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Part crusader, part folklorist, part fanatical music nerd, Chris Strachwitz has played an extraordinary role in American culture. Maureen Gosling and Chris Simon's glorious new documentary, This Ain't No Mouse Music, captures the wild tale of Strachwitz's devotion to our musical underworld — blues, polka, norteño, jazz, hillbilly — and shows us how, as president of long-running independent label Arhoolie Records, his single-handed, almost 60-year campaign to make the stuff available has been nothing short of miraculous. An Austrian immigrant, Strachwitz's postwar California youth was spent in aural intoxication, first via sunrise country radio broadcasts and later by venturing out to live shows featuring musicians such as R&B potentate Big Jay McNeely. Strachwitz's subsequent launch of Arhoolie allowed such legendary performers as Lightnin' Hopkins, Clifton Chenier and The Maddox Brothers & Rose to gain the national recognition that had previously eluded them. Strachwitz even did field recordings, and along the way carved out an empire built on vinyl records. The lively, colorful, often hilarious doc is full of astonishingly beautiful music, and with personal appearances by the filmmakers and Strachwitz himself, a big, memorable time is guaranteed for all comers. Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main St., dwntwn.; Wed., Oct. 1-Thu., Oct. 9, 8 p.m.; $10. (213) 617-1033, downtownindependent.com.

Wed., Oct. 1, 8:30 p.m.; Thu., Oct. 2, 8 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 3, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 4, 8 p.m., 2014
(Expired: 10/04/14)

LA Weekly