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David Byrne's Contemporary Color Documentary Looks Like Beautiful, Jubilant Fun

Here’s something very nice for the sake of art and beauty: the trailer for David Byrne’s forthcoming documentary, Contemporary Color.


In 2015, Byrne put on a spectacular live performance that paired 10 color guards from around the country with performers like Nelly Furtado, Dev Hynes and How To Dress Well in a live event that looked like your high school homecoming pep rally on mushrooms.

Staged in Toronto and New York, the resulting show was an ambitious display of creativity that highlighted the art of color guard, pairing the artists featured with color guard squads across the country to collaborate on original work. The documentary looks to be a love letter to the art of color guard and the people who do it as well as a careful document of the work that goes into a project of this scope—exciting for those of us who appreciate learning about the process just as much as seeing the end result. Contemporary Color looks like it will have plenty of both.


Color guard, for the record, is sick as hell, like Cirque du Soleil, but with teens, unitards, big-ass flags, wooden rifles and sabres. You throw a flag high in the air, do something complicated and flexible before you catch said flag, and repeat. Sometimes the flag is a wooden rifle and sometimes it’s a sabre. It’s high-stakes rhythmic gymnastics and it is thrilling to watch. I can’t throw a baton in the air without it hitting me in the face shortly thereafter; these children are tossing flags and doing the splits and not batting an eye.

Process-heads who find themselves moved to tears by contemporary week on So You Think You Can Dance will love this, as will anyone with a heart. Look for it in theaters sometime in March.

Senior Writer, Jezebel

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I love David Byrne, but I have an embarrassing confession. He mocked my disability.

Years ago he was performing in Pittsburgh, and doing a book signing for “The New Sins=” and had tickets to see him later.

Anyway, I waited in line and bought my book.  I do have a stutter that can be bad at times under stress. Upon asking my name, I hesitated and stuttered. He verbally mocked me and signed in a similar way.

I was heartbroken, walked out, tossed the book, and felt like an ass. Went home.

Still think he’s amazingly talented, but I’d love to just tell him what happened to see if he would apologize.

I guess it just made me sad. Still does.