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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 06/15/2006

Music of the Weird and 'Waltz'

By Jen Chaney

You really haven't lived until you've seen a guy playing guitar while dressed up as a tree.

That's just one of the offbeat images peppered throughout "Danielson: A Family Movie," a documentary that screens Friday night at 5 p.m. as part of the Silverdocs festival.

Followers of the underground indie rock scene may be familiar with the Danielson Famile, a group of siblings and other assorted relatives who wear medical uniforms and sing strangely upbeat songs about spirituality. Yes, it sounds weird. But it makes for a pretty interesting film, particularly the scenes that focus on Daniel Smith, leader of the Danielson Famile, mentor to singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens (who also appears in the doc) and a dude who, when performing as a solo artist, dons a tree costume. The items hanging from his branches represent the "nine fruits of the spirit," explains Smith, who bears a strong resemblance to actor Scott Wolf. (But no, none of his siblings are named Charlie, Claudia or Julia.)

So is this guy a genius, as fans in the documentary suggest? Or is he a nut of the highest order? You can make the call based on the film and a live performance by the Danielson Famile that immediately follows the screening.

Speaking of musical performances, don't forget that -- as David mentioned yesterday -- the Martin Scorsese documentary "The Last Waltz," featuring the final performance by the Band, screens for free tonight in the plaza behind the AFI Silver Theatre. Even if you didn't score tickets to the Guggenheim Symposium, where Scorsese will be honored, you're still welcome to "Waltz." And with weather like this, how can you say no?

By Jen Chaney  | June 15, 2006; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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