Westobou Festival returns with dance, film, music, spoken word and visual art
The Westobou Festival is back this year and continues to provide the CSRA with unique cultural opportunities not available anywhere else. The festival takes place over five days, October 2-6, and will showcase an array of performances and exhibitions featuring distinct talent in the disciplines of dance, film, music, spoken word and visual art.
One of the most anticipated events taking place during this year’s festival is the October 2 screening of the 1928 silent film “The Passion of Joan of Arc” at the Sacred Heart Cultural Center with a live score by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and experimental guitarist Bill Nace as the duo Body/Head.
“It is going to be 82 minutes you will never forget,” said Matthew Buzzell, the producer of the event.
He wanted to screen “The Passion of Joan of Arc” at Sacred Heart, as it would be the perfect venue for it, he said. Then, there was the matter of finding someone to curate the film. Initially, because of the subject matter, he wanted to have a female curator to sort of “DJ” the film using music from her personal music library. Buzzell contacted Gordon’s manager to see if she would be interested in the project. A few days later he was informed that she was very interested — on one condition — she didn’t want to DJ the film, she wanted to perform a live score with her current musical collaboration, the duo Body/Head. As luck would have it, Westobou coincided perfectly with the release of Body/Head’s debut album and an accompanying tour, Buzzell said.
“They usually perform with images on a screen behind them,” Buzzell said, “But this is the only place on the planet that you can see this.”
Another event that Buzzell spearheaded is the Starkey Flythe Celebration, which will be held on Sunday, October 6 at the Old Academy of Richmond County (ARC). With the recent passing of local poet and personality, Starkey Flythe, Jr, this event is sure to garner the interest of friends and fans alike. Additionally, the Starkey Flythe portrait film “The Moment Before the Song Begins,” directed by Buzzell, will be screened continuously at the Old ARC throughout the festival and will be free to the public.
When Buzzell was still living out in L.A. and made the decision to return to Augusta to be closer to his aging mother, he began thinking about film projects he could create to highlight some of Augusta’s local treasures. Starkey Flythe was one of the subjects that immediately sprang to mind, Buzzell said, as an artist who needs a little more light placed on him. The project began as a straightforward documentary, but Buzzell felt that presenting Flythe in such a way didn’t seem right so the film evolved into a short portrait piece. The film runs about eight minutes, Buzzell said, and features footage of Flythe reading a series of his poems.
“It’s kind of like a music video, but with poetry,” Buzzell explained.
These are just a couple the highlights of Westobou, which averages about seven events each day of the festival. Others include the Johnnyswim concert on Thursday, October 3, at the Old Academy of Richmond County Parade Grounds, a Chamber Music Series at GRU and local churches, a Tech Crawl on Thursday, October 3, a Gallery Crawl on Friday, October 4, an appearance by writer Roy Blount Jr. on Sunday, October 6, the Color Run Saturday, October 5, and much more. A complete listing of events is available on the festival’s website.
While many of Westobou’s events are free, tickets are available for individual events that require payment. There are also ticket packages and VIP options as well.
Wednesday-Sunday, October 2-6