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Apparition of the Eternal Church (Southern Circuit)
Nickelodeon Theatre
Columbia, SC
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Apparition of the Eternal Church (Southern Circuit)
In this award-winning film, 31 artists and thinkers listen to a ten-minute piece of music through headphones and describe what they hear. What all but a few don't know is that the music is Olivier Messiaen's monumental organ work Apparition of the Eternal Church. A devout Catholic and the organist at the Church of the Trinity in Paris, Messiaen wrote this music to send listeners to the heights of spiritual ecstasy. In actuality however, Festa's listeners respond in wildly different fashions. Some do respond with the sort of religious emotion Messian expected; others see strange narratives about death, sexuality, and persecution wrapped up in the seemingly religious work. Still others find the experience to be an excruciatingly painful ten minute version of Dante's Inferno. In an encounter that is part conversation, part battle, and part revival meeting, artists including authors Harold Bloom and Lemony Snicket, filmmakers John Cameron Mitchell and Sandi Dubowski, drag star Jackie Beat, and the Scissor Sisters' Ana Matronic--put the violent contradictions of Messiaen's music into words. The result is a collective interpretation improvising its way through an aesthetic landscape defined by paradox. Resolution comes up against eternity, eroticism against asceticism, spiritual ecstasy against physical torture. Together, the music and its interpreters conjure something like what William Blake famously called "the marriage of heaven and hell."



Nickelodeon Theatre
937 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29201
United States

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Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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