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Tav Falco & the Panther Burns

Tav Falco grew up in rural southwest Arkansas and moved to Memphis in 1973. In the mid-1970s, he co-founded the nonprofit Televista “art-action” video group. While with Televista, Falco worked with and trained in photography and filmmaking under Memphis color photographer William Eggleston.

In 1978, Alex Chilton teamed up with Falco after being impressed by Falco’s performance of the song “Bourgeois Blues” at The Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, which culminated in the chain sawing of an electric guitar. The two founded the self-styled “art damage” rock and roll band Tav Falco’s Panther Burns in 1979. The group was named after lore surrounding a plantation in Mississippi. The Panther Burns’ debut album, Behind The Magnolia Curtain, was recorded in Memphis and released by Rough Trade Records in London.

Starting in the 1970s, Falco created a number of short films on varying topics focusing on “underground” art-actions and cultural assets around the mid-American South. The Cinémathèque Française in Paris has archived six of Falco’s short films into its permanent collection. Among the titles archived are Masque of Hôtel Orient, Born Too Late, Helene of Memphis, Memphis Beat, Shadetree Mechanic, and 71 Salvage. A selection of Falco’s short films were shown in a retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française in 2006, with Falco himself in attendance.

Urania Descending, the first feature film directed by Falco, was completed in 2014 and released in 2016 by Lamplighter Films, Paris. The film consists of portions of what is intended to be a be a film trilogy. As of February 2022, Falco is emersed in editorial of the full Urania trilogy.

In addition to the Cinémathèque Française, Falco’s film work has been screened at The Horse Hospital, London; the David Lynch-designed Silencio Cinema, Paris; Anthology Film Archives, New York; Roxie Theater, San Francisco; Oxford Film Festival, Mississippi; Austria Film Archiv Metrokino, Vienna; and by the American Cinematheque in the Steven Spielberg Cinema at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Falco’s book, Ghosts Behind The Sun: Splendor, Enigma, and Death/Mondo Memphis: Volume 1, is a 450-page encyclopedic history and psychography of Memphis, beginning well before the Civil War and moving forward to more recent autobiographical accounts set in that city.

In 2015, Falco’s book of photography, a collection of black & white images of the American South entitled An Iconography of Chance: 99 Photographs of the Evanescent South, was published by Elsinore Press and distributed by University of Chicago Press.

In 2018, Falco recorded the sessions that would become the album Cabaret of Daggers at Terminal 2 Studio in Rome, with Mario Monterosso producing. It was released by ORG Music on limited edition yellow vinyl on Record Store Day November 23, 2019.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Falco began a musical collaboration with Mike Watt at the latter’s suggestion. The project developed into a five-song EP entitled Club Car Zodiac, which features Watt, The Stooges percussionist Lawrence Mullins (aka Toby Dammit), Argentine surf guitarist Didi Wray, alongside group members, Giuseppe Sangirardi, Walter Brunetti, Francesco D’Agnolo, and album producer, Mario Monterosso. Club Car Zodiac was released as a purple vinyl 12″ 45 RPM EP on Record Store Day Black Friday, November 26, 2021.

Falco relocated from the United States to Paris, and then to Vienna. He now resides on Wongamat Beach south of Bangkok. Falco has claimed his main artistic purpose is “to stir up the dark waters of the unconscious.”

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Oct 04 2023


7:00 pm



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Lafayette's Music Room
2119 Madison Ave Memphis, TN 38104
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