This Is Spinal Tap

Monday, March 18
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1hr 22mins // directed by:Rob Reiner // featuring:Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer

Get ready to smell the glove and watch out for spontaneously combusting drummers.  We’re turning it up to 11 with the greatest mockumentary of them all – a work of sublime (and profound) comedic genius deemed so culturally significant that it was named to the National Film Registry for preservation by the Library of Congress.

“It’s such a fine line between stupid and, uh…clever.”

Director Rob Reiner’s largely improvised cult classic follows the key members of fictional British heavy metal band Spinal Tap – lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), lead singer/guitarist David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), and bassist Derek Smalls  (Harry Shearer) – as they embark on their first American tour in years, with filmmaker/TV commercial director Marty DiBergi (Reiner) on hand to document the occasion and retrace the group’s evolution.  Responsible for such albums as Intravenous DeMilo, The Sun Never Sweats, and Bent for the Rent, the aging metal heads are now trying to make a comeback with their latest LP, Smell the Glove.  But just about anything that can go wrong, does, from canceled shows to botched stage props to playing second fiddle to a puppet show.  This hilarious, spot-on send-up of ‘80s rock culture includes cameos by the likes of Bruno Kirby, Dana Carvey, Fran Drescher, Billy Crystal, Paul Shaffer, Anjelica Huston, Fred Willard, and Patrick MacNee, and such unforgettable Tap hits as “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight”, “Hell Hole”, “Big Bottom”, and, of course, “Stonehenge”.

Before the screening of this aural masterpiece, guest speaker Christopher Shera, a physicist and auditory physiologist, discusses the science of sound and hearing. What is sound? How does it differ from silence? Can you hear yourself hearing? And how loud can we go?

About the Speaker

Christopher Shera studies how the ear amplifies, analyzes, and emits sound.  A Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, Shera holds a Ph.D. in physics and neurobiology from the California Institute of Technology and works as an Associate Professor of Otology & Laryngology and Health Sciences & Technology at Harvard Medical School.  When not thinking about ears, he terrorizes domestic cats by attempting to play the cello.