I had the wonderful opportunity to hear and see Antony and the Johnsons (Anthony Hegarty) in concert in Los Angeles a few years ago. There is no way to describe his beautiful and vulnerable voice, his powerful stage presence, and the mystery he conveys alone on a stage. It was one of those concerts that has stayed with me because it was amazing and extraordinarily unique. A good introduction to Anthony Hegarty, for those not familiar with him, is "Hope There's Someone." Part of this tune can be heard in the trailer at the end of this article, as well.
"Turning" (Denmark, U.S. 2011) is a documentary film of a live performance of Antony and eight other musicians along with stories of thirteen people who have struggled with pain, gender identity, androgyny, beauty, and the hope for peace of mind and spirit. Some of these intimate stories are heart-breaking and meld perfectly with the poignant melodies and lyrics. Over and over we hear how growing up, these thirteen were not "comfortable in their own skin." This disconnectedness matches the alienation and longing expressed in the second album of Antony and the Johnsons, "I am a Bird Now," the music of which is used in this production.
Charles Atlas, a video artist, has combined enticing video footage of interviews with these thirteen with the musical performances. Atlas is renowned for his video artistry, particularly the manner in which he captures dance and his artful use of lighting and set design.
Tours of Anthony and the Johnsons are rare. This film is screening in Portland for the next three nights only. It was first performed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 2004. Since then, the show has toured in Europe to high acclaim.
The film opens tonight at the historic Clinton Theater, 2522 SE Clinton Street (known for its long-running screenings of "Rocky Horror Picture Show"). Tonight the film begins at 7 p.m. and is part of Portland's "REEL EATS" series, presented by the People's Coop (an event held the third Monday of each month). Tickets are $7 tonight and $1 from each ticket is being donated to the Basic Rights Education Fund's Trans Justice Program. There are two more screenings, Tuesday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Don't miss this rare screening of a one-of-a-kind compelling work of visual and musical art at its finest.