Mistaken For Strangers: The rock documentary that became Tom Berninger's personal journey

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The National's Matt Berninger and his brother, roadie Tom Berninger, in Mistaken For Strangers.
The Berningers are a talented family: Tom Berninger is a filmmaker, and when his brother Matt, a member of the Brooklyn-based band The National, asked him to go on tour as a roadie, he obliged. Tom needed a job and some direction, and his brother's request inadvertently offered both. Tom was fired eight months in, but he'd been filming the band and crew the whole time. The result was 2013's Mistaken For Strangers, a documentary about The National -- but also a look at Tom's own personal struggle for success.

In advance of the film's opening this Friday, April 18 at the Sie FilmCenter -- where Tom Berninger will be a guest for both evening showings -- Westword spoke with him about his relationship with his brother and the things that make a good rock documentary.

See also: Album sales are in the Crapper, but The National is doing just fine

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Andy Haynes on Midnight Run, 9/11 jokes and getting heckled during his own comedy special

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Andy Haynes is a veteran of several standup scenes, moving from Washington, D.C., to Seattle, then from New York to Los Angeles, cultivating his sharp joke-telling style and putting in strong appearances on Conan and the Comedy Central Half Hour. Haynes is also known for his Midnight Run comedy showcase, which gets comedians unreasonably stoned and then lets them sort through the weirdness onstage. A natural fit for the Sexpot Comedy brand, Haynes is in town this week to bring his Midnight Run showcase to an appreciative and equally stoned Denver audience. In advance of the April 17 date, Westword talked with Haynes about Midnight Run, 9/11 jokes and getting heckled.

See also: Chris Fairbanks on Sexpot Comedy, suicidal civil engineers and the Tosh controversy

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Davy Rothbart on basketball, the Midwest and Medora

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Medora
Medora tells the story of the Medora Hornets, a basketball team struggling for just one win.
As editor of Found Magazine and a contributor to This American Life, Davy Rothbart has devoted himself to mining humor and pathos from the lives of strangers. When he learned about the Medora Hornets, a high school basketball team suffering through a nasty losing streak in a factory-gutted Heartland community, he knew he had tell their story. He spent the next year-and-a-half embedded in Medora, Indiana, chronicling the lives of these young basketball players at home and on the court. Rothbart will be at a screening of Medora at the SIE FilmCenter on Tuesday, April 15. In advance of his trip to Denver, Westword spoke with him about his newest feature documentary.

See also: Justin Hocking on surfing, trauma and The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld

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Remembering Ludlow: A roundup of commemorative events

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The Ludlow Memorial.
A century ago this week, a long-simmering conflict between miners on strike in the southern Colorado coalfields and troops of the Colorado National Guard erupted into the deadliest labor war in American history. A raging gun battle on April 20, 1914, resulted in the destruction of the strikers' Ludlow tent colony and the deaths of nearly two dozen people -- most of them women and children who'd sought refuge from the shooting in a small cellar under one of the tents. The Ludlow Massacre, as it became known, is one of the darkest yet most neglected chapters of state history -- but a slew of commemorative events planned to mark its hundredth anniversary could help change that.

See also:
Best History Book 2009 -- Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War

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Watch Game of Thrones in the company of your fellow geeks every Sunday

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Enjoy the adventures of Arya and the Hound every Sunday at the Armoury.
Now that HBO's magnificent Game of Thrones is back, Sunday nights just became appointment viewing again. That's great news unless your free HBO just expired, or your ex-roommate finally changed his HBO Go password or you're not sure you can stand watching alone knowing that the show is probably just waiting to break your heart by killing your favorite character. Or hell, maybe you just like making an event of watching one of the best shows on television. Whatever the case, get thee to the Armoury this Sunday, and every Sunday when there's a new episode, and all of those Game of Thrones-related problems will be solved.

See also: The ten best geek events in Denver in April

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Andrew Elijah Edwards on his new stereoscopic installation, The Deep Novelty Harvest Colony

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Courtesy of Andrew Elijah Edwards
Ineffable is a dirty word for a writer. It means something like, "A concept you just can't put into words." Discussing The Deep Novelty Harvest Colony -- a stereoscopic art installation that makes its debut tonight at Hinterland Gallery -- with artist Andrew Elijah Edwards, you enter a philosophical wrestling match with the ineffable nature of his art. After all, his images are trying to create a visceral experience that he believes cannot be captured in language. In advance of the show's opening, Westword spoke with Edwards about the ideas behind his work.

See also: Christina Battle and Adán De La Garza on video art and the quasi-imperialistic nature of sound

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Director Jeff Broadway on making Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton: This is Stones Throw Records

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Madlib and Peanut Butter Wolf.
Known to hip-hop heads and vinyl connoisseurs as Peanut Butter Wolf, Chris Manak is a DJ and producer who founded the influential underground label Stones Throw Records. The new documentary Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton tells the story of this nearly two-decade-old Los Angeles record label by exploring Wolf's personal struggles and triumphs, as well as the careers of label icons like Madlib, J Dilla, Dâm Funk and more.

In advance of the one-night-only screening of Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton this Saturday, April 12 at the Sie FilmCenter, Westword spoke with the documentary's director and producer, Jeff Broadway, about why he decided to create a film about the underground, artist-first record label.

See also: Diehard local Stones Throw fan claims box of "free medicine" from Madlib hidden in the city

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The five best friendly robots in pop culture, from Wall-E to R2-D2

Categories: Film and TV, Lists

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The always helpful C-3PO.
From HAL to the Terminator, robots in fiction play the part of the bad guy more often than not. Here in the real world, though, robots do some good work, and very little evil. You can get a taste of some of that good work this Sunday, April 13 at Robotics at the Hangar at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, where robotics clubs and companies will show off the latest and greatest in robot tech. To gear up for the show, we offer this look at five of film and television's benevolent, friendly and useful automatons as a reminder that, even in fiction, robots can be good people, too.

See also: The six best onscreen pairings of robots and the apocalypse

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Jane Wells on Native Silence, sex trafficking and human-rights documentary filmmaking

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Native Silence
Native Silence tells the story of two Native American grandmothers who were ripped from their families as children.
Jane Wells has devoted a decade to documenting human rights abuses throughout the world. She served as producer on The Devil Came on Horseback, a chronicle of the genocide in Darfur, and most recently directed the feature documentary Tricked, about sex trafficking in the United States. While working on the film, she learned of the plight of native women who, as children, had been forced into foster care and stripped of their cultural origins. Moved by their stories, Wells directed Native Silence, which will show at the Aspen Shortsfest tonight. In advance of that screening, Westword spoke with Wells about her documentary and her approach to human rights film-making.

See also: Favianna Rodriguez talks sexual liberation, immigration, racial justice and art

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Christina Battle and Adán De La Garza on video art and the quasi-imperialistic nature of sound

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Courtesy of Paul Destieu
Fade Out is one of the videos featured at Loud!!!
Several years ago, when Adán De La Garza and Christina Battle moved to Denver from cities with vibrant media arts communities, they sought out the same thing here. They did not find it. As video artists, they craved an artistic network, a local scene where they could bounce off ideas and find a home for their projects. Colorado has an amazing array of experimental film- and video-makers working outside mainstream traditions, but too often people find themselves isolated. De La Garza and Battle opted to correct that and launched Nothing to See Here, an organization devoted to showcasing a variety of underrepresented media arts: sound, film, video and performance. Tomorrow they'll host the second edition of Loud!!!, with several short films and a performance exploring the political and aesthetic power of sound at the Sidewinder. In advance of that event, Westword spoke with De La Garza and Battle about their plans.

See also: Suranjan Ganguly on experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage

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