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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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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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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Artist Scott Ferguson talks about the tattoo experience and lifestyle

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Photo by Sean Hartgrove
Colorado native Scott Ferguson has always been an artist, but what drew him to the tattoo industry was the rugged lifestyle. Ferguson has been hanging out a tattoo shops since he was a teenager and tattooing professionally since 1996; he currently works at Thick as Thieves Tattoo. Westword recently caught up with Ferguson to talk about the tattoo lifestyle and giving his clients a good experience.

See also: Michael Pinto on the changing tattoo industry, respecting the art form and teaching the craft

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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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Daniel Salazar on the XicanIndie Film Festival, opening tomorrow

Escaramuza: Riding from the Heart is the opening night film at the XicanIndie Film Festival XVI.
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In his tenth year as curator of the XicanIndie Film Festival, Daniel Salazar decided to revamp the whole project. Working with film programmers from all over the Americas, Salazar created the Encuentro Mundial de Cine, an international curatorial collaboration using digital platforms to broaden the pool of films available to screen. In advance of the festival opening on Thursday, April 3, Westword spoke with Salazar about his global, curatorial collaboration.

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

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Walter McDonald on mindfulness, storytelling and reinventing the wheel

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Images courtesy of Walter McDonald
Tattoos have colored most of Walter McDonald's life -- he got his first ink at age twelve and has been tattooing professionally for more than twenty years. Originally from Houston, he has lived in Colorado for 26 years, becoming a well-known name in the industry. He's now the owner of Lifetime Tattoo, where he has worked since it opened in 2001.

Westword caught up with Mcdonald, who talked about the importance of mindfulness, being a storyteller and reinventing the wheel.

See also: Michael Pinto on the changing tattoo industry, respecting the art form and teaching the craft

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Enter the future-past through artist Katrin Davis's diorama world of miniatures

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Katrin Davis
You may not know artist Katrin Davis by name, but you've definitely seen her work around Denver. The artist's collages have been used on posters and fliers for shows for years, pieces that incorporate vintage photographs with vibrant, retro-feeling colors like turquoise and coral. Late last year, Davis moved into the three-dimensional realm of dioramas, incorporating her throwback aesthetic into miniature worlds created through assembling model train pieces together with beads and other objects. As part of show opening tonight at the new artist-run space DATELINE, Davis will be showing Hypotheticals, forty of her dioramas, alongside the work of other local and national artists.

In advance of the opening, Westword spoke with about Davis about her change in medium and how she sources the pieces for work she says is inspired by "the past's concepts of the future."

See also: Artist-run DATELINE gallery launches tonight in RiNo

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