Film pick: Guitar becomes a canvas in Greenpoint show

Get lit: Kaki King and her illuminated guitar will play at San Damiano Mission on March 7.
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She plays a screening guitar!

A Greenpoint guitarist will host a multi-sensory show in a church in her home neighborhood next week, playing hot licks while trippy visuals are projected onto her instrument. The musician behind “The Neck is a Bridge to the Body,” at the San Damiano Mission on March 7, says that the eye-pleasing gig has opened up her instrumental music to new audiences.

“I think it’s opened up this world that some people otherwise might have found inaccessible — a little bit too many notes and not enough of an experience,” said Kaki King. “I think it’s made it a more enjoyable show for a bigger audience.”

During the hour-long show, a sunglass-wearing King strums a white guitar, which is illuminated by a reel of changing videos, some of which react to each note and strum. The projection includes include recognizable images concrete such as schools of fish and rollercoasters alongside more abstract shots created with corn starch, food coloring, and water — something King says makes for stunning visuals.

“If you agitate it with sound waves it makes crazy-looking shapes on a speaker,” said King.

She has performed “The Neck is a Bridge to the Body” regularly since 2014, but every gig features a slightly different selection of videos, chosen freestyle during the show. Regular audience members include guitar fans who appreciate her technical skills, graphic designers intrigued by the films, and a few people with altered perceptions looking to trip out on the psychedelic visuals — though King does not recommend the latter.

“I’m not going to endorse that because there’s really intense moments and it might not be wise to be intoxicated,” she said.

King’s show is part of the Sanctuary festival running through March 17, which also includes art installations, film screenings, and lectures. Highlights include a recurring meditation hour with music and video images titled “Confession­al: Turn To Moss,” a day of talks, music, and documentaries about Middle Eastern culture on March 10, and a free comedy show with Jo Firestone on March 15.

King — who has performed in hundreds of churches across the country — says the Roman Catholic worship house is the perfect place for concerts because of its built-in stage and killer acoustics, and she suggested that they might serve as a much-needed replacement for dying do-it-yourself music venues.

“Churches are great places for concerts,” she said. “If churches want to take over for DIY spaces that’s great, we’re losing them by the minute.”

Kaki King at the San Damiano Mission (85 N. 15th St. at Berry St. in Greenpoint, March 7 at 8 pm. $20.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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