The BQE

Wait a minute, nothing could be as ugly as I-45

Perhaps the ugliest stretch of road in the world - believe it or not, even I-45 pales in comparison to its incomparable urban blight - the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, devised by mega-maniacal, misguided city planner Robert Moses in the '30s, is a traffic-clogged, potholed boondoggle of colossal proportions. It's a monument to government largesse and patriarchy gone horribly awry. In The BQE, indie cult musician Sufjan Stevens, collaborating with cinematographer Reuben Kleiner, creates a Koyaanisqatsi-like tribute to this legendary, ugly-as-sin roadway. Using animation, time-lapse and lots of mirror effects, what was once a monstrously offensive gash of concrete transforms into pure graphic splendor. So why the rhapsody about NYC's most despised piece of public real estate? "I think there's a little more to learn about people through the lack of beauty," Stevens explained in a recent interview during the film's Brooklyn premiere. "It's your least likely national monument. If you were to summarize New York with an icon, you'd probably choose the Statue of Liberty. Just living here, I find the BQE is a much more interesting subject because it's so disliked, yet it's something you're forced to deal with in your everyday life." 7 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org/films. $6 to $7.
Fri., Jan. 8, 7 p.m., 2010

 
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