Tuesday Tune-Out is a new live concert and film series at the Philadelphia Museum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA) that invites talented local area musicians to perform and select their favorite films for screening. Before the previously unannounced movie is viewed, each artist will have the opportunity to explain why they chose the cinematic piece and how it has inspired them. The multipurpose DIY art space entombed in an old mausoleum that was once home to Diplo and his Mad Decent ragers will also have different Philly music scene supporters (bloggers, DJs, musicians, etc.) curating the series each month. June is being presented by Rockaphilly.com, a Philly indie music listing site, with Herbie Shellenberger from Brown Recluse (Slumberland Records) / Pet Milk / International House handling the duties in July, and XPN2 Folkadelphia DJ Fred Knittel taking it over in August.
The series made its inaugural run on June 5th which featured a performance from Pitchfork-acclaimed emcee/producer Lushlife, a.k.a. Raj Haldar, who had recently returned from tours with Shabazz Palaces and Cities Aviv in support of his new album Plateau Vision (Western Vinyl). The movie that Haldar had chosen was Ladies and Gentleman… Mr. Leonard Cohen (1965), a documentary that chronicled the complex artist’s days and rise as a poet. Pulp Lab (PL) attended the event and took the opportunity to talk with PhilaMOCA’s new Creative Director Eric Bresler (EB) about Tuesday Tune-Out and his obsessive passion for films and music.
PL: What inspired you to start Tuesday Tune-Out?
EB: PhilaMOCA isn’t a nonprofit. We don’t apply for grants. We don’t have private funding. All operating costs are generated from events. So events have to be approached in a creative manner. The concept of doing a band/movie isn’t unique by any means, but I’ve had great success with that team-up in the past. One of my favorite events that I ever set up was at the International House back in 2007, when I had a ‘60s Japanese rock film open for a Japanese band called The Captains. You really get value for your money with that type of arrangement, and this is especially true for the Tuesday Tune-Outs where what amounts to an admission fee is a $5 donation.
PL: You were struggling with what to call it. How did you finally decide?
EB: Events usually name themselves based on their content, but I couldn’t come up with a clever arrangement of the keywords “Tuesday,” “Movie,” “Music,” “Mausoleum,” etc. I was going to go with “Tuesday Turn-Out,” but that felt too party-oriented. I want this series to feel laidback and stress / exertion-free. “Tune-Out” works much better since the event is held towards the beginning of the work week, and thus, it serves as a cheap, hassle-free distraction from the fact that Friday is still a few days away.
PL: What attracts you the most to movies and music?
EB: The mediums are more than mere distractions to me. I have a collector’s mentality for both physical objects and knowledge. When I discover something new like Mexican wrestling movies or French ye-ye music, I immediately need to devour and acquire everything I can related to the topic. And then I move onto something new. I’m compelled to move forward while accumulating the past. It’s the only explanation for my ridiculously large VHS and comic book collections.
PL: What are your favorite movies and musical artists?
EB: I’m a big fan of Japanese cinema. Best evidence is Unknown Japan, my biannual screening series of rare Japanese films that I program for the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia. I like classic films like Ikiru and Twenty-Four Eyes as well as more contemporary Japanese cinema like Taste of Tea and All About Lily Chou-Chou.
I’m also a fan of weirdo musicals or films that have a great deal of music in them – things like The Apple, Get Crazy, Feel the Motion, Phantom of the Paradise, and Voyage of the Rock Aliens. Even Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park has a special place in my heart.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my admiration for David Lynch, which is really where the idea for the upcoming Eraserhood Forever art / performance event (Friday, July 13) came from. When I was younger I used to say that my favorite film was Wild at Heart, which is really as goofy as Lynch gets. I still love it though.
As for music, I’m an obsessive Sparks fan. I fly all around the world to see them live. I’m actually heading to the UK tomorrow to see them in London. Big Morrissey fan too. Most of my favorite musicians are from the ‘70s/‘80s, people like Adam Ant, OMD, Alphaville, Wall of Voodoo, Devo, and Gary Numan, and then lots of more obscure/wacky stuff. I adore pretty much all of Finders Keepers Records’ releases. I have a sizable collection of Les Rallizes Dénudés bootlegs. And Neil Diamond, I love Neil Diamond. My dream Tuesday Tune-Out would be Neil Diamond followed by The Jazz Singer.
When I discover something new like Mexican wrestling movies or French ye-ye music, I immediately need to devour and acquire everything I can related to the topic. And then I move onto something new. I’m compelled to move forward while accumulating the past.
PL: You’ve invited different people in the music community to curate each month. Why did you decide to do that instead of curating it yourself? How has the response been?
EB: From a management perspective, bringing in different curators who can program different genres of musicians will hopefully lead to new people discovering the space. The idea is to spread the word about PhilaMOCA. How it’s evolved, and how welcoming we are towards all artistic disciplines. I’ll definitely curate a month at some point in the future, but in the meantime, I’ll just curate the curators, and they’ve been really excited to be involved thus far. July will be handled by Herbie Shellenberger of Pet Milk / International House. The film aspect of his month promises to be particularly exciting. August will be handled by Fred Knittel of Folkadelphia.
PL: What would you like people to take away from this event?
EB: I want people to get a general feeling for the space. How we work and how we interact with the community. Again, the idea is to introduce PhilaMOCA to new people. For a while there, before I took over, the space was starting to get pigeonholed as primarily an outlet for the DIY basement community. We’ll continue to hold those types of events, and those ethics will always be evident. I come from the world of West Philly house shows, and I approach all of my projects from a DIY perspective, but a significant percentage of that community has grown so whiny and nitpicky thanks to the internet that, I don’t know, sometimes I want to distance myself from that whole world. But it’s in my blood, and it’s in the building’s walls. So yeah, I hope that people come out and have a good time. I want the city to learn that PhilaMOCA is built for all-purposes, that it’s clean and comfortable and professional and, above all, an important outlet for the creatively-minded.
PL: What did you tune out during the evening?
EB: My 10+ email accounts. Between Cinedelphia.com, the Awesome Fest, PhilaMOCA, and all of my other activities, I spend most of my time on my laptop replying to messages to the accompaniment of Howard Stern.
PL: How do you feel the inaugural event went? What was your favorite part of the evening?
EB: It went extremely well. We had a great crowd. Lushlife put on an incredible performance, and his choice of film was perfect for both the space and the attendees. The folks at Rockaphilly.com really did a great job curating this inaugural month.
The idea is to spread the word about PhilaMOCA. How it’s evolved, and how welcoming we are towards all artistic disciplines.
PL: Do you think that you’ll be doing more movie-related events?
EB: Definitely. We recently held the Philadelphia premieres of two comic book-related documentaries as part of our Wizard World after parties and will be hosting the Philadelphia premieres of two genre films, Manborg and Comforting Skin, as part of our Mausoleum Horror Convention on June 16th. By the end of summer, I hope to have a weekly screening series in place – all independent features straight out of international film festivals. Though with 15 years of local film programming/viewing behind me, I’m well aware of how difficult it can be to get Philadelphia audiences out to movies they’ve never heard of. Fingers crossed.
Philadelphia Museum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA)
Every Tuesday Night – Live Music at 8PM & Film at 9PM
531 N. 12th Street
Philadelphia – Eraserhood