The Tribeca Film Festival ended this weekend, and there was a lot of music-y stuff that went down before it did. The biggest news comes via the Julian Schnabel film Lou Reed’s Berlin. ThePlaylist saw it and said “If you don’t love Berlin the album (like know it front to back), this movie might not be for you, unless you’re a huge Lou Reed fan.” To celebrate/promote the pic, Lou & Julian did a Q&A that’s making some waves, for reasons including Reed dissing Lester Bangs. Which at this point is like Samuel Johnson dissing Alexander Pope. Excerpts, via Gothamist:
Reed: Julian knew the record better than me. He could recite this piece of music. And he asked me, “Why wouldn’t you want to do that?” And I said, “But I did to that.” And he said, “Well, that was then and now we’re over here.” So I said, “Okay, why not do that.”
Stimulating, right? It continues.
Vanity Fair’s Lisa Robinson: Your voice has changed since you originally recorded it. It’s deeper now, right?
Reed: I would hope so. It’d be weird if it was higher, right?
Robinson: You’re a songwriter, poet, photographer, guitar player. But people still try and pigeon-hole you and are surprised you take great photographs.
Reed: I don’t talk to people like that.
Robinson: This is a very uplifting movie, even singing “Sad Songs” at the end seems very uplifting.
Reed: Somebody said “the act of writing is an act of optimism.”
Schnabel: That’s a fragment of something [Andrei] Tarkovsky said. He said that art is different than life because art is a representation of life and therefore it doesn’t contain death. Life contains death. So making art is life-affirming. So even if the art is tragic, it’s still optimistic. There can never be pessimistic artists, there can only be mediocrity.
Audience question: Lester Bangs said Berlin was the most depressed album ever made. What are your thoughts on that?
Reed: I don’t have any thoughts on Lester Bangs’s comments. What does that have to do with anything? You just saw it.
Schnabel: I just thought it obviously made me want to make the movie.
Robinson: I just want to say we knew Lester Bangs and would not 35 years later quote him. However –
Reed: Who is Lester Bangs?
Schnabel: Isn’t he the guy who Chris Walken drowned in At Close Range?
Audience question: There were moments when you were in such an wonderfully intimate and open zone and I don’t know if we’ve had that kind of access to you before. Was there anything in the film that you saw that surprised you about your performance?
Reed: Well, in the old days I would have worn sunglasses and you wouldn’t get to see any of that. But I can’t wear the sunglasses now because I’d fall over a cable. I’m there as a version of me — the performing version. It is what it is. I wanted to write these monologues for myself. I love acting in a role in a song and I write the monologue for myself. That’s my idea of fun… To me Berlin is an amalgam of when a woman does a certain thing to you, you end up with Berlin.
Ah, Lou never fails to be Lou. Beyond Berlin, Tribeca brought out Old Man Bebo, a documentary on Cuban musician Bebo Valdes. Also, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch screened his Rucker Park basketball documentary Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot. Random? No way, the thing focuses on NYC, and Yauch’s been involved with film since back in the day. He spoke to ESPN about it. Madonna, of course, if always looking beyond America, to places that she can fix up somehow/shop for children from, hence her documentary on Malawi.
Finally, there was also some actual live music, which took place as the “Breaking The Band” concert at Webster Hall on Friday. It was curated by our old friend Alexandra Patsavas and featured the Hold Steady, the Virgins, Breaking Band award recipients Bad Veins, and Alex’s first Chop Shop signing, Republic Tigers. Blackbook, who’re not very good at paying their freelancers, but are pretty good at hyping Bad Veins, were there. Reportedly the Hold Steady played no new material, but on that front: just a few more weeks to go.