On Screen: The Oneders Reunion, Olympia Virtual Film Festival, Other Music for Scarecrow Video

These Quaran-times are bringing all kinds of strange magic into our homes. One of the more delightful celebrity convergences may happen this afternoon as the cast of That Thing You Do are set to reunite for a live viewing of the film today at 4 pm.

All of The Wonders (nee, Oneders) will be there: frontman Johnathon Schaech, drummer Tom Everett Scott, goofball guitarist Steve Zahn, and unnamed bass player Ethan Embry, plus appearances from Liv Tyler, Giovanni Ribisi, and maybe even a Zoom bomb from Tom Hanks (fresh from his own bout with coronavirus). The occasion for their gathering is a sad one — the untimely death of Adam Schlesinger from Covid-19. In addition to his work in Fountains of Wayne, he also wrote the extremely catchy title track that made the story of a little band on the rise such a charmer. The livestream will solicit donations to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund with proceeds made in the Schlesinger’s name.

If you miss that party, there’s plenty of other virtual cinema to keep you busy while sheltering in place.

  • Despite the thoughtcrime of getting “We Didn’t Start the Fire” stuck in my head for days with their brilliant DVD covers collage video, I want only the best for Scarecrow Video, the local non-profit collective that’s also the country’s largest independent video store in the country. In addition to memberships and rentals, you can support them this week by watching the new Other Music documentary. Presented in partnership with Oscilloscope Labs, just in time for what would have been Record Store Day, proceeds from the virtual screening will benefit Scarecrow Video during their COVID shutdown. The documentary covers the life and death of the uncompromising New York City record store that was vital to the city’s early 2000s indie music scene, with highlights from artists including Vampire Weekend, Animal Collective, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, William Basinski, Neutral Milk Hotel, Sharon Van Etten, Yo La Tengo and TV On The Radio. It’s available online for streaming starting April 17.
  • The Olympia Film Society was supposed to be hosting their annual film festival this week/end, but like every other mass gathering on earth until the foreseeable future, the show just couldn’t go on. Instead, they’re going virtual with a handful of streaming options that have been making the art house rounds: Extra Ordinary, Beanpole, And Then We Danced. They also have The Whistlers, a Romanian Film Festival favorite that finds a corrupt Bucharest police inspector and a beautiful woman on a high-stakes heist complete with twists and turns of corruption, treachery, deception, and (naturally) a trip to the Canary Islands to learn a secret whistling language. Plus, another chance to see much-loved What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael as well as surprisingly-successful mushroom documentary Fantastic Fungi (just in time for Earth Day).
  • Northwest Film Forum‘s online offerings continue to flourish. In addition to the Cadence Video Poetry festival, they’re bringing several new titles online. Shelf Life, a never-available-on-home-video rarity promises to be an inadvertently timely quarantine comedy in which kids who piled into a well-stocked bomb shelter following JFK’s assassination emerge thirty years later with “an abundantly surreal set of ritual behaviors” shaped by remnants of the 1960s, occasional television watching, and their wild imaginations. The film is being brough online via a igital transfer of director Paul Bartel’s personal 35mm print. Icelandic documentary The Vasulka Effect profiles New York-based video art pioneers Steina and Woody Vasulka whose technologically and socially ingenious work from the ’60s has made them “the grandparents of the YouTube generation.” NWFF also has the Other Music documentary on their virtual marquee, depending on where you’d like your entertainment dollars to go.
  • SIFF Virtual Cinema continues last week’s roster (including Kino’s Szabó retrospective) and expands their virtual cinema to include a few more new selections: Icelandic drama A White, White Day finds a vengeful police chief who suspects a local man of having had an affair with his late wife; The Booksellers documents the world of antiquarian bookshops and the assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers who run them. They’re also competing for your Fantastic Fungi and The Whistlers dollars; so be sure to share the wealth.