Shotgun Cinema presents THE GLAMOUR & THE SQUALOR

By Shotgun CinemaPublished on 04/14/2016

We were delighted to once again to participate in Sync Up Cinema, the in-between-Jazz-Fest-weekends film industry conference presented by NOVAC and The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. Along with handling the projection end of things, we’re presenting The Glamour & the Squalor, a new documentary about influential rock DJ Marco Collins. We’re particularly excited to have director Marq Evans join us for a Q&A following the screening. The three-day conference is filled with great panels and films (including a local showcase of award-winning shorts), and it’s all 100% free. And our friends at New Belgium are generously providing the beer, which only sweetens the deal.

Focused on Seattle-based DJ Marco Collins, The Glamour & the Squalorexamines the importance of DJs in breaking new music, via Collins’ fascinating and complicated personal life. Collins is most notable for introducing the world to Seattle grunge music, carrying the torch for bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. This he did with zeal, insistence, and frequently a bit of drama, earning rare stature in the music industry as a result. This engaging documentary is densely packed: Evans provides a thorough portrait of Collins’ life beyond his seminal rock DJ career, delving into his struggle with addiction and eventual coming out as a gay man. Collins’ advocacy work for Music for Marriage Equality helped pave the way for marriage equality in Washington, and he continues to obsessively hunt for new music. His story is complex and often not what you’d expect, and Evans doesn’t shy away from revealing the more troubling parts of Collins’ life. Evans, however, treats Collins with respect, and his interviews reveal how influential Collins has been not only in music, but also in his LGBTQ advocacy.

What strikes me most about this film is its poignant examination of curation. Collins handpicked music he thought was new and exciting – literally sifting through boxes and crates of new music every day – and his shows reflected his breadth of knowledge and conviction about local and underrepresented music. In our current proliferation of media platforms, although “curation” is a buzzword, thoughtful selection is replaced by quantity and profitability. According to Netflix, since I watched The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), I’d probably enjoy watching Pee Wee’s Big Holiday (2016) or Hot Bot(2016), two completely unrelated films with virtually nothing in common with what I watched. It’s a numbers game, and that makes for bland and inaccurate recommendations (that people often make actual fun of). The Glamour & the Squalor highlights the importance of curators, whether in music, film, or any other form of art; people who curate are looking at their selections critically, sharing what they consider to be standout works among the crowd, and insisting that people experience them. People like Collins are supporting artists in ways that are invaluable not only to audiences who crave new music, but to the artists themselves.

Check out the full lineup and schedule for Sync Up Cinema here.

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