Musical cartographer Sufjan Stevens may have given up on his attempt to record 50 albums, each one dedicated to a different U.S. state, but he's still writing music about places. In 2007 he paired with cinematographer Reuben Kleiner to create a film dedicated to the BQE, the 13-mile New York City expressway linking Brooklyn and Queens. Although Stevens is originally from Detroit, we doubt the M-1, which runs from the Motor City through rural Michigan, would make as interesting a film experience as The BQE
Stevens and Kleiner shot footage of the expressway using vintage Super 8 and 16 mm film, then manipulated it with mirror effects, stop-motion photography, time lapsing and footage of kaleidoscopic-style Busby Berkeley hula-hooping girls. Stevens composed an Old Hollywood-worthy soundtrack, which he initially performed live with a full orchestra at screenings of the film (the musical composition has been compared to, of all people, the Gershwins). In October, the soundtrack was released as an album paired with a DVD of the film.
The overall effect of BQE
, at least judging from the trailer, is somewhere between nostalgia and twee. See for yourself tonight, when it screens at the MFAH
courtesy of Aurora Picture Show
at 7 p.m.. Tickets are free for Aurora members who RSVP, $7 for non-members.