There's a lot of amazing music footage floating around, and the Jackpot Records/Clinton Street Video Film Fest (see pg. 19.) has shown a ton of it in the past few years. Here are two of the best rock films I've seen recently, as well as one I keep coming back to.
• The Getty Address (2006)—James Sumner directed a series of animated videos for the Dirty Projectors' The Getty Address record that show singer Dave Longstreth floating with shuddering birds through jittery trees that warble like heat waves until they're iridescent. Then ninjas hack Longstreth to pieces, and war-painted aboriginal kangaroos take him as their god. It's strange, funny stuff, but it also made a very tough friend of mine cry. Gentle, hyper-colorful, innocent beauty meets pulp violence and surreal acid-scapes.
• New York Dolls: All Dolled Up (2005)—Filmed by rock photographer Bob Gruen and his wife Nadya Beck, All Dolled Up shows the Dolls at the height of their career, mostly backstage or in cars, hanging out on tour, and at airports. It's honest, revealing, and sometimes a little uncomfortable. You see a band burning themselves out fast, and if you know anything about their end (band broken up after their second album; Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan, and Arthur Kane dead), it's a painful thing to watch.
• If I Should Fall from Grace: The Shane MacGowan Story(2003)—Shane MacGowan turned his Pogues into punk icons by combining Irish folk music with rock 'n' roll, and filling his head with drugs and booze while tossing himself into the wildest of situations—blindly, celebratory, wild-eyed. Years later, filmmaker Sarah Share shows Shane sick, bloated, and barely coherent, eyes paled by years of excess, slurring, ranting, and nodding off. But if you listen close—and if you can make it through the whole thing without wanting to cut your wrist like a celery stalk—he's still a brilliant, gifted, funny, incredibly human guy. ADAM GNADE