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DJ Spooky aka Paul D. Miller is the executive editor of ORIGIN Magazine and is a composer, multimedia artist, editor and author. He's produced and composed work for artists such as Yoko Ono and Thurston Moore, and scored award-winning films, including Alex Winter's Downloaded (MFF 2013). Miller's work as a media artist has appeared in the Whitney Biennial; The Venice Biennial for Architecture, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany; Kunsthalle, Vienna; The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and many other museums and galleries. His book Sound Unbound, an anthology of writings on electronic music and digital media is a best-selling title for MIT Press. Recently, he has been an artist-in-residence at MICA.
Maryland Film Festival’s guest-host program asks personalities known primarily for work outside the world of film—writers, visual artists, and frequently musicians—to select and host a favorite film. This year we have two very exciting such screenings, and by coincidence both guests chose cult favorites from the same era: Matmos’ presentation of Barbarella, and this special screening of Robert Downey, Sr.’s satirical landmark Putney Swope, introduced by composer, visual artist, and author Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky).
Putney Swope tells the story of the new head of a stodgy advertising agency (Arnold Johnson) who transforms the painfully white business into Black Power outfit Truth and Soul, Inc. He quickly introduces a new policy of refusing work from alcohol, tobacco, and weaponry companies, fires most of his white employees, and produces ads that are bold, revolutionary, and deliriously R-rated. But how long can Putney Swope’s subversive activities continue without drawing the attention of The Man?
For a low-budget underground film, Putney Swope intriguingly enjoyed a particularly strong multi-year run here in Baltimore, screening on as many as four screens at once during its original release and living on for years afterwards as a drive-in staple. It’s a particular pleasure to bring Putney Swope back to Bmore in 2014. We can’t wait to hear what DJ Spooky—who, among his many creative projects, is himself a filmmaker and film theorist—has to say about it. (Eric Allen Hatch)