Film Love and Atlanta Contemporary Art Center present:
The Velvet Underground

A cinematographic tribute to musician Lou Reed (1942-2013), the Velvet Underground, and the relationship with their mentor and producer Andy Warhol

Friday, February 21, 2014
8:00 pm at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
$8 general | $5 student/senior | Free with ACAC membership

Powered equally by Lou Reed’s visionary, tender-to-brutal songs, John Cale’s training in hardcore minimalism, the onrushing rhythm guitars of Reed and Sterling Morrison, and the pounding momentum of Maureen Tucker’s drumming, the Velvet Underground provided the unlikely template for thousands of bands to follow. In the process, they made the lines between pop and the avant-garde virtually irrelevant – much like their advocate and mentor, Andy Warhol. Their fateful alliance with Warhol changed the course of American music and of rock and roll worldwide. On February 21 at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Film Love presents a tribute to Reed, the Velvets, and Warhol through the band’s films from this era.

Film was an integral (if now overlooked) part of this crucial phase of the Velvet Underground. Not only did all their early performances feature film projections, but the band themselves feature prominently in several of Warhol’s films from this era. Still rarely screened, these films were (as far as we know) made not as traditional theatrical releases but most likely to be projected over the band as they played live in the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Warhol's multimedia spectacle. Alongside the filmic and musical presence of the Velvet Underground, the EPI also featured strobe lighting effects and S&M-derived dancing, resulting in a chaotic barrage that updated the "happening" and looked forward to post-1968 environments that merged the artistic with the social. In the spirit of the EPI, Film Love will present several of Warhol's original Velvet Underground films in an immersive, multiple-projection environment unique to this screening.

The centerpiece will be The Velvet Underground and Nico, a 1966 rehearsal film featuring the band's classic lineup. With intense concentration and discipline, the band jams on a single chord for many minutes at a time, maintaining energy and focus while providing an aural link to their avant-garde "roots." The sense of experimentalism extends to the wild camerawork, as well as to the overarching feel of the film itself. Is this a rehearsal or a performance? Does the film make it into something different altogether? A surprise event in the second reel brings the music to a halt; characteristically, Warhol keeps the camera running and as so often in the Factory films, we find the line between cinema, performance, and real life blurred. The Velvet Underground and Nico will be accompanied by Screen Tests of the band members and other rare VU films made by Warhol in this period.

Advisory: this event makes use of stroboscopic light.

Films include
The Velvet Underground and Nico (Andy Warhol, 1966)
Velvet Underground screen tests (Andy Warhol, 1966)
The Velvet Underground (Andy Warhol, 1966)

The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
535 Means Street NW
Atlanta, GA, 30318

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND is a Film Love event, programmed and hosted by Andy Ditzler for Frequent Small Meals. Film Love promotes awareness of the rich history of experimental and avant-garde film. Through public screenings and events, Film Love preserves the communal viewing experience, provides space for the discussion of film as art, and explores alternative forms of moving image projection and viewing. Film Love was voted Best Film Series in Atlanta by the critics of Creative Loafing in 2006, and was featured in Atlanta Magazine's Best of Atlanta 2009.

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