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David Finkelstein: Marvelous Discourse
Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian
Los Angeles, CA
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David Finkelstein: Marvelous Discourse
Sunday, March 14, 7:30 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum presents
David Finkelstein: Marvelous Discourse

Filmforum is delighted to host David Finkelstein, visiting from New York, whose exuberant videos explore both the limits of video and of performance, in ongoing dialogue with the viewerâs perceptions.  He is the founder of the Lake Ivan Performance Group.   www.lakeivan.org

Since 1982, Lake Ivan Performance Group has presented their poetic montages of words, music, and images in performance venues throughout New York, such as Here, Symphony Space, Theater for the New City, PS 122, Dixon Place, and many others. Now, they are making their work more widely available through a series of innovative videos, which combine meticulously crafted computer-generated imagery with improvised text and music. The videos are shown on Public Access television, and have been screened at a variety of public venues, including the Dahlonega International Film Festival, Valleyfest, the Silver Lake Film Festival, the Bearded Child Film Festival, the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema, the Puget Sound Cinema Society, and other venues.

In these wholly improvised pieces, performer/director David Finkelstein and performers James Martin and Agnes de Garron take the viewer on a journey into an inner landscape of surprising and poetic juxtapositions of words and images. The results are both ironically humorous and emotionally resonant. Multiple layers of overlaid imagery and text help the viewer to make sense of the complex sound track, which consists of two simultaneous monologues plus music, by bringing out the emotional and musical threads which run through the piece, while highlighting key phrases of text.

Micro-Film wrote that "Lake Ivan Exists #21" is "a tight example of how to make a successful experimental video." The Village Voice wrote that Lake Ivan's performance "derived a powerful emotional current from de Garron's wounded, clownlike persona," while Theatre Journal called Finkelstein's direction "revelatory," and de Garron's performance "riveting."

âFinkelstein, who makes his living as a rehearsal pianist for Alvin Ailey American Dance
Theater, has worked for years to create an improvisational acting style - not the kind where performers agree in advance on a topic or story line, but one where "we access our intuition about what's going on in the piece at each moment and turn that into language and silences. We discover as we're doing it what the themes and structures are." (He works with few actors and says most need a year's training or more.)
Yet there is a structure to these short films, he avers, and it's one viewers can tap into:
"The throughline is one of emotions, of moods and energy. These pieces are filled with ideas; you don't stop thinking while you're watching, but the intellect doesn't run the show. If you get inside the feelings of these films, they make sense." â - Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com/161/v-print/story/1203835.html

Finkelstein will have a screening with different works at the Echo Park Film Center on March 11.

At Filmforum:

Earth and Moon in Love (2004, 21 minutes)
Lyrics by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Composed, Directed, Edited, Visual design by David Finkelstein
The Earth sung and portrayed by: John Collis
The Moon sung by Randall Wong, portrayed by David Finkelstein
Director of Photography: Fernando Maneca
Music recorded by: Carlos Henrique Pereira, K Studio

At the climax of Percy Shelley's lyrical drama, "Prometheus Unbound,"  Mankind is delivered once and for all from tyranny, and the Universe  celebrates his new-found freedom and self-mastery. As part of this celebration the Earth and the Moon fall rapturously in love. This  musical setting for acclaimed countertenors RANDALL WONG and JOHN  COLLIS places the amorous planets among floating panels of scenery  which illustrate almost every line of the text, creating a visual/ musical feast which is at once silly, mystical and delirious.

Earth and Moon in Love won "Best of Fest: Experimental" at the Putnam  County Film and Video Festival, "Best Experimental Short" at the  Brooklyn Arts Council Film Festival, "Best of Festival: Experimental"  at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival, and the Silver Medal of  Excellence at the Park City Film Music Festival. It has also screened  at the Big MiniDV Festival, the Outer Festival, Free Form Film  Festival, Video Bardo in Argentina, and Exground in Germany.

RANDALL WONG originated roles in the operas "Harvey Milk" at New York City Opera, and "Atlas" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He is a member of Meredith monk's Vocal Ensemble and has appeared all over the globe in numerous Baroque operas and concert roles. JOHN COLLIS sang with the early music groups Polyhymnia, Mannes Camerata, and Cygnus.

" 'Earth and Moon in Love' is lovely. Steeped in rich classical imagery; baroque...rococo...an absolute delight of flamboyant beauty." --Mike Kuchar

Terrifying Blankness (2008, 30 min)
Directed by David Finkelstein
Created and performed by David Finkelstein and Cassie Terman
Editing, sound mix, music and visual design: David Finkelstein

Based on a completely improvised performance, "Terrifying Blankness" examines the dilemma of choice. Paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong move, the two protagonists find themselves either trapped on the wheel of desire or else trying to escape from the fear of choice entirely by withdrawing into an empty blankness. Lemons, snakes, and swans are among the curious images which play a part in this existential drama. Will they finally locate the inner voice which will guide them in their decisions?

" 'Terrifying Blanknessâ is a remarkably deft performance on all  
accounts. I loved the recurrence of themes, both conceptual and  
musical, that ties this piece together; the impossible objects, the  
wonderful integration of music, and the dense, contradictory visual  
spaces that arise from the layering." --Peter Rose

Burning Arc (2009, 10 min)
Created by David Finkelstein
Music: Samuel Barber

The mechanics of male sexual arousal are revealed as the hidden source of the form of a familiar musical composition.

Marvelous Discourse (2010, 21 minutes, video)
Directed by David Finkelstein
Created and performed by David Finkelstein, Agnes de Garron, and Ian  
W. Hill
Editing, sound mix, music and visual design: David Finkelstein

" 'Marvelous Discourse' is just that! The artistry of visual decor along with the lyrical invention of dialogue flowing musically with a resonating clearness of tone, flavored with wit in a stream of consciousness is captivating and lovely...a free-spirited sort of poetry in visual attire and mental trance.â  --Mike Kuchar

Language passes through the body, meaty, corporeal, and breathing. Do you adopt the stereotypically "male" strategy of verbally lunging at your opponent, trying to skewer him rhetorically, or do you adopt the "feminine" approach, like the Oracle of Delphi, and open your body to allow voices from the beyond to speak through you? "Marvelous  
Discourse" uses cave art, shadow puppets, and a visit to a caf in the Israeli town of Endor, among many other images, to explore the gendered experience of language-in-the-body. The text for the video is completely improvised by the actors, as a spectacular example of language unfolding from an intuitive physicality.

"Marvelous Discourse" was screened by the Gemini CollisionWorks in  New York and at CRS New York.

Program TRT: 1 hour 22 minutes

DAVID FINKELSTEIN has been making performances since 1982. He has been developing a style of improvised performance work since 1993, which he has performed at Here, Theater for the New City, the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Movement Research at the Judson Church, PS 122, The Knitting Factory, New York Improvisation Festival, and many other venues. He has taught Improvisation Technique for 3 years at Movement Research, where he was Artist in Residence in 1997. His work has been funded by The Fund for Creative Communities, The Field, Movement Research, meet the Composer, The Brooklyn Arts Exchange, BACA, and many individual donors. His video work has been featured in the PBS series "Under the Pink Carpet," the OMA Awards, the PrideVision cable network, and numerous film festivals and screening events.

DAVID FINKELSTEIN's video work has been featured in the Brainwash Film Festival, Les Inattendus, Instants Video, Experiments in Cinema, CRS New York, Outer Film Fest, Artist Television Access, Free Form Film Festival, Ybor Festival, Rubric Video, WRO (Poland) Festival, New Vision Cinema, Athens (Ohio) Film Fest, Dahlonega Film Festival, VideoBardo, Exground, Valleyfest, Big MiniDV Festival, Park City Film  
Music Festival, the Puget Sound Cinema Society, the Downstream Film Festival, the Silver Lake Festival, EXP2, New Filmmakers, Bearded Child Festival, X-Fest, SinCin, and the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema. Altogether, his video works have won nine awards at four different Festivals, including the Grand Festival Award from the Berkeley Video and Film Festival for "Born in Mid-Flight" and "Best of Festival: Experimental" from the Brooklyn Arts Council Film Festival for "Earth and Moon in Love." He has been commissioned three times to create videos for the Outmusic Awards, and these videos were subsequently shown on the PrideVision cable network and the PBS series "Under the Pink Carpet." His work has been funded by The Fund for Creative  Communities, The Field, Movement Research, Meet the Composer, The Brooklyn Arts Exchange, BACA, and other sources.

Admission for Filmforum screenings: $10 general, $6 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members
Advance ticket purchase available through Brown Paper Tickets at
Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/
Links also found on the Los Angeles Filmforum website, www.lafilmforum.org

For the screenings at the Egyptian Theater:
Parking is now easiest at the Hollywood & Highland complex. Bring your ticket for validation. Parking is $2 for 4 hours with validation. Enter that complex on Highland or Hollywood. The theater is 1.5 blocks east.

Los Angeles Filmforum is the city's longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation.  2010 is our 34th year.
Memberships available, $60 single or $95 dual
Contact us at lafilmforum@yahoo.com.  www.lafilmforum.org

This screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque.


Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
United States



Minimum Age: 17
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


Owner: Los Angeles Filmforum
On BPT Since: Nov 17, 2009
Adam Hyman

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