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Super 8

in Columns, Issues
on Nov 1, 2012

Devin Townsend Project
Vancouver-based metal maestro Devin Townsend returns to the “Devin Townsend Project” moniker on the heels of his wildly ambitious—and stylistically varied—quadrilogy of albums with the release of Epicloud. In contrast to the prog-metal chaos of his previous Deconstruction, Townsend’s latest album can be summed up via lyrics of the track “Liberation”—“the time has come to forget all the bullshit and rock!”

Among the growing number of movie theaters in Williamsburg, Spectacle is undoubtedly the most unique and least known. A 20-seat, community-based theater run entirely by volunteers, Spectacle features an eclectic program of films ranging from less-seen works such as French auteur Louis Malle’s Black Moon (which screened prior to Criterion’s DVD release) to such oddities as the ’80s Yugoslav telepathic-horror film Strangler vs. Strangler – all for the cost of $5 (sometimes free). The space also hosts live performances, short film screenings and art exhibitions. Oh, yeah, and it’s BYOB! Perfect for anyone looking to expand his or her film knowledge or simply to have a good time, Spectacle is located on 124 South 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211. 

When Horror Came to Shochiku
Thanks to 1954’s Gojira and the glorious slew of Toho Studios films starring its namesake that followed, sci-fi/horror/monster movies have become an indelible staple of Japanese cultural exports worldwide. With Godzilla casting a huge shadow, other studios in Japan ran to catch up with Toho. Among these was Shochiku, which, despite being a storied promoter of kabuki theater, purveyor of cinematic dramas, and the home to the long-running Otoko wa tsurai yo comedic film series, jumped into the deep-end with a selection of genre films from the late 60s. On Nov. 20, Criterion is releasing four Shochiku films — The X from Outer Space; Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell; The Living Skeleton; and Genocide — as a part of the “Eclipse Series 37: When Horror Came to Shochiku” box set.

Hannibal Buress 
Former 30 Rock writer Hannibal Buress has had a busy 2012, hosting his own Comedy Central standup special and serving as the straight-man sidekick on Adult Swim’s insane late-night talk show send-up The Eric André Show. But Buress has also found time to set up shop at Williamsburg’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Ave. in Brooklyn), where he hosts a free variety show every Sunday night. With live standup, music, and the occasional impromptu dance-party, the show is an excellent showcase for Buress’ irreverent, stream-of-consciousness comedy, and many of New York’s most exciting up-and-comers.

As you ease into winter, you may want to curl up in front of the fire with a book — an old-school book, not something glowing from your e-reader. Appropriately chilly is December (Seagull Books, $20), a collaboration between two German artists: filmmaker Alexander Kluge and visual artist Gerhard Richter. Thirty-nine short stories by Kluge accompany 39 stark images from Richter. From tales of Adolph Hitler avoiding a car crash to the Greek financial markets melting down, the book is your companion to what is called the darkest month of the year.

The Silent History
Telling a mysterious, futuristic tale about a new breed of children who do not speak, The Silent History brings collaborative geolocational storytelling into the mobile present. Founded by former McSweeney’s publisher Eli Horowitz and digital studio Spoiled Milk co-founder Russell Quinn, the iOS app blends downloadable stories with “field reports” that only unlock when you travel to precise locations. Readers can upload stories too, making The Silent History a living, breathing imaginary catalog of the future.

The Mystery of Heaven
When director Jim Jarmusch first met composer Jozef van Wissem, he thought the musician would score a yet-to-be realized vampire film. Instead, the two wound up collaborating on a live performance at Brooklyn’s ISSUE Project Room and now, a record, The Mystery of Heaven, due out on Sacred Bones in November. Jarmusch’s guitar adds cinematic coloring to van Wissem’s minimalism, and Tilda Swinton guests on vocals.

Conversations with James Gray
James Gray has long been an underappreciated figure in U.S. indie film, yet those who read Jordan Mintzer’s book on him, stylishly presented by French publishers Synecdoche (synecdoche.fr/en), will be inspired to take a closer look at his oeuvre. Mintzer, a Paris-based Hollywood Reporter critic who was also Matt Porterfield’s producer and co-writer on Putty Hill, delves deep into every aspect of Gray’s four films — Little Odessa, The Yards, We Own the Night and Two Lovers — and through extensive interviews with Gray, as well as many of his collaborators, reveals the intelligence and sophisticated craft that the director brings to his work.

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