Tony I were traveling over the holidays in 2015, so I was not able to have an appropriate screening of NUT CRACKER N25. Jerry Nunn had a house party screening, but beyond that it only turned up online. As we got into 2017, Uncle Alice approached me about doing a screening at Martyr’s in Chicago. I liked the idea; we hadn’t done a screening in a long time, and Martyr’s is a terrific location. Of course me being me, I didn’t want to simply pop into town and show a 25 minute video. If our friends, family and fans (I hate using that word, but there are people who seem to like our work so I’ll call them that for lack of a better term) were going to gather, I wanted to give them a show. So I set about putting together a career-spanning retrospect of all of our projects to date. I wanted to present it like an old 50’s instructional film, so I decided to title the evening WHAT IS UNDERGROUND FILM?
Obviously it was never going to cover everything that was underground film. It was just intended as a showcase for our campy projects, culminating in the big premiere of N25. I knew how I wanted it to look, but writing out a script talking about myself in third person was more challenging than I thought. Tony volunteered to write it… it is a little different tone than my own stuff, but goes well with what we had to show. I asked our friend Amanda Cohen, whom we have known for decades but who has never been in one of my projects, to star in all of the wraparound footage as “Dr.” Glenda Gershenson, the expert on Underground Film.
It’s admittedly a little long (just over two hours), but we squeezed some full length shorts in there, the music videos, lots of clips from the other films, and stuff that nobody has ever seen (like my high school animation project Swan Song). And Amanda did a fantastic job of keeping it light and keeping it moving. I guess as a stand-up comedian, she is able to do that handily and make it seem effortless.
We had a great screening with so many people who have participated over the years in attendance. It was an extremely special night in my life, and well worth the visit to my hometown.
2017, color & BW, HD video, 123 min.
Click on thumbnails below to start slideshow of images from the retrospect
Scene from the program with Amanda Cohen hosting... note Christine Bouchard in a scene from Problem Child on the repro Philco TV
Amanda showing off my actual, original Super-8 movie camera I received as a gift from my uncle when I was a kid
Home movies... my dad (holding my nephew Michael), mom and sister Linda at my other sister's house in Wauconda, IL
Pre-teen me as Groucho in one of my earliest Super-8 movies
Never-before-shown super-8 short film Swan Song, which I drew and animated with my senior high school art class.
Some of the other kids in the art class worked on the backgrounds, I don't think I drew this unicorn... and we all painted the millions of cels used to create the short
Unmistakably one of my own drawings in a scene from Swan Song
Amanda after the sequence of music videos... we wanted her to look overwhelmed. Most of the audience had this look too.
I just love this. And I'm so pleased how much I got this to look like an old vintage film.
The End! Of editing at least. But then it was time for the show.
Great sweeping view of the exterior of Martyr's in Chicago, with our poster for the evening front and center
Closeup of the poster for the show, which featured Linda in her N25 look.
Lifelong friends and movie cohorts Yvette (left) and Amy (center), joined Uncle Alice, Tony and me at the screening
Oh... this time WITH flash!
More scenes from inside the showroom. I promise more people showed up!
Me and one of my all-time besties, Amy
Again... once more WITH flash
We obviously took a lot of photos together that night
Most of the Larson siblings, in one place. Clockwise: Donna, Linda, Scott and me
Larson siblings, plus Amy... who is basically a sibling anyway
My sister Donna... who came to one of my shows for the first time ever.
Joreeta up on the big screen
Starlette and Maggie Magnolia projected onto Martyr's big screen
Dorrena in a scene from Door Mat, taken during the screening
The blurry but unmistakable Nut Cracker wreaking havoc in N25 on the big screen. It was a definite crowd pleaser.
Amanda wraps the show up
The merch table... we had three styles of shirts, a set of buttons from N25 and Linda’s book available
We made a lot of stuff up special for the show. The sales helped to offset the cost of the trip a little bit
Not quite our names in lights, but our poster was on the front page of the Martyr's website!
29 - 29
Dr. Glenda Gershenson
Back to Home
All content on this page ©2021 LarsErik Films. ©2021 Erik Larson. All Rights Reserved.