This is the kind of creative collaboration that typically only occurs in one-off performances at venues such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music or New York’s Lincoln Academy. Fortunately for us, it’s not only touring but coming to Portland: Filmmaker Sam Green and indie-rock mainstays Yo La Tengo join together to present “The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller,” a “live documentary” about the great thinker and inventor.

Green and Yo La Tengo partially intended for the project to help free film from its current state, in which many people opt to stay home with their TVs and Internet streaming and enjoy movies in solitude. Green, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2002 film “The Weather Underground,” wanted to revive the electricity and excitement of the communal cinematic experience by taking his latest film on tour, playing clips and images from his laptop and narrating it live, so that no two showings are quite the same.

Accompaniment from Yo La Tengo promises to enhance the spontaneity. While they are not known as a “jam band,” the trio are famous among their fans for their instrumental prowess and jazz-indebted flights. The music they have composed for “Love Song” is often mellow and atmospheric and may not be the kind of rock that longtime fans hope to hear in the group’s first visit to Maine in many years, but any appearance is a genuine treat. They bring an effortless cool that remains evergreen and vital more than 20 years into their careers.

Together, Green and Yo La Tengo found an ideal muse in the life and work of R. Buckminster Fuller, who was best known for inventing the geodesic dome and, in the middle of last century, was a geyser of ideas about how architecture and design could be a powerful tool for environmental stewardship and sustainability of natural resources.

“The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller” exists somewhere in the intersection of film, music, lecture, and activism, and it stands out on the autumn events calendar because there’s literally nothing else like it.

Robert Ker is a freelance music writer in Portland, where he and his wife own the vintage store Find. Contact him at:

Twitter: @bobbker​


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