ULTRA: The High Noon of Consumer Culture
runs Nov. 29-Dec. 15 at Little Theatre
THE HOLIDAY BLUES have more than one root in the gloomy Northwest. Purchase anxiety peaks with the gift-buying season; then our consumerist guilt collides with Buy Nothing Day, Nov. 29, which begins this three-week series. Appropriately, the first night's screening is free. Incredibly, it will be shot that morning. The 45-minute local documentary Scenes From Northgate promises to be a DV-production-in-a-day stunt chronicling a whirlwind tour of six Seattle-area malls on the biggest shopping day of the year.
On Saturday, Nov. 30, local writers will first critique global consumption, followed by the guerrilla-style doc Reverend Billy & the Church of Stop Shopping. The hour-long film follows the political theater antics of New York anti-consumer artist/activist Bill Talen. On Sunday, Dec. 1, see the Seattle premiere of the award-winning documentary Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town. It's an altogether insightful and disheartening look at small-town politics and big-league corporations, filmed in Ashland, W.Va.
Week two's theme is "Artism: Art Is Activism," with contributions from and appearances by Negativland's Mark Hosler, a pioneer in the field of ad-busting. Week three focuses on "Mind Pollution: Testing the Senses," a program that promises to blow out your habitually worn sensory paths with one screening in Smell-o-Vision. When it's all done, maybe you'll have a few extra bucks in your pocket—and that lump of coal in your stocking will seem like a diamond.