Two Acclaimed Music Docs Screening Soon

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Two documentaries about two very different but very influential musical artists are set to screen in Cincinnati this month. First up is Kenneth Bowser’s study of the underappreciated career of social/political-minded Folk legend Phil Ochs. Later in the month, a tour documentary about social/political-minded (OK, maybe they aren't that different) Indie Rock trio Le Tigre also makes its local premiere. —-

Local freelance journalist (and CityBeat contributing writer and editor) Steven Rosen is hosting a screening of Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune on at 2 p.m. June 12 in the electronic classroom of Hebrew Union College’s Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (3101 Clifton Ave., Clifton). The screening will be followed by a discussion with guests Anne Arenstein (another regular CityBeat contributor) and lawyer/activist Don Mooney.

The film features archival footage of Ochs (who killed himself in 1976) and interviews with artists like Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, Billy Bragg and Sean Penn.

Here’s some more info about Ochs and the film from Rosen’s press release:

One way to look at the folk/protest-music movement of the 1960s is as a rivalry between two astonishingly talented young songwriters – Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs. But Ochs, who took his own life in 1976, is underappreciated today, despite recording such tough, tender, pointed, often-sarcastic politically left songs as "Changes," "There But For Fortune," "Love Me I'm a Liberal" and the anti-war "I Ain't Marching Anymore."

As Dylan was moving away from folk songs with messages, he derided Ochs as a “journalist” (Ochs had studied journalism at Ohio State). But pushed by Dylan, the times and his own keen mind to move into rock and artful, personal singer-songwriter compositions, Ochs responded with a classic. His 1967 Pleasures of the Harbor, one of the most poignant, personal and beautifully melodic albums to come out of the period. It also contained his first recording of the song considered his masterpiece, “Crucifixion,” a religious allegory about President Kennedy’s assassination. It is said that when he played an acoustic version for Robert Kennedy during his 1968 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Kennedy wept.

Pleasures of the Harbor was not the mainstream commercial breakthrough Ochs or his record company hoped for. He continued to record for a few more years, exploring rock and country as well as folk, and in 1968 wrote the anti-Vietnam War classic “The War Is Over,” even though that war very much wasn’t over. But amid changing times and trends, he slipped from public view and his last years were spent outside the limelight.

Tickets are $10, available through the screening’s official site here. You can also email [email protected] or call 513-535-0936 for tickets. Tickets will also be available at the door the day of the screening.

Here's the trailer for the Ochs film:

On June 27 at 6 p.m., a screening of Who Took The Bomp?: Le Tigre on Tour is planned at the Contemporary Arts Center. The band’s lighting director Carmine Covelli compiled the film from footage taken during the touring jaunts of the “queer-core female trio"  in ’04 and ’05.

While the group — which has been on hiatus since ’06 — is known for its strong feminist and queer-positive messages, the film has been praised for showing, in “slice of life” vignettes from the tour, the keen wit and humor of the band members.

The film is presented in conjunction with Shake It Records and AIGA Cincinnati. Admission is free (though a $5 donation is “suggested). For more info, click here.

Here's a performance clip of Le Tigre from the film, doing their popular tune "Deceptacon" (which also gave the film its title):

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