With all the recent talk about fine art in San Diego, it's kind of ironic that the most high-profile show— at least in my opinion—is one that's derived from art that has less than humble beginnings. I'm talking about Viva la Revolucion, the street-art extravaganza featuring the work of luminaries like Banksy, Invader and Shepard Fairey that's headquartered at the Downtown location of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and has its tentacles spread out all over the city in the form of murals and, well, street art.
In this particular case, aspects of the Revolucion will, in fact, be televised—in a three-part film series that runs October through December. The Viva la Revolucion flicks fit right into the exhibit itself,even though one of them has yet to be officially announced.
The first film, Next: A Primer on Urban Painting, will be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, at MCASD's La Jolla location. Pablo Aravena's documentary is an up-close-and-personal look at some of the movers and shakers of the street-art world around the globe and includes, along with many interviews, plenty of footage of art-making that could get the artists in trouble.
At 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, the museum will screen what is, to date, my favorite film of 2010, Exit Through the Gift Shop. Like much of his work, Banksy's meta-examination of the nature of art is a piece of genius that works on countless levels. Is his story of Thierry Guetta, the Frenchman living in L.A. who's trying to make a documentary about street art, entirely true? Or is it a staged wink-wink at the arts community in general? It might be a documentary,
or it might not, but either way, it's eye-opening, thought-provoking, terribly insightful and hysterically funny.
At 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 16 and 17, MCASD will screen Flood Tide: Remixed, also at the La Jolla branch. Mark your calendar now, because you won't want to miss this one. Filmed while the artist Swoon was putting together her Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea, it's essentially about four artists and musicians creating boats with found materials before heading to open water as society collapses around them. Additionally, the evening will include a live performance from Dark, Dark, Dark, a band composed of the film's cast members, accompanying the movie with a live soundtrack.
Traditionally, street art has been free. These movies, however, are not. Gripe if you must, but make sure you buy ahead, because in all likelihood, they'll sell out. Tickets are $7, except for Flood Tide: Remixed, which runs $20.
So buy early. Enjoy the movies.
Get into the spirit of things. Find some stuff and turn it into something else. Take some pictures. Pick up an instrument. Make some art. But, please, don't tag the museum.
Active activism: It started last weekend, but the Human Rights Watch Film Festival runs for one more weekend at the Museum of Photographic Arts. Enemies of the People (6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23) looks at genocide in Cambodia, Camp Victory Afghanistan (6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24) examines the building of the Afghan military and Iran: Voices of the Unheard (1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25) listens to Iranian secularists. $10. mopa.org
To the extreme: Hurry up, because the Radical Reels Tour from The Banff Mountain Film Festival, a traveling collection of extreme short films about extreme sports, tends to extremely sell out. It's one night only, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, at the San Diego Natural History Museum. $12. sdnhm.org
Movie multitudes: If you're reading the print edition, just flip to our special guide on Page 27 for all the details on the San Diego Film Festival, which runs Wednesday, Sept. 29, through Sunday, Oct. 3, at the Gaslamp Stadium. If you're an online'er, click here. $12-$135. sdff.org
Don't be a: Douchebag. The San Diego Film Critics Society (of which I am a member) offers up an early look at Drake Doremus' Sundance fave at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, at Hillcrest Cinemas. It's a tightly written and well-acted affair about a jerkwad who must finally reconcile with his brother. The writer / director and lead actors will be on hand. $10 suggested donation. sdfcs.org
Truth in advertising: UCSD's Art- Power! Film brings Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation to the Loft at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19. When they say sick and twisted, they aren't kidding, but the list of famous animators who got their start under the S&M banner, like Tim Burton and John Lassiter, is impressive. $8. artpwr.com
Arts and martial arts: The San Diego Asian Film Festival enters its second decade with the U.S. premier of Donnie Yen's violent epic, Legend of the Fist. The fest runs from Oct. 21 through 28 at Ultra- Star Mission Valley, and your celeb sightings could include Lost's Daniel Dae Kim, John Cho (Harold, not Kumar), Scott Pilgrim ass-kicker Ellen Wong, Glee's Harry Shum Jr. and Danny Pudi of Community. Passes are $34 and up. sdaff.org
Membership privileges: If you're not a member of the Italian Film Festival, consider joining. They're starting off this year's festival on Friday, Oct. 22, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park with Il Divo, one of last year's best films and a tremendous feast. There will also be a Marco Bellocchio retrospective, which will include his debut, the 1965 classic Fists in the Pocket. It runs until Nov. 5. sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com
Silence is golden: Even still, the second Encinitas Silent Film Festival will feature live accompaniment. Running Friday, Nov. 5, through Sunday, Nov. 7, at La Paloma Theatre, the action centers on Buster Keaton this year. Should you see his masterpiece, Sherlock Jr? It's elementary. $10. etcinfo.net