1____ St Paul’s Carnival (FREE) Could pick an afterparty but eh, see where it takes you St Paul’s, from 12:00
2____ OSR Projects: A weekend at Hotel Palenque (FREE) (Also on 1st) Become part of this residency on decay as you nurse your hangover Arnolfini, from 11:00
3____ Playable City (FREE) (Until 9th) Playable prototypes of outdoor installations - Come trick AI into hitting you with a car! central locations, times vary
_____ Mädchen in Uniform (£5/£8) Less kinky and more swoony than it sounds Cube Microplex 19:30
6____ EP/64 - ‘64’ screening and performances (£6) Relive the best gig + an ace lineup! Arnolfini 19:30
_____ SSS X ESO w/ RHR (FREE) Bringing that blunt bassy Brazilian swagger (+ its free?!) Love Inn, from 21:00
7____ Fat Rascals exhibition (FREE)(Until 8th) “A gaggle of fabric” & “Cankle-like forms” St Anne’s, 12:00-17:00
_____ Victim Unit/ Candescent A.D./ Conqueror Worm/ Ecotage (£4) Hardcore grind Crofters Rights 19:00
_____ JASSS + HAJJ (live) + Pessimist + Observer (£8-£12) A club night for those that like unnerved swaying to disquieting AV Strange Brew 22:00
8____ Threads exhibition (FREE) (Until 01/10) Threading histories through textiles Arnolfini 11:00-18:00
_____ Pride (FREE-£40) March: Castle Park 10:45 -> Amphitheatre 11:45 Festival: £7 Wristband > queues The Downs 13:00
_____ Eat Up! Very Unofficial Pride Afterparty (£8-£12) Eclectic mix of rock adjacency Exchange, 20:00
9____ The Conversation (£5/£8.50) Cop this Coppola classic, capiche? Watershed 14:00
_____ Arrington de Dionyso (£7.50) Got them pseudo mystic Sun City Girls vibes Cube Microplex 17:00
11___ I, we and wider// Workshop with Jo Fong / How shall we begin again? (£5) Exploring the joy of dance for all Mount Without 14:00
_____ Perp Walk / Violent Offence/Tension / Uncertainty (£3)Some gd ol’ local punk/hardcore Crofters Rights
12___ Hackers(£10)Hack the planet! CubeMicroplex 19:00
13___ Fairytales for grown-ups – Atalanta (£10) I hear I’ve been sleeping on the Crick Crack Club Windmill Hill City Farm Theatre 20:30
14___ Bristol Harbour Festival: Circus Playground (FREE) (Until 16th) The actual harbour’s a sweaty nightmare check out the circus area College Green, from 11:00
_____ MDH: Puppets Do A Movie(£15/£17)(Until 12/08) I will finally get tickets! Wardrobe Theatre14:00/ 19:30
_____ Sophrosyne, Lo Egin, Shimmering Tomb (FREE-£7) Nü Cybersex & Kenny G in hell Cube Microplex 19:30
15___ I, we and wider // LATES (£5-£9.50) A collective dance made up of children in a silent disco Mount Without 16:00/17:00/18:00
17___ Diploid (Aus), Casing, Cainhurst (£8) Screaming (in Australian) Crofters Rights 19:30
18___ QWAK club #15: Carl Stone (£8/£12) ehT gnik fo depraw selpmas! Cube Microplex 20:00
19___ Cuculi Presents:Rachael Dadd/ Hands of the Heron (£8-£15)Local folk heroes St Ambrose Church 19:00
20___ BBFC Presents: The Dragon Lives Again (1977) (£5) Looks incredible Bristol Improv Theatre 20:00
21___ Barbie (£5-£11.75) (Until 27th) It’s coming. It’s real. Various cinemas & times
_____ Tintinnabulation (£10) One for all the bad boy campanologists out there Strange Brew 19:00
22___ GLARCive: Propan, Fantasy Land, Han & Food People (£6) Bristol & Glasgow auricular outsiders together at last Cube Microplex 19:30
_____ PTS x Night Slugs ϟ Bok Bok x Ikonika, Ye Ye (£5-£25) Slugging away for 15 years Strange Brew 22:30
23___ GLARCive FINALE (£6) Bristol & Glasgow auricular outsiders together at last Cube Microplex 19:30
26___ The Virgin Suicides(£5-£11)Teenage dreams of idolisation & melancholy Watershed 19:00/11:00
27___ Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (£5/£8.50) The hypnotic mundanity of it can only really work in the cinema Watershed 15:00
_____ Dis Fig + Metal Preyers + Arcadia Plantatia FC(£12) Will feel v. intense post Dielman Strange Brew 19:00
28___ Drylongso (£5/£8.50) Scrappy, passionate, and political DIY genre-defying film Watershed 13:30
_____ Variety (£5/£8.50) Puzzled & horny woman in a gloriously grimy Manhattan Watershed 18:10
_____ Wanda (£5/£8.50) Less Bonny & Clyde, more lonely & cried Watershed 21:00
29___ Millennium Mambo (£5/£8.50) Doesn’t get more ennui than the turn of a millennium Watershed 18:35
_____ Midnight Cowboy (£5/£8.50) The saddest yeehaw movie there is Watershed 21:20
30___ Serpico (£5/£8.50) Important evidence in the Pacino vs De Niro hotness debate Watershed 13:20
_____ Morvern Callar (£5/£8.50) Every clip of this film I see is quietly devastating Watershed 16:10
_____ Lorenzo Abbatoir; En Creux; Simon Whetham (FREE-£7) Avant minimalism Cube Microplex 19:00
Steph Read is curator of the Down & Dirty: American DIY Restored strand of Cinema Rediscovered. They’ve selected 4 new restorations of DIY films emblematic of the punk & no-wave aesthetics that emerged in the late 70s. Ahead of the 26th-30th July screenings of Kamikaze Hearts, Drylongso, Variety, and Salvation! we interrupted Steph’s trip to Il Cinema Ritrovato to find out more.
Where do you start with the curation process, and how much does the theming help guide your selections? Did you find yourself researching the period more generally?
When thinking about the general programme at Watershed, my focus is normally on the new releases – how we can amplify and support the films that are being released. That’s what principally guides the theme and programming of the Sunday rep seasons we do, and a lot of the partnership work too – the emphasis is always on the current. For Cinema Rediscovered it’s a little different, in that we have a longlist of all the new and upcoming restorations and from that we then try to pick our way through and assemble our selection into strands that make sense from an audience’s perspective and help them navigate the pretty vast number of films shown in the festival. The Down & Dirty strand developed in that way – there were a handful of the new restorations that could be grouped thematically, although originally it started off as something broader – looking at cinema that subverted ’traditional’ ways of seeing, as it were, and turned the cinematic conventions and style of conventional Hollywood drama back on itself (reconfiguring the ‘gaze’ of the camera as it did). That then morphed into the overall theme for this year’s festival – ‘Other Ways of Seeing’ – and that strand narrowed and focused in on the particular scene and circumstances of the punk, DIY independent filmmaking movement of 70s-80s NY and later West Coast filmmaking (still quite an expansive remit in itself).
It feels like the ratio of restorations to new releases is much higher these days, particularly if you include the shlocky genre releases on the Blu-ray market. What do you think is driving that growing interest in the past and what sorts of restorations catch your eye?
I think part of that is that so many more films were made in the 70s & 80s than in the decades previously and now those titles are ripe for restoring and sending back out to theatres in a pristine new 4K digital print, especially the key cult titles and major studio hits. I’m most interested in the restorations where the film never originally got the release it should have or received the attention it deserves – like Bushman (1971), which I’m watching tomorrow morning here in Bologna and will be our closing film at this year’s Cinema Rediscovered (& you should definitely see!).
Were there any selections in the long list that were painful to cut?
The restoration of Araki’s Doom Generation – still gutted ! Although it's in a fairly different budget ball-park to most of the other titles, so would’ve fit a bit less with the DIY theme
Would’ve liked to have had a Jarmusch in there too – either Stranger Than Paradise or Down By Law (John Lurie both acted in and soundtracked both titles & similarly composed the score for one of the other films in the strand – Bette Gordon’s Variety), but wanted to stick exclusively with new restorations as otherwise it could’ve easily got a rather sprawling.
Any other countries you’d like to do an analogous season for?
Not to look too close to home (I’m sure there are many more equivalent scenes internationally that I’m not well-versed in) (& this isn't directly analogous) but I’d really like to do a bit of a review/retrospective of the London Filmmaker’s Co-op in the 60s/70s – I really feel like it’s a period that’s ripe for revisiting, especially in the current production (& political) climate
A lot of the warranted distrust of government, living poverty, and feelings of existential threat in the late 70s feel uncomfortably familiar today, and I think I see the reactions to that play out a lot in the DIY music scene. Is there a parallel DIY film scene to be found and if not why not?
There’s definitely something to be said for the accessibility of the entrance point in DIY/indie music compared to film I think. It’s easy enough to say that all you need to do is pick up your phone and get filming (as Bela Tarr recently did in conversation at the Lincoln Center in NY), but the situation seems a lot more complex and nuanced than comments like that give it space to be – it feels like we’re simultaneously in a moment of great access in terms of the actual filming and creation of video-based work and a virtual space in which to show it, while the prospect of showing that work in a physical space feels, in some ways, more distant and removed than ever. In terms of physical gathering spaces and showing work, I think there’s a lot to be said for (and learnt from) the artistic scene of 70s NY, with the immediacy of its photography slide-show parties for instance. It feels like we’re living in a moment with a very fucking immediate need for a new movement – something for people to gather, create and organise around. Having said that, I think a lot of interesting work (both from a filmmaking and programming perspective) is coming out of film collectives (or artist collectives) at the moment – and Bristol is no exception to that.
Have you ever toyed with making your own DIY films or do you have an idea for one you’d like someone else to make?
As a co-host of your own watershed podcast, do you listen to any other (film) podcasts or has that experience ruined them for you?
It all feels quite separate in my head because I can never bring myself to listen back to my own voice, so podcasts remain mercifully un-ruined for me – big fan of MUBI’s one, really loved the last season about movie theatres; Film Comment (especially for their Cannes coverage); Bright Wall/Dark Room for a bit of a dive in on different rep titles; Little White Lies’ Truth & Movies offers a good overview of recent releases; and Film at Lincoln Center’s for their filmmaker interviews, likewise A24 and Deeper Into Movies – there are loads of good ones out there & it feels a bit impossible to keep up at this point, drowning in podcasts (& films for that matter too…)
What punky/no-wavey bands do you recommend for the walk home from the Watershed?
Can’t go wrong with Swans – my college philosophy lecturer once said the closest he ever came to transcendental enlightenment & a state of pure metaphysical bliss was in the centre of a sweaty crowd at a Swans gig in the 80s (and the man liked his morphine so that’s really saying something!)
Finally, with Barbie set to change all of our lives forever, which toy adaption is the next step toward true harmony?
I don’t know about ’true harmony’, but I’m absolutely gagging for a full feature-length Sylvanian drama – forget those 90 sec Instagram videos; they’re mere peeps behind the curtain – I want the full 90 minute exposé of the unhinged antics and sordid little details of the lives of the those wee fluffy creatures.
Party Girl is a 90s indie rom-com in which the titular listless 20-something Mary (Parker Posey) becomes a library clerk after being arrested for throwing an illegal rave. Imagine every delightful thing that description could contain; it did. Wild, hilarious, charming, with surprisingly lovely cinematography, endearing vignettes, and a banging soundtrack, Party Girl leapt straight into contention for my favourite romcom.
At every moment the film revels in being ridiculous, whether using a dramatic ‘Hitchcock zoom’ at the mere mention of the Dewey Decimal System, allowing Mary’s utterly self-indulgent turn at voguing to command the screen, or giving love interest Mustafa’s falafel stand a cartoonishly pretentious nemesis across the street.
The film constantly invites us to both want to hang out with the characters and laugh at them. This is done nowhere better than the various party scenes where everything seems simultaneously intimidatingly cool, and embarrassingly try-hard. I have no idea what the 90s underground party scene in New York was like, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these sections have the same underlying strain of authenticity as those in the library. Because, as a library assistant myself, that I can speak to, and from the gendered politics of its staffing to the fussy categorisation systems it is clear the film doesn’t see the library as a backdrop, or an interchangeable ‘real job’ for Mary to settle down into, but a place full of narrative possibility.
Like so many great romcoms Party Girl is barely about its central romance, only just about the plot at all; instead, it is a joyful collection of moments both absurd, and strangely heartfelt, unlikely and fascinating characters, and a whole wardrobe of outfits to die for. The best of parties in film form.
Tim Crouch’s play An Oak Tree is 18 years old now, but in a sense it’s always brand new. Crouch performs the play with a different second actor each night, who steps onstage without having seen or read it. They’re fed lines or sightread, and follow physical instructions given to them openly or via an earpiece.
Within this containing structure, a play is performed: a fiction. Crouch explains the plot at the top of the show. A hypnotist (Crouch) has accidentally killed a girl with his car. The girl’s father (the second actor), goes to the hypnotist’s stage act looking for answers. The father has performed a magic trick himself. He has gone to the site of the accident and turned an oak tree by the side of the road into his daughter. The substance of the oak tree has not changed in any material way, but neither is he simply delusional. The fact is that it IS his daughter, in the form of an Oak tree.
Crouch suggests that fiction is really the most highly conceptual of artistic propositions. This act of transformation by the father — or suggestion, or imagination, or transubstantiation — is a key tenet of theatre, which might be defined as a frame in which things are both the thing they are and also something else at the same time. A chair on stage is not simply a chair, but also playing the role of a chair. In the performance I see, Polly Frame is a grieving father, a chair is a young child, and the audience is a different audience in a room above a pub a year from now.
Theatre has always had a close relationship with death. Theatres play host to ghosts, characters die and come back to life for the curtain call. Grief is the presence of absence, a felt, material shape. Sitting heavy in the chest, or as the father puts it, in ‘physical depressions, imperfections of surfaces, the spaces beneath chairs.’ The thing that is no longer there is there in other things.
The actor’s presence acts in different ways. Sometimes they have very little work to do. Stand there and do nothing, and by description alone the hypnotist casts them as a scruffy, weary middle aged man. Then, little by little, they are invited into the fiction, to ‘act’ — to go for it. There are moments of genuine emotion — they go through something for real, in the moment and for the first time. And so does the audience. It moves me to tears: physical proof that what is not there is there, and what is there is also always somewhere else.
A pub patron explaining that she got her “nose broken in a Wurzels mosh pit and it wasn't even worth it as most of them are dead now”
A Dolphin on Colston’s Plinth crying a single tear made of freshly dried bird shit for its thankfully departed host
A group of teens celebrating the solstice by absolutely belting out the lyrics to Bound 2 on repeat from the suspension bridge at midnight
A dog lying on its side not even lifting its head to lazily lick at a puddle of melted ice cream
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We are three housemates in Bristol, and we go to see lots of music / theatre / dance / art / film / comedy etc. It’s usually stuff at the margins of these forms, where more is shared between them than distinguishes them. This is a zine of events in the next month that we think we might go to, and reviews of events from the past month that we liked. It is: inexhaustive, biased, of debatable trustworthiness. This is a picture of us.
Front cover original images:
Unknown artist: Hoku Bucho, Fukuyama mascot
Jan Desmond & Gaye Dixon: ‘98 $4.10 Zimbabwe bee stamp
Unknown artist: ‘22 20 Sen Japanese Mt Fuji & Deer stamp