Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

A Weekend of Music and Film

For those locals who don't already know, the Hotel Congress is holding its third consecutive Labor Day festival. The first, Club Congress's twentieth-anniversary celebration, was one of the most important events in the city's alternative music scene. Sadly, I could barely attend any of it, because Skylar had just had her tonsils out. Imagine my delight, then, when they held another celebration last year. Although the local line-up wasn't quite as impressive for this second-go-round, its value was greatly enhanced for latecomers to the scene like myself who had had the opportunity watch director Michael Toubassi's film High and Dry the previous year. Whereas in 2005 I had only a cursory understanding of the scene's players from the 1990, in 2006 I was eager to see the Pork Torta and Doo Rag, both of whom blew me away. Also, last year's slate of out-of-towners was actually more interesting to me than had been the case for the twentieth-anniversary fête. Seeing local icon Howe Gelb perform "When the Levee Breaks" with John Doe, Kristin Hersh and Vic Chesnutt was one of the highlights of my concert-viewing career.

This year's festival again feels a little smaller, but still has plenty of rich, chocolatey goodness to offer. The Supersuckers, who came from Tucson originally, as High and Dry relates, are playing tonight. Okkervil River, one of the best bands in the United States, are playing Saturday. And all manner of local acts are involved, including stalwarts Al Perry and Howe Gelb once again hosting free-for-all musical barbecues. Oh, and the Weird Lovemakers, one of the best punk bands in Tucson history, will be playing their proverbial final show ever on Sunday. But, as Bob Barker would say, "That's not all." This year the film screenings held in conjunction with the Congress proceedings have expanded. Michael Toubassi has curated an impressively varied line-up. It will be hard for me to squeeze many films in, at least until Monday, because there's so much music I wish to catch, not to mention the all-important Cal-Tennessee contest on Saturday. That said, I'm going to make every effort to go see tonight's 9pm Rialto showing of Lotte Reininger's 1926 silent picture The Adventures of Prince Achmed, for which the Friends of Dean Martinez will be providing musical accompaniment. That's the sort of film+music event I loved attending at The Castro in San Francisco. More importantly for me, though, the film in question is one that has personal significance because of its connection to Weimar Republic abstract filmmaking. Anyway, I hope to see some of you there. The links here should give you the details you need.
Tags: coordination, film, music, tucson

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