TUESDAY

Loneliness Is Soul, a collaborative film produced and co-directed by indie-movie luminary Rick Schmidt, follows Gen-X slackers Jess (Jessica Heidt) and Meeka (Meeka Schmalle), who rent an Oakland, Calif., apartment where burnt-out musician John (John Balquist) likes to crash. Jess likes John. John likes Meeka. And the gift-giving stalker who’s been running around town in a dragon mask playing a toy accordion likes Jess, but only because he thinks she’s Tracy. When they’re not whining about unrequited love, the cast members of Loneliness Is Soul spend their time telling lengthy tales of alienation, hope, and psychedelic revelation—essentially drawing their audience into the most mind-numbing conversations imaginable. Listening to Meeka explain how, you know, she doesn’t want to be tied down in a relationship, uh, because, like, she just wants to be free is worse than being trapped in a room full of babbling stoners when you’re the only one sober. But when the players manage to keep their gaping maws shut, Loneliness is not without its cinematic high points. The few scenes of brief nudity, including John taking a shower and Meeka getting out of bed, are startlingly human—almost to the point of voyeurism. It’s these moments, when Schmidt & Co. demonstrate the superiority of digital-video technology over film in terms of capturing stark reality, that the film makes its mark. Unfortunately, the rest of Loneliness Is Soul’s reality is one we’re already too familiar with—and by the time the film finally gets around to making a point, you’ve already zoned out. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, at HR-57, 1610 14th. St. NW. $6. (202) 667-3700. (Matthew Borlik)