As many of you know, we've been taking Rock That Uke around the country to arts organizations and funky-ass, independently owned cinema houses, usually screening it with live ukulele concerts. Another effort, though, has been to further enrich the screenings by showing other offbeat, ukulele- driven videos by contemporary film and video artists. It's a program we call Cinema du Ukulele. Below are the films that make up the program, each of which uses the ukulele and its unique qualities to very different effect. Many thanks to the artists for letting us include their work with ours.
|GAY BOYFRIEND (2003) - RYAN MCFAUL, dir. Ryan McFaul's brilliantly clever (and award-winning!) music video of an arch, very funny song by Sydney Maresca and Anne Harris (aka "The Hazards," formerly "The Ukes of Hazard") on the benefits of having a gay boyfriend over a lying, cheating, heartbreaking hetero BF, is an inspired little gem. Featuring campy dance numbers, vibrantly colored set decorations and costumes, and a poppy, cheeky, special effects-filled style, Gay Boyfriend beautifully evokes the scopitone music shorts of the 1960s.|
|DAMN YOU MR. BUSH (2002) - SKIZZ CYZYK, dir. When President George W. Bush invaded Iraq, underground filmmaker and musician Skizz Cyzyk felt a powerless rage that sent him to pick down into the recording room in his basement to express his feelings in this wry, angry music video for ukulele and melodica. With Damn You Mr. Bush, Skizz joins the ranks of Carmaig de Forest, Dan Scanlan, and the Y Pants in using the ukulele as an absurdist voice of political dissent.|
|WOUND (2000) - GERALD SLOTA, dir. Art photographer Gerald Slota, whose edgy, disturbingly moody images have been displayed in galleries from New York to Los Angeles, directed this music video from a song written by Scott Warnasch and performed by his band The Hoppin' Haole Brothers. Known more for upbeat musical humor than for angst, in Wound, the HHB take a walk down the dark side with a bitterly ironic, oddly quaint commentary on love's misery. Slota's images evoke the silent filmwork of Carl Dreyer and F.W. Murnau. Only, you know--if they had ukuleles.|
|TINY BUBBLES (2003) - JASON TAGG, dir. Sonic Uke ukuleleist Jason Tagg directed this video of himself with uke partner Ted Gottfried extolling the beatitude of the uke at Coney Island while filmming their slightly longer narrative short Ukulele Freaks. By the way, this isn't the Tiny Bubbles Don Ho immortalized. This Tiny Bubbles is an original composition on the complexly interconnected themes of ukuleles, love, revivification, spiritual liberation and bare buttocks.|