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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chicago, IL: critical mass

Lots to catch up on since leaving SF Sept. 24th - successful, sartorially triumphant and emotionally twisted days in Dallas, incomparable week in Tennessee, and a so-far terrific time in Chicago with the exception of being cornered last night in my in-laws' suburban garage by a baseball-bat-wielding gangsta teen (I froze, James saved us). More about all that later! For now, the reviews are in, and Chicago likes my film:
"Stunning...Perhaps the finest film ever made on how people experience music, and one of the best-crafted and moving documentaries in a very long time."
- The Chicago Sun-Times

- The Chicago Tribune

"A remarkable film...highly, highly recommended."
Back east, they still like it:
"Intensely personal...nothing can quite prepare you for the experience."
- New Yorker critic Alex Ross
I don't think I mentioned that the film won a prize at the Rome International Film Festival (one of the finest regional film festivals in the southeastern United States) a few weeks ago:
Best Experimental Film
Most fun in Chicago so far was the morning I spent with Andrew Patner at WFMT. The interview was fluid and lively and Andrew did a great job segueing in and out of the musical selections, which included Messiaen playing "God Among Us" from the Nativity Suite, Albert Fuller playing the first movement of the Rameau Suite in A (Allemande), and Olivier Latry playing the Apparition. Favorite part was rummaging around the station's huge CD and LP collection to come up with those three tracks - when have I felt like such a kid in a candy shop? Oh yeah - Tennessee.

The interview with Andrew aired last night between 11 and midnight and I didn't get to listen. But it should be available as a podcast soon here.

If you're in Chicago or know someone who is - two more screenings of the film this week, including tomorrow's big show at the gaudily gorgeous (English rococo?) St. James Cathedral downtown:
• Saint James Cathedral, Chicago
Screening accompanied by Bruce Barber, organ
Wabash and Huron
Wednesday, October 8, 2008, 7 p.m.
Free admission

• Loyola University Museum of Art
820 North Michigan Avenue
Sunday, October 12, 2008, 1 p.m.
The WFMT interview is posted here:
10-06-08: Paul Festa (Filmmaker)

And a blog called "The Listening Sessions" just posted this write-up:
Thursday, October 9, 2008
... Paul Festa's "Apparition of the Eternal Church" ...

Another blog posting on the event:
Sunday, October 12, 2008
"All of this has happened before"
Apparition of the Eternal Church

"A fascinating portrait of how people experience music."

Chicago is apparently teeming with bloggers - more posts from the St. James show than in the last two years of screenings combined. Modesty prevents me from quoting this one, but secretly I'm pleased someone noticed the outfit.

Monday, October 13, 2008
The Year of Musical Thinking
Ghost Light Monday -- Apparition of the Eternal Church documentary film

1 comment:

FaerieTurtle said...

SO glad we got to see your film on retreat in Tennessee. AND to hear your own fine music in those impromptu chamber ensembles! What a trip!

Lots of love from Philly,

About Me

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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.