A chat with Irene Marquette and Andrew Tisher of The Curio Show: The Early Work

This Wednesday, the first-ever edition of Irene Marquette's new monthly variety show, The Curio Show, goes up at the Upstairs Gallery. The first edition of this conceptually fluid night will focus on films produced by various local performers in their youths, in an era before Youtube or iMovie.

The full lineup of films includes:

Jonald Reyes “Kids in the House”

Paul Jurewicz “Julia Child”

Jeff Rubin  “Bar Mitzvah Follies”

Alisa Rosenthal “If these Trunk Walls Could Talk”

Patrick Earls “Project Patrick”

Stephanie Weber “Ice”

Sean Cooley “Apples”

Kelsie Milligan “Three Blind Mice”

Matt Barats “Covalent Bonding”

Andrew Tisher “Ape Conscience”

Irene Marquette “Dreaming of Jerry”

I Facebook chatted with Irene and Andrew Tisher, her co-producer for this month's show, which is subtitled The Early Work: VHS Dreams, Teens on Screens, relics from the pre-Youtube era. The show starts at 8pm this Wednesday, September 18th at the Upstairs Gallery.

 The Steamroller: So The Curio Show the monthly show is your thing, right Irene? Can you tell me more about the concept of the show?

Irene Marquette: Sure! I have always been interested in a lot of subjects and had friends from a lot of different communities and backgrounds. I'm a curious person and wanted a show that reflected all of my interests. I also love to collaborate with people and this show, which will be something drastically different every month, was the perfect way to bring those two things together.

I titled my tumblr "Curios" after a curio cabinet because it is a catchall for all the random things I love and this show seemed like a natural extension. 

TS: What have you got planned for the next few months worth of shows?

Irene: Next month is about isolation. I have an artist friend named Nicky Watts who is from LA and has been traveling around the country wearing a plastic box on her head and performing - she's going to be the centerpiece of that show.

I'll also have a dancer named Jessica Cornish performing and Matt Ulrich and Mary Cait Walthall, who separately spent time at silent meditation retreats creating pieces about their experience.

After that I'm doing a tribute to Kate Bush. 

In January I'll be collaborating with an artist named Teresa Albor who recently did a project at the Loyola University Museum called All the Lies Beyond Us. And Rebecca Krasny and I (who are both from Las Vegas) will be doing a Vegas show. Showgirls, magic, etc. 

It's all over the place but it will always be interesting. 

TS: Where'd you get the idea for this first show, that showcases pre-youtube clips from performers' early years? Andrew, how did you come on board for this first show?

Andrew Tisher: As I recall, the idea for this particular installment came about because a few months back Irene was directing a show called "Keenan and Family" which starred and was written by a pair of high school students named Keegan Kelly and Emily Ashenden. The show was incredible and Irene and I were talking about the kind of projects we were involved in making at that age, and in particular about the videos we had made at that time.

Irene: Yes! When I was 14-15 I had a public access show in Albuquerque, NM and was very passionate about being a filmmaker one day and I may not have known what I was doing but I was just trying to DO IT.

Those teens, Keegan and Emily not only do they have the drive but they were turning out really great work. I loved working with them. But - I love the teenage spirit.

A submission from Alisa Rosenthal, featuring four short experimental videos made at the end of her Senior year of High School.

Andrew: They're such interesting artifacts because you can often see the seeds of your current self very strongly - for better or worse. When I watch them I can see certain attitudes and reflexes I still have, and sometimes in a purer and more earnest form with all the influences unconcealed.

It's also interesting to see what you haven't retained over time, or what you've managed to bury! 

Irene: Yes! good point Andrew. You don't know how to hide yourself yet when you're that young and I know for a long time I was embarrassed about that work because it's so raw and felt so obvious.

Andrew:And also in talking with Irene, it sounds like we were both similarly ambitious in the projects we tried to attempt, and think there's something especially exciting about film projects from the era just before software editing and effects became widely available because a lot of the things that are being attempted are just barely out of reach, and it's so thrilling to see the solutions that we found as kids.

I think we were proud of some of the stuff we'd cooked up then even now and wanted a venue to show it off, and it seemed like it also had to be true that we knew other people in the same position.

Andrew: The videos that we've looked at for this show are amazing. Some of it is so familiar and some of it is stuff it would never have occurred to me to do.

Irene:  It's great to see other kids who were expressing themselves in a similar way at that age. We had a lot of fun watching the submissions. We've got some real gems here.