Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Events at Portage Theater, Chicago, 1920 -2013...Depp, Dave McKean, Elegance of Masculine Beauty photographs, Flapper Dance, etc

¯"I read the news today, oh boy. The Portage Theater has just closed it's doors" ¯ to paraphrase The Beatles "A Day in the Life." The Portage was built in 1920 and received preliminary landmark status in 2012. Chaplin's The Great Dictator was deemed too controversial, thus premiered at only 2 theaters in Chicago, the Music Box and Portage in 1940. In 2008, a scene from Public Enemies (released 2009) with Johnny Depp was filmed here in lieu of the Biograph Theater (Depp played gangster John Dillenger who was gunned down after watching Manhattan Melodrama 1934). 
My feet with original tile floors from 1920
Magnificent Portage Grande Cinema Organ

The Portage was almost sold to a mega church (summer 2012) but to grassroots activism in the community saved it! This video of surrealist Time Lord flapper dance was to celebrate the fact that the Portage wasn't sold back then. Now, sadly, it is under new ownership which has shut it's doors and gives no public statement as to what it plans to do with the building.

Dave McKean, illustrator for Neil Gaiman's Sandman and numerous other graphic novels, came to the Portage Theater to screen his short films and his full length film Mirrormask, written by Gaiman. Also on exhibit were McKean's paintings inspired by German expressionistic films from the Weimar Republic (1919 - 1933) produced by the Ufa film company in Berlin. 
Dave McKean painting inspired by M (dir Fritz Lang, 1931)
Dave McKean signing his books

Cabinet of Dr Caligari by Dave McKean

 Inpromtu flapper dance film (below) filmed by Chicago Surrealist Group member, DainaSurrealism & actor/model, Jacob. Portage Theater, built 1920. View VIRAL Chaplin dance w/ my band, "Hypnagogic Telegram." (Georges Melies film "Trip to the Moon" 1902) backdrop. Electronica inspired by Dreams, fleeting aspects of time, Lewis Carroll,  Dr Who (Trock), & Fortean Phenomena. This was filmed after screening of "The Artist" when film's theme song played on loop (Chicago). Any excuse for a surrealist to play dress-up

(Song: The Artist Theme Song - George Valentin ( Ludovic Bource )Film "The Artist" by Michel Hazanavicius, French director of Lithuanian origin (Lietuvis). Lietuvaite soka kaip Flapper! Vasario 16 Gimnazija studente Cikagoje. Lithuanian surreal artist. Labas!)

I took the first location shots for my Elegance of Masculine Beauty project.

Silent and classic film is a major inspiration for my project. See picks of beautiful men from the history of Hollywood in my Elegance of Masculine Beauty: Hollywood Inspiration (Valentino, James Dean, Roger Moore, Depp, Cumberbatch, et al) 

Rudolph Valentino
James Dean
Roger Moore as The Saint
Johnny Depp
Benedict Cumberbatch
A propo silent film, the Portage held an annual Silent Film Fest Chicago every summer. That has now moved to Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge, IL.

The Black Pirate (1926)

Sunday, April 28, 7:30 p.m.
Pickwick Theatre
5 South Prospect Ave, Park Ridge, IL

Other Portage Theater events will have new venues. Find updates on these sites.
Expressionist film posters (Cocaine, Totentanz, Marmorhaus, Opium)
STRANGE INTERLUDE: My Vaudeville, Time-Travel inspired band, "Hypnagogic Telegram" is going VIRAL on Youtube. I play a literal personification of a Time Ghost (Zeitgeist) that inhabits the wardrobe closet of the TARDIS. I come out in costumes from various eras to dance & sing in styles from those eras. Film in background is Georges Milies' Trip to the Moon (1902) silent classic. If Doctor Who would have a band, it might sound like this. 
<---- br="" here.="" video="" view="" youtube="">On FACEBOOK @ HYPNAGOGIC TELEGRAM

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