Cinema of Transgression
Runs May 31-July 1
at Consolidated Works.

When Consolidated Works began planning its spring "consolidation series," the curators decided to focus on an often overlooked aspect of our experience of art: the space around it. News that the center's next installation would actually be a demolition (a wrecking ball will reduce the multimedia arts center to a literal negative space this July) made the idea of a show called Negative Space seem too good to pass up.

The visual art (Notice of Proposed Land Use Action) and theater (Scot Augustson's Why? Why? Why?--Greek mythology told with shadow puppets) components fall in line naturally, as their media are inherently physical. Constructing a film series around the theme was a trickier proposition.

They arrived at "Cinema of Transgression," which features nightly screenings of Bill Brown's world-premiere short, commissioned especially for Negative Space, as well as shorts by Webster Crowell, Jay Rosenblatt, and Caveh Zahedi. Also starring is Fucked in the Face, a gross-out, John Waters-inspired melding of gay serial killer slasher flicks, complete with preening queens, merciless, fag-hating lesbians, and a cornucopia of horrific violence and seedy sex. Fucked is vile and one-dimensional, but the rest of the series is far more promising. Robert Machover, a founding member of the late radical filmmaking collective New York Newsreel, will be in house to present two works: Troublemakers, a study of a group of former students from Students for a Democratic Society as they try to galvanize the black community of Newark, New Jersey toward civil-rights activism; and Shop Talk, a documentary about the struggle of printing-plant employees in New York City to unionize. Lest things get too serious, cult favorite Incubus (starring William Shatner in his last role before going where no man had gone before) is so stupidly entertaining, it's hard to be offended by its misogynistic premise. Former Stranger film editor Andy Spletzer will present a surprise program--such a surprise, even he doesn't know what he's showing yet--of experimental shorts and clips he's cultivated for his own collection. The series concludes with two aggressive, enjoyable, and highly original video documentaries by Chris Petit (about painter Manny Farber and filmmaker Peter Whitehead).