|Welcome to our website for our ongoing series of experimental cinema in San Francisco. We show films every Saturday at ATA Gallery, 992 Valencia (@ 21st). Showtime 8:30pm, admission* $7.|
|COLD WAR CALAMITY|
| SEPT9: MATT McCORMICK's BUZZ ONE FOUR + |
OC inaugurates its 32nd year with the Cali premiere of McCormick’s highly anticipated magnum opus—a meticulously crafted hour account of an A-Bomb-laden B-52 that crashed outside of Washington DC!! This still-classified chronicle is finally coming to our screens because...the pilot was Matt’s grandfather! Matt himself flies in from Oregon to introduce this astonishing tale—a personal essay-cum-morality play about the criminal negligence of the Air Force and the utterly stoopid waste of lives and resources that was the Cold War. Veritable pillar of Portland’s Peripheral Produce community, the much-missed McCormick also shares some of his sublime shorts—Future So Bright and The Motion Makes Me Last—after an opening-reception montage of military follies.
|SEPT16: CYRUS TABAR + BILL DANIEL + SAM GREEN + |
Apropos of our ongoing obsession with sense-of-place, this plucky program points particularly to the rapidly shrinking periphery for Bay Area subcultures. Prodigal son Cyrus Tabar appears in person for the world theatrical premiere of his Masochism of the Margins, the true story of a feisty alternative live/work space (ATA!) holding its ground against Mission gentrification—shot in the very gallery it screens in! Jason Blalock’s In the Wake of Ghost Ship relates the fate of a sister collective in Richmond, Burnt Ramen, that was swept away in the post-inferno paranoia. The backstory of another victim—Lonestar Swan, the legendary Adobe Books Birdman—is detailed in Roger Wolfe’s Schizophrenia. And speaking of “legendary”—Bill (Bozo Texino) Daniel rhapsodizes on another lost edge of the City, Bayshore, also premiering in its new sound version! Vero Majano’s now-classic Calle Chula strikes another melancholy note, a lyrical cry for a neighborhood being bleached to death. PLUS: Sam (Weather Underground) Green pays his own respects with two graveyard dirges, Vallejo’s lot 63, grave c and the just-finished Julius Caesar Was Buried in a Pet Cemetery. BONUS: Premiere of pre-school superstar Tala Brecke's (in person) The Drive Day and pre-show busking by Russ Forster, to Anthony Buchanan's S8 love letter to ATA!!
|SEPT23: CHIP LORD + ALEX COPPOLA + ED & PAULINE +
This second iteration of our Focus-on-Locus is trained on sites outside of SF, starting with two in-person offerings from Chip (Ant Farm) Lord: Greetings from Amarillo ushers us into the colorful life of the Texas Panhandle, while the world premiere of his Dark Seagrams enacts an exacting architectural analysis of the celebrated Seagrams Bldg. in NYC, with music by Leonard Cohen (and free Seagrams toasts!). Christian Bruno/ Natalija Vekic’s long-awaited Ed & Pauline casts its gaze onto the first art-cinema in Berkeley, run by Ed Landberg and Pauline Kael!! Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson) affords As Above, a blimp’s-eye view of Kabul, Diana Vidrascu’s camera explores Brittany’s dramatic topography, and Pablo Fiasco takes us on a tour of London via its graffiti. ALSO: Ellie Vanderlip delivers her desert diary Ocotillo! and Alex Coppola live-cues world musics to a triptych of silent amateur travelogs from Asia, Africa, and South America in Glimpses of the Global South.
|MEDIA ARCHEOLOGY1||SEPT30: JOEL SCHLEMOWITZ' 78 RPM + VICTROLA DEMO +|
A stalwart figure on the New York A-G film scene, Joel visits the Coast for the first time to debut his knowing homage to the format that put pop music into the hands of the masses. His 16mm—occasionally hand-processed—feature is an inspired and inspiring love-letter to the gramophone and its discs, from their early days in the Teens/Twenties to the renewed fandom of contemporary enthusiasts. Interviews with cultural historians, collectors, and DJs are interwoven with generous samplings of vintage shellac sounds, from red-hot jazz to hillbilly ballads. Joel personally wind ups his own steampunk phonograph, inviting others to try, while complimentary 78s float freely through our time-warp.
|| OCT7: MICHAEL GENDREAU + VICKI BENNETT/PLU +|
The first of Fall’s two Optronica programs mobilizes an international avant garde of media-performance: London-based Vicki (People Like Us) Bennett is here to premiere her single channel special edit Citation City with kindred spirit Michael Gendreau. As synth ensemble audre, Gendreau and Jorge Bachmann joyfully surf the phase-froth from two Invisible Man movies!! ALSO: A special surprise guest (can't be advertised), Bennett’s British buddies Semiconductor, former Frisco duo Matmos, John Warren’s In Colors, a Quintron cameo...and a video memoir to dear friend Owen O’Toole, late of Wetgate. $8.88
||OCT14: CANYON CINEMA'S 50th: LOOSE ENDS ZINE RELEASE!|
The 50th Anniversary of our beloved Bay Area film co-op, Canyon alums Courtney Fellion and Linda Scobie twirl a whirlygig of illusory narratives and critical thoughts. The luv-fest features rarely seen 16mm prints from the legendary collection, including Diana Krumins’ surrealist assemblage Babobilicons and Mark Lapore’s The Glass System, a cross-cultural mediation on the “impact of globalization and the hegemony of Western-style capitalism”. Local light Greta Snider’s street-poetic Blood Story precedes headliner Loose Ends, Chick Strand’s kaleidoscopic collage on media oversaturation and psychological entropy. And tying up a final loose end, tonight’s party also sees the release of the fifth, consummating issue of the current configuration of Canyon Cinemazine, as editors Fellion and Scobie return the baton to director Antonella Bonfanti for future incarnations. All five editions of their project are available for purchase, along with a raffle of color posters, test prints, plus free cake and champagne!!
||OCT21: OC ARCHIVAL ANOMALIES
Industrials amok! Here’s a jaw-dropping 16mm compilation of our most time-warped titles--educational, informational, and promotional films that together map out the real underside of 20C film production. These preposterous shorts—at times excerpted to foreground their sublimely ridiculous essence—come from that great mass of non-fiction films produced for extra-theatrical audiences—schools, churches, corporate groups—for the promulgation of certain ideas and products. Over these eight decades, their retrograde ideologies and modes of address have become increasing exposed, naked to the eye, like grotesque fossil skeletons in a paleo-media boneyard. Curated by Craig Baldwin, this uncanny initiative mines the most mind-melting filmic artifacts from OC’s 4000-plus, including Little Oscar Meyer, sex-ed, bed-wetting, noise cults, religious ecstasies, car fantasias, tech obsessions, ad absurdum. And beers for a buck!
||OCT28: PORTLAND PIXILATION: HEIT + POPP + HOUGH
OC welcomes Oregon animation maven Laura Heit, with a “Best Of” selection of single-frame work from her Portland hometown! A hands-on artist partial to puppets, Heit offers an entrée into the DIY aesthetic of the Pacific Northwest, where the art-form has always flourished. And so to her Rover’s Eye (Mars imaging!), Apollo Six (cut-outs of the failed flight), Two Ways Down (fall into underworld), and Deep Dark (song-cycle of projected shadows). PLUS Ben Popp’s Coastal Observations (shoreline flipbook), Juxtaposition (sensual foray from S8mm), HearNW (rhythmic synesthesia), and East Lake San Souci (Super16mm in the track area). Thirdly, Kurtis Hough honors us with his Cryosphere (tears against global warming), Painted Hills (the geometry of geology), To See More Light (elemental/cosmic), and Some Trees (poetic short). BONUS: 16mm ‘toons for trick ‘r treat goblin gobblin’!
||NOV4: DAVID SHERMAN + B.DARR + R.ASCHER + G.KUCHAR +|
Epicenter of the experimental scene in Tucson, our much-missed microcinema soulmate David Sherman flies in to share a sneak peek at his new media inquiry coder decoder exploder. Sherman’s rep precedes him via a hilarious tour of his former SF Cellar Sinema, shot by none other than George Kuchar! ALSO: Brian Darr “unpacks” a carousel of 35mm Citizen Kane slides in Fun to Run, exposing a matrix of amazing connections between Orson Welles, William Randolph Hearst, and that Sur-real castle on the California coast. PLUS the theatrical premiere of ex-neighbor Rodney (Room 237) Ascher’s The Wooden Boy, on Horror Film tropes that, as a generation, we’ll never be able to shake. AND another debut from another former San Franciscan: Sam Green’s A Drink with Louis pays tribute to Louis Armstrong’s ¼” audiotape hobby, a now-public record of the jazz great’s dirty jokes and love of laxatives. MORE: Mechanical Turks, Zuse computers, Optigan keyboards, filmstrip projectors, and VR displays.
||NOV11: B. BROWN/S. GRUFFAT on R. SMITHSON's RAMP +|
Welcome back Bill Brown and Sabine Gruffat, Durham NC-based teachers, writers, and legendary bringers-of-light! They’re all the way out here on the Coast to unveil their ambitious Amarillo Ramp, a 40-min. essay on the north Texas land-art piece by since-deceased Robert Smithson. Smithson died at the site of another large-scale earth-sculpting work, Spiral Jetty, crashing in a small plane while making photo documentation. Author of Professor Know It All’s Guide to DIY Film/Video, Mr. Brown demonstrates his fiercely independent attitude through two earlier masterworks—The Other Side, on the now center-stage US/Mexico border-zone, and his first 16mm outing, Roswell, which sees our eager seeker scouring the White Sands of New Mexico for Spaceboy and his interstellar craft. Come early for Russ Forster's streetwise busking.
||NOV18: PENNY LANE's THE VOYAGERS + K. CATO + UFO CULTS
Back by demand, our way-out celebration of speculative—yet human-scale—technology features astronautical essays, planetary performances, and curious inquiries into extraterrestrial obsessions. Penny (Our Nixon, Nuts!) Lane’s The Voyagers gives voice to the rich inscription of cultural meanings in Carl Sagan’s utopian project. Aided by her live violin, Kristin Cato parlays hours of assiduous archival-film research into a multi-media paean to Saturn. Fellow psychonauts Travis Wilkerson, Keith Sanborn, Yin-Ju Chen, Soda Jerk, and Semiconductor all beam their respective outer-space fantasies onto our telepathic screen. Framed by a hysterical p/review of so-called “futures”, Walter Cronkite and Wink Martindale finally grok Philco’s prescient Year 1999. We ultimately reach escape velocity with three Astounding Tales of ET Encounters, from Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs, John Shepard Hill, and Unarius’ Archangel Uriel.
||NOV25: TRUMP/PUTIN + POITRAS + MANNING + KHALIL + PIÑATA!|
A communal Trump-piñata-pounding (!) joins the two hemispheres of this double-header—powerful and poetic film commentaries, sounding out contemporary issues in both the international relations sphere and in the Americas. The opening “global” set premieres Max (Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer) Pozdorovkin’s hilarious Our New President, Laura Poitras’ chilling Project X, and Elizabeth Lo’s soul-shattering Hotel 22, plus briefs by Kelly Gallagher and Dominic Gagnon. Post-piñata, the program rallies under the No-Thanks Giving rubric, with four enlightened cine-essays by and on Native Americans: Caitlin Manning’s (in person) Zapatista-centered Dispatches from Mexico, Adam and Zach (Inaate/Se) Khalil’s Violence of a Society without Secrets, Sky Hopinka’s Visions of an Island, and Bochay Drum’s anti-DAPL Spotlights and Bonfires.
||DEC2: DAVIS/CLIPSON + YOUNG/HILL + McGUIRE/REGINATO|
Our second Live A/V romp proffers four polymorphous performances framed by eye-popping stereoscopic illusions. Anne McGuire and Angela Reginato world-debut their new “video-song”, Trippy Twosome, drawn from Kuchar Bros. phone messages. Analog synth whiz John Davis marries his musical modulations to the in-camera marvels of 16mm maestro Paul Clipson in the world premiere of their Quadraphonic Voice Stops. And as for rigged-up video synthesis: Kit Young teams up with Nathan Hill for the debut of their Dirty Mixing. PLUS: Craig Baldwin rips open a rift in space-time with his Playland-sourced Barrel o’Holes (ChromaDepth glasses provided), after pioneering pieces from Mary Ellen Bute, Lillian Schwartz, and those late-Soviet Futurists. Free ¼” audiotape! $8.88
||DEC9: JEREMY ROURKE's I'LL BE AROUND +
We proudly host the prodigiously talented Mr. Rourke, who consummates his year-long residency at our address with a feature-length performative program. His animated centerpiece, I’ll Be Around, plays out as an electro-cabaret tour de force, with original songs, processed vocals, and acrobatic gestures gluing together his ingenious frame-by-frame explorations of our Valencia Street studios. Pixilated critters from Muybridge plates take us through ever more marvelous stop-motion vignettes, revealing layers and layers of subcultural history, right under these floorboards...and over long-distance phone-lines in telling interviews with the collective’s founders. The stunning results of this painstaking puppet-manipulation find their most appropriate staging in a fearless four-projector finale, with Jeremy’s guitar in one hand, harp in the other, and a loop-pedal underfoot. Come early for another Rourke mix—hot toddies!!
|AVANT TO LIVE
||DEC16: NEW EXPERIMENTAL WORKS
Our calendar is capped with an energized evening of NEW cinematic expressions, of radical forms and sensibilities, with nine of the makers in the flesh! Spotlit are Jeanne Finley (in person) and John Muse’s Book Report, Linda Scobie (in person) and Isaac Sherman’s XYZ:Not in Ontario, Kathleen Quillian's (in person) Confidence Game, Misha Steier’s (in person) Living Dad (world premiere), and Tommy Becker’s (performing in person) Flower Shop III. ALSO showcased are Kent Lambert’s Reckoning 4 (West Coast premiere), Anthony Buchanan’s Oriental Frames (world premiere), Mike Morris’ hand-processed 16mm Blue Movie, Clint Enns’ Let Me ASMR You, and Ellie Vanderlip’s Scotty (with her live banjo!). PLUS current kino releases from Aaron Zeghers (I See a Light), Walter Forsberg, Sara Bonaventura, Gibbs Chapman, and Joe Gibbons!! $8