Midnight Music Movies at The New Parkway: Stop Making Sense

by Gordon Elgart on February 5, 2013

See Stop Making Sense Feb 8-9 at The New Parkway in Oakland

See Stop Making Sense Feb 8-9 at The New Parkway in Oakland

This weekend kicks off the Spinning Platters Midnight Music Movies screening series at The New Parkway in Oakland. When we decided that we wanted to curate a series of midnight screenings of our favorite music movies, one jumped right to the top of everybody’s list: the classic Talking Heads concert film, Stop Making Sense. If the name alone is enough reason to come to the movie, then buy your tickets here. If you want to know why this is the greatest concert film ever made, I’ll be glad to tell you.

Just yesterday, the fine folks at Onion AV Club published a piece about the opening of the film, where David Byrne comes out by himself with a boombox and guitar and sings “Pyscho Killer.” He’s later joined by Tina Weymouth for a take on “Heaven,” and slowly, song by song, the band comes together on stage. It feels like the beginning of a story, and by starting with what’s arguable their best known song, you’re engaged instantly. It’s like the action scene at the beginning of a Bond movie.

Make no mistake, though. This is an action movie itself, as there is no stillness in the band on stage. They dance, jog and wiggle their way through the concert you’re experiencing as if you are in the audience yourself. We’re not treated to crowd shots to say “look how much fun those people are having watch this show.” Instead, you’re the ones having fun. When, during the final song, “Crosseyed and Painless,” we finally see the audience joyfully dancing in the goofiest manner possible, it’s just us, the movie audience. Frankly, if you’re not up and dancing by this point, you’ve missed the point.

Personal notes on my love of this movie:

1. I’ve been trying to do the Life During Wartime wobbly dances that David Byrne does (see the video above) for over 20 years now. I think I finally have them down.

2. I ALWAYS get up and run around the room where I’m watching this movie. Always. If I watched this every day, I’d be fit as a fiddle. (Hey wait, that’s not a bad idea.)

3. Bernie Worrell absolutely destroys the keyboard solos in Burning Down the House.

4. David Byrne did a solo concert film called Between the Teeth which feels like a sequel of sorts, as it uses many of the same camera techniques and lacks audience reaction shots. It’s fantastic, not available on DVD, and worth seeking out.


Stop Making Sense screens twice this coming weekend at The New Parkway in Oakland, Friday and Saturday Feb 8 and 9, both nights at 11:55PM.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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