X-Ray Visions: DVD

Aug 21, 2008

The X-Ray was a club that existed in Portland, Oregon, from 1989-1994. It was known for its very eclectic booking policy, in that pretty much anyone with the desire could take the stage and do their thing. Its story is told here in a film directed by Ben Ellis, one of the club’s founders, and features oodles of interviews and maddeningly short snippets of assorted live performances. What he’s concocted is an almost love letter to the scene that coalesced around the club—its eccentric musicians; the odd characters who made up the crowd; the free-form, DIY attitude it fostered—that also serves as a snapshot of one of those brief flashpoints where true magic happens. Too often films about scenes feel very snooty and exclusionary, but though it is geared to a specific audience, this film’s focus is handled in such a way that even those of us who weren’t there feel almost a sense of inclusion, leaving us wishing we’d been there for the fun, but not making us feel like assholes ‘cause we weren’t. Not a bad way to spend an hour, by any stretch. –Jimmy Alvarado (Microcosm Publishing, 222 S. Rogers St., Bloomington, IN 47404)