‘Stop Making Sense’ screening tour to stop in New Orleans TO

S.C. O'Connell, Contributing Reporter

Shotgun Cinema will screen “Stop Making Sense,” Talking Heads’ acclaimed concert film at 9 p.m. on Sept. 6 at Studio3 inc. Warehouse. In honor of the film’s 30-year anniversary, Shotgun Cinema hopes to host a cinematic and cultural event sure to burn down the house.

In the late ’70s, Talking Heads garnered attention as an art rock group known for its fanciful lyrics and inventive songwriting. “Stop Making Sense” still manages to capture public attention, even 30 years after its debut. The Shotgun Cinema co-founders, Programming Director Angela Catalano and Technical Director Travis Bird, agreed that “it’s a combination between [Jonathan] Demme’s vision as a director and David Byrne’s artistic direction as the front man.” Unlike many concert documentaries, “Stop Making Sense” is not stuffed with distracting interviews, audience shots or backstage footage.

“The focus is on the performance and the art of performance instead of the band itself,” Catalano said.

Bird, a musician himself, lauded the band’s excellent performances which draw the audience in from the very first song. Both recalled watching “Stop Making Sense” many times as kids.

“It’s personally one of my favorite films,” Catalano said. “My best friend and I used to watch it every weekend and dance around.”

Catalano and Bird met at the Milwaukee Film Festival. As the programmer, Catalano had the opportunity to screen a 35mm print of the film that was still touring. Bird, the projectionist, said he had “no idea how they’d respond to it…The first moment the audience got up and started dancing we were really happy.”

“The experience of watching this documentary is just fun,” Catalano said. “And we want that from the time we open the doors until the film is done.”

Catalano and Bird are pulling out all the stops: stationary bike races, a Big Suits catwalk and beer provided by New Belgium and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The bike races are a tribute to Byrne’s advocacy of cycling, the Big Suits are a nod to the band’s old costumes, and the beer is just for fun. They’ve provided everything except for seats.

The physicality of the format forces the audience to have a focused experience. “We’re not giving them a choice not to dance,” Bird said.

Catalano and Bird have been promoting the “Stop Making Sense” tour not merely as businesspeople but as cinema enthusiasts as well. Catalano and Bird stand firm in their belief that motion pictures can open peoples’ minds. Their mission is to keep the community’s cinematic experience alive one film at a time.

“Stop Making Sense” is touring the world, but this screening is the only stop within 350 miles of New Orleans. Doors open at 7 p.m. for two hours of food, drink and activities that will hype up the audience before the film starts rolling.