Monday, December 28, 2009
Shot with my Flip video camera. This is on our way back to Chicago. We have been flying in the middle of one of the worst snow blizzards in the Midwest. I thought we would die when we landed... everyone applauded! Good to be on the ground with my honey. I have high hopes for 2010. I need to heal. To be free of pain and to love.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Kristie took me out of town in rural Wisconsin to celebrate my 40th birthday. I have always wanted to visit the House on the Rock. It is legendary. All from the mind of Alex Jordan, a twisted and beautiful place. Here are some pics from our trip.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I'm one of the speakers at this show. I will be at the MCA Sunday November 8, from 1:30 to 4:30.
It’s hard to look away from the car—or rather, what used to be a car—lying in a first-floor gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), where “Jeremy Deller: It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq” brings together Iraqi émigrés, American soldiers, schoolkids and surprised tourists six days a week.
Caught in a March 2007 bombing in Baghdad, the car is now a rusted, twisted hunk of metal. It could be mistaken for an abstract sculpture if not for the photographs surrounding it: One shows Al Mutanabbi, the street where the bombing took place, some time before the incident—when it was thronged with booksellers. Another photo captures the street just after the bombing: Two rescue workers scream for help amid heaps of charred rubble.
Deller’s counterpoint to the car is a set of cushy white chairs surrounding a low table. The English artist, who implemented this project at museums in New York and Los Angeles earlier this year, wants experts on Iraq to engage museum visitors in a dialogue about the region. The MCA’s Tricia Van Eck and Diana Nawi coordinated an impressive roster of local presenters, including Donny George Youkhanna, former director of the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad, and Maj. Tammy Duckworth, an official in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who served in Iraq and ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.
When we attended “It Is What It Is,” curatorial staff served tea and Middle Eastern sesame-seed cookies while facilitating discussions with the experts and visitors. Some people hover briefly but don’t sit down; others stay for hours. “One of our speakers, [Iraqi-American filmmaker] Usama Alshaibi, says this is the Iraqi thing to do,” Nawi explains. “You invite someone to share sweets and tea with you.”
Article by By Lauren Weinberg. Read more: http://chicago.timeout.com/articles/art-design/79969/jeremy-deller-it-is-what-it-is#ixzz0VMckd0qO
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Nice Bombs (from Chicago Reader Blog)
Posted by Ed M. Koziarski on Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 1:03 PM
Way back in the early days of the Iraq War, when many Iraqis and Americans were still optimistic about the outcome, Usama Alshaibi returned to his native Baghdad. It had been 24 years since his family fled Iraq for Jordan and later Iowa, where Alshaibi spent his teens before studying film at Columbia College.
Alshaibi went back to Baghdad with his father, a retired math professor, and his wife and producer Kristie. Alshaibi's film Nice Bombs captures the moment when euphoria over the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was turning to dread, when the power vacuum in Iraq was growing evident, when the American military was making its uneasy transition from liberators to occupiers.
Nice Bombs has two free screenings Friday 10/16 at the Portage Theater in celebration of its 10/27 DVD release from Libertyville-based Cinema Obscura.
In September, Alshaibi was awarded the first Kartemquin Diversity Fellowship to develop a documentary adaptation of Toufic El Rassi’s autobiographical graphic novel Arab in America, about a Lebanese boy growing up in Chicago.
He's also at work on the fiction film Profane, about a Muslim pro dominatrix. "The very word 'Islam' means submission and 'Muslim' means one who submits," Alshaibi told Vice Magazine. "So I found this very interesting in that the main character, Muna, plays a pro-Domme, who has slaves submit to her, but she submits in prayer to Allah."
Nice Bombs screens Friday 10/16 at 8 and 10 PM at the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Usama Alshaibi’s Award-Winning Doc “Nice Bombs” Coming to DVD with Free Screening at Portage Theater
Usama Alshaibi’s Award-Winning Doc “Nice Bombs” Coming to DVD with Free Screening OCTOBER 16 at Portage Theater, 4050 North Milwuakee Ave, Chicago
Showtimes are at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served
In “Nice Bombs,” Alshaibi returns to Baghdad to reunite with his family after nearly 24 years. This documentary navigates through his unique relationship to an Iraq that is much different than the country of his childhood. Through a wide range of opinions and experiences he provides a broad panorama of voices long neglected under Saddam’s regime. With humor and resilience, “Nice Bombs” explores Usama’s dual role as both Iraqi and American.
Michael Philips, film critic at “The Chicago Tribune” and co-host of “At the Movies,” says “Nice Bombs” is “..a surprisingly warm first-person video diary….the footage has been edited with grace and tact.”
Aside from winning Best Documentary at the Chicago Underground Film Festival, “Nice Bombs” aired on the Sundance Channel and was produced by Benzfilm Inc. and Kristie Alshaibi.
The DVD of “Nice Bombs” will be available in stores and on-line October, 27, 2009. Pre-orders are currently accepted now at amazon.com and at cinemaobscuradvd.com.
Usama Alshaibi was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1969 and spent his formative years living between the United States and the Middle East. His work in film and video has been screened at numerous film festivals and venues across the globe. He is the recipient of a generous 2005 grant from the Creative Capital Foundation for the Arts and a Playboy Foundation Award, as well as the winner of the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access in New York City.
Click here to purchase NICE BOMBS on DVD.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
This is the most amazing site ever: yooouuutuuube.com. I call it LSD tube. You enter your youtube URL and it comes out looking like a living blotter of acid paper. When you watch it, each frame on the grid moves independently, but when you look at it as whole you see new images arise. It's like every moment is echoing and trailing behind the way LSD warps and bends time.
For an example look at my short film 'Dream of Samarra' in normal mode. Now through the LSD tube. And now check it out in shuffle mode.'
I created a page that showcases two short films through the yooouuutuuube.com, go here: http://baghdadvideo.com
[click on the images to watch the film]
Sunday, June 28, 2009
"Chicago-based filmmaker Usama Alshaibi is the modern master of transgressive cinema."
By Mike Everleth
Iraqi-born, Chicago-based filmmaker Usama Alshaibi has collected ten of his short films made between 2001 and 2008 for "Solar Anus Cinema." This DVD shines a light on the transgressive director’s interest in the female form primarily through a series of highly stylized film portraits of women.
Nine out of the ten films included are short profiles of women that run just a few minutes long. The tenth film, the longer running narrative "The Amateurs," I’ll deal with below. But, with the portraits, sometimes the object of them is Alshaibi’s wife, performance artist Kristie Alshaibi, but mostly he has convinced other women to pose, strut or writhe in front of his camera’s leering gaze.
The antecedent to Alshaibi’s transgressive work here is Richard Kern’s 1993 "My Nightmare," an autobiographical fiction that has the director fantasizing about getting it on with a sexy nude photography model while in “real” life the model is repulsed by his come ons.
For his own female portraits, Alshaibi rarely inserts himself into the action, but his presence is always strongly felt in each piece. While the women are typically posed alone in a studio, Alshaibi’s moving camera constantly reminds us that his subjects are never by themselves, that they are sharing their space with a director who runs his camera over their bodies, soaking in the whole of them as well as their individual parts. Sometimes it’s by an aggressive camera that races and moves in, out and around its nude or barely-clad subject, other times it’s a static camera locked on a tripod that still achieves the same effect through cutting between close-ups, medium shots and full body shots.
Also, whereas Kern explored his physical fantasies in "My Nightmare," Alshaibi’s own realized fantasies are purely what we get: Visual. Alshaibi seems genuinely fascinated just by the mere bodily existence of these women. With the exception of his own wife, the women are purely objectified. They are objects to be viewed and admired and there is no tension that Alshaibi wants to touch any of them. His camera’s piercing gaze is all the penetration he needs.
read the full review on badlit.com
Monday, June 22, 2009
We mentioned Neda. She is one of the protesters that was shot to death. Here is Neda dying in front of us. Caution this is a very graphic and hard video to watch.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
"The films are perverse, depraved and rude, but at the same time they are fascinating, beautiful, and very appealing.
-Read the full review from Ronny Carlsson in Film Bizarro.
Buy "Solar Anus Cinema" on Amazon.com