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The audience took a while to warm up at Friday night's screening of "Stop Making Sense."
The audience took a while to warm up at Friday night's screening of "Stop Making Sense."
But eventually, we did.
But eventually, we did.

"Stop Making Sense" made perfect sense

"Stop Making Sense" – the Talking Heads’ concert movie – became a Friday night ritual at the Oriental Theater in the mid-to-late ‘80s.

At that time, the Oriental was not divided into three theaters – instead, it had one screen. It was also before the vending area sold alcohol.

And yet, the show became a popular alternative to the club scene for of-age drinkers as well as a destination for high school kids who were starved for culture and experiences beyond high school.

"Stop Making Sense" returned to the Oriental last night as part of the Milwaukee Film Festival’s Sound Vision series. We walked into a well-attended theater with one question on our minds: after 20-plus years since we’d seen the film in that space would it be "same as it ever was"?

The answer is both yes and no.

The quality of the 1984 film was grainy and definitely had a vintage feel. I liked this, much in the way I like the crackles and pops of records, but it did take a few seconds to get used to. A person behind me said, "Wow. How old is this movie?" And I joked to my partner, "What is this? ‘Gone With the Wind?’"

Although the women who introduced the film encouraged people to dance, it took a while for the crowd to get moving. The concert opens with "Psycho Killer," a very danceable track, and yet most of the audience was extremely mellow with a smattering of chair dancers throughout the theater.

The show opens with lead singer David Byrne alone on the stage with his guitar and a "boombox" and then one by one the rest of the band joins him. Bassist Tina Weymouth came on first to perform "Heaven." The second band member to reach the stage was drummer Chris Franz for "Thank You For Sending Me An Angel" and then Talking Heads guitarist, the Milwaukee-born Jerry Harrison, came on for "Found A Job."

The addition of Harrison – who was also an original member of The Modern Lovers – sparked a reaction from the audience who applauded for the former Milwaukeean.

"Stop Making …

Check out Bigfoot's art show.
Check out Bigfoot's art show.

Skate into Bigfoot's show

As a former skateboarder – as well as a lifelong wearer of Vans – I am a sucker for any combination of boards and art. Hence, I am hoping to check out a show at Bigfoot Bike & Skate, 2481 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., on Friday, Sept. 27.

The event lasts from 5 to 10 p.m. and is part of Bay View Gallery Night. It features 30 unique, one-of-a-kind longboard skateboard decks created by local artists.

Artists include store owner Brian Curtiss, Jenny Anderson, Tim Chiapetta, Jerod Freitag, Abbey Manalli, Uncle Fun and more.

"All items will be for sale as individual decks or as complete ready-to-ride skateboards," says Curtiss.

The display will remain up thru Saturday, Oct. 5.

Here’s more on the locally-owned Bigfoot Bike & Skate.

Lore and her four siblings on a 500-mile journey through the Black Forest.
Lore and her four siblings on a 500-mile journey through the Black Forest.

"Lore" depicts a dark, post-war fable

From the beginning, "Lore," which takes place in Germany immediately following World War II, is set in chaos, heartbreak and violence.

Clearly, a German family of five children and two parents is troubled and frazzled. They are packing, burning documents, the father shoots the family dog – and just when we might become deeply concerned about the situation, a swastika emblem on a piece of clothing comes into sight and we realize this is a family of Nazis.

Let the complicated feelings begin.

For the next hour and a half, the storyline – as well as the look and feel of the film – will rival the grimmest of fables. Suddenly without their parents (they were forced to face the aftermath of having connections to a concentration camp), the five attractive, blonde children tromp through muddy hell in the Black Forest on the way to their grandmother’s house.

"Lore," written by Robin Mukherjee and co-written and directed by Cate Shortland, premiered at the 2012 Sydney Film Festival.

Visually, the film is dark and lush. Much of the film is shot "shaky cam" style that adds an urgency and eeriness to it. The acting is honest and raw, an interesting juxtaposition with the fairy-tale nature of the visuals and aspects of the script. (They are, after all, trudging through the woods to their grandma's house.)

The oldest daughter, Lore (Saskia Rosendahl), is gorgeous, conflicted and coming of age. She is forced to herd her flock of siblings, which includes a starving infant screaming throughout most of the film for his mother’s breast.

During one powerful scene, Lore trades a piece of her mom's jewelry for milk from another breastfeeding mother. Even after the woman, who is Jewish, agrees to wet nurse the child, Lore tries to get her to clean her breast before offering it to her under-nourished brother.

Along the way, the children meet up with Thomas (Kai Malina), a concentration camp escapee who, for unexplained reasons, helps the paperless children get past Allied f…

Rachel Kramer Bussel will help you find your inner 50 shades.
Rachel Kramer Bussel will help you find your inner 50 shades.

Polish your dirty words in Erotica 101

Erotica writer extraordinaire Rachel Kramer Bussel returns to The Tool Shed, 2427 N.Murray Ave., to teach an Erotica Writing 101 workshop on Friday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. The cost is $20.

Bussel is a long-standing editor for Cleis Press, America's largest independent queer press, as well as the editor of more than 50 erotica anthologies. She has also written numerous books in the genre including "The Big Book Of Orgasms" and formerly penned a "Lusty Lady" column for the Village Voice.

During the workshop, Bussel will provide an overview of modern erotic writing. The goal is to "jump start" people into writing erotica by finding their voice and learning how to incorporate everyday scenarios as well as outlandish fantasies into their writing. She’ll also talk about where and how to submit work and make money on it.

Paper and writing implements will be provided or bring a laptop.

"We're really excited to offer this class in the wake of the ‘50 Shades Of Grey’ phenomenon and all of the changes is has brought to the market," says Tool Shed’s Lucky Tomaszek.

Feeling a little bashful about putting fantasies into words? No worries.

"People can write erotica just for themselves or their partners or write under a pseudonym," says Bussel. "The fun part of it is just letting your mind go."