Voices Carry

The self-effacing form of public performance known as karaoke combines the familiar words and melodies of popular songs with cheap, liberating booze. Experimental film is an august genre of cinema generally (albeit incorrectly) perceived as cerebral, cryptic, and inaccessible. Put 'em together, and what have you got? Cinematheque Sing Along, a willfully and wantonly mixed marriage of high and low art. Pitched somewhere north of MTV but several octaves this side of opera, the idiosyncratic music videos of locals Bryan Boyce and Anne McGuire and out-of-towners Michael Robinson and Kelly Sears, among others, place a premium on fun. Removed from a theater or gallery context and dropped into a wisecracking neighborhood bar, the works lose any hint of pretentiousness, allowing their wit, inventiveness, and sheer goofiness to dominate. Sure, a few of the artists get off on inverting and perverting the conventions of the historically young-filmmaker-friendly genre, from acute fashion sense and shameless lust to Pavlovian editing. But a cheerful band of inebriated voices, raised in unison in song, is quite capable of drowning out any mention of semiotics.
Tue., Nov. 24, 7 p.m., 2009

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