|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. 9/12: ‘NEW BROW’ UNDERGROUND ART + BIG DADDY ROTH
Personally introduced by director Tanem Davidson, New Brow: Contemporary Underground Art offers first-hand accounts from artists, galleries, and collectors who have initiated a young and lively Pop-Surrealist movement, thriving on the West Coast. Documenting its funky studios and makeshift exhibition spaces, this energized feature acknowledges the influence of oft unrecognized California subcultures, such as Kustom Kar Kulture, underground comix, graffiti, tattoo, surf/skate, and punk scenes. Includes interviews with Robert Williams, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, and many more! PLUS: Ron Mann’s Tales of the Rat Fink on Big Daddy Roth, Cyrus Tabar on his ambient audio emulator, and free PBR for the season’s opening reception.
|SAT. 9/19: WHO’S AFRAID OF KATHY ACKER? + WILLIAM BURROUGHS +
Kathy Acker was a pro-sex feminist author whose life became inextricably blurred with her experimental fiction. The NorCal debut of Barbara Caspar’s trenchant portrait mixes testimonials of friends with archival photos, TV interview footage, animated adaptations of her work, and dialog with girls whom Acker inspired. Followed by: Lars Movin’s Words of Advice trails Beat writer Bill Burroughs from his European spoken-word tour back to his Manhattan Bunker, and finally to his Lawrence, KS home in his later years. Hilariously scabrous readings that capture Burroughs’ sardonic wit are intercut with in-depth interviews, and music by Patti Smith, as friends such as poet John Giorno offer new insights into the author’s creative legacy. Free pencils, Dream Machine in effect! NOTE: 8pm start-time*.
|POLITICS OF THE HEART|
|SAT. 9/26: FIERCE LIGHT: WHEN SPIRIT MEETS ACTION +
Coming all the way from Toronto, Velcrow Ripper (Scared Sacred, Bones of the Forest) unveils the new wave in spiritual activism—the people using their hearts and bodies to make a political difference. His feature doc includes interviews with Bishop Desmond Tutu, environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill, author Alice Walker, actress Daryl Hannah, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, and dozens of others around the world. Leaders of the alternative spiritual movement bring their voices to the cause, acknowledging that making a better world may begin within one’s self, but it shouldn’t stop there. Opening the program are two of Velcrow’s short works: the US premiere of Revolution of the Spirit, featuring Aung San Suu Kyi (currently on trial in Burma), and Burn—Noam Chomsky meets Burning Man.
|SHADES OF THE CITY|
|SAT. 10/3: BARRY JENKINS' SHORTS + MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLYThe Bay Area is lucky to be the new home of Mr. Jenkins, after an underwhelming stint in heartless Hollywood. Nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, the prolific Jenkins will personally premiere six shorts (Little Brown Boy, My Josephine, Bruce, A Young Couple, One Shot Film, and Tall Enough) before unspooling his much-lauded first feature, Medicine. In muted tones, this compelling love story of strolls, bikes, and one-night stands is told through the eyes of two African-American twenty-somethings. With San Francisco having the smallest proportional Black population of any other major American city, their poignant drift navigates ethnic identity by illustrating how gentrification makes it virtually impossible for urban minorities to just “be.”|
|SAT. 10/10: LIVE CINEMA: NATE BOYCE + JOHN DAVIS + SOFTSERVE +MC Cyrus Tabar welcomes three live A/V acts, forging a new fusion between real-time audio and visual performance. Boyce’s new Messiaen-based work is framed within a heuristic review of media-art touchstones—Breer, Kren, Kubelka, Frampton, Sharits—who resonate with his own approach to serial, systemic composition. ALSO: Channeling natural landscapes and the Northern Californian psychedelic imagination, filmmaker/audio artist John Davis and koto musician Maxwell August Croy perform a collaborative sound piece to hand-processed and solarized Super-8 film. PLUS: Erik Wilson, aka Softserve, invokes a delirious space in which live-generated abstractions rhyme with energized audio gestures. $7.77*.|
|SAT. 10/17: SAM GREEN + ERICK LYLE + VANESSA RENWICK +
In its continuing commitment to redress social amnesia, OC is honored to host these six new historiographic initiatives. In its world premiere, with live audio by Dave Cerf,Green’s 15-min. Golden Record revisits that idealistic project, curated by Carl Sagan, wherein the ‘77 Voyager spacecraft rocketed into the heavens with an LP encapsulating a cross-section of human musical culture. ALSO: Lyle returns from his new base in Brooklyn to recap his Soft Skull Press release, On the Lower Frequencies, a revelatory nonfiction account of the City’s lower depths. House of Sound, offering an homage to a now sorely-missed fixture, recently erased from Portland’s traditionally Black neighborhood. AND Marc Moscato’s The More Things Stay the Same examines the life and world of Dr. Ben Reitman, known in his day as “King of the Hobos,” “the Clap Doctor,” and “the most vulgar man in America.” PLUS Dara Greenwald’sUnited Victorian Workers, Kelly Sears’ The Drift, and assorted media artifacts. $8*.
|ORPHANS WEST BY NORTHWEST|
| SAT. 10/24: PRELINGERS + PARR + BALDWIN + KATZ
In collaboration with Dan Streible's Orphan Films efforts (www.nyu.edu/orphans), canny curator of the cultural memory, Rick Prelinger emerges from the vaults with a precious cache of newly unearthed amateur films: Southern sharecroppers, KKK parades, Japanese internees, and May Day demos. Megan Prelinger interprets a cabinet of curiosities from their SoMA library. Stephen Parr shares a 16mm selection from the SF Media Archive, including an amateur monster movie and treasures disinterred from the SF Dump. Craig Baldwin introduces an eye-popping Kodachrome travelog of a late-colonial cross-Africa excursion. Scott Stark’s 20-min. celluloid set unveils the discovered mid-century diaries of San Francisco families. The program is consummated with Joel Katz’ compelling cine-essay, Dear Carrie, unpacking the 20C Kodachrome chronologies of a courageous globe-trotting matron. PLUS: Free found slides, gratis wine, and Doug Katelus on Optigan. $7.77*.
|JAPANESE GHOST STORY|
|SAT.10/31 MACIAS' HISTORY OF JAPANESE HORROR
The national editor of top J-Pop mag Otaku USA, Patrick Macias flies in from Tokyo for this Halloween event, terrorizing us with tales of the roots and branches of the now super-hot J-Horror phenomenon. Macias grounds his explication in the work of Nobuo Nakagawa, considered the grandfather of the genre. His Jigoku (Hell, 1960) is acknowledged as one of the first gore films that broke through to popular consciousness, and woke the world of cinema to this phantastic thematic and stylistic vocabulary. The surreal supernatural feature draws upon the Buddhist idea of retribution that all earthly sins must be atoned for after death. Patrick threads his appreciation of Nakagawa through excerpts from three of his other works, The Ceiling at Utsunomiya (1956), The Ghost of Yotsuya (1958), and The Mansion of the Ghost Cat (1959). Come early, in cosplay, for free hot sake, flying turtles, and the haunted sounds of DJ Onanist. NOTE: Doors 7:30, show at 8*. $6.66*.
| SAT. 11/7 WOBBLY’S HISTORY OF SAMPLING + RiP +
Jon “Wobbly” Leidecker has spliced together an hour-long historical review of audio pastiche, revisiting the benchmarks of the practice over the course of the last century. His assiduous survey moves through Ives, Oliveros, Cage, Buchanan & Goodman, Pierres Henry & Schaeffer, Perrey & Kingsley, Paik, Reich, Marclay, Oswald, et al. PLUS RiP: A Remix Manifesto, the world’s first open-source documentary about copyright and Fair Use. Web activist and filmmaker Brett Gaylor explores issues of intellectual property in the Information Age, mixing up the mediascape and shattering the wall between users and producers. His doc features mash-up master and Illegal Art exponent Girl Talk, who blends samples of existing music into new songs. Engaging interviews with creators, lawmakers, and consumers are interspersed with animation, collage, and archival footage in this righteous rave-up. Come early for the brutal plunderphonics of Muerto Zoke. $7.77*.
|KINGS OF CAMP|
| SAT. 11/14: KROOT’S IT CAME FROM KUCHAR, WITH GEORGE & MIKE! +
Two legends of underground filmmaking—twin brothers George and Mike Kuchar— are the subjects of Jennifer Kroot’s new doc, affording a hilarious and at times bittersweet intro to these Mission-based kitsch-meisters. Since the ‘50s, when the teenaged twins wowed the art world with their 8mm extravaganzas, they have continued their low-budget, totally idiosyncratic pursuit of cinematic expression. Alongside Warhol and Anger, theKuchar brothers were pioneering members of the ‘60s New York underground, and they’ve since inspired John Waters, Guy Maddin, Pedro Almodovar, Todd Solondz, and thousands more. Director Kroot is here in the flesh to present her stars and answer questions, before the show climaxes with the ‘65 Sins of the Fleshapoids. Free wine, $8*.
|THIS IS INDIAN LAND|
| SAT. 11/21: OCCUPATION ANNIVERSARY: ALCATRAZ...+
A daring episode in San Francisco history that turned the country upside down: the occupation of Alcatraz Island by “Indians of All Tribes.” In the opening half, shorts by Ohlone makers, first-ever viewing of slides from the Alcatraz Newsletter, and films about ancient villages, sacred sites, and endangered species. After intermission, director James Fortier introduces his inspirational Alcatraz Is Not an Island, a stirring record of the epochal event, told with sharp-spoken verse, superb cinematography, an incredible Native soundtrack, with major appearances by John Trudell and Richard Oakes. PLUS poetic pieces by Ben Wood, Chris Kennedy, and Jesse Drew, representatives from the Int’l Treaty Council, and a display of rare period posters.
|THE GLOBAL SOUTH|
|SAT. 11/28: MARTINEZ' SONGS TO ENEMIES & DESERTS +
David Martinez returns from the Sahara to share the images and sounds that he collected traveling through the Darfuri villages and battlegrounds. Not only do we witness the rebels’ history and motivations, but we also enjoy the benefits of Martinez’ broader regional, continental, and global analysis, brought to bear on this contemporary catastrophe. Co-billed is Gini Reticker’s Pray the Devil Back to Hell, chronicling the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country. PLUS the premiere of Sahar Al-Sawaf’s Um Abdullah, an artful animated piece about her Iraqi refugee family.
|DEVOS AND DIVAS|
|SAT. 12/5: ANIMAL CHARM + FREDDY McGUIRE + PACKARD +
Now based in Southern California, that sublimely goofy duo threaten to return once
again for a neo-dada shredding of the corporate-video sensibility. Rich Bott and Jim Fetterley create absurd video mash-ups amidst vaudeville crooning and performance-art provocation. Their act is embedded within an ensemble of personal favorites (TV Sheriff, Damon Packard) that reflect their sick affinities in the contempo video-cabaret cesspool. ALSO: Anne McGuire and Wobbly coolly ascend the stage in outrageously bewigged bathos for a seductive set of retro-electro eclecticism, wherein Ms. McGuire morphs from Piaf to Garland to Björk, and beyond! Come early for 3-D Carnivorous Plants, Scopitones, and drink specials. $7*.
|LIBIDO VS. LEISURE|
|SUN. 12/6: DAVID SHERMAN'S WASTELAND UTOPIAS +
SUNDAY SPECIAL! After 5 years, OC welcomes back David Sherman, a veteran experimentalist and former curator of Total Mobile Home Microcinema, in collaboration with partner Rebecca Barten. He returns with a grand project indeed: Wasteland Utopias deals with the social and environmental consequences of the urbanization of Arizona’s Sonora Desert. His double-projection piece, built from doc interviews, found footage, and narrative tableaux, explores the magic-conceptualist intersection of two radically different utopian thinkers: mega-developer Del Webb and outsider psychiatrist/scientist Wilhelm Reich. Both operated in Southern Arizona in the late ‘50s—Webb building Sun City, his colossal panoptic planned-retirement community, while Reich conducted weather-modification experiments with Orgone Energy. ALSO: Dr. Eva Reich on her father’s UFO obsession, plus vintage Sun City propaganda! NOTE: 8pm showtime*.
|INCREDIBLY STRANGE RELIGION|
|SAT. 12/12: GITLIN’S THE EARTH IS YOUNG + RIVERS’ ORIGINS +
Just in time for the holidays! Michael Gitlin’s The Earth Is Young is based on interviews with Young Earth Creationists, who find evidence of a 6-day, 6,000-year-old Creation in the geological record. These testimonies alternate with scenes of the slow work of dedicated paleontologists, pointing towards a world far older and more complex, if no less fantastic. At times bordering on science fiction, the hour piece elaborates an essay on the nature of Science, and the physical and ideological tools with which one builds a model of the world. ALSO: Ben Rivers’ Origin of the Species engages with a 70-year-old Scottish hermit, obsessed with “trying to really understand” Darwin’s book for many years, whilst working on small inventions for making life easier.PLUS implausible religious clips from the Moody Institute, Left Behind series, Scientology, A.A. Allen, and other kook cults. Free blood-red wine and pale-white crackers. $6.66*.
|AVANT TO LIVE|
|SAT. 12/19: NEW EXPERIMENTAL WORKS
Here’s an energized evening of new cinematic efforts that champion personal expression and radical form. Constituting the season’s most exploratory programming initiative—and with many of the makers in person—are Martha Colburn’s Join the Freedom Force, Carl Diehl’s Mind Children Get Headaches, Shalo P’s The Spy, Andrew Mooney’s Flok, David Cox’ Flash Memory, Richard Mitchell’s Well-Tempered Clavier, and Robbyn Alexander’s A Spell to Catch a Firefly. ALSO recent pieces by Bryan Boyce, Karla Betancourt, Myrina Tunberg, Karl Lind, Thad Povey, James Hong/Yin-Ju Chen, and others TBA. $7*.