Almost Live

Warm summer weather can mean many things for many people; for Chris Balaschak, it is simply a time to kick out the jams. An assistant professor of art history at Flagler College, Balaschak is also a fan of the fine art of rocking out — he’s the mastermind behind “Sold Out Show,” a summer film series held every Thursday night in May. Balaschak believes that there’s a natural, elemental relationship between the summer season and loud-ass music. “I wanted to find films that harnessed that chemistry,” he tells Folio Weekly, “and could transport an audience seated on the lawn at Flagler College.”

Balaschak picked five films featuring artists ranging from The Rolling Stones to Sonic Youth, whose inspiration and dedication form a kind of overarching theme. Each film is introduced by a speaker, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I acknowledge I’ll be delivering the prelude to the May 24 screening of “1991: The Year Punk Broke,” ostensibly for having survived many a mosh pit.

Here’s a look at Balaschak’s five picks for unbeatable cinematic rock fare:

May 10: “GIMME SHELTER”

If the film “Woodstock” celebrated the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, David and Albert Maysles’ 1970 documentary of The Rolling Stones’ 1969 tour sounded the death knell for the hippie dream. While the 90-minute movie contains quality live performance of Mick, Keef and the rest of the boys live onstage at Madison Square Garden and recording at Muscle Shoals in Alabama (including a great scene of the band and session great Jim Dickinson seeming very, uh, sedate while listening to a playback of “Wild Horses”), the real fun begins when the free concert held at California’s Altamont Speedway gets underway. At the recommendation of The Grateful Dead, the Stones hire the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club as security — a decision that backfires as the overcast day of bad trips, bummer moods and busted lips is caught on film. Highlights include Jefferson Airplane vocalist Marty Balin getting knocked out by a biker, Mick Jagger catching a punch in the face by a disgruntled fan as he steps out of his trailer (“I hate you!” screams this pioneering punk rocker), and Jerry Garcia and the rest of the Dead deciding to split the scene via helicopter before playing a single note. The film also features a bevy of drug casualties and, most infamously, the murder of 18-year-old Meredith Hunter captured on celluloid.

May 17: “HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT” and “ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL”

During the second week of the festival, headbangers can get their film fix with a double-feature of metal-based movies. First up is “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” John Heyn’s and Jeff Krulik’s hilarious documentary-anthropological study of the half-cocked and mostly underaged metal fans filmed and interviewed in the parking lot before a 1986 Judas Priest concert in suburban Maryland. While “HMPL” is only a brief 17 minutes, this cult favorite has spawned more than a few imitators, on the strengths of the hilarious dialogue and quips from the stoned-out tailgaters (example: “My name is Gram — like gram of dope!”) that have entered the lexicon of highly quotable flicks.

“Anvil: The Story of Anvil” is a poignant yet funny tale of both tragicomedy and tenacity as ’80s-era Canadian metal-heads Anvil engage in the most disastrously humorous “comeback” ever caught on film. Between missed trains and empty halls, the middle-aged rockers try to keep a good attitude and keep their dream alive. The film features onscreen salutations from Anvil fans like Slash, Lars Ulrich, Slayer’s Tom Araya and the grandmaster of metal, Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilminster.

May 24: “1991: THE YEAR PUNK BROKE”

During a ’91 Sonic Youth European tour, director Dave Markey was given carte blanche to carry his Super 8 camera both on and offstage, and the resulting 95 minutes makes “1991” one of the better music documentaries in recent memory. While SY are prominently featured, the film also offers incendiary performances by Dinosaur Jr., Babes in Toyland, Gumball, The Ramones and a little up-and-coming band called Nirvana, who dominate the proceedings. Several scenes feature goofy re-enactments and tributes to Madonna’s then-current documentary “Truth or Dare,” along with cameos by Courtney Love. Markey was also a drummer for bands Sin 34 and Painted Willie, and his association with the bands as peer rather than spectator only adds to the fly-on-the-wall authenticity of this worthy piece of post-punk cinema vérité.

May 31: “THE OTHER F WORD”

This humorous and heartfelt film by Andrea Blaugrund Nevins shows that while aging punk dudes can survive sex, drugs and rock and roll, the real test (and reward) comes in being a father. Candid interview footage with punker pops like Jim Lindberg (Pennywise), Fat Mike (NOFX), Mark Hoppus (Blink 182), Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion), Jack Grisham (TSOL), pro skater Tony Hawk and The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea, combined with scenes on-and-off stage makes “The Other F Word” an enjoyable and surprisingly prescient film about surviving both the mosh pit and the bounce house.

Dan Brow

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The films in the “Sold Out Show” series are screened at 8 p.m. each Thur., on May 10, 17, 24 and 31, at Crisp-Ellert Art Museum, at Flagler College’s West Lawn, 48 Sevilla St., St. Augustine. Bring beach and lawn chairs (under 24″). In case of rain, the films will be screened indoors. 826-8530.

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