Frames and hooks. Experience Music Project and Northwest Film Forum jointly offer a Wednesday night series of music-oriented, genre-spanning films. There's Afro-pop in the Sundance prize-winning documentary Amandla!, rap in Freestyle: The Art of Rhythm, hillbilly in Dancing Outlaw, and blues in Devil Got My Woman (in which Howlin' Wolf, Skip James, Son House, and others perform at the Newport '66 blues festival). Prominent musicians profiled include Fela and Ravi Shankar (Satyajit Ray's priceless 1954 Pather Panchali features Shankar's sitar score), but there are obscure figures, too. Meet Boubacar "Kar Kar" Traor鬠a legendary vocalist from Mali, in I'll Sing for You. The Daddy of Rock and Roll profiles schizophrenic Chicago musician Wesley Willis, who's written over 2,000 songs. (One wonders how that compares with the output of the slightly-less-crazy Brian Wilson.) EMP, 256-2820. Wed., Sept. 18-Wed., Nov. 20.
The Italian gore fest. Who the hell is Mario Bava? Learn all about the late Italian director (1914-1980) in the GI's eight-title salute to the bloody maestro of stylish '60s horror flicks. The series celebrates Bava's painterly eye and Gothic sensibility, qualities both couched in the often lurid spirit of the psychedelic era. (Think witches in miniskirts and go-go boots.) Ancient curses, ghosts, vampires, and serial killers abound, plus hints of all sorts of deviant sexuality. And if that's not enough, the final week's Lisa and the Devil stars Telly Savalas! Today Bava is considered an influence both on the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s and their recent, self-reflexive kin. One chapter of Bava's 1963 anthology film Black Sabbath is directly referenced in the opening scene of Scream—and is there any higher honor than that? Grand Illusion, 523-3955. Fri., Sept. 20-Thurs., Oct. 17.
Utter Twinsanity. Local filmmaker/ critic/genius/madman/style maven Andy Spletzer has curated this weekend screening series as part of ConWorks' binary-themed fall program. Documentaries include Russ Forster's Tributary, about cringe-inducing rock tribute bands (honoring KISS, Journey, Queen, etc.), and Poto and Cabengo (1979), which profiles identical twins who created their own private language. No less creepy is the 1964 Bette Davis vehicle Dead Ringer, with the late-career diva outwitting—and perhaps killing—Karl Malden and Peter Lawford. (How much effort could that take?) Bride of Frankenstein and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein promises to be a very fun double bill. Various experimental shorts and a night of Andy Warhol-style dual-projector films are also being shown. Consolidated Works, 860-5254. Fri., Sept. 20-Sat., Nov. 23.
The indie media confab. OK, it's not really a movie, but movies will definitely be shown during the National Alliance of Media Arts and Culture conference, "Pull Focus, Pushing Forward." Indie filmmakers will be on hand to discuss issues such as "Digital Filmmaking: The Anti-Hollywood?" Fresh off the success of The Business of Fancydancing, Sherman Alexie will be a keynote speaker. Look for some excellent networking and how-to-ing opportunities for area auteurs and media artists. The Little Theatre will highlight the works of young Seattle-area filmmakers, while the Henry, Bellevue Art Museum, Independent Media Center, and others will program related events. Plus an opening-night reception at the Space Needle! Various venues, 682-6552. www.pullfocus.org. Wed, Oct. 2-Sat., Oct. 5.
Murder on Thursdays. Again with the gloom already? Every fall reliably brings rain and vintage American noir flicks to SAM downtown. This season's series spans the period from 1944 to 1955. Who are the hard-boiled heroes? Names like Spencer Tracy, Glenn Ford, Claude Rains, Franchot Tone, Elisha Cook Jr., James Arness, and Ralph Meeker. And the fabulous dames? Ida Lupino, Celeste Holme, Ethel Barrymore, and Ava Gardner. As usual, SAM's emphasis is upon the lesser-known examples of noir, such as 1951's The People Against O'Hara, with Tracy as an attorney and drunk—there's an acting stretch—looking for one last case to win. Everything culminates with Robert Aldrich's 1955 Kiss Me Deadly, famous for the glowing box Quentin Tarantino later referenced in Pulp Fiction. Series tickets always go fast, so buy yours early. Seattle Art Museum, 625-8900. Thursdays, Oct. 3-Dec. 12.