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Strange sights and sounds of inner space

“Science is Fiction”
Yo La Tengo
and the films of Luis Bunuel
Tonight, 8 p.m.- sold out; 10 p.m. show added
Guild Theatre
Suthwest Ninth and Taylor
$14/Film Center members

Tonight at the Guild Theatre, the Northwest Film Center presents Yo La Tengo accompanying short films of classic French director Jean Painleve (1902-1989), in a program entitled “Science is Fiction.”

Painleve’s films are a twist on the nature documentary genre, focusing on the weird oddities of life on earth like flatworms, seahorses, vampire bats, etc. In short – Painleve’s art focuses on the surreal that lurks out there in real life.

The scientific establishment was critical of Painleve’s work – the mingling of the educational and the entertaining and the symbolism he imbued into the eerie creature characters of his films left audiences scratching their heads.

Slowly but surely, New Jersey natives Yo La Tengo have risen to preeminence on the American indie rock scene. They got their start back in the ’80s making weirdo folk rock, but have turned into a band that can do no wrong. There swirling noise compositions, pastoral country tunes and more ponderous pop compositions are all marked by their trademark homey warmth. Theirs has evolved into a sound of comfort.

The show will feature the band playing along with Painleve’s films that examine the strange beauty of the creatures who dwell beneath the surface of the sea. It will be interesting to hear a contemporary band’s take on the work of a man who counted Sergei Eisentstein and Luis Bunuel among his friends.

Whatever the outcome, be certain that Yo La Tengo will put a new twist on Painleve’s strange visions.