Multiple SIDosis
April 8, 2008 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Multiple SIDosis is nine minutes and seven seconds of pure joy.

We discussed Sid Laverents four years ago, but since then, his masterwork, Multiple SIDosis, has appeared on YouTube. I had the pleasure of attending a screening of four of Mr. Laverents' short films at last weekend's fantastic Wisconsin Film Festival, and thought this film was worth sharing.

There's a lot of context for Mr. Laverents' career in the previous Metafilter post, if you're curious. A former vaudeville performer who specialized in the one-man band, he's turning 100 this year, and still making VHS and DVD transfers of his films himself (although his email address seems to be defunct). An autobiography, The First 90 Years are the Hardest, is also available. Enjoy!
posted by UKnowForKids (29 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
That was great!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:47 AM on April 8, 2008

It's actually four minutes and fifty-five seconds of sleeping followed by three minutes and fifty seconds of pure joy followed by twenty-two seconds of credits.
posted by DU at 9:50 AM on April 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

i love this stuff
posted by sobegirl at 9:54 AM on April 8, 2008

Excellent. My favorite part was when he stopped playing the ocarina but that version of him stayed on screen for a while and just kind of bobbed his head to the music. Utterly charming.
posted by PhatLobley at 10:07 AM on April 8, 2008

That was wonderful. Thank you!
posted by Floach at 10:09 AM on April 8, 2008

Damnit, the "VHS and DVD transfers" link was supposed to go here. Cortex or jessamyn, please hope me!
posted by UKnowForKids at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2008

Thanks for the fix, Mr. Howie.
posted by UKnowForKids at 10:23 AM on April 8, 2008

I love this film -- thanks for the post!

You can download a higher-quality version from WFMU's blog.
posted by treepour at 10:33 AM on April 8, 2008

"I'm Sidney Laverentz, and I play orphaned instruments."

This is pretty fantastic.

Along similar lines, anticon's Dosh shows us how he creates his music.
posted by shmegegge at 10:43 AM on April 8, 2008 [2 favorites]

also, the publishamerica link is borked, and probably shouldn't be linked to anyway since publishamerica is a POD scam.
posted by shmegegge at 10:44 AM on April 8, 2008

Oh, wow. I just loved that. But I followed the link before reading more inside, and as I watched, I wondered how old he could be now -- 80? 85? 90? Odds were he had died years ago. Then I came back here and found he's turning 100 and still creating, and that really made my day.

And if you found the credits too hard to read, that song was "Nola" by Felix Arndt. Another version. And what the hell -- Liberace's version.
posted by maudlin at 10:44 AM on April 8, 2008

amazon link to leverentz' book.
posted by shmegegge at 10:44 AM on April 8, 2008

Ok, so a few questions:

1. Was that some kind of multi-track recorder that could record that many tracks without any kind of mixer?

2. More importantly, this was on Super 8, right? So did he do all that split screen stuff (with the oddly shaped "windows" and the wipes and such) optically? Like with masks, re-shooting multiple instances of the running footage through shaped holes in something? More generally, how the heck did a home Super 8 tinkerer do that in 1970?
posted by The Bellman at 10:48 AM on April 8, 2008

The Bellman: From the links in the biscuit man's earlier post on Mr. Laverents, check this NY Times article and this overview of his filmography for some more information on his techniques.

Sorry about the bad publishamerica link, folks.
posted by UKnowForKids at 10:52 AM on April 8, 2008

I'd pay a lot of money for that reel to reel, today. They don't make 'em like that no more.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 11:34 AM on April 8, 2008

Oh, and don't forget - Save the ribbons!
posted by UKnowForKids at 11:39 AM on April 8, 2008

This is so Disneyland.
posted by designbot at 11:49 AM on April 8, 2008

Yeah, that brought back the physical sensation of stopping and starting the tape on my old reel-to-reel. Wonderful stuff. Thanks for the post, UKnowForKids!
posted by languagehat at 11:55 AM on April 8, 2008

1. Was that some kind of multi-track recorder that could record that many tracks without any kind of mixer?

I was curious about this myself. As it turns out, yes, it is- It's the "sound on sound" function he reads about in the manual.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 12:11 PM on April 8, 2008

I worked on a segment about him on PBS's "Egg the arts show" a few years ago. Wish I still had it, I'd post it for you guys now. Thanks for reminding me about it, though.
posted by fungible at 12:12 PM on April 8, 2008

fungible: It was posted in the previous Metafilter post - looks like it's still available. I look forward to watching it later.
posted by UKnowForKids at 12:19 PM on April 8, 2008

Was that some kind of multi-track recorder that could record that many tracks without any kind of mixer?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the idea is that the playback is mixed with the mic input and rerecorded over the same tape. Playback and recording are performed by different heads, making this possible, though a special function. When I used to play around with a four-track recorder a similar technique was utilized to "ping-pong" audio from track to track while combining it with new inputs.
posted by Songdog at 12:34 PM on April 8, 2008

That is, it was either a singletrack record with [near] simultaneous record and playback (if such a beast exists), a stereo recorder ping-ponging mono tracks between left and right channels, or a multitrack recorder. Based on the vintage I'd guess it was one of the first two, but this isn't my area of expertise.
posted by Songdog at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2008

According to the times it was a two-track recorder. But none of the articles talks at all about how he achieved the optical effects.
posted by The Bellman at 1:46 PM on April 8, 2008

My favorite is in the beginning when he played the part of his wife.
posted by muzzlecough at 5:51 PM on April 8, 2008

I attended a screening of this film in Portland in 2001 and Mr. Laverents presented a slide show on how he made the film afterwards. It was fantastic and his deadpan reaction to the appearance of a topless Tahitian girl in his slides - "How did that get in there?" - killed.

MULTIPLE SIDOSIS was shot on 16mm
posted by cinemafiend at 6:30 PM on April 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, and MULTIPLE SIDOSIS made the Library of Congress National Film Registery in 2000.
posted by cinemafiend at 6:32 PM on April 8, 2008

I was tallking to a friend who is older than I and asking him how the tape effected the lp biz? Nothing has changed...
posted by sobegirl at 9:01 PM on April 8, 2008

I love that this incredibly modern, creative, and downright postmodern film is made by a vaudeville guy born in 1908. Most artists do one thing that's of the decade and never move on. Here's Lavarents at the age of 62 doing some really experimental, interesting stuff. Neat.
posted by Nelson at 9:22 AM on April 9, 2008

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