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Stuart Gordon, goblins, and moths

Plus more events we recommend checking out in Madison, October 24 through 30 edition.
Actor Jeffrey Combs is shown in a mutated, glowing-pink form in the film From Beyond.
“From Beyond” screens October 30 at the Chazen.

Plus more events we recommend checking out in Madison, October 24 through 30 edition.

We’re partnering with the wonderful independent email newsletter Madison Minutes to bring you event recommendations every week. Some of these write-ups will appear in Madison Minutes‘ weekly event email, and all of which will appear here.

A few notes: This events roundup is, as before, selective and not comprehensive. Each week, we’ll focus on a handful of things our editors and writers find compelling, and that’s it. We’ll write up a few of them, and just list a few more. It’ll take us a while to get back to full strength with this part of our coverage, because we’ve had so many other exciting, demanding things to work on lately. Please reach out to us with suggestions—and info about your event, as long as you’re able to get it to us a few weeks in advance—at [email protected].

OCTOBER 24

No Time To Fail (with post-screening panel) at Arts + Literature Laboratory. 7 p.m. Free (but tickets required)

Two weeks ahead of the midterms, No Time To Fail (2022), Sara Archambault and Margo Guernsey’s nail-biting 90-minute chronicle of Rhode Island elections officials’ sticktoitiveness, finds a vital local premiere at Arts + Literature Laboratory.

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With lucidity and precision, Archambault and Guernsey’s lens follows officials among three major Rhode Island cities (Cranston, Providence, and Central Falls) in addition to the Department Of State and Board Of Elections, coordinating and navigating the amassing complications brought on by the pandemic between September and November 2020. Not only have they been tasked with precarious election logistics, but they are forced to contend with the brunt of public animus and distrust stirred by corporate media and a sitting President who’s borrowing from the neo-fascist playbook to claim unsubstantiated fraud ahead of any officially tallied ballots.

The co-directors’ efforts truly shine when they pull back the curtain to reveal the immense devotion and adaptability involved with the people in these positions, especially Providence Administer of Elections Kathy Placencia and Clerk Of The Board Renay Brooks Omisore, who put aside their personal lives to ensure that anyone who wants to vote can do so on or before election day. It’s as good a demonstration as any that democracy (with a lowercase “d”) requires active participation and comprehension of the process by tough-minded individuals working at multiple levels.

Further, as Director Of Elections at Secretary Of State’s office Rob Rock puts into perspective, if this much organization is involved throughout a state like Rhode Island, imagine it in Wisconsin. We have five times its population and over 14 times as many counties. Not everything will run like clockwork, and there won’t always be simple answers staring us in the face. It’s a grey reality that a segment of the media and a major political party no longer adheres to—only a delusional narrative devoid of complex solutions and empathy.

Madisonians may not be the audience who most needs to witness the mechanics of this film, but the sense of urgency is utterly compelling. Perhaps it’s enough to encourage a conversation with those who’ve been led astray to acknowledge community labor and planning behind the scenes of our government.

In a post-screening discussion with co-director Archambault and Dane County Clerk’s Office Elections Management Specialist Rachel Rodriguez, be sure to ask more about the film’s final statement, the short- and long-term ramifications of a “mass exodus of election officials from the field.”

—Grant Phipps

Twilight at Majestic. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7:30 p.m. $5 advance, $7 doors

It’s vampire/werewolf season again and the Madison-based Say It Out Loud podcast is warmly inviting devotees (and challenging non-believers) to come out on to enjoy the sillier side of the cult 2008 film Twilight. If you’ve had a pulse on the internet over the past few months, you may have already seen that we are neck deep in a Twilight Renaissance, including memes, Zoom parties and Midnight Sun, a 2020 companion to the 2005 Twilight novel, told from Edward Cullen’s perspective. 

Whether you’re curious about what all the Twilight hype is about (“Bella, where the hell have you been, loca?”), or looking to revisit the same thrill that you had going to the midnight premiere of Twilight as a youth, Say It Out Loud hosts Jennalee Emmert and Alyssa Allemand are ready to assist you with their fang-sharp humor and a Twilight-themed drinking game (which will be available to take home after the event to play with friends over and over again). Although actual vampires are not explicitly invited to the screening (Rosalie and Carlisle Cullen can come), attendees are encouraged to dress up for the event.

Feeling inspired to revisit young adult yearnings with a critical mind and a fully formed frontal lobe? Want to satisfy “nostalgia cravings” before this event? Listen back to episodes of the Say It Out Podcast (like episode three, a two-parter featuring a licensed marriage and family therapist who talks about Edward and Bella’s horrifyingly toxic relationship) on iHeart Radio, Spotify, Apple or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can follow along with the pod on Twitter

—Hanna Kohn

OCTOBER 26

Mills Folly Microcinema: Inland Cinema. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. $5

OCTOBER 27

Decision To Leave at UW Cinematheque. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. Free.

Excerpt from Alisyn Amant’s review:

Watching Park Chan-wook’s Decision To Leave (2022) is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Not a simple 100-, 300-, or 500-piece puzzle, but one that seems to taunt and challenge passersby from the shelf with an intricate, dizzying design and bold-printed “5,000 PIECES.” And, just as you’re on the brink of the solution, putting them all together, you realize with a sinking incredulousness that you can’t find the last piece anywhere.

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Through twitches of an eye or subtle movements of an arm, Park Hae-il and Tang Wei’s performances both succeed in saying what their director’s dialogue refuses to say outright, for the sake of making viewers work for the answers. Tang’s performance as the seductive suspect, who happens to be a Chinese immigrant facing intense discrimination and abuse within imbalanced marriages, could have easily become another face to add to the annals of the “conniving but helpless woman” trope. Instead, she molds an intensely emotional character that purposely rubs up against patriarchal power—what law enforcement agencies tend to represent in film and other art forms. When Seo-rae (Tang) is questioned further about her role in her husband’s death, she essentially and antagonistically asks, “Shouldn’t you be pitying me because I’m a woman?” It shapes the idea that Decision To Leave is not just another cat-and-mouse thriller, but a chilling romance of true equals.

Lunar Moth, Totally Cashed, Shoobie, Smoke Free Home, Flying Fuzz at High Noon Saloon. Doors at 7 p.m., music at 8 p.m. $10.

Lunar Moth plays here to celebrate the release of its In The Mourning EP, which brings a few sides of the Madison trio into sharper focus. The first of its four tracks, “Flower Blood Moon,” continues to build on the band’s well-established love of doom metal, drawing its power from lumbering rhythms. But Amber (guitar, vocals), Mac (bass), and Gage Moth (drums) always leave themselves room to go in more bright and hooky directions. The EP’s first single, “Sunshine Veins,” starts with the kind of guitar chords that hint at both tension and sadness, and when the song gets a little heavier, Amber Moth’s vocals draw out a restive yearning from the fuzz. 

It’s the title track, though, that does the most with all the promise Lunar Moth has shown so far. It starts off as a gentle acoustic number, with lyrics that ask the listener to take death and loss in stride (“When my time is done, just another month of cold in the ground, don’t cry for me”). The song gradually builds up in volume, rocking out just enough to put a finer point on the sweetly sad atmosphere. 

—Scott Gordon

HR of Bad Brains at Bur Oak. Doors at 7 p.m., music at 8 p.m. $22 advance, $25 doors. 

OCTOBER 28

Seven Beauties at UW Cinematheque. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. Free.

Few are brave enough to attempt a comedy that’s set in a concentration camp. Famously, Jerry Lewis failed spectacularly at doing so with The Day The Clown Cried (1972), and the result was embarrassing enough that he ordered it sealed away until June of 2024. But where Lewis flopped, purportedly for trying to portray a character leading children to their deaths as likable, Italian director Lina Wertmüller succeeds in Seven Beauties (1977) by bringing a European sensibility to a European event, slowly stripping away any notion of being more than a body trying to survive with the inherently macabre humor of that notion. (Wertmüller was the first woman ever nominated for a Best Director Oscar for this film.)

The film follows Pasqualino (Giancarlo Giannini, in the midst of an extended collaboration with Wertmüller throughout the 1970s), who’s nicknamed “Seven Beauties,” because he’s the only man in a household of sisters and a mother who all fall far short of traditional Western beauty standards. We first see him wandering through the German countryside after deserting the army, and he soon finds a companion (Piero Di Iorio) to tell the sorry tale of how he ended up there. It involves a botched honor killing, a stint in an insane asylum, and eventually escaping confinement to join the Fascist army.

Flashbacks skip over his stint in the army, picking up when the deserters have landed in the concentration camp. Inside they meet Pedro (Fernando Rey), a political prisoner who holds firm to his convictions, in contrast to Pasqualino’s guiding philosophy of “I’m ready to do anything to live.” The camp commandant (Shirley Stoler) gives him opportunities to debase himself to prove that statement, while gradually wearing the expression of a wounded dog.

The film’s humor and pathos are akin to the mix of shame and pride of a rock-bottom drinking tale, tolerable only because the storyteller lived to relay it. This is perhaps Wertmüller’s brilliance—detailing the creep of Fascism into the heart of one not particularly admirable man. It seems absurd when it hasn’t affected them directly, until it’s too late. With Italy’s extreme right wing nuzzling up to Fascism, now is a good time to let yourself be confronted by such a story. 

Lewis Peterson

Artists’ Night 2022 at multiple venues. 6 p.m. Free.

OCTOBER 29

Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin performing Suspiria at Orpheum. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $35-$55.

From the classic music-box-like opening theme of Dario Argento’s 1977 supernatural horror film Suspiria to its straight-ahead progressive rock tracks to its haunting, atmospheric scores, Goblin’s music has become the sound perhaps most associated with Italian horror. The band’s cosmic synthesizer arrangements, commanding kettle drums and percussion, and frightening vocals—which almost play a role of their own in Suspiria‘s plot—are unmistakable 45 years later. 

The first of The Three Mothers trilogy, Suspiria follows American dance student Suzy Bannion’s (Jessica Harper) tormented experience as a new student at a prestigious dance academy in Freiburg, Germany. Upon her arrival, Suzy sees another student run out of the building, only to be the victim of a gruesome, exhibitionistic murder—one of several that occur on school grounds during Suzy’s brief tenure. Goblin’s soundtrack clues in viewers to the fact that darkness lies within the school. The score is a plot point itself, featuring whispers and chants of “Witch! Witch!”, foreshadowing Suzy’s own discovery and eventual fate. In addition to the score, the deep, vivid red hues present throughout the film play the role of evil living within the school. 

Goblin has performed under several iterations, with the latest led by original composer Claudio Simonetti. This 45-year anniversary of Suspiria tour features Simonetti with a live band including guitars, bass, and percussion, performing the soundtrack over a screening of the film. Simonetti’s Goblin will also perform supplementary soundtrack material after the viewing of Suspiria

There’s also a whole other screening of Suspiria in town this same night. UW Cinematheque will be showing a new digital restoration of the film at 7 p.m. in its Vilas Hall screening room.

Emili Earhart 

Thumbscrew (Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek, Tomas Fujiwara) at Arts + Literature Laboratory. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m. $20 advance, $25 doors

OCTOBER 30

From Beyond at Chazen Museum of Art. Doors at 1:30 p.m., screening at 2 p.m. Free.

From Ian Adcock’s feature on UW Cinematheque’s Stuart Gordon series at the Chazen Museum Of Art (which concludes with this screening):

Stuart Gordon’s kinky, outrageous experiment in body horror, From Beyond (1986), is a fan favorite due to its over-the-top aesthetic. Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) and his assistant Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) have finally perfected the Resonator, a device that gives humans access to the fifth dimension by stimulating the pineal gland. Unfortunately, the fifth dimension is full of nightmarish creatures, and the experiment ends with Pretorius getting his head bitten off and Tillinghast going mad.

Tillinghast is rescued from a mental institution by psychologist Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton), who wants him to recreate the experiments to find out what happened. Along with police escort Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree of Dawn Of The Dead), he returns to the laboratory. When they switch the Resonator back on, Dr. Pretorius’ head returns from the fifth dimension with a new terrifying body. Transformed into a classically Lovecraftian monster, Pretorius’ sadistic urges have become a desire for power and human flesh.

The excessive pineal stimulation begins to affect our “heroes” as well; Dr. McMichaels becomes drawn to both the Resonator and Pretorius’ bondage gear, while Crawford sprouts a pineal antenna in his forehead and develops an insatiable hunger for brains. After a bloody escape from the mental institution, Tillinghast and McMichaels try to overcome their urges to destroy the Resonator before Pretorius becomes all-powerful.

Filmed quickly reusing the set of Dolls (1986), From Beyond is clearly an attempt to one-up Gordon’s breakout debut Re-Animator (1985), using another Lovecraft short story as its basis, and bringing back both Crampton and Combs as the stars. Gordon also had the most difficulty getting the film passed by the MPAA ratings board. Presumably, it was payback for everything Gordon got away with in his unrated debut. Packed full of gruesome special effects and copious amounts of slime, it’s one of Gordon’s most popular and enduring films. 

Sami Schalk: Black Disability Politics book signing at A Room of One’s Own. Noon. Free.

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