DaVinci Days are upon us again. As always, it will be a hectic, colorful, and joyous celebration of art and science and engineering: three days of music, film, and unique and artistic alternative transportation. To help you, dear reader, navigate the madness, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to craft a little guide. Not necessarily “The Best of,” more of a “The Advocate Recommends.”
Music and Art:
This year’s headliner is Little Feat. Yes, Little Feat is still playing music, 32 years after Lowell George passed away; a decade after Craig Fuller left the band…then Shaun Murphy left …then Richie Hayward died—but the rest of the band is still going strong! In fact, they just came out with a new album—Rooster Rag—and it’s not half bad. Look, it’s Little Feat—some of it’s going to be cheesy, much of it won’t appeal to anyone under the age of forty, but it will still be a dancing good time with some damn good musicians. You can’t go wrong with “Dixie Chicken.”
If you can’t stand to watch your older relatives or neighbors dance to “Fat man in a Bathtub,” stay to catch Michael Kaeshammer, a Canadian boogie-woogie pianist the following night. By all accounts he puts on an entertaining live act.
Little Feat: Main Stage, Saturday: 9:00 PM – 10:30 PM, Lower OSU Campus.
Michael Kaeshammer: Main Stage, Friday, Friday: 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM, Lower OSU Campus.
Davinci Days has a lot to offer as far as independent films are concerned—31 screenings in multiple locations over three days. There’s an abundance of riches: documentary, animation, narrative shorts, experimental films, and film shorts submitted in the Young Filmmaker category by middle and high school age filmmakers.
Considering we haven’t seen any of these films, and many of them look interesting, it’s hard to choose one. However, we’re particularly intrigued by the award-winning Kumpania: Flamenco Los Angeles. The description reads: “The mysterious pull of an old Spanish Romani art on a group of contemporary musicians in Los Angeles is the essence of the documentary.” This is dance for arts’ sake, for the pure passion of the music and movement and history, and offers a welcome lesson or respite in an era dominated by business concerns and technological distractions.
Even better, there’s a post-screening performance. Fast clapping? Sexy guitar fingering? Passionate dancers? Yes please.
Kumpania: Flamenco Los Angeles: 7:15 p.m. Thursday, July 19 at Darkside Cinema, 6 p.m. Saturday, July 21 at Majestic Theater, Downtown Corvallis. Post-screening performance will follow at 7 p.m.
Races and Revelry:
With the streets of Corvallis dominated by giant sea anemones, flying pink elephants, slices of cheese, and yellow submarines, the Graand Kinetic Challenge is by far the best part of DaVinci Days. While some of DaVinci Days has almost inevitably become dedicated to the merchandising of kitschy schlock, the Graand Kinetic Challenge retains the weird, wacky, and wonderful aspects that are the soul of the festival. Handmade and pedal-powered sculptures must navigate 10 miles of city streets, man-made sand dunes, 3000 feet of clay pasture, through 200 feet of deep, thick, sticky mud, and down 2 miles of the Willamette River. Not only that, they must include a “thematically appropriate, comforting, and/or cuddly stuffed animal, preferably bear-ish and of fabric composition, and a team song/chant demonstrating cunning rhyming technique, utilizing the team name and the words da Vinci, kinetic and Corvallis, to be performed on demand by the Judges.” It’s all quite silly and wonderful. Even if you don’t make the race itself, be sure to catch the parade.
The Graand Kinetic Challenge parade starts at 11th & Madison on Saturday, Jul 21 at 12:00 PM-1.00PM.
The Road Race and Dune climb starts at 14th & Campus Way, Saturday, Jul 21: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
The Mud Bog and River Race start at Crystal Lake Sports Park, Sunday, Jul 22: 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM
The da Vinci Days film festival will be kicking off this July. Originally began in 1999 as a simple screening of original films during da Vinci Days, the event has burgeoned into a fully-fledged festival in its own right. For three days Darkside Cinema and the Majestic Theatre will be hosting viewings of everything from short narratives, to documentaries, to animation. The festival looks to be a wonderful reprieve from the homogenous Hollywood standard. Here are a few must-see submissions for this month’s festival.
20th Century Man
In 1938, a young inventor risks everything by stepping into a time machine of his own invention. But when a circuit malfunctions his 12-day maiden voyage is turned into a giant leap of nearly 80 years. Although he gains the wealth and scientific recognition he dreamed of, with his wife long dead he is stranded in time, alone and out of place, and now the inventor must risk everything once again to get back to his wife and the life he knew. Shot without dialogue to a single piece of music.
Animation, Experimental and Narrative shorts
7:15 p.m. Tuesday, July 17 at Darkside Cinema
3 p.m. Saturday, July 21 and 2:45 p.m. Sunday, July 22 at Majestic Theater
The Fountains of Caracas
Camille Brito Reale
At 87-years-old, Santos Eduardo Michelena, a retired city architect in Caracas, Venezuela, recounts his life and career in helping to bring Caracas from the peaceful city of his birth into a modern metropolis. At times poignant and sad but always charming, the film gently explores the essential dilemma of any architect’s life: that there is nothing more transient than modernity, and pride in one’s dreams and achievements must always be balanced by the knowledge that the work of building a city is a job that is never finished.
8:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 18 at Darkside Cinema
12:00 p.m. Sunday, July 22 at Majestic Theater
Will and Fiona
In this amusing vignette, two co-workers, a male and a female, walk into a bar for a friendly drink after work, but their circuitous conversation soon reveals that they each have very different expectations for how the evening will turn out.
8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 19 at Darkside Cinema
1:00 p.m. Saturday, July 21 at Darkside Cinema
Augenblicke (Blink of an Eye)
In this sharply directed film noir from Germany, an insomnia plagued middle-aged man must piece together a jigsaw puzzle of conflicting evidence. Is he the sole witness to a murder committed by a neighbor? Is he, in fact, the actual murderer as a police detective insists? More chilling than either of those possibilities, as the pieces fall together a third alternative gradually emerges that he is caught in a waking nightmare of shifting realities with no way to escape. Violent subject matter.