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MONDAY

Scott Peterson’s Out of the Loop is not an impressive rockumentary. The recipe must have seemed so simple: Film some of the Windy City’s established acts circa ’95-’96; ask the bands, music critics, and label owners the question of the hour (sign with a major label or stick with an indie?); and you’ve got your documentary. Well, no, you have…a lot of film. Discussing how a group approaches its career has been done to death in ‘zines, and Out of the Loop finds no new insights, only muddle. Even the articulate Steve Albini doesn’t take a clear stand, conceding that the Jesus Lizard’s major move might not be so bad because the band made “an informed decision.” The film’s worthwhile moments feature the musicians’ personalities, Albini’s humor, and Seam and Veruca Salt’s charm as they cut through pedestrian conversation; Duane Denison of the Jesus Lizard even comments on the idiocy of evaluating rock music as high art when we know it’s “just trying to take up time before you die.” Some interviews manage to entertain by clichþ: the singer from Die Warzau griping about Touch ‘n’ Go and “indie cred,” Chris Holmes from Yum-Yum talking like he’s just finished another chapter in a Brian Wilson biography. But Out of the Loop cruelly cuts away from the better live segments (Seam and Red Red Meat) to more garbled interviews so that by film’s end, we’d rather hear these artists talk about anything else and see bands do their thing without video interference. At 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 23, at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $5. (202) 667-7960. (John Dugan)