Burn to Shine 02:: Chicago

If I remember correctly regarding the review of the last edition of Burn to Shine, the primary complaint lodged against the film was simply that it was so dull, due in large part to its setting in Washington, D.C. and featuring the local entertainment, and therefore retaining a high sense of monotony from start to finish. Any problems that may have been present in that sense have been very satisfyingly corrected in Burn to Shine 02. If anything, this second edition in Chicago proves to be an eclectic and entertaining lineup, including the Lonesome Organist, Pit Er Pat, Shellac, The Ponys, Wilco, Tight Phantomz, Freakwater, Red Eyed Legends, and Tortoise, and a performance range from the one-man-band to folksy, ethnic-inspired acoustic music, to straight-out rock’n’roll. Per the filmmakers’ M.O., one of the stars of the show is the home itself that is set for demolition, said destruction serving as the film’s culminating moments, and I found it startling how much emotion could be evoked simply by discussing the human importance of a pile of wood and bricks. The filmmakers are clearly concerned with telling the human stories that this house represents, and they do quite an effective job in that regard. In the end, though, the bands are what make this film, and the diversity of styles does a wonderful job of reflecting the homey diversity and erudition that constitutes the Midwestern sensibility. As much as Burn to Shine 01 got panned, I would recommend the second installment. —The Lord Kveldulfr