When you live life like Buckminster Fuller, you can almost expect to have a documentary made about you. After a rocky start that included getting kicked out of Harvard (twice, for good measure) and a flirtation with Depression-era alcoholism, Fuller had what he described as a "mystical" revelation on the shore of Lake Michigan: Instead of drowning himself for a life insurance policy, he was supposed to dedicate himself to bettering humanity.
Fuller did just that. A celebrated and influential architect, author and inventor, he was also an early supporter of sustainability and the then-radical notion that our sloppy love affair with petroleum was going to present problems. Add to this his habit of wearing three watches and his extensive, obsessively maintained diaries, and you have irresistible filmmaker bait.
"He's this fascinating character, as if from a novel," says Sam Green, who picked up an Oscar nomination in 2004 for his documentary "The Weather Underground."
"He was odd — not in a writing letters to the editor kind of way, but powerful and very accomplished."
Coming this April to FringeArts, "The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller" won't be your typical film screening. Instead, this "live documentary" will be narrated in person by Green and accompanied by a live score courtesy of indie rockers Yo La Tengo.
For Green, the unusually intimate format offers a welcome break from 2014. "It's a strange form, but one that fascinates and inspires me," he says. "You have to accept that people are watching movies on a laptop, checking their Facebook, on their phone. I'm not a Luddite, but giving yourself over to the experience is meaningful — sitting in this dark room, in the silence, with other people."
"The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller"
April 4, 7 and 9 p.m.
$29, $20 for students/25 and under
104 N. Columbus Blvd.
Also coming to FringeArts this spring:
Choreographer Tere O'Connor offers up a package dance deal of sorts, combining three of his pieces into a single hybrid performance.
March 27, 28 and 29
"The Dance Apocalypse"
Local performance artists Gabrielle Revlock and Nicole Bindler present this end-of-the-world, cross-genre love story that also includes a sensationalist talk show. FringeArts, never change.
Philadelphia choreographer Nichole Canuso's solo performance is must-see stuff, if this is your stuff.
May 2 and 4