that has screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at ODC Theater in San Francisco (with Alan Cumming, Gary Graffman, Peter Coyote, Mink Stole, Robert Pinsky; "A fascinating exploration of the artistic life, as rollickingly entertaining as it is insightful and stirring."San Francisco Bay Guardian). Education: Yale (B.A.; prizes, honors, distinction), Juilliard (Cert., Adv. Cert., scholarships). Residencies: Yaddo, MacDowell, ODC Theater, Centre des R├ęcollets.