VideoSonics: Last Lizard (fka Dirty Beaches) VS News From Home

Live set by DJ Emily T. of Origami Vinyl

“The narrative of the foreigner adrift in the American landscape has always been at the heart of what I do” —Alex Zhang Hungtai (Last Lizard, Dirty Beaches).

Hungtai is Taiwanese-Canadian in origin, and an Angeleno for now—but has consistently found himself in the role foreigner, living everywhere from Honolulu to Lisbon and Berlin. These global perambulations, along with a deep and true cinephilia (most famously the films of Wong Kar-wai), have together been key influences on his art. It seems natural to us, that when asked to musically reimagine or meditate on a film of his choosing, he would find himself drawn to Chantal Akerman’s 1977 hypnotic depiction of New York City, News From Home.

Here, a young Akerman, newly relocated from Belgium to New York City, shares her persistent, thoughtful gaze with the viewer, her lense affixing itself to the movements of the great metropolis, stepping back and leaving a space for contemplation. For this special one-night “collaboration,” Last Lizard takes that place, interpreting and responding to Akerman’s images in a unique musical performance.

In Hungtai’s words, “Our narrative is never definitive, trapped between origin and destination, anchored by neither. But between point A and B lies a third vantage point, perhaps expressed by the image of the receding skyline in the finale of the film.”

Dir. Chantal Akerman, 1977