Arts Desk

Don’t Be Bored: Shut Up Little Man!

Describing an event as "pre-Internet" might be obnoxious, but in the case of Matthew Bate's documentary Shut Up Little Man!: An Audio Misadventure, it's a crucial detail. The set up: Two Midwestern guys move to San Francisco in the late 1980s looking for opportunity and adventure. As luck would have it, their fleabag apartment comes equipped with thin walls and extraordinarily loud neighbors—a pair of alcoholic reprobates ripped from the works of Charles Bukowski and R. Crumb. Crude, hateful and inebriated, the duo would make the cast of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? blush. The Midwestern punks decide to record their neighbors' tirades, and soon enough, zinesters and high-minded weirdos like Devo and comic book artist Daniel Clowes made a cult hit out of their banter. As the infamous tapes begin to circulate, sticky ethical questions arise: Who are these unhappy souls? Should anyone benefit from their misery? Perhaps most important to Bate's film, if these recordings were unearthed today online, would anyone spend 90 minutes discussing them? (Matt Siblo) The film screens through Thursday at West End Cinema, 2301 M St. NW. $11.

PUNK, ETC.

The local rock show to catch tonight is Hume, Dope Body, and Protect-U at the Black Cat Backstage. We've written about all three extensively, but here's what we said about Baltimore's Dope Body last time they drove down 95 for a visit:

It’s unbelievable that an MP3 file or a slab of wax could contain the fury of Dope Body’s latest album, Nupping. The band mixes boisterous alt-funk, damaged noise rock, and aggressive post-punk, spikes the result with a bit of soul and hip-hop, and plays with enough intensity to make the album seem like a plausible alternative energy source. So it should not surprise anyone that the Baltimore band puts on one hell of a show. The foursome is loud, visceral, and unstoppable, ripping through its catalog with impassioned precision. Frontman Andrew Laumann straddles the line between magnetic and maniacal: He’ll sometimes lurch around onstage shirtless and sweaty, contorting his sinewy frame into whatever shape suits his brutal vocals. Witnessing the veins on Laumann’s neck swell as he forcefully shrieks along to pulverizing tunes may illustrate what “dope body” really means. (Leor Galil)

There's also Plums, Guillermo Sexo, and Insect Factory at good ol' Bella Cafe. It's another installment of Plums' residency at the restaurant across from 9:30 Club. There's no admission listed on the Facebook invite, but it'll probably be under $10. 8 p.m.

And Los Angeles punks X play their classic album Los Angeles in its entirety tonight at the Birchmere. 7:30 p.m. $29.50.

For more arts outings, check out our music calendar, our books listings, and everything else.

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