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The Stars Down to Earth
July 31, 2016 7:00 pm
Screening, with a short introduction and Q&A with Tashi Condelee, Afia Fields, Margaret Haines & others.
The text, Sex Without Threat (within the upcoming Wrong Issue of Nonsensical), and the film, The Stars Down To Earth, consider the experience of attending astrology classes for five years under The Carroll Righter Astrology Foundation (home to Nancy and Ronald Reagan’s astrologer) while simultaneously keeping in mind philosopher and musicologist Theodor W. Adorno’s read of astrology (and astrologer Carroll Righter) as nothing close to an innocent past-time, but instead—in line with ‘pseudo-rationality’ and ‘authoritarian irrationality’—fascism.
The film responds to this 1952/53 text, The Stars Down to Earth, and acts as its somatic secretary, as Adorno—in his purposeful, justified and pragmatic critique (myopia as tactic to scorn)—did not conduct evident field research.
Shot in early 2015, the 23 minute film acts as part sci-fi thriller, part documentary, part idealist anti-secrecy forecast.
Astrologers from the Carroll Righter Astrological Foundation divine events for 2015 and 2016—including, reading the star charts for America, Paris, Russia, Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Coupled with their predictions, is the reincarnation of mythological prophetess Kassandra (Henry Hopper) and god Apollo (Afia Fields) in 2015 Los Angeles and Athens. Kassandra’s divinations and access to past/present/future information see her momentarily and perhaps mistakenly identify with the ‘whistle-blowers’ the astrologers chart in their predictions for coming events, as both live in multi-temporality (extreme knowing). And, both are threatened with not only imprisonment, physical harm or rape, but worse: forget. This passing flash of identification sparks for Kassandra a kind of hysteric anarchy, where she attempts to fool fate and create a dimensional transparency and chaos in defiance of Apollo and those around her (the world).
Research and notes for the film are included in the text, Sex Without Threat, which takes the internet as divination system, and pairs the context of post-war Los Angeles (when Adorno is writing) with 2016 Los Angeles and Athens. This text also contains a short interview with artist, trans-activist and filmmaker Paola Revenioti (who acts in the film as a pythia of Apollo), as Paola returns from Lesbos, Greece where she is making two films and volunteering aid, as the EU, in part, ignores its status and duties as signatories of the 1951 Refugee Convention—in this way, Sex Without Threat also attempts to make the comparison between 2016 EU and the fascism/pseudo-rationalism Adorno relentlessly and carefully seeths and pin-points in 1952 California.
Cast and Crew:
Starring Afia Fields & Henry Hopper, Tashi Condelee, Cynthia MacAdams, Jack Taub, Paola Revenioti, John Sweet, Veronica Monae, Silvia Romero, Doug Lee, James Raymond.
Direction: Margaret Haines
Cinematography: Dan O’Sullivan
Production Manager: Teague Schneiter
Original Sound Score: Patrick Dyer
Assistant Director: Giulia Caruso