Fragment of Seeking (1946)
On the Edge (1949)
The Assignation (1953)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1942)
On the heels of last January’s world premiere of Gary Lucas’ solo guitar score accompanying Orson Welles‘ surreal silent comedy Too Much Johnson, the intrepid guitarist returns to Roulette to highlight the works of oft-overlooked West Coast experimentalist Curtis Harrington.
Considered one of the godfathers of New Queer Cinema, along with friend and collaborator Kenneth Anger, California-bred Curtis Harrington is best known for his fantasy feature film Night Tide (1961) starring Dennis Hopper — which led to work with Roger Corman and American International Pictures on such bizarre genre fare as Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet and Queen of Blood, and later quasi-mainstream horror films such as Games with Simone Signoret, Who Slew Auntie Roo, and The Killer Bees, as well as the widely-loved television series The Twilight Zone. Harrington’s early surrealist short films, beginning with Fall of the House of Usher (1948), were created during his high school years. His subsequent short films Fragment of Seeing (1946), Picnic (1948), and The Assignation (1953) are in a class by themselves, widely considered to be some of the most elegant experimental cinema ever committed to celluloid. Harrington kept company with a wide circle of cutting-edge LA cultural outsiders, including Kenneth Anger, Forrest J. Ackerman, Maya Deren, John Gilmore, Marjorie Cameron, and Orson Welles. In 2013, Drag City published Curtis Harrington’s memoir, Nice Guys Don’t Work in Hollywood.
Hailed as “one of the best and most original guitarists in America” by Rolling Stone, Gary Lucas has released over 30 acclaimed albums in a variety of genres. Lucas is a pioneer of live film scoring, beginning with his 1989 score for the German Expressionist film The Golem (1920). He has composed ten live soundtracks to date for both silent and sound films, including the Spanish Dracula (1931), Luis Bunuel’s El Angel Exterminador (1964), and Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr. A Grammy-nominated songwriter and composer, Lucas has performed in over 40 countries and at international festivals and venues including the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center, the Jerusalem Film Festival, the American Film Institute in Maryland, the Havana Film Festival, and more.