Booze with Werner Fucking Herzog, Dinosaurs, and a Bunch of Bands for Free
The young and the sexy writhing out their witch house tunes for skeletons of extinct species! Forbidden French photographs hidden inside a giant "experiential installation"! Werner fucking Herzog live and in person presenting a 3D documentary about the origins of the modern human! Tomorrow night at the Natural History Museum tangles art, music & film, two monumental LA institutions and several smaller seedier ones, and mashes the neanderthal with homo habilis with the hipster. And who loves dinosaurs more than hipsters? Paleolithic is the new post-modern.
Cinefamily Head Programmer Hadrian Belove teamed up with Cinespia to curate this party celebrating the LA premiere of Werner Herzog's new 3D documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, an idiosyncratically incredible exploration of the dawn of human culture.
In conjunction with MOCA's Art in the Streets project, they're surrounding the premiere with performances by Islands, Matt Baldwin, White Magic, and Nite Jewel + Dublab DJs, as well as a "secret" exhibition of photographs that the French government will not allow on the internet, presented by LA experimental arts collective Mastodon Mesa.
LA WEEKLY: So you've got the Herzog 3D screening, bands, booze, a secret exhibition of forbidden French photographs all in one museum, in collaboration with another museum, and curated by several smaller institutions--what is it about LA that leads to these multi-disciplinary institutional collaborations?
HADRIAN BELOVE: I think that Los Angeles is a city full of talented intellectuals pretending to be dumber than they are. The "local talent" here is pretty incredible if you think about it. Hollywood has been a huge talent magnet for over a century, but there's a kind of deprecation towards what we do. The false presumption of West Coast shallowness has perhaps been freeing. There's no ye olde tradition to uphold, so why not have fun? Or maybe it's the weather.
How often do you party at the Natural History Museum? Which dino is your favorite to drink with?
This was a no-brainer. I'd been to "First Fridays," the Natural History Museum's in-house program of opening the museum at night once a month, bringing in a bar, and having a band play. So I knew they were open-minded, creative, and flexible about what kind of place a museum can be. I saw it, and thought, "this is perfect--all we had to do was add a screening!"
The Cinefamily has never thrown a party at the Natural History Museum. This is the first time we've gone out into Los Angeles and put on an event in a new space. The idea was to team up with Cinespia to do a series of "Film Field Trips" where we look for great places to take our patrons to, that they might not have known were right under their noses, or maybe had just never had the "push" to go there. A big part of Cinefamily's mission statement is creating a sense of community in this vast city, a city than can be awesome but also overwhelming.
Even at home, we think of a screening as a sort of central point for a community to gather, the main room at a party as it were, but know that what comes before, after, and around the screening is almost as important from a social point of view.
And dinosaurs are terrible drinkers.
What's going down at this party?
Everything! We've got food trucks, great DJs, a dance floor, visuals, a bar. A great environment--the museum is a wonderful place to wander, though you can't bring your drink into all the rooms. Of course, the LA premiere of the new Herzog movie in 3-D ain't bad, and Herzog in person's pretty good too.
When did you discover Werner Herzog? What were your first Herzog films?
I would say I properly began to appreciate his work due to a close friend I worked with at my old video store. Herzog was his favorite filmmaker, and through his eyes, I was taken to higher and higher levels of appreciation. I wasn't even aware he had made documentaries till then ... Stroszek was the first one that blew me away.
Have you ever had a dream narrated by his voice?
What does he see in the world that you couldn't see without him?
As an artist he is interested in many things, but on the most fundamental level, he understands the power of seeing something new, something singular, something you've never seen before, and will hunt to the corners of the Earth to find these kinds of images.
Is there any irony in the act of mashing 3D form with Paleolithic content?
When I first heard about the film, I was struck that he would use 3-D to capture paintings, which in my mind were a 2-D medium ... but learning more you realize how the original paintings were in three dimensions, because of the contour of the caves. So you could say that there is no irony, that there is nothing new under the sun--at least if you dig deep enough, like under the Earth.
So back to the party-- how the hell did you get permission to do this?
We asked. Did I mention the Natural History Museum is really cool? Seriously, they have a fantastic outreach program, and really want to encourage a young audience to come out.
Any special guests we should look out for? Maybe Paris Hilton is a secret fan of the Paleolithic era?
You throw a party for over a thousand people, I'm sure some interesting people will come. Like you! And you! And you, too, Toto.
Regarding your programming for Cinefamily, what's your curatorial
To celebrate all kinds of cinema. Range is really important to us-- and to present the films as fresh and exciting no matter when they were made ... Most of all to foster a spirit of enthusiasm for the films, and to encourage the joy of discovery exploration.
What's the first movie you ever saw?
Don't remember that ... My earliest vivid memory is the first post-divorce visit to my dad-- all of us kids piling into his bed at like 2 am and watching what I guess was my first horror movie, Blood Beach. Very strange image of people buried to their waists in sand and wriggling around screaming cause they were pretending to be eaten by an unseen beach monster.
Now that everyone is streaming Netflix movies alone on their iPad- do you feel the act of watching a movie together in a theater is made obsolete or made more precious?
Could you describe a situation in which watching a film is a political act?
If it were forbidden.
Describe the last time you watched a film that did something you'd never seen or made you feel a way you'd never felt.
I'm presently obsessed with a Japanese filmmaker/poet named Sono Sion. He began his career as a respected poet and experimental filmmaker, but ended up working in Japanese Horror films (like one called Exte about haunted hair extensions). We're showing an incredible film he made called Love Exposure that's a true masterpiece--the fastest four hours I've ever sat through--that's sat unreleased for a while probably cause of it's indescribable mix of genres and its unwieldy length. I think this guy's gonna be the "next big thing."
What would your dream archive contain?
Everything ever made. And a great filing system to find what you were looking for.
Doors at 5, screening at 5:30, Herzog Q&A at 7, bands start at 8:30. Only stand by seating left for the screening. Admission to the party is FREE.
For more information, go here.