Good documentaries are so fortifying—real life, just the important parts, gathered up and organized into something meaningful and delivered unto your eyeballs. Because there are a lot of crazy people in the world doing crazy shit, and I can't be everywhere at once, you know? This column isn't going to write itself! These Doritos aren't going to eat themselves in their pajamas! So thanks, Grand Illusion, for hosting the Burning Fuse Film Festival—a touring fest of socially and politically minded and only slightly dated documentaries—right on my doorstep this week! Here's what's up:
Thurs 7, 9 pm; Sat–Sun 9:45 pm
"God can't use a person with large breasts?" asks greasy-head church guy, rhetorically (SO DO NOT ANSWER HIM). "God can use any individual to change the world." The specific large-tittied anywhooz he's referring to is some idiotic blond chick who used to be a stripper but now is a super-sexy evangelical stripper! She travels around with other slutty church wives, acting sanctimonious, snorting lines of pure attention, and luring emotionally broken and intellectually stunted sex workers into their creepy sex ministry. "They had free shirts and I was like, 'Why not?' and then they started telling me about Jesus and how it's good for dancers to go to church, and I agree with that because I'm a dancer!" squeaks a recent convert. It's a good racket. "I want God to know that I will never turn my back on Him!" says the blond one. But why do you think He gives a shit? Is anyone more self-involved than these goddamn evangelicals? I'm going to barf.
FAUBOURG TREMÉ: THE UNTOLD STORY OF BLACK NEW ORLEANS
Double feature with Sliding Liberia, Fri 6, 8:30 pm; Sat–Sun 3 pm.
Heartfelt, slightly scattered, and absolutely packed with life, Faubourg Tremé documents the fascinating but overlooked history (and present) of New Orleans's Sixth Ward. In a state where slaves had the rare right to buy their freedom, New Orleans wound up on the vanguard of civil rights: staging sit-ins in 1867 (only 100 years ahead of the curve!), electing black public officials, the gut punch of Plessy v. Ferguson, and decades upon decades of culture and contention until Lake Pontchartrain swallowed everything but the memories. "I'm never going to say the Pledge of Allegiance or sing 'God Bless America' or any of those dumbass songs ever again, because I don't feel like an American citizen," says one Faubourg Tremé resident after Hurricane Katrina. "I know I'm not an American citizen in the eyes of the powers that be."
AND THE REST:
Sliding Liberia, a gorgeous but thin documentary about surfing in war-shredded Africa; a hefty dose of remember-how-much-George-W.-Bush-sucked? porn called A Snowmobile for George; Murder, Spies & Voting Lies, a dense, confusing exploration of 2004 election fraud that involves dog murder; and Soldiers of Conscience, a sobering look at how our government turns teenagers into killers. Find the full schedule at www.grandillusioncinema.org.