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Soul Stealing

Next Thursday night, you’re invited to The Toby at IMA for a crash course in soul-stealing…in the cinematic sense, that is. Dennis Bingham, director of film studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, will enlighten us on the history, politics and particular pleasures of a genre of film known as the biopic, or film biography.

Since the art of film was born, directors and screenwriters have snatched drama from the lives of real people and transmuted them into works of cinematic art. From Erin Brockovich and Larry Flynt to Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, there are a gazillion real lives that beg for big screen treatment. Jake LaMotta, anyone?

In his new book, Whose Lives Are They Anyway?, Bingham interrogates the oft-dismissed biopic genre for its power to mythologize, demonize, sanctify, and complicate.

Think of the innovative 2007 Bob Dylan biopic, I’m Not There. Or Oliver Stone’s takes on Nixon and JFK. Not to mention Gretchen Moll in The Notorious Bettie Page–a film that might have been naughty but was actually quite nice. Plus Denzel Washington‘s channeling of Malcom X back in ’92.

See you October 28 at The Toby for this free 7 pm talk (details here). Meanwhile, leave us a list of biopics you find most notable – whether schlocky, exploitative or aggrandizing…


Pharm Accident in 100 Acres

A guy in a suit and tie hits on a log with a big stick, producing a deep thumping vibe. Another one rattles a young maple tree, making a swishing sound, while a woman in a black dress and sky-high heels shimmies on a slatted wood platform. A full moon rises behind the trees as dusk descends.

Such was the scene at last week’s fall equinox performance in the IMA’s 100 Acres. Pharm Accident, the performance group of Big Car, christened the Ruth Lilly Visitor Pavilion with its first full performance since the Park opened last June. Here’s a portrait of the Pharm Accident performers:

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Paul Bunyan as Social Capital

A recent vacation to Maine included an encounter with a mythic lumberjack in the city of Bangor.

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Animated Spaghetti

If you’re addicted to stop motion animation like I am, here’s a quick hit for you:

Googly eyes, dice and dollar bills make for a tasty film treat, do they not?  Western Spaghetti is one of nine shorts on the program for this Sunday afternoon’s Generations of Animation event at The Toby.

Another film clip in the mix is Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  While watching this film on a transatlantic flight earlier this year, I was blown away by the level of detail in this pioneering 1937 film.  Every writhing rabbit and bouncing bird is orchestrated into a vivid, ever-moving visual feast.

So jump into a big red comfy sack and check out these pieces of animation history from 1914 to 2009 on the big screen.  Animators from IUPUI’s School of Informatics will be on hand to demonstrate 3D animation.  Kids can do some hands-on activities.  And this program is free…a gift to you from IMA.


Lovely Cosmic Boogers

This Friday night, the IMA showcases a spectacle that no curator could wrangle and no corporation could sponsor.  It’s called the Perseids meteor shower.

You’re invited to bring a flashlight and blanket, to make your way out to 100 Acres, and settle in for a free light show.

The shower is called the Perseids because it appears that it emanates from the constellation Perseus, the original tough guy of Greek mythology.  What you’ll see, barring clouds or rain, is a trail of cosmic boogers left by the streaking Comet Swift-Tuttle.  This comet is the largest object known to make repeated passes near the Earth.  Read the rest of this entry »


About Anne

Job Title: Assistant Director of Public Programs

Interests: Poetry, cinema, environmental activism, the Chicago Bears, hoboism

Favorite Movies: GoodFellas, The Big Lebowski, Touch of Evil, Killer of Sheep (newest favorite)

Favorite Music: Throaty female singers from the 70s (Joplin, Nicks, Ronstadt, Raitt)

Favorite Food: Homemade ravioli

Pets: Byron, a fat gray cat that my mom now houses since I got married and my husband's allergic

Something you should know about me: I'm more rebellious than I appear

Anne has written 39 articles for us.