Shooting Stars: Bowie and Prince on Film

This year we’ve lost too many beloved figures in the entertainment world.  Among them, the deaths of David Bowie and Prince struck the Music Division particularly hard. These two iconic performers made a lot of great records, and a lot of perhaps less-than-great movies. Many of their films have been screened in area repertory theaters, but this month we’re showing 35mm prints of films that are less often revived. Free tickets are already sold out for the series, but standbys are encouraged to line up starting at 6:30 p.m. as available seats will be released five minutes before show time. For more information, call (202) 707-5502. Learn more about the Library of Congress’ 2016-17 concert season here.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2016 at 7 PM

David Bowie and Kim Novak

David Bowie and Kim Novak

JUST A GIGOLO (1978) | 90 min.
Directed by David Hemmings

Bowie fans have seen The Man Who Fell to Earth and other high-profile movie appearances by the late chameleonic singer. But how many have seen his star turn as a former Prussian officer who resorts to turning tricks? David Hemmings (star of Blow-Up, which influenced the young Bowie) directed this ill-fated 1978 drama co-starring Marlene Dietrich and Kim Novak. Bowie himself dismissed this seldom-revived title as “my 32 Elvis movies contained in one.”

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2016 at 7 PM

David Bowie in ABSOLUTE BEGINNERSABSOLUTE BEGINNERS (1986) | 108 min.
Directed by Julien Temple

Bowie stars as an advertising executive in this stylish, candy-colored musical set in London in 1958. Director Julien Temple made his name in music videos, and the film’s musical numbers are among the most visually striking of the era. Even better is the soundtrack, including Bowie’s soaring title theme, which would become a focal point of Lazarus, the Off-Broadway musical that was one of the last works he completed before his death.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2016 at 7 PM

bp4GRAFITTI BRIDGE (1990) | 95 min.
Directed by Prince

In this unofficial sequel to Purple Rain, Prince and Morris Day operate rival Minnesota nightclubs with competing musical philosophies. Six years after his big screen breakthrough, Prince was beginning to struggle artistically, and acknowledges as much in an opening line that he addresses to his late father: “Dear Dad: Things didn’t turn out quite like I wanted them to.” Reviews fell along the lines of the Los Angeles Times critic Michael Wilmington, who called the film, “A Bridge Too Far.”

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2016 at 7 PM

Sign O' The Times

(Cineplex Odeon Films/Photofest)

SIGN ‘O’ THE TIMES (1987) | 85 min.
Directed by Prince

We end the series with this document of the tour for one of Prince’s greatest albums, Rolling Stone recently called this his “great lost concert film.” The movie has never been available on DVD in the United States. This is a rare opportunity to see it the way it was meant to be seen, in a glorious 35mm print.

3 Comments

  1. Toni
    November 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Really disappointed to have to read here, “Free tickets are already sold out for the series” — LOC’s Muse Blog newsletter directed me here today, but we never rec’d an email notifying us of these great upcoming events to begin with (so that we could’ve tried to get tix).
    Is there a different newsletter to sign up for so we don’t miss events? Thanks!

    • Nicholas A. Brown
      November 4, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      Dear Toni,
      Thanks for your feedback. This film series is part of our “Concerts from the Library of Congress” series of public programs. The 2016-2017 season and the ticket release date were announced in back in August via this blog, our Facebook page, direct email list, and Library of Congress press release. We also mailed season brochures to our print mailing list. There are always seats available at the door, as there are always advance ticket holders who do not show up. Tickets for January-May 2017 events will be released via Eventbrite on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 10:00am ET. Please visit our website to learn more about upcoming events and the ticketing process: //www.loc.gov/concerts. We hope to see you at future events!
      Best wishes,
      The “In the Muse” Team

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