July 12, 2005
Pere Ubu to Accompany Man with the X-Ray Eyes at MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.)-- MASS MoCA presents an evening of cinematic madness and mayhem on Friday, August 12, at 8:30 P.M. with a new look at the 1960's B-movie classic, X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes. Shown outdoors on the 50' screen in MASS MoCA's Courtyard C, this dark tale of a scientist driven to mutated insanity sprang from the mind of Roger Corman and includes the passion of a woman caught in the way as well as an insult-free Don Rickles. The custom musical score by avant-rock band Pere Ubu, led by David Thomas, delivers a haunting rock narrative that shows horror kitsch in a fresh light. This work premiered at Celebrate Brooklyn 2004, and now, with the help of funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, MASS MoCA brings this multimedia masterpiece to the Berkshires.
Put the Violent Femmes, The Ramones, Roger Waters and a young Frank Zappa in a blender, and you could end up with the musical stylings of the fathers of Indie rock, Pere Ubu. Born in an era when rock was transforming from rebellion to art form, Pere Ubu has been called the missing link between the Velvet Underground and punk. Since the 1980s, Pere Ubu has influenced an eclectic range of musical artists: from the Pixies to Husker Du, to Henry Rollins, to REM. Their elusive underground sound gives this 1963 classic film a postmodern makeover.
Academy award winner Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend, 1945) portrays Dr. Xavier, an idealistic scientist bent on the advancement of optometric breakthroughs. When his scientific colleagues discourage his zeal, he acts as his own guinea pig developing the ability to see through solid matter. Xavier rapidly becomes consumed with his new power and is transformed from a respected scientist to a homicidal criminal. To escape what looks likes certain prosecution for his accidental killing of a co-worker, he joins a seedy carnival (owned by an unsavory Don Rickles) and poses as "Mentalo", the ultimate psychic. He begins to see past undergarments, past bones and muscle, and eventually steps into the eternal realm of God. Diana Van Der Vlis plays his love interest, a dedicated scientist who tries to reverse the effects of his self-experimentation. It is a story that takes the "mad scientist" persona and spins it into a philosophical approach to sci-fi.
Both Ubu and X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes were forged in times of heavy transition. The film's cinematography comes across as a generational hybrid: lost between 1950's innocence and the 1960's psychedelic revolution. The film is much like Pere Ubu's music from the mid/late ,70s -- a time when '60s super-groups were breaking up, a war had ended and America was looking for the next big step in music. Ubu's composition for the film serves as a genuine fit to Roger Corman's unique brand of filmmaking. The Argus praises Ubu's score: "Pere Ubu have created a sympathetic and subtle soundtrack which works with the film rather than stamping their distinctive mark on it." The Scotsman says: "They turned a B-movie into a series of menacing peaks and troughs."
Doors open at 8 PM. The film begins at 8:30 and will be shown outdoors in Courtyard C. In the case of inclement weather the event will be moved inside to the Hunter Center. Food and drink from Lickety Split and the MASS MoCA bar will be available before and during the event.
Becoming Animal performing arts programming is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets for The Man With the X-Ray Eyes are $14 in advance or $17 the day of the show. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 10 AM - 6 PM every day. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Katherine Myers
(413) 664-4481 x8113