Theory of Obscurity - The Residents

The avant-garde music and multimedia collective known as The Residents has never revealed the identity of its members, who always appear in costume in extravagant live musical performances and filmed projects. Don Hardy’s witty film tells the story of the group’s start in rural Louisiana, its artistic awakening in late-‘60s San Francisco, and follows its members to the present day, where they are still actively creating and performing. The film showcases a trove of archival materials alongside contemporary performances and interviews with the band’s longtime “business managers,” the Cryptic Corporation, and features appearances by a wide variety of creative minds—including Penn Jillette, Jerry Harrison, Les Claypool of Primus, Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening and members of Neurosis, Henry Cow and Ween—all of whom were drawn to the group’s uncompromising focus on creative control over conventional commercial success. (87 mins.) 

Sponsored by KBOO. 


Welcome to our 33rd annual edition of Reel Music. We’ve been on the lookout all year for new works—and timely classics—to feature in our annual celebration of sound, music, and image. Whether your passion is jazz, blues, rock, soul, opera, classical, avant-garde—or anything in between—we hope you find something to discover and inspire you in this eclectic mix of the familiar and unknown. As always, our special thanks go to Music Millennium, Willamette Week, Walker,, MusicFestNW, All Classical Portland, PDX Jazz, XRAY.FM, KMHD, KBOO, PDX Pipeline, Oregon Music News, and Marmoset.

THEORY OF OBSCURITY: A FILM ABOUT THE RESIDENTS screens Saturday, January 16 at 9:30pm in our Whitsell Auditorium (located inside the Portland Art Museum).  The program is being presented as part of our 33rd Reel Music Festival.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

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