|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* $6 .|
|SAT. 2/21: JOE GIBBONS BENEFIT
The film-art world is in shock to learn of our dear friend Joe’s imprisonment in Riker’s Island after his two bank robberies/performance pieces. A loose network of supporters across the country has initiated fund-raising efforts to assist his legal defense. For the benefit here, we feature his oh-so-appropriate Confessions of a Sociopath, a 40-min. tell-all that crystallizes Joe’s kleptomaniacal proclivities. Opening the program are A Time to Die, Room 1040: San Francisco, and the hilarious first chapter of Emily Breer’s The Tutor. PLUS updates from a source close to Joe, with rushes from thee bank film!! $7-100.
|SAT. 2/28: BLACK LIVES MATTER
Especially for Black History Month, the attention of the nation is focused on the endangered status of African-Americans. Recent events have brought into sharp relief a de facto second-class citizenship, and a decidedly unhealthy state of police relations. Addressing these dire issues is this diverse program of films both old and new: Kelly Gallagher’s Pen Up the Pigs (with Assata Shakur), Soda_Jerk’s Astro Black (with Sun Ra), Alex Johnston’s Now Again, and (an excerpt from) James Baldwin’s Hunter’s Point tour, Take this Hammer (1963), ALSO: original newsreels from Selma, vitalizing verite from Oakland protests, recent reportage from Ferguson, Mo, and inspiring work from Kevin Jerome Everson and Cauleen Smith. Come early for Black movie trailers, 70s Soul musicians, and a fired-up Muhammad Ali.
|THEATER OF THE ABSURD|
|SAT. 3/7: CHAPMAN’s MOTHER MORTAR, FATHER PESTLE +
The entire NorCal film community is deeply indebted to Gibbs Chapman’s amazing production wizardry. Too rarely do we get to see the wonders conjured up by this meticulous craftsman from his own portfolio, but in fact tonight he introduces his new feature MMFP. This elliptical series of vignettes constitutes a black, white, and gray-area speculation on failing belief systems, in a perpetual twilight-zone of human foibles. This Mission-lensed labor of love stars Kurt Keppeler, Monica Nolan, Thad Povey, Kara Herold, with original music by Brian Burman. Opening are Gibbs’ earlier 16mm marvels, Push Button and Thinking Fellers. $7.
| SAT. 3/14: BETH B's EXPOSED + GABRIELA STARCHILD +
Tigger, Bunny Love, Dirty Martini, and Bambi the Mermaid use satire and their own bodies to send up conventional notions of body image, gender, and sexuality in their post-modern burlesque performances. NY underground film legend Beth B enters their subversive world both on the stage and behind-the-scenes, in this provocative portrait of bawdy artists gleefully breaking taboos as they entertain. PLUS, IN THE FLESH: Gabriela Starchild’s artful striptease, amidst cameos by Sally Rand, Lili St. Cyr, and an orgy of beefcakes and cheesecakes.
|SAT. 3/21: BECKER + DARR + STORM CHASER + OCTOPLAYER +
Opening OC’s semi-annual celebration of Live A/V is the now legendary Octoplayer, Thad Povey and Mark Taylor’s marvelous 8-tiered turntable, that all are invited to try! Isaac Sherman on synths and Linda Scobie on video projections carry on that spirit of possibility in their intermedia Storm Chaser project, in its SF debut! Brian Darr also conjures from his analog rig transporting tracks to Paul Leni’s Rebus and Curtis Harrington’s House of Usher. Multimedia master Tommy Becker parlays his wry observations into incantatory vocals and big-screen visuals. PLUS Anne McGuire/Karla Milosevich, Ian Helliwell’s Cinematechnique and the North American premiere of Vicki (PLU) Bennett's The Big Sleep. $7.
SAT. 3/28: CYRUS TABAR + SCHEDELBAUER + BALDWIN +
Launching Canyon Cinemazine #3: Sound (with flexidisc filled with soundtracks!), our second synesthesia session sports Renaissance man Tabar performing a primo selection of his audiovisual originals, working between keyboard and screen, analog and digital. Sylvia Schedelbauer is represented by her tour-de-force Sea of Vapors (in fact shot by Tabar!), a transcendent flicker-film that activates a euphoric figment-rich region between memory and imagination. AND in Hot Pickled Capers, Craig Baldwin unspools a pair of hardly/oddly compatible 16mm reels, mixing and mashing up some Sixties international atomic-espionage. PLUS Moog Promos, Soviet Theremins, Dream Machines, and more Vicki Bennett! $7.
|LOST AND FOUND|
SAT. 4/4: GILLOOLY’s SUITCASE OF LOVE AND SHAME + RHODY
Tender, erotic, and pathetic, this “reconstructed” feature is a mesmerizing collage woven from 60 hours of reel-to-reel audiotapes discovered in a suitcase purchased on eBay. Recorded in the 60s, a Midwestern woman and her lover become reliant on recording devices to document their affair, generating intriguing questions about privacy, exhibitionism, and voyeurism. We are compelled to eavesdrop despite the discomfort of this transgressive scenario, abetted by Jane Gillooly’s minimal visuals. Opening is Vernacular Visions, from East Bay wunderkind Justin Clifford Rhody, who re-animates “found” artifacts via the opposite route, adding his own spoken word and music to anonymous thrift-store 35mm slides.
|SAVE OUR CITY|
|SAT. 4/11: ANTI-EVICTION MAPPING + DANA SMITH +
The Mission District has taken center stage in a very public morality play unfolding on a daily basis. Erin McElroy of AMP shares this critical narrative, with copious research made marvelously visible through their digitally-projected cartography. Also showcased in tandem with her new book release is Smith’s live-narrated suite of sublime Mission Street 35mm slides. PLUS Gordon Winiemko’s Douchebag intervention, a scrapbook of psycho-geographies on the embattled Mission Playground (and Garden), a how-to from the Guerilla Grafters, and a healthy dose of Peter Menchini's agit-prop to stiffen our spines in this anti-gentri effort. Portion of monies goes to AMP. $6-20.
|SAT. 4/18: 3-D EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION + JOHN DAVIS’ H2O2 +
This extraordinary feast for the eyes is our riskiest program yet! We’re hand-picking animation titles, both old and new, in an exploratory initiative to appreciate them in ChromaDepth 3-D! We kick off with another debut from Boulder-based queen-bee Kelly Sears! We rewind to ur-guru Len Lye, with his 1935(!) Colour Box, then Oskar Fischinger from a couple years later, then Rodney Asher, Lewis Klahr, Kelly Gallagher, and others into the contemporary era. Synth savant John Davis and sprocketeer Craig Baldwin highlight the second half with a “re-animation” of an archival eye-popper, before passing the baton to single-frame mavens Mary Ellen Bute and Lillian Schwartz!! Come early for the live-projected psychedelia of Canadian A/V avatars Fleshtone Hacking. $7.
|SAT. 4/25: JEFFREY SKOLLER's SOCIAL (SUR)REALISM +
Our fave film critic Dr. Jeffrey Skoller galvanizes our gallery with a clip-heavy argument that has riveted audiences from London to Shanghai. His lecture-demo on the “liberated” new genre of the animated doc breaks open older ideas about non-fiction cinema. Skoller escorts us into the possibilities of re-enactment, metaphor, and of course abstraction and visual play, that “non-realistic” imagery can bring to the informational, to historical narration, and to the speculative essay. Among the titles are Jacqueline Goss’ A Stranger Comes to Town, Ken Jacobs’ Capitalism Child Labor, Kota Ezawa’s The Simpson Verdict, Machinima hybrids, World of Warcraft spin-offs, et al. Opening is a half-hour complement of related media-artworks, boasting Chris Marker’s rarely screened Three Cheers for the Whale, plus pieces by Martha Colburn, Kelly Gallagher, and Travis Wilkerson.
|SAT. 5/2: ATROCITY IN AYOTZINAPA + BERGER +
Here’s the premiere of Mario Barragan’s much-anticipated report on the Ayotzinapa student massacre in Guerrero, Mexico. Forty-three student-teachers were kidnapped, and then murdered, in September of last year, followed by a cover-up attempt by Mexican government, police, and military officials, in concert with drug gangs. But mass protests erupted, and further investigations broke the story open, sparking the largest crisis in the nation’s recent history. Barragan and his Canal Seis de Julio crew have taken the lead in progressive journalism over the decade, and tonight OC is honored to host the No. American premiere of their (tentatively titled) Left Behind. Their 45-min. expose is preceded by a sampling of political satires by US ex-pat Greg Berger (in person!), including scathing send-ups on Mexican fracking and immigration hysteria.
|SAT. 5/9: LAW’s CACOPHONY CLOWNS + CORTEZ’ CIRCUS MAGIC +
Here’s the legendary John Law, thee veritable wellspring of SF underground cultures, and the author (along with Carrie Galbraith) of the widely-loved Tales of the SF Cacophony Society, a provocative volume on that radical group of adventurous pranksters that inspired Fight Club, Burning Man, Santacon, flashmobs, and culture-jamming. John’s subversive slide-she-bang invites us into that deliriously scary zone, far beyond the typical Bozo.He rhapsodizes on face-painted performers who parlay vicious satirical gestures, unpredictable behavior, and bizarre costuming into tools to crack open consensus reality, even getting as risky as the Evil Clown Posse and the Porn Clowns expected here tonight. Opening, Master of the Arcane Arts Hernan Cortez slays us with sleight-of-hand and sword-swallowing, before selections from Phil Glau’s punked-up Circus Redickuless (with Chicken John!), classic carny clips, glimpses of Houdini, and plenty of beer and popcorn. $7.
|SAT. 5/16: BUCHANAN’s OCCULT IN CINEMA + BARON + ANGER/PAGE +
Coincident with the new Abraxas issue on secret spiritual culture, Anthony Buchanan returns to town to discuss how esoteric knowledge has inflected film history. He traces Theosophical strands through the origins of Modern Art, the influence of Aleister Crowley on Weimar Cinema, and the mysticism of American avant-gardists Harry Smith and Kenneth Anger. Loaded with clips, Anthony further charts Buddhism and New Age esoterica in Beat artists Jordan Belson, Larry Jordan, the Whitneys, et al. ALSO: Rebecca Baron’s half-hour mind-blower Detour de Force, on Polaroid Thoughtography, Soda_Jerk’s séance-fiction The Time That Remains, Troy Morgan’s Musical Recordings from the Realm of the Dead, Bill Domonkos’ Ambient Medium, and the ultra-rare Jimmy Page-tracked version of Lucifer Rising.
|WE ARE THE ROBOTS|
|SAT. 5/23: COX’ AUTOMATA + ROBOTS + TRANS-HUMANISM +
Media-archeology expert David Cox celebrates that fascinating phenomenon that introduced the operating principles of our present environment of “smart” devices and “autonomous” machines. From the chess-playing Mechanical Turk to the current rush to engineer artificial intelligence, Cox revisits the colorful history of clockwork figures that parallels the development of calculating machines and early computers. Complementing Cox’ chronology, Killer Banshee rivets us with their taxonomy of the automaton, Robots in our Image. AND: OtherZine editor Robert Edmondson proffers perspectives on post-humanism with a final foursome of tech “specs”--Stelarc’s The Body Is Obsolete, Kent Lambert’s Reckoning Three, Benjamin Pearson’s Former Models, and Alex Rivera’s A Robot Walks into a Bar.
|AVANT TO LIVE|
|SAT. 5/30: NEW EXPERIMENTAL WORKS
Here's an energized evening of new cinema that champions personal expression and radical form, with many of the makers in person! Featured are the West Coast premieres of both Ben Rivers’ 20-min. Things Mike Kuchar’s 10-min. Saints and Sinners, and Abigail Child's Elsa Merdelamerdelamer. ALSO: Salise Hughes’ Tall Trees, Christopher Rohde’s Odd One Out, Julie Murray’s End Reel, Matt Soar’s Lost Leaders, and Caroline Koebel’s Sniper’s Burial, a structural apprehension of military lock-step at the funeral of Chris Kyle. PLUS, among others, recent pieces from Bryan Boyce, Peter Lichter, David De Rozas, and a new A/V performance by local light Jeremy Rourke! $7.