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The 1994 Dallas Video Festival mixes equal parts ineptitude and brilliance

Corbet and Selton play a Dallas married couple who dream of winning the lottery, then actually do win it--and that's all there is. Stir in footage of Selton and Corbet lounging around the house acting self-consciously kooky and slobbish, repetitious fantasy sequences and musical interludes, and sub-Mad magazine jabs at greed, class, and Texas stereotypes, and you're in for one hellishly long haul. There's a place for dull home movies in this world, but it's not at a citywide video festival--unless you consider an image of the bearish Corbet taking a dump the height of art. The schedule lists it as one part of a multimedia event that will include an improvisational live music performance by Corbet and Selton. They're fine musicians and smart folks, so let's hope they crank the volume and stand directly in front of the screen. (MZS)

Road Stories. (Nov 19, 6:45 pm, Video Box.) A pair of lesbian lovers--Smith grads with foreign-language degrees--discuss the sorrows and frustrations of their new career--trucking--in That's Alright, Mama. Local videomaker Rhonda Richards' Harley Davidson: Beyond the Bike takes us to the 50th annual Black Hills Motor Classic in South Dakota to discuss the difference between "bikers," "motorcycle enthusiasts," and "well-groomed scooter tramps." Richards in attendance. (JF)

Russian Striptease. (Nov 18, 8 pm, TV Lounge.) "A society is only democratic if it stays out of the bedroom," declares one Russian government official in Russian Striptease, a documentary about the explosion of prostitution and sexually explicit performances and materials in a country crawling toward the mirage of free-market salvation. The filmmakers interview the founder of a new school for strippers and intercut his comments with scenes of the staff impatiently trying to coach bashful Russian girls out of their bikinis during auditions. One of the young women who gets accepted is followed home to the decrepit farm of her senile grandfather, whom she has pledged to support forever without disclosing her lucrative new profession. But even the old man indulges in the new freedoms, cackling lustfully as he watches a topless beauty pageant on TV in which contestants compete for the title of "Miss Breasts." Russian Striptease is a fascinating look at a repressed nation whose citizens are finally getting a taste of the media permissiveness conservative American commentators say is ruining the United States. (JF)

Satya: A Prayer For the Enemy. (Nov 19, 5:30 pm, Video Box.) When China invaded Tibet in 1949, the crushing fist of Mao came down on its Buddhist temples. The nuns were especially brutalized, since they were women who shaved their heads and refused to listen to Mao's wisdom about the family. Eerie, occasionally beautiful, and ultimately despairing, this work by Ellen Bruno uses a handful of horrifying personal testimonies from Tibetan Buddhist nuns to portray the dreamlike reverie of a fictional nun who narrates. Around these tales the solemn inner voice of a captive nun castigates itself for holding bitterness toward her captors and torturers. Word of warning--after this one you'd better hang around for Talking Trash at 7 pm. You'll

need a pick-up. (JF)

The Soul of Stax. (Nov. 19, 6 p.m., TV Lounge.) Philip Priestley's documentary of Stax Records begins with a compelling image: an enormously afroed Jesse Jackson introducing Isaac Hayes to a ravenous crowd, the theme from Shaft pulsing in the background. As Jackson exhorts the performer, Hayes sheds a floppy hat and a flashy coat to reveal his naked head and a glistening torso covered only in a few gold chains, and you wait for the man to start singing about private dicks and sex machines in front of the Rev. But that doesn't happen: just as quickly as it starts in Los Angeles at a 1972 Hayes concert, the piece flashes to Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton talking about their little Memphis record label, the place where gospel and R&B and soul and rock blended into an interracial groove that served as the sound track for much of the 1960s. Documentaries are usually as interesting as their subjects, and the Stax story is one of the most fascinating in music history, a rare enterprise where black and white musicians came together in the South to create some of the most immortal music ever heard. From Otis Redding to Sam and Dave to Booker T. and the MGs to Hayes his own bad self, the Stax sound remains as powerful now as it was then, when it played in the background as Watts burned and black leaders fell to the bullets of assassins. As Booker T. Jones says, "We ended up doing with our music what a lot of the people were feeling...We were like a mirror." Between the rare live footage (the version of "Green Onions" included here is phenomenal, almost punk in its raw execution) and the backwards-glancing interviews with many of the house musicians and songwriters, The Soul of Stax is the essential primer--a great place to start, but by no means the final resting place for music best understood when heard. (RW)

Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool. (Nov. 19, 10 p.m., TV Diner.) As part of the "Red Hot + Cool" AIDS awareness series begun a few years ago with pop versions of Cole Porter standards, this hip-hop-and-jazz installment is perhaps the most interesting, if not the most problematic. Fueled by the music of some of the best hip-hop artists paired with jazz legends (MC Solaar with Ron Carter, Digable Planets with Lester Bowie, the Last Poets with Pharaoh Sanders, etc.) and individual performances from the likes of M'chelle N'Degeocello, this hour-long piece is a music video despite itself--a work in which the music seems secondary to its message. Which is that AIDS is going unchecked in the African-American community because the government wants it that way; as one performer says, information about the disease and its prevention is unavailable in the community because "that's the last thing the government wants to do." (Or, as Cornel West says in anguish, "There could not be another dimension to the social misery of the black community.") And so Stolen Moments ultimately is an exhilarating, chaotic, baffling, brilliant, sad piece--full of shit, full of life, full of hope, full of deep sorrow and conspiracy theories and some wonderful music fighting to be heard over the words of artists who insist on believing it's still Us Against Them instead of Us Against It. (RW)

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