Filmmaker Sam Green joins forces with Yo La Tengo to explore the legacy of R. Buckminster Fuller | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Filmmaker Sam Green joins forces with Yo La Tengo to explore the legacy of R. Buckminster Fuller 

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click to enlarge Yo La Tengo with Sam Green

Yo La Tengo with Sam Green

Jim Allen

Engineer and philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller is remembered for his prescient understanding that mankind could run through the world’s resources, and for the many unconventional notions he proposed to help humans develop more harmonious relationships with one another and the rest of the planet. He’s an apt subject for filmmaker Sam Green, who has specialized in examining better-future initiatives in his documentaries The Weather Underground, Utopia in Four Movements, and The Universal Language (a movie about Esperanto). But The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller isn’t strictly a movie, and you can’t get it on DVD. It’s only viewable in concert, with Green providing live narration for a mixture of still and moving images while accompanied by an equally real-time performance by versatile rock group Yo La Tengo. There’s probably no band better suited to such a task; on their 15 studio albums, the trio have proved themselves capable of playing a vast range of styles, including rustic acoustic pop, molten guitar noise, and liberation-oriented cosmic jazz—and they’ve been contributing songs and incidental music to films since 1990. Don’t expect Yo La Tengo to vamp on their hits while Green talks; instead they’ll play themes specifically written for this project, just as when they provided live accompaniment in 2001 (subsequently recorded for a DVD) to eight of Jean Painlevé’s short films about aquatic life forms.   v

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