Just over a year ago I had a wonderfully surreal experience. I’d spent the day over at the SF Zine Fest learning how to silk screen (t-shirts are much harder than posters, if you’re wondering) with my friend Wendy. It was pretty inspiring, we spent the rest of the afternoon making various papercrafts at my house and towards evening she suggested heading over to ATA for a show she’d heard about. She didn’t know too many details except that there would be a band and something to do with Viewmasters. Sold!
It was awesome. There was a live band in the front, and an announcer with an antique typewriter. Viewmasters were distributed at the front of the room, along with slides for each performance, and the audience crowded onto folding chairs or leaned on walls in one big brightly lit room. A few instructions were given, and then we all in unison lifted the viewmasters to our eyes as the band began to play and the typewriter gave us our cues. First up was Lucifugia Thigmotaxis, then came The Public Life of Jeremiah Barnes, and after a short break for beer and leg-stretching the Actaeon at Home finale. I completely fell in love with Actaeon, even though I was broke at the time I bought the disks and a Viewmaster and justified it by saying it was for a friend’s birthday. Sorry Martana, I just couldn’t let it go.
Go look at the links above, and think about how much work goes into a Vladmaster. First Vladimir writes the story, then she builds the sets, takes all the photographs (in stereo!) and edits them. The music and narration is recorded, mastered and edited. Then the reels, cd and packaging are designed, printed and diecut, after which she hand glues each photo into the reels. Did I mention that they also happen to be strange and wonderful stories? Are you jealous yet of my fantastic good fortune to have seen this show? You should be, and better yet you should join me for the Return of the Vladmaster on Wednesday night. Vladimir will be premiering her new Fear and Trembling series, which I would expect to be at least as great as her Franz Kafka and Italo Calvino series.
I just linked to pretty much every page on her site, which should tell you how excited I am. Come join me, you’ll be glad you were there.