Cut to the chase

B

Scrapple seems acutely aware of his environment, but he couldn't be safer: He's the four-legged pilot fish to New York City art shark Joe Christ, a transplanted filmmaker-musician-artist from Dallas whose confrontationally weird, painfully intense, and shocking films both document and run off the energy generated by the extremes to which folks like "Tattoo" Mike will go in pursuit of the transcendence that comes from body manipulation and pain endurance.

If you don't have a whole lot of extra holes in your body, you may well find Christ most off-putting. For those who frighten others at parties with talk of overcoming pain as simply a discipline whose results can be improved just like muscle strength, this will either be affirmation or test. Aw, that ain't nuthin'.

People have been known to faint at Mr. Christ's screenings; his films feature people enduring voluntarily what would be a profound crime if inflicted. If the words "ritual cutting" put you on edge this may not be for you; to the uninitiated, viewing Christ's images has much the same effect whether the people in them are in agreement or not. When Christ is on, he can be more disturbing than a roomful of John Gacys (in clown outfits). When he's off, however, he comes off like Rip Taylor doing Grandpa Munster.

The unavoidable fact, however, is that unless you're one of a select group of people (hundreds? thousands?) the images you will see at this show will literally set you reeling. If you're up for challenging your preconceived notions about self-expression--or just want to shake yourself up--this will do it. Although you sometimes wonder when you'll see a 3/4-inch chrome nut and bolt (with washers, of course) run through someone's forearm, it's still a clear-cut case of stay away or shut up. The movies to be shown include Sex, Blood & Mutilation, the crowd-pleasing Acid is Groovy Kill the Pigs, Christ's paean to convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald -- and numerous other shorts, including a 10-minute "raw preview" of Sex Blood & Mutilation 2. Christ will attend the screening and be available afterwards for tea and light refreshments.

Joe Christ at Tunnel Werks, Saturday, October 19, at 9 p.m.

Coincidence? Again?
Simultaneity--an ongoing performance-art and music series organized by area experimental composer Sean a. Donovan, half (along with Wayne Magruder) of the often-random-noise band Fallen Vlods--will host the third in a series of "events" October 16 at the Argo Club in Denton. If you're familiar with the Vlod's album low crumble recovery you already know not to expect a whole lot of linear expression (or even listenability), but a number of notable talents--among them Wanz Dover of Mazinga Phaser, Klaus Nomed, and members of similarly inclined freeform group comatheatre--have performed at the two previous shindigs, which featured overlapping concurrent performances by many artists. Even if Donovan's brand of experimental composition isn't for you, you may still want to note that Dennis Rodman currently has no plans to attend; plan accordingly.

Street Beat Brain Bender
In case you're wondering what--pray tell--the Street Beat Brain Bender (SBBB) could be, allow us: This is the kind of thing that happens when editors and (occasionally) writers have a good idea, which they then desperately try to force into their publication under the premise that it is the first in a series, each of which will be better than the last. Nothing, of course, is ever seen of the alleged column after that, and the wise manager leaves it alone: When cornered, columnists are quite capable of generating strings of horrifically low-quality imitations of their original idea until left alone.

With that out of the way, the debut farewell performance of Street Beat Brain Bender asks: What pop craftsman could easily do stunt work for Ur-junkie and sneaker shill William S. Burroughs (figure 1) during the action sequences of his next groundbreaking, genre-rupturing sock commercial? For extra credit, who knows all the words to the Burroughs Bits Breakfast Cereal Song (a.k.a. "Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery"), available now in both regular and new extra crispy Bill (Lee) Mueslix? See the end of "Street Beat and let merriment hold sway!

Scene, Heard
Sara Hickman has written the words and music for Texas filmmaker Kelli Herd's new picture, It's in the Water, an exploration of coming out in a small town...

The Gingerman is looking for "small acoustic" acts to perform at the bar during the winter; the gig is indoors and on Sunday. Drop a demo by 2781 Boll to the attention of Roddy Miller...

The grand street cryers (what is it with lowercase names these days?), recently signed to local label Rhythmic Records. The band--formerly Dead City Radio--has secured for its next album the production skills of former Tom Petty/Heartbreaker drummer Stan Lynch; the band goes to Los Angeles shortly...

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia--surprisingly, not another crossover rap act but rather a national musical fraternity--has cited the University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band for "significant and lasting contributions to the cause of music in America"; the group will receive the citation in November...

One of the graddaddies of the currently cool ambient-trance-space-blahblah scene, Bag, is girding its loins (so to speak) for a rare live performance to occur later this month. Watch this space...

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