Back in 1996, veteran singer/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock entered an abandoned used clothing store on 14th Street in New York City. With a small audience surrounding him, he delivered one of his intimate, personable performances spiked with witty, and sometimes somber, stories. And thankfully, Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme was there to capture it.
The result is the 1998 concert film Storefront Hitchcock, which our friends at the SIFF Cinema Uptown will be screening on Thursday, April 14th at 6:00 PM, the day before our on-air Six Degrees of Robyn Hitchcock Day challenge. Advance Tickets are only $9.03 for all seats, with KEXP and SIFF Members free on day of show.
"It's not a documentary," Hitchcock told The Austin Chronicle. "It's a show. It's true to life in every way, except you never see the audience -- though you can hear 'em in the background. Jonathan conceived the whole thing. He didn't want a club environment with people, you know, smoking and drinking and rummaging about while we're performing. It is, in fact, a real storefront. You can look through the windows behind us and see cars and people going by outside." Demme is no stranger to music films, having directed the award-winning 1984 documentary Stop Making Sense, which captured the Talking Heads in concert at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. He's also directed music videos for New Order (remember this weirdness?), KRS-One, Bruce Springsteen, and a trilogy of Neil Young concert films spanning from 2006 to 2011.
With Storefront Hitchcock, Demme took a minimalist approach to filming the show, trying to capture an audience-eye view. "One of my favourite things in watching any performance on film is when there isn't a lot of cutting going on and when you get a chance to become really absorbed in the artist in hand," Demme told UK publication The Guardian. For this film, Hitchcock stands center stage on acoustic guitar, with accompaniment from Deni Bonet on violin and Tim Keegan on guitar, and songs are woven together with Robyn's surreal off-the-cuff soliloquies.
SIFF presents this exclusive one-night-only screening at 6:00 PM. See this film on the big screen, with Robyn's wonderful songs in surround-sound, and then tune in on Friday, April 15th from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM as KEXP DJs John Richards, Cheryl Waters, and Kevin Cole program a day of music kicked off with Hitchcock himself.
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