Unlike with Filmusik—in which an orchestra, voice-over artists and a sound-effects crew take the stage in full view of the audience—(Recurring) Dreams hides its performers behind the screen. This allows viewers to be fully immersed in Kurosawa's entrancing images: a mythical wedding procession through a forest, living dolls, ghostly spirits of World War II, a snowed-out mountain path and, oddly, Martin Scorsese as Vincent van Gogh.
The musicians—who include Peterson-Jones' own project Die Geister Beschwören, avant-garde cacophonists Electro-Kraken, psychedelic folksters Harem, and garage-rockers Beat Totem—are tasked with interpreting each sequence. "They can do whatever they want," Peterson-Jones says. "They can play their own songs. They can write new things, or improvise or make sounds. It's completely up in the air."
In the past, this has meant ample surprises from performers like Aan, Hosannas and Like a Villain. Last year, country group Ed and the Red Reds played an electronica set, surprising those familiar with the band's roots in Americana.
Peterson-Jones has a degree in ethnomusicology and a minor in film. His brainchild represents the mating of these passions into something surreal, beautiful and unexpected, allowing his favorite film to become new with each iteration. "This film is just so perfect, with its imagery and plot," he says. "Each year, I've seen groups pull off something in a way I never thought of. I've been so inspired."
- Pretty in Pink might be the most dated of John Hughesâ â80s teen flicks (blame director Howard Deutch, or Jon Cryerâs stupid Flock of Seagulls hair), but damned if its themes of teenage confusion arenât timeless. Pix Patisserie. Dusk Wednesday, Sept. 3.
- Film archivist Dennis Nyback is invading the Hollywood, and heâs bringing with him jugglers, roller skaters, musicians, rednecks, contortionists and other old-timey acts. OK, Vaudeville Deluxe doesnât actually feature them in the flesh, but theyâll be presented in preserved 16 mm films shot between 1925 and 1940. One of the jugglers is W.C. Fields. Hollywood Theatre. 7:30 pm Wednesday, Sept. 3.
- In 1982, the world was introduced to Robin Williamsâ seriocomic side, and if time has sugar-coated your memories of The World According to Garp, well, just wait until the gang rape and tongue-cutting commence. Patch Adams it ainât. Academy Theater. Sept. 5-11.
- Kurosawa isnât the only Akira in theaters this week. The landmark Japanese animated bugout is also screening. Laurelhurst Theater. Sept. 5-11.
- Popeye isnât Robert Altmanâs best work, but it does boast Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl and the big-screen debut of a young whippersnapper named Robin Williams as the titular spinach addict. Hollywood Theatre. Sept. 6-7.
- The classic Billy Wilder joint Sunset Boulevard kicks off a series of newly restored classics at the NW Film Center. NW Film Centerâs Whitsell Auditorium. 7 pm Friday, 7:30 pm Saturday, Sept. 5-6.
- The Sex Workers Film Series screens the 2009 Swedish anthology Dirty Diaries: 12 Shorts of Feminist Porn, which subverts sexual stereotypes via films like the anus-focused Fruit-Cake and the animated Dildoman. Bring the kids! Clinton Street Theater. 7 pm Saturday, Sept. 6.
- John Wayne and Dean Martinâwho probably consumed enough whiskey and beef on set to kill an elephantâstar in Howard Hawksâ classic Western Rio Bravo. Whitsell Auditorium. 4:30 pm Saturday and 7 pm Sunday, Sept. 6-7.
- The Biosafety Alliance presents a series called âJustice Begins with Seeds,â all films focused on GMO food issues. Among them is the great King Corn (6 pm Monday, Sept. 8), which follows two affable dudes tracking their tiny corn crop through the food system. Clinton Street Theater. Sept. 7-10. See cstpdx.com for full schedule.