Theory of Obscurity


Friday, Nov. 6 at 8:30pm
Stage at KDHX

"Theory of Obscurity​" ​explores the renegade sound-and-video collective known as the Residents, whose existence spans 40 years. Many details surrounding the group remain secret, including the identities of its members, who always perform wearing masks and costumes. “Theory of Obscurity” preserves the mysteries that are a such vital part of the Residents’ appeal, but the film’s unprecedented access to the group's vast archives provides a revealing inside view. The documentary supplements that material with fly-on-the-wall observations and candid interviews as the Residents travel around the U.S. and Europe during their 40th-anniversary tour. As the band stages its elaborate productions on a frugal budget, filmmaker Don Hardy shoots more than 20 concerts, capturing both performances and behind-the-scenes moments. Featuring interviews with members of Devo, Primus, Ween, Talking Heads, and Pinback, “Theory of Obscurity” also talks with Residents fans who adore them, music critics who are confounded by them, and music-industry insiders who over the years have helped them innovate with such technologies as CD-ROMs, laserdiscs, and digital downloads. Variety writes: “Fans and newbies alike will be delighted by much of Don Hardy’s documentary, which draws on an expansive archive of surreal expressions from an (alleged) quartet whose creative emphasis was as much visual as sonic from the start.”

U.S., 2015, 87 min.

Directed by

Don Hardy

Film Category

Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight Music Spotlight

Sponsored by

Nancy & Ken Kranzberg