Freezeframe: Q & A With Laura Parnes
Lightbox Film Center
Laura Parnes, US, 2018, 92 min.
With Director Laura Parnes In Person
In the mockumentary tradition of This Is Spinal Tap and Medium Cool, Tour Without End is an experimental fiction/doc hybrid that casts real-life musicians, artists and actors as bands on tour, and expands into a cross-generational, Trump-era commentary on contemporary culture and politics.
Tour Without End (Twenty-One Portraits and a Protest) stars the legendary Wooster Group founder Kate Valk and Jim Fletcher (The NYC Players), and includes musicians Kathleen Hanna, Lizzie Bougatsos (Gang Gang Dance), Brontez Purnell (The Younger Lovers), and the poet Eileen Myles along with many other queer and feminist icons. Shot in real environments and situations, the core group of players improvise on semi-scripted scenes. As the players move in and out of fictionalized characters and real life — the film moves in and out of non-linear narrative and historical document.
The work revels in the sometimes hilarious but always complex band dynamics the characters endure in touring, collaborating, and aging in a youth-driven music industry. The sometimes self-indulgent, bubble the bands exist in is burst when, while on tour, they attend the protests surrounding the Republican Convention. are evoked along with the political currents of our time— drawing connections between past and present to assert that no one exists outside of politics.
The film was shot over the course of 4 years from 2014-2018 at over 15 DIY music spaces in and around NYC. Presenting a multitude of characters though this recent time functions as a time capsule made more urgent due to the rapid gentrification of NYC. Many of the locations used have since shuttered their doors.
Laura Parnes’ critically acclaimed films and installations address counter-cultural and youth-culture references where the music is integral to the work. She has screened and exhibited her work widely in the US and internationally, including: Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; PSI Contemporary Art Center MoMA Affiliate, NY; Miami Museum of Contemporary Art, FL; Brooklyn Museum, Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens, ; The International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands and Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid and NY and on PBS and Spanish Television. She recently had solo exhibitions at LA><, LA, Participant Inc. and Fitzroy Gallery and solo screenings at the Museum of Modern Art and The Kitchen, New York City. Parnes is a 2013 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow, a 2014 NYFA recipient and a 2016 Creative Capital Awardee. Video Data Bank published a box set of her work and Participant Press published a book of her scripts titled Blood and Guts in Hollywood: Two Screenplays by Laura Parnes with an introduction by Chris Kraus. She has also directed music videos for The Julie Ruin and Le Tigre.