On Location: Memphis not merely a film fest

Cristina 'La Tigresa' Lucio and Briseyda Zarate Fernandez will demonstrate flamenco during the On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Fest, which features  'Kumpania,' a documentary on flamenco.

Cristina "La Tigresa" Lucio and Briseyda Zarate Fernandez will demonstrate flamenco during the On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Fest, which features "Kumpania," a documentary on flamenco.

Two years ago, the On Location: Memphis International Film Fest expanded its name along with its mission to become the On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Fest.

This year, a few more ampersands may be in order.

The 13th annual festival, which began Thursday and concludes Sunday, includes not just the expected movies and live music but flamenco performers, wine tastings and more.

Screenings begin at 1 p.m. today and continue into the night at the Studio on the Square. The Saturday and Sunday programs, which also last almost all day, are at the Malco Ridgeway Four. Parties, panels and other events are at various locations.

The addition of flamenco to the schedule is more appropriate than one might think.

"They do say that flamenco is the gitano version of the blues," said Katina Dunn, director of "Kumpania Flamenco Los Angeles," noting the connection between the flamenco scene of LA and the cultural and personal form of musical expression perhaps most associated with the Memphis region. ("Gitano" refers to the Romani, or "gypsy," people of Spain.)

A documentary about California's little-known flamenco subculture, "Kumpania" screens at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Malco Ridgeway Four.

By then, filmgoers presumably will have recovered from the previous evening's midnight performance by Cristina "La Tigresa" Lucio and Gabriel Lautaro Osuna, two stars of the film, at the Rumba Room at 303 S. Main. For those who like to do more than watch, a flamenco workshop will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Madison Dance Studio, 1555 Madison.

A form of energetic dance and music, flamenco, like blues, is "an expression of pain or isolation or happiness," Dunn said. It also developed out of suffering, as "all these different ethnicities, the Moors, the Romani, the Jews, these outcasts, came together to escape persecution during the Spanish Inquisition. That's how this art form emerged."

Where there's dancing, there's often drinking. A complimentary wine tasting will be from 4 to 5 p.m. today at Le Chardonnay Wine Bar and Bistro, 2094 Madison. The event is a promotion for the 4 p.m. Sunday screening of "Boom Varietal," a documentary that traces the Argentine Malbec wine boom in the U.S.

Two more notable films:

Pitched somewhere between AMC's "Comic Book Men" and HBO's "Treme," director Michael Streissguth's "Record Paradise: The Musical Life of Joe Lee" (5 p.m. Saturday) is a documentary love letter to a black sheep with blue blood, the scion of an influential Maryland political family who for almost 40 years has run a Silver Spring record store, where he nurtured the careers of such musical eccentrics as Root Boy Slim ("Too Sick to Reggae," "So Young, So Hip, So Lame") and saved many valuable collections from the landfill.

Scripted by Duane P. Craig and directed by Jim Weter for local production company Cellardoor Cinema, "AS: VS -- At Stake: Vampire Solutions" (7:30 tonight) might be described as "True Blood" meets "This Is Spinal Tap." The conceit of this "mockumentary" chiller/spoof about a company that bills itself as "North Mississippi's No. 1 Choice for Vampire Extermination" is that brainless bloodsuckers have overrun America, but if you take precautions, they're not so much invincible monsters as dangerous pests.


On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Fest

Through Sunday at the Studio on the Square, Ridgeway Four and other locations. Free live music from 7 to midnight tonight and Saturday at Wet Willie's on Beale. Panels at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Ridgeway Four on "How I Got My Festival, Theatrical and DVD Rights Back" and "Music Video as Cinema."

Festival weekend pass: $30. Most tickets to individual screenings are $8. For more information, visit onlocationmemphis.org.

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