George Kuchar lives on in Chicago, and the rest of the avant-garde is doing all right here too | Bleader

George Kuchar lives on in Chicago, and the rest of the avant-garde is doing all right here too

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Empire of Evil
  • Empire of Evil
It feels like it's been just days since the last George Kuchar screening, but lo and behold, the revivals keep coming. Tomorrow at 7 PM Flat Space Chicago will screen Empire of Evil (2011), one of the underground legend's final movies and the last one he made with students at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he taught for many years. On a related note, Kuchar also appears in Big Joy, a documentary profile of fellow experimental filmmaker and SFAI professor James Broughton, which begins a weeklong run at Facets Multimedia tomorrow. (Listening to the noted schlock enthusiast riff on Broughton's ethereal cinema—and more learnedly than one might expect—is practically worth the price of admission.) It's as though Kuchar never really went away, considering how many movies he left behind (well over 200 features and shorts) and how his DIY aesthetic seems to have anticipated the everyday filmmaking of the YouTube age.

The coming week is rife with noteworthy experimental screenings. On Monday at 6 PM the Museum of Contemporary Photography will present a program of recent video work curated by Jennifer Reeder. On Tuesday at 7 PM Doc Films continues its retrospective of films by Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland, two of the most important of all experimental filmmakers, with Snow's Presents (1981), which critic Philip Monk once described as "a slapstick satire of structural film." And on Wednesday at 8 PM local video artist and online critic Nelson Carvajal (whom I interviewed a few years ago) will present recent video essays on cinema and culture at the Logan Square Comfort Station, as well as something called A Myth in Movements. The first and third of these screenings are free, and the second is a mere $5.

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