Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong fans! (subject of Terry Zwigoff film)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Vickie_M, Jul 31, 2002.

  1. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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    Damn, this is something that I'd love to post in Movies, TV *and* Music.
    A PBS show called P.O.V. is airing a documentary called "Sweet Old Song" about Armstrong (he's 92 now) and his artist wife Barbara Ward. Check your local listings. Here in Chicago, it's already aired once (and I missed it!) but I've found that it will be repeated on WTTW this Sunday. I'm excited! I saw Louie Bluie when it was in the theaters (check my sig), and have seen Armstrong play live several times in Chicago. I have to admit that I didn't even know that he was still alive.
    For those who don't know who he is...
    In 1985, filmmaker Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World) made his first movie, a documentary called Louie Bluie. It focused on a musician/artist named Howard Armstrong, and was fascinating from beginning to end. The documentary is not on DVD, and the video might be hard to find, but it's worth seeking out. It's certainly a must for Terry Zwigoff fans, and just seeing it will turn you into a Howard Armstrong fan.
    This is from Ebert's original review of the film :
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    Terry Zwigoff, a music lover who went on to produce and direct "Louie Bluie," was an avid collector of old jazz and blues recordings. He liked the sound on an old 1930s disk that was by somebody named Louie Bluie who never recorded before or since, and after years of searching he found out that Louie Bluie was Howard Armstrong, and his group, one of the first (and now one of the last) of the traditional black string bands, was still around.
    Zwigoff tracked down Armstrong, who had moved to Detroit, and talked Armstrong and Bogan into appearing in a film, and "Louie Bluie" is that film, filled with music and life and humor, but also with an extraordinary portrait of Howard Armstrong, who is an artist, poet, composer, violin virtuoso, storyteller and tireless womanizer (according to many of his stories).
    The movie is loose and disjointed, and makes little effort to be a documentary about anything. Mostly, it just follows Armstrong around as he plays music with Bogan, visits his Tennessee childhood home, and philosophizes on music, love and life. The film occasionally turns to the pages of the semi-pornographic journals Armstrong has kept through the years, filled with lurid cartoons and bawdy poems and his observations on life. (The journals will be published later this year, having been embraced by devotees of pop art.) Armstrong is a natural artist, and he remembers making his first colors out of dyes wrung out of crepe papier.
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  2. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Vickie,
    Thanks for the heads up! I'm a big fan, I own the VHS of Louie Bluie.
    And yes...everybody oughta check this action. [​IMG]
    Jim
     
  3. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Darn, this is frustrating! Best I can tell this was Tuesday's P.O.V. program and it repeated twice in my market, the last time being 4:30 am today. [​IMG]
    I hope P.O.V. makes a video of this available at some point.
     

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