To fans of “lopsided rock,” Portland’s Chris Slusarenko is the frontman of Eyelids; to local movie buffs, he’s the co-owner of the legendary, now-shuttered Clinton Street Video; and to lovers of both, he’s the host of Revolutions Per Movie, a podcast about music documentaries, music-based fiction films, and the art of the music video.
With guests ranging from writers to directors to musicians to actors, the podcast offers music and film fanatics a glimpse behind the scenes of their favorite bands and films. Yet the host’s own accolades and career rivals that of his Golden Globe and Grammy-winning cast of special guests.
Slusarenko’s passion for music dates back to when he was a bright-eyed Portland high schooler in 1983, when the indie alt-rock band R.E.M. first broke into the Billboard Hot 100 with “Radio Free Europe” from their LP Murmur. Coincidentally, that was the same year Slusarenko wrote his first letter to the band’s co-founder and lead guitarist, Peter Buck.
“On the back of a 45, there’s an address, and I just wanted to write to people so I had correspondences with a few bands,” Slusarenko says. “We were pen pals for about four years and R.E.M. had never come to the Pacific Northwest at that time. So they would send letters to me like, ‘Hey, we want to get there some day. Here’s a list of bands to check out. How’s school? How’s your band?’”
Though their written exchanges eventually came to an end, Slusarenko’s love for both music and film continued to grow.
“I was doing music as a teenager, and we were kind of a weird, psychedelic hardcore band, but with no aspirations because there was just nowhere to go with it. You just love doing it,” he says. “But at the same time, I was obsessed with film and wanted to be a filmmaker, but it was really cost prohibitive, unlike music.”
In 1991, Slusarenko’s band Sprinkler signed to Seattle-based Sub Pop Records, the same label that signed Nirvana prior to their breakout success. Slusarenko’s newly widening music network allowed for a reconnection with Buck in later years.
“I met Peter when I was an adult when I was playing music, and he was like, ‘Holy shit! You’re the kid with all the vowels in his name that we used to write stuff to in the middle of nowhere,’” Slusarekno remembers.
In December 2023, Buck and Slusarenko recorded an episode of Revolutions Per Movie in front of a live audience at Cinema 21, raising over $4,900 for the Jeremy Wilson Foundation, a nonprofit that supports musicians, industry workers, and their families during medical crises.
“When I told Peter that I wanted to do a podcast about music documentaries and music films, he was like, ‘I’ll do one,’” Slusarenko says.
Lifelong friend Buck aside, Slusarenko purposely picks guests he’s less familiar with. Like director Vera Drew, who filters her experience coming out as a transgender woman to her family through the Batman mythos in her film The People’s Joker.
“She picked Pink Floyd – The Wall [to discuss on the podcast] and said, ‘This completely informed everything in my film. My name’s even Vera from the song,’” Slusarenko says. “Which I didn’t even pick up on.”
Slusarenko’s passion for film, music and everything in between offers listeners a palpable enthusiasm and sense of expertise in each episode, no matter how specific a topic (the latest episode features Hedwig and the Angry Itch creator John Cameron Mitchell discussing the Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter).
“The fun thing about the podcast is, it’s not myself picking the film, it’s finding people who pick these films that have similar feelings about what they’re picking,” he says. “It really takes people into places that are emotional and funny and exciting and clumsy, and I’m really happy about that.”
LISTEN: Stay up to date on the latest episodes of Revolutions Per Movie at facebook.com/revolutionspermovie.