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The Arts

This will leave a mark

LESION presents a short-film series about a German band that might really exist

Lockdown! Records and LESION present “Play It With Your Face: Short Films About Rock Stars by LESION,” at the Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery, 139 Main St., on Saturday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. Written, directed, and edited by Dr. Gustave Hurtz. Producers: LESION and Dr. Gustave Hurtz. Admission is $5. Whetstone Station Brewery will have a cash bar. For mature audiences only.

BRATTLEBORO—The Lockdown! record label will present a series of short films by the NYC-based German rock band LESION on Saturday, April 8, at the Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery.

Dr. Gustave Hurtz, LESION’s lead singer, wrote and directed the films, and either he or his alter ego John Bergdahl will host the event with Chris Thomas, a friend of the band who is often mistaken for LESION’s guitarist, Piss Promise.

“We will introduce the films, and people can ask us questions or throw things at us,” Hurtz said.

“I am sure the band will be adequately represented by some cowards and weaklings,” said Promise.

The event, called, “Play it With Your Face,” includes “at least a snippet of almost” all 21 short films he has made about LESION, Hurtz said. The program will run for approximately 110 minutes, plus intermission.

Each film “focuses on the lifestyle choices of the band’s members,” says the news release, but other topics include “sex-change operations, life-after-death, unscheduled decapitation, and Napoleon’s penis.”

“Our movies were just a way to document some of the challenging and potentially disturbing things that happen to rockstars,” said Promise.

“They are all inspired from actual events. People think, ’Oh yeah, it must be great to be a rockstar — it’s all champagne and sex and do whatever you like,’ but that’s only a part of it,” Promise said. “Granted, it’s a very large part of it for LESION, but there are other things too. For instance, what does a rockstar do when they are held hostage by a rabid fan or has his reality reversed at a magic glory hole? People want to know about these things.”

LESION’s creation myth begins in 1995.

“The band was raised on the noise of industrial Essen [Germany],” said Promise. “Even from an early age I remember trying to reproduce the unflinching metallic clang of heavy machinery on my mother’s Kochgeschirr [cookware]” by playing a glockenspiel.

Promise eventually learned to play the electric guitar and made friends with Hurtz.

According to the band’s Website, www.lesionallevil.com, Promise “was working as a Burt Bacharach impersonator and [Hurtz] had a job scrubbing chimneys at a medical waste facility."

Promise “was into music and I was into death, so it was perfect,” said Hurtz.

“But it still wasn’t enough,” Promise said.

“Eventually, combined with the near mechanical drumming of our drummer Venison and the lower register attack of Mr. Pod’s bass, I felt like we were finally getting close to attaining the sounds we were seeking — the sounds of home,” said Promise. “I guess that’s how you could describe our sound: homey."

Hurtz described the band as “hard rock meets performance spectacle,” mentioning Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Bjork, Red Kross, and The Meatmen as inspirations. For fans of those groups, “I think we’d be up your alley,” said Hurtz, “but I’m not comparing [LESION] to those bands."

The band arrived in New York City in 1997, and the following year Hurtz began making the films.

“We had several performance residencies at [the Lower East Side venue] Arlene’s Grocery,” Hurtz said. He would show the films before the band took the stage, he said, and “It made for a big evening.”

Although this isn’t the first time his body of work will be shown in one place — Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan did a retrospective in 2005 — Hurtz said he is excited to show the films in “a formal setting” in Brattleboro.

Promise, who cannot attend, said, “I will raise a glass to you all from my chicken farm! Hope you enjoy our movies!”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #402 (Wednesday, April 5, 2017).

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