Chicago’s Own: Recent Films and Videos

Some of the best works on this mixed program take the form of rude, in-your-face cultural commentary, reminding us that nose-thumbing humor still runs strong in Chicago art. In the fabulously demented Slow Gin Soul Stallion the duo who call themselves Animal Charm reedit found footage so that objects seem to transform: a downy milkweed seed becomes a star in the heavens, part of a long series of apparent mutations intercut at first with the face of a child who appears to be watching them, but later with a horse. And in Stuffing a monkey watches a cartoon of dolphins bouncing a woman back and forth; the strange intercutting between the monkey and his animated entertainment brilliantly evokes the failure of the enchanted otherworld promised by commercial cinema. Jennifer Reeder’s Law of Desire continues the adventures of her character White Trash Girl, a sewer-bred urban guerrilla whose almost-male lingo and persona (“Any day is a great day to kick some ass”) also comment on gender roles; the film’s loud, aggressive humor compensates for its lack of visual elegance. Janice Inskeep’s surreal Fetus Kazoo animates fetuslike figures into an ambiguous meditation on abortion. There are also several dreamlike essays: Taro’s Leaving uses fragmentary words and numbers on-screen to convey the emotional resonance of a breakup; Paula Froehle’s Fever uses floating, fragmentary images to evoke “a swim of fevered sleep”; and Julie Goldstein’s The Circular Ruins uses clay animation in an enigmatic adaptation of a Borges story. On the same program, Taro’s Red and Wheels of Fury by Dan Dinello, Paul Dinello, and Mitch Rouse. Kino-Eye Cinema at Xoinx Tea Room, 2933 N. Lincoln, Friday, April 3, 8:00, 773-384-5533. –Fred Camper

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Fetus Kazoo film still.