The Velvet Underground Played at My High School is exactly what it says it was! It's an animated documentary about the Velvet Underground's first gig, at a New Jersey high school. Our narrator tells the story, and the animation shows us the story, at times with a hint of surreality edging its way in.
The art here is what's 100% pitch perfect. It is not overly flashy, but at the same time, it is not overly plain. It has the feeling of those mid-to-late 1990s greyscale comics that shifted between realism and surrealism without a single seam. The way the characters are designed, especially the representation of the Velvets, amp up the impact of each. The representatin of Anthony Jannelli, who narrated and directed the film, is so dead-on, a character face that could have stared out from behind a shadow on an old EC cover. The entire sensation of the animation is incredible.
And then there's the story.
It is the story of what happens when something is ahead of its time, or at leasat completely mistimed for its audience. The Velvet Underground did not yet represent the 1960s, they were an avant garde act thrust into the middle of a pop music show. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong audience. That's almost always what happens with firsts, but here, it is so hilariously mistimed.
This is a great film, and an absolute highlight of the DocuNation series, showing at 3 Below in Beautiful Downtown San Jose on Fri, Mar 2 1:45 PM and Tue, Mar 6 6:00 PM, as well as at Century 20 Redwood City - Screen 10 on Sun, Mar 4 12:50 PM and Sun, Mar 11 3:15 PM