Movieside 11 | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The latest in an ongoing series of screenings that intersperse live music with independent video (and film transferred to video). At least half of these 23 provocative works offer genuinely incisive critiques of current culture: J.J. Sedelmaier's animation Heteroy (1999) features three singing Christians who advocate conversion therapy for gay men ("Thank you for keeping my anus clean"); one of them becomes a superhero when conventional propaganda fails. In Pigskin Orgasm (2000), Jennifer and Amber Cluck accompany a montage of potentially homoerotic touching from TV sportscasts with a song about being "in love with a guy who's afraid to use his charms." Bryan Ruhlman's Oil Industry ties the terror of September 11 to America's thirst for petroleum (in one automobile ad a Chrysler is replaced by a tank), its near hypnotic montage suggesting government attempts at mind control, and in Ufo Ultra, Dave Foss skewers a John Ashcroft speech about aliens by having the attorney general morph into various extraterrestrials. Two of the best pieces counter the idea that travel expands one's knowledge: in Kayono Wakao's Unknown Town (2001) a voice-over describes taking pictures of cities, but the black-and-white stills on-screen are severely out of focus; the miniature farmers in Joshua Pritzker's nutty animation Small Car (2001) set out on a car trip but realize they're in the wrong place when they encounter human giants. 94 min. Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee, second floor, Friday, May 24, 8:00; also Hotel Kafka, 2736 W. North (alley entrance behind Payless Shoe Source), Saturday, May 25, 8:00; 773-856-5220.

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