2016, 96 min, digital
U.S. THEATRICAL PREMIERE RUN! DIRECTOR IN PERSON!
This extraordinary new film is the Tony Conrad documentary of your dreams, managing to gracefully encapsulate his life and work for those who are new to Conrad even as it contains riches for those who need no introduction to this astoundingly influential and shape-shifting artist. This is largely thanks to the in-depth participation of Conrad himself, whose vast charisma, mischievous charm, and peerlessly comic spirit pervade the film. A visual artist, musician, filmmaker, and educator, who sadly passed away in April 2016, Conrad was one the great American cultural figures of our time, yet to the world at large he remains criminally under-appreciated. His vast, inter-disciplinary repertoire has single-handedly created and influenced major film and compositional movements. He performed in and recorded the soundtrack to Jack Smith’s legendary FLAMING CREATURES; he turned the paradigms of cinema upside down with THE FLICKER, a film composed of only black and white frames; his development and practice of Just Intonation and Minimalism through his work with Stockhausen and La Monte Young still has the music establishment scratching their heads; his pivotal role in the formation of The Velvet Underground has directly or indirectly influenced everyone who has picked up a guitar since; and as an early adopter of activist public access television he democratized the emerging medium of portable video. In his later years he continued to perform and make work that pushed the boundaries of reason, and he has finally begun to receive worldwide attention. Utilizing intimate footage of Tony and his collaborators shot over the last twenty-two years, as well as his own archive of recordings and films, TONY CONRAD: COMPLETELY IN THE PRESENT mirrors Conrad’s own playfully radical approach to art making.
“A sharp, sweet, eloquent documentary about the merriest, most artistically expansive minimalist on record. […] Hubby’s film captures Conrad in all his facets, as longtime Buffalo, N.Y., media professor, and more broadly as a man determined to make ‘abstract art funny, happy, energetic, joyful.’” –Michael Phillips, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“It’s hard to imagine a better tribute to Tony Conrad than Tyler Hubby’s film. […] Conrad had an infectious sense of mischief and a disdain for any kind of authority, and just spending time listening to him talk is a joy.” –Jason Coffman, DAILY GRINDHOUSE
“The film is superb; I’ll just say that I laughed out loud literally dozens of times – usually at the comic timing with which Tony delivers a punchline, but also at the sheer number of insane, ingenious left turns as each new artistic project is described. I found myself thinking about person after person who needs to see this, who would be amazed and inspired and chastised and emboldened by the film and its subject.” –David Grubbs, Author/Musician