Going Dutch at ASU
SRB Speaks, Presents Dutchman & Night of the Living Dead™ at ASU This Week
I’ll be at Appalachian State University this week to speak and present two classic 1960s films—via authorized exhibitions, I’m happy to note—and here’s hoping some mud gets kicked up and some minds get blown along the way.
Yesterday afternoon I did an interview with an ASU reporter for my appearance this coming Thursday, Sept. 26th and Friday, the 27th, on the Appalachian State University campus. I’m a grateful visiting author & artist in the Hugelene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series at ASU—a grand honor and opportunity I fully intend to bring high-octane intensity to, in my laid-back way.
What trouble am I causing?
Well, Craig Fischer invited me in to talk to his class(es), then I’ll be presenting a lecture and sort-of-overview of my work methodology on Thursday afternoon at 2 PM—free and open to the public—and another even-more-public-event on my comics and writing careers Thursday evening at 7:30 PM. “How to Make a Monster: Image-Making and Horror Comics” is the topic, I’ll be presenting both Thursday talks in the Table Rock Room; book sales and a signing will follow the 7:30 PM talk and reading. If you’re in the area, join us!
Better yet—on Friday, Sept. 27th, I’ll be joining Craig to host an amazing evening of 1960s movie madness—the Continental 1967 film version of Amiri Baraka’s play Dutchman, directed by Anthony Harvey (whose next movie was The Lion in Winter), and the George Romero/John Russo/Image Ten horror classic Night of the Living Dead™.
These two classics will be shown back-to-back with intros by me, Q&A, and discussion following—it’s all happening on Friday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. in Greenbriar Theater in Plemmons Student Union.
The oddly-paired history of these two cinematic masterpieces will blow some minds, and the double-bill will be dynamite!
While I’m looking forward to everything that’s ahead this week, I’m particularly excited about the Friday night film presentations. I’d like to extend special thanks to Jim Cirronella of Zero-Day Releasing and above all Russ Streiner and his Image Ten partners for facilitating this authorized showing of Night of the Living Dead™; and to Chris Poggiali, the breakthrough assistance of Justin Bozung of MondoFilm VideoGuide, and above all Shirley Knight (Lula herself!) and Ruby Persson for facilitating the authorized showing of Dutchman.
Thank you, one and all.
With Justin Bozung‘s most generous assistance, Shirley Knight herself opened the door for the authorization of our showing of Dutchman, which prompted a wonderful phone conversation and email exchange with Ruby Persson about the film and our hopes of presenting it to the ASU campus this week. Both Shirley and Ruby kindly agreed to the event, and we’ll be videotaping the audience conversation following the showing of Dutchman and providing that video to Ruby and Shirley.
Thanks to Jim Cirronella, who initially opened the door, we also saw through negotiations with Russ Streiner and the Image Ten partners to present Night of the Living Dead™ as an authorized exhibition—and that, too, worked out. We’re again videotaping the audience conversation before and after the showing, and providing that footage to the Image Ten partners.
I’m still digging into the production and distribution histories of both Dutchman and Night of the Living Dead—topical films of their time oddly linked by their shared distributor, Continental Releasing/Walter Reade Organization, and by their final shots of their fallen African-American protagonists—and I will share some of that with the ASU audience. There’s still much detective work ahead, though, and it’s too early to draw any real conclusions about the remarkable synchronicity between these harrowing 1967/1968 cinematic companions. One has been essentially forgotten, the other has become a pop landmark—seen alone or together, both are absolutely devastating films, not to be missed.
Seen back-to-back, this is a pretty incredible double-bill, and this may be their first pairing ever (I’m happy to stand corrected on that, but I haven’t found any evidence of their being shown together ever before, in any context).
Will they come across as mere artifacts seen today? I don’t know, and I’m as curious as anyone to see how these play with the ASU crowd.
This is even getting a bit of attention online apart from the ASU circles—
—but don’t forget for a moment that it’s my students at
who get both barrels of Bissette teaching/lecturing on a weekly basis. It’s thanks to CCS (and the CCS hosting of ICAF two falls ago) that Craig Fischer and I connected and Craig and ASU pulled this all together. Thanks to CCS, I’ll also be Tom De Haven‘s guest in Virginia in early October, too; more on that as the time approaches.
Hope to see some of you at ASU this week!
NOTE: Night of the Living Dead™ is a trademark of Image Ten, and is used with permission; both feature films are presented as authorized exhibitions, with the blessings of the filmmakers/heirs.
Links to my extensive serialized 2010 essay on Dutchman and Night of the Living Dead, still the only analysis of how these two landmark films co-existed and their historical importance: