Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


The New Growth Film Program Concludes: Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song Tonight!

12 Jun 2013


Ballroom Marfa’s New Growth Film Program concludes this Wednesday, 12 June 2013 with Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971).

Note: For this screening, viewers under 17 will require an accompanying parent or adult guardian.

All screenings are free and open to the public. Films begin at 8pm at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, Texas.

The New Growth Film program is co-curated by Rashid Johnson and Josh Siegel, MoMA.

Special thanks to Jennifer Bell, Rob Crowley, Tim Crowley, the Crowley Theater and Josh Siegel.

New Growth Film Program

Poster designed by Rob Chabebe of EyeBodega

Descendants of Abraham Hill and Mary Ann Taylor

1But he joined a franchise that wants to lose, isn’t concerned about the present and has taken patience with the plan to an extreme.

Welker talked like a man who knows this could be his last season with the Broncos.

“These are good people, putting their names out over there at Marc’s horse farm for a good cause,” Pyle said.
Simone is going to be a brand beyond how she plays because of the beautiful, earthy, organic style she exudes.

“We have been aggressively contributing, for the sake of peace and to improve the welfare of the people of the Mideast,” Suga said.
He has done an absolutely tremendous job.

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Like Shards From Some Vanished Civilization: An Introduction to Space Is the Place

29 May 2013

Space Is the Place screens at 8pm on 29 May 2013 at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, Texas as part of Ballroom’s New Growth Film Program, co-curated by Rashid Johnson and Josh Siegel, MoMA. Admission is free and open to the public.

Like Shards From Some Vanished Civilization: An Introduction to Space Is the Place

In the 1970s, Sun Ra wasn’t yet recognized as the eccentric genius that he is understood as today. He’d been leading bands for almost three decades, placing ecstatic chanting alongside percolating synthesizer pieces, using improvisational percussion and cosmic expansions of big band styles to create a voluminous if obscure repertoire that placed classic jazz and swing in an extraterrestrial timeline. This destabilized polyglot sound was too conspicuously wacky to fit in with the jazz establishment or its free jazz fringes, and though he’d already graced the cover of Rolling Stone in 1969, his music seemed as equally confusing for the Anglo psychedelic music scene.

His canonization as one of the pioneers of Afrofuturism would have to wait until later in his career, though of course his work now looks right at home next to similar explorations from Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, and would help set the stage for Funkadelic’s Afro-cosmic psychedelia, MC5’s liberation rock, Sonic Youth’s deep noise grooves and the Boredoms’ melted drum ensembles.

One place where Sun Ra did find a home was as an artist-in-residence at the University of California at Berkeley, where he delivered a series of lectures in 1971 under the heading “The Black Man in the Cosmos, Hyperstition and Fast-Forward Theory.” The course’s now legendary syllabus included the King James Bible, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, work from 19th century occultist Madame Blavatsky, poetry from Henry Dumas, as well as texts about the pagan roots of the Catholic Church, Egyptology and African American folklore.

Someone in the Berkeley AV department had the foresight to record one of these lectures — archived at — wherein Sun Ra holds forth in such a way as to indicate that he’s both serious about his cosmological thinking, while at the same time deliberately provoking laughter from the gathered students as he tsk-task-tsks his chalk across the blackboard.

Glasstire Loves Cinemarfa

20 May 2013


Glasstire just posted the second article in a two-part series on CineMarfa, the film festival founded by Marfa residents David Hollander and Jennifer Lane in 2011. In short, Glasstire’s Peter Lucas was feeling it. From CineMarfa 2013 (Part 1: The Festival)

“Because it is relatively small, free, laid back, and has an audience heavy in artists and cultural investigators, there was little distinction between the intermingling festival organizers, official guests, and audience members – all of whom were there simply to see films and to share their thoughts and ideas. (Of course, that should be the case at all film festivals, but believe me, it’s rare.) Discussions about the films, and art and life in general, spilled out between screenings onto the front steps, and in pockets at the Lost Horse Saloon and Padre’s Bar and Grill, at the festival’s rooftop cocktail hour at Hotel Paisano and the closing party at the Chicken Coop.”

Lucas also provides an enthusiastic assessment of the festival’s programming in CineMarfa 2013 (Part 2: The Films), including a look at the work of local filmmaker (recently seen in the role of Staff Sgt. Baldy in “Devils at Play”) Joe Cashiola …

West Texas Cloud Appreciation Society, a Texas-paced, work-in-progress documentary essay by Marfa-based filmmaker Joseph Cashiola, provided glimpses of the area’s diversity of characters and happenings—from ranching and cowboy poetry to punk rock house parties, UFO conventions, and art parades. The wilder life is brought down to earth with shots of the landscape and sky, and by scenes with folks like Marfa bar owner Ty Mitchell and Valentine, Texas artist Boyd Elder. This painted an intriguing portrait of the unique planet that is West Texas, and its screening being packed with enthusiastic locals reminded me that I was in the middle of it.”

In other film news, the Marfa Film Festival is gearing up for its return on June 26, and here at the Ballroom we’re putting the finishing touches on the New Growth film program, curated by Rashid Johnson and Josh Siegel. And, of course, we’re looking forward to the arrival of Alix Pearlstein in July as part of the Artists’ Films International program. Stay tuned for more information.

“Devils at Play” at KRTS

17 May 2013


“Devils at Play” screenwriter James DiLapo in studio at KRTS. Catch the re-broadcast of his “Talk at Ten” interview today at 6:30p (CST). RSVP for tomorrow’s two live performances of “Devils at Play” here.

The Black List Talks to James DiLapo

15 May 2013


Scott Myers from The Black List talks to James DiLapo, the writer behind this year’s installment of The Reading. An excerpt from their Q&A:

Scott: Let’s talk about your Nicholl winning script “Devils At Play.” Here’s a logline I found for it:

“In the Soviet Union, 1937, a worker of the People’s Commissariat for internal affairs finds a list of traitors, which he thinks is going to be his way out.”

What was the inspiration for this story?

James: I was cramming for a mid‑term for a Soviet history course at NYU. I was reading a book by Robert Conquest called “The Great Terror”. There is a chapter in there where Conquest breaks down what the arrest process was like. When you’re arrested, how many people could you expect to share your prison cell? What were the strip searches like? When you were interrogated, what were the sort of methods they would use?

Reading that, reading the details, I started to see flashes of the story. It was inspiring, but it was a script that I knew would take a very long time to research. I didn’t have the time to devote to this project until I graduated and received the WGAE Fellowship.

Scott: Putting on a conventional wisdom hat, right? You’ve got a period piece set in the Soviet Union in the 30′s. You got a deeply flawed protagonist. There’s a lot of violence, and torture. There’s no real love interest per say. You used flashbacks, which some people in Hollywood aren’t fond of. The conclusion, which is beautifully realized, is definitely not your typical Hollywood happy ending. Were you aware that this script was cutting against conventional wisdom on so many fronts?

James: To be honest, I didn’t think about that. I just tried to tell a story to the best of my ability. I think it becomes problematic for us as screenwriters to create only what we think is going to sell, or only what we think is going to attract attention. It’s better just to write as well as you can, and hope that it creates opportunities for you afterwards. At the end of the day, you just have to tell the stories you want to see on film. That will be your best writing.”

Read the full interview — in two parts — over at Go Into the Story: The Official Screenwriting Blog of the Black List: Part 1 and Part 2.

The Reading takes place this Saturday, 18 May 2013 at the Crowley Theater here in Marfa. Click here for more information and to RSVP for this free happening.

The El Paso Times on Devils at Play

13 May 2013

Doug Pullen of the El Paso Times talks with “Devils at Play” screenwriter James DiLapo. An excerpt …

“Set in 1937, “Devils at Play” revolves around Stepan, a detective with the NKVD, the Soviets’ secret police, whose discovery of a list of traitors could be his way out his morally bankrupt world.

“He struggles with whether he’s on the right track, whether he’s working for an evil faction, and in the course of that he uncovers a mystery,” Dilapo said by phone from Los Angeles.

“Devils” tells the story from the oppressor’s point of view, not the other way around. “When you look at this time period in history, the Soviets or the Nazis, it’s usually about what it’s like for the oppressed, not what it’s like to be on the other side,” the screenwriter explained.

“Devils at Play,” which Dilapo completed after graduation from New York University in 2011, looks at “how moral justification works in our heads, how we lie to ourselves to believe in what we’re doing, that capacity for good and evil,” he explained, adding that he looked to books like Robert Conquest’s “The Great Terror” for information and ideas.”

Keep reading in the El Paso Times.

More info and RSVP for this free event by clicking here.

Karthik Pandian at Michael Strogoff

3 May 2013


karthik pandian
Indian Country
May 2 – May 26, 2013
Opening: May 2, 6-8PM

Karthik @ Vilma Gold

This exhibition is co-presented with CineMarfa, an annual film festival in Marfa, TX that foregrounds the intersection between film and visual art. Please visit for their complete 2013 schedule.

More info at Michael Strogoff.