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The Cinema Cabaret: Re-takes on North American History

The Cinema Cabaret: Re-takes on North American History


Neelanjana Banerjee, Robin Sukhadia, Jen Hofer, Douglas Kearney, Nicole McJamerson, Janice Lee, Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta, Jen Nellis, Konrad Steiner, and Jackie Wang performing live!

Tickets: $10 general admission; $6 students (with ID)/seniors; free for Filmforum members.

Tickets available in advance at

Tonight ten poet-performers take on the movies by writing scripts that re-tell scenes from seven feature films, using them to repackage aspects of the history of our continent. The practice of counter-dubbing films with alternate soundtracks became ubiquitous in the 20th century. But almost from the beginning of cinema live orators and narrators were available to mediate the image on the screen, either for documentary films without inter-titles, or for imported films whose titles were in a foreign language, or indeed in Japan where the film industry grew around the star status of the benshi narrators, creating films designed to be narrated live by the actors who wrote the tale and voiced the characters. Sometimes called "movie telling" or "neo-benshi" or glossed as performance art, the seven pieces tonight will take scenes from different feature films and torque them with sometimes comic, critical, or poetic interpretations, all relating in some way to the history, or alternate history, of North America. Short scenes from Robocop, Gravity, The Sound of Music, Chinatown and others will be retold by:

Neelanjana Banerjee's poetry and fiction have appeared in Praire Schooner, PANK Magazine, The Liner, Nimrod, and other places. She is the co-editor of Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas Press, 2010), and the Managing Editor of Kaya Press.

Robin Sukhadia has been studying tabla with Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri at the Ali Akbar College of Music and at The California Institute of the Arts for the past 11 years. He is a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar (India) and earned an MFA in World Music from CalArts. Learn more at

Jen Hofer is a Los Angeles-based poet, translator, social justice interpreter, teacher, knitter, book-maker, public letter-writer, urban cyclist, and co-founder (with John Pluecker) of the language justice and language experimentation collaborative Antena ( She publishes poems and translations with numerous small presses and in various DIY/DIT incarnations. Her visual-textual work is currently on view at the Center for Land Use Interpretation's Wendover site.

Poet/performer/librettist Douglas Kearney's third poetry collection, Patter (Red Hen Press, 2014) examines miscarriage, infertility, and parenthood. His second, The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), was a National Poetry Series selection. He has received residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including Poetry, nocturnes, Pleiades, and Callaloo. Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in California's Santa Clarita Valley. He teaches at CalArts.

Nicole McJamerson is a bureaucrat and a writer. She has, in the name of live film narration, acted as a film critic, a sociologist, and a marketing executive for a company that rents humans to other humans. Raised in Northern and Southern Louisiana, she lives with her family in California's Santa Clarita Valley.

Janice Lee is the author of KEROTAKIS (Dog Horn Press, 2010), Daughter (Jaded Ibis, 2011), Damnation (Penny-Ante Editions, 2013), and most recently The Transparent As Witness (Solar Luxuriance, 2013), a collaboration with Will Alexander. She is Co-Editor of [out of nothing], Reviews Editor at HTMLGIANT, Editor of the new #RECURRENT Novel Series for Jaded Ibis Press, Executive Editor at Entropy, and Founder/CEO of POTG Design. She currently lives in Los Angeles and teaches at CalArts. She can be found online at

Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta is an artist & worker. Originally from Los Angeles, they now live in San Francisco.

Jen Nellis teaches English at Long Beach City College and has performed her work in many venues including the Berkeley Art Museum, REDCAT, and Miami Beach Cinematheque.

Konrad Steiner lives in San Francisco where he works with moving images using video, film and magic lanterns. His live cinema work is often in collaboration with musicians and poets.

Jackie Wang is a queer poet, alien lost girl, and prison abolitionist based out of Cambridge, MA. She blogs at and tweets @loneberrywang.

Note that Konrad Steiner’s film Way, based on the poems of Leslie Scalapino, will be screening at REDCAT on Monday October 6, at 8:30 pm.  For more information, see


Jen Hofer