Parallel Spaces: Bonnie Prince Billy and Bitchin Bajas with Jerome Hiler


Headlands Center for the Arts and the San Francisco International Film Festival present a special program of improvised music by Will Oldham, aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (Headlands Artist in Residence, 2008), and Chicago-based Bitchin Bajas to be performed live alongside the projection of experimental films created by Bay Area artist Jerome Hiler. Joining Oldham and the Bajas is Bay Area-based Cornelius Boots, known as both a virtuosic clarinetist, and a burgeoning master of the shakuhachi flute of Zen Buddhism. Screenings of Hiler’s 16mm films, recognized for their mastery of visual composition, are all too rare, and Hiler and Oldham have selected three that will be shown : Words of Mercury (2011), Marginalia (2015), and Bagatelle II (2016). Each film displays a different approach to the poetics of moving imagery and the deceptively simple, yet powerful, practice of viewing light passing through celluloid.

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Beginning his creative life as a painter, Jerome Hiler became enthralled with the visual and poetic possibilities of 16mm experimental film in part through encounters with the films of Marie Menken, Gregory Markopoulos, and Stan Brakhage. For most of his life, Hiler only screened his work among his circle of friends; however, since 1995, his work has been seen more publicly. He has shown his films at London’s LUX film series, the San Francisco International Film Festival, many seasons at the New York Film Festival, and the London Film Festival. Hiler’s films were selected by the Whitney Museum of American Art to participate in the 2012 Biennial. In 2011 Hiler wrote, co-directed, and co-photographed a documentary, Music Makes a City, which was nationally televised twice on PBS and won London's Gramophone magazine award for "Best DVD of 2012."

An actor and playwright turned country-rooted musician, Will Oldham, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, spent the 1990s staking out a distinctive turf in the world of independent rock. Commonly referred to as a marketing person's nightmare, Oldham, intending for his music to stand on its own merits, has recorded under a variety of names, among them the Palace Brothers, Palace Songs, Palace Music, Palace, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, and others. His recorded music includes the country-influenced album There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You (1993), the acoustic album Days In the Wake (1994), and Get on Jolly (2000), based on the writing of Hindu poet Rabindranath Tagore.
Film Details
  • Running time: 70
  • Director(s): Jerome Hiler
  • Music: Will Oldham and special guests

Presented in collaboration with

Headlands Center for the Arts