Don't Open It! Don't Open It!

Katsudo benshi were a class of artists in Japan in the 1920s and 1930s who live-narrated silent movies. They were celebrities, with their own fans, and didn't stop at rehashing the corny stories of those stilted old films, but also commented on and improved them. You're thinking Mystery Science Theater 3000, and you are not wrong. In fact, those darn robots may be the first of the neo-benshi. At "The New Talkies," a horde of experimental poets get on the mic, turn down the sound on movies like Logan's Run, and go to town. These are the official neo-benshi, and like their forebears, they embroider upon, harass, and otherwise demolish the scripts as you know them. Logan's Run gets the treatment from the best-known of these smartasses, David Larsen, who runs circles around poor Michael York in his tights. Tonight, other cinema interventions are perpetrated on Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Mary Poppins, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Sat., July 12, 8 p.m., 2008

 
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