March 1623, 2000
by Brett Burton and Sam Adams
The Shield Around the K ($16 VHS, available at www.kpunk.com) Independent label K Records has always billed itself as the International Pop Underground, an inclusive slogan that extends the Olympia, WA, labels DIY ethic to its audience. The Shield Around the K is filmmaker Heather Rose Dominics answer to Ks call to arms. Her self-produced and -directed documentary chronicles the labels history and rise to success. Interviews with the people who molded and shaped the Northwest punk scene from which the label sprang give the film a feel-good, almost Disney quality, sort of like an indie-rock Bad News Bears.
Essentially a 100-minute love letter, The Shield Around the K may not appeal to everyone. But for those who consider themselves members of the International Pop Underground, its a historic artifact approaching religious significance. Highlights include rare Super-8 music videos of K artists such as Beat Happening, the Halo Benders and Lois, plus live footage and interviews with Mecca Normal, the Crabs and Rose Melberg.
Brave New Worlds (continues, Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St., 215-569-9700) More not-of-this-earth madness at the Prince, as their sci-fi series heads into its second week. The March 21 double-bill of Born in Flames (7 p.m.) and Mad Max (8:45) ranges from low-budget anarcho-feminism (Lizzie Bordens 1983 film is revered by a generation of girl-power advocates) to quasi-Western mythmaking. (Mad Max, which will also show March 22 at 9 p.m.; March 23 at 10:15 p.m.; March 24 at 11 p.m.; and March 26 at 8:15 p.m., is presented in a new print, which for the first time replaces the American dub-job with the original Australian voices, so you can hear every nuance of Mel Gibsons yell.) Jean-Luc Godards Alphaville (March 19 at 11:30 a.m.; March 22 at 7 p.m.) was an early model for no-budget, conceptual sci-fi, while the animated The Iron Giant (March 18 at 2 p.m.) marries 50s militarism to present-day concerns about gun control.
A Chronicle of Corpses (Prince Music Theater, March 24, 8 p.m.) Fans who caught Andrew Repasky McElhinneys Magdalen at Secret Cinema last year will want to RSVP for this "advance screening" of his new and even more bizarre feature. Visit www.armcinema25.com or call 212-677-3613 before next Wednesday; otherwise tickets will be normal price at the door.