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The Victoria & Albert Museum's acclaimed, career-spanning exhibit “David Bowie Is,” seen in London last year, is making its only U.S. stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago this month. While Angelenos might feel a little jilted (the closest we came to a museum retrospective on the singer was the Museum of Television & Radio's 2002 “David Bowie: Sound + Vision”), local fans can experience a second-hand thrill thanks to the touring exhibit's accompanying documentary. And what a thrill. Directed by Hamish Hamilton and narrated by co-curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, David Bowie Is offers a behind-the-scenes look at the collection's photographs, handwritten lyrics, costumes and videos culled from the David Bowie Archive, traveling through every Bowie era from Ziggy Stardust to the Berlin years to late-'90s electronica. The highlights are too many to list: a 1969 video of Bowie miming; a letter from Jim Henson written to Bowie during the making of Labyrinth; an animated storyboard for an ill-fated movie version of George Orwell's 1984. The outfits alone — a 1972 jumpsuit worn on Top of the Pops; Alexander McQueen's Union Jack jacket, distressed with cigarette burns — might be worth the trip to the Windy City. The documentary includes talks with Bowie collaborators and fellow artists, including Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, who compares his idol's handwriting to that of a 14-year-old girl's. With no live tour in sight, this is as close as you're gonna get to hearing Bowie's music in a theater. Screenings at Vintage Vista Theatre, ArcLight Hollywood, Laemmle Playhouse, Laemmle NoHo and Laemmle Royal Theater; Tue., Sept. 23; check davidbowie.com/davidbowieisfilm for showtimes and prices.

Tue., Sept. 23, 2014
(Expired: 09/23/14)

LA Weekly