|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 .|
In its Bay Area theatrical premiere, acclaimed Belgian director Johan Grimonprez casts Alfred Hitchcock as a paranoid history professor unwittingly caught up in a "double take" on the Cold War period, targeting the global rise of "fear-as-commodity." Subverting a marvelous array of TV footage, Grimonprez traces Catastrophe Culture's relentless assault on the home, from the inception of televised images to our present-day zapping neurosis. PLUS: Grimonprez' first feature, dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, a Don DeLillo-penned freefall through history in which archival footage of jet hijackings is collaged with surreal '70s ephemera, banal disco riffs, and David Shea's superb remixed soundtrack. *Doors at 7:30 for season-opening champagne reception; showtime is 8pm.
|SPOILED SOILS OF THE SPILL|
Culled from his world-renowned archive, here's the US premiere of Rick Prelinger's feature-length montage of promotional clips from the energy industry, creating a striking commentary on our over-dependence on oil. Rick's shtick is preceded by a bevy of pungent shorts on environmental issues, including Bahrani/Herzog's Plastic Bag, Jorge Furtado's Isle of Flowers, Kathleen Quillian's Wasteland, and Rob Ray's Canary in a Coal Mine. PLUS an Edward James Olmos inquiry, an Edward "Monkey Wrenching" Abbey excerpt, and a Paper Tiger TV segment. AND, at 10:30: The return of The Yes Men Fix the World, in which our intrepid pranksters intervene in the money-grubbing activities of the oil and chemical moguls. *8pm showtime; $6.66, to benefit the wildlife rehabilitation efforts going on in the gulf.
|SAT. 9/25: THE LAND OF THE RISING FASTBALL + THE LSD NO-NO +
Dedicated to recently-deceased editor Andrew Koenig, and with its director Lance Miccio and writer Matthew Turner in attendance, the world premiere of this cross-cultural report explores Japan's National Pastime--baseball!--and the sociological role it has played through that nation's growth, from its 1872 introduction, through Babe Ruth's '30s tours, the World War, and beyond. Narrated by Buck Ford, Miccio blends interviews with Hall of Fame players, visits to Japanese "Castles of Baseball," and a compelling score by Charlie McAllister to give the viewer a deep historical sense of yakyu, or Japanese baseball culture. PLUS James Blagden's The LSD No-No--an animation in which Major-League pitcher Dock Ellis relates his acid story--and a locker of 16mm archival clips on both post-war Japan and the hallowed sport itself. Hot sake and cold Sapporo!
|BIRTH OF SAMPLING|
| SAT. 10/2: MELLODRAMA: THE MELLOTRON MOVIE + WAKEMAN + WOBBLY +
The first of five in our Dead Media suite, this doc by Dianna Dilworth explores the rising and falling fortunes of the Mellotron--the first musical keyboard to "sample" the sounds of other instruments--from its birth in a California garage in the '50s, through its dominance on concert stages in the '70s, to its near-religious cult of followers today. From the Beatles to Black Sabbath to Kanye West, Mellodrama is a 50-year odyssey of musical invention, revolution, betrayal and rediscovery, with testimonies from Brian Wilson (Beach Boys), Mike Pinder (Moody Blues), Rod Argent (The Zombies), Ian McDonald (King Crimson), Richard Chamberlin (Chamberlin Company), Tom Rhea (Berklee School of Music), and Pea Hicks (Optiganally Yours). Opening is Rick (Yes) Wakeman's half-hr. history of the instrument (visuals by David Cox), plus commentary by SF's own expert on all things Sampled, Jon "Wobbly" Leidecker. James Brundage's Mellotron is in the house for all to tickle...and an Optigan too!
|SAT. 10/9: SO WRONG THEY'RE RIGHT 15th ANNIVERSARY PARTY +
Join Russ Forster for an unforgettable night of 8-track delights, featuring a 16mm screening of his SWTR, a gleefully obsessive doc by Forster and Dan Sutherland that chronicles their epic 10,000-mile pilgrimage through a national underground of 8-track tape fanatics. Thrill to the banjo stylings of the original song "8-Track Luv" performed by Half Pro! Dance to the nostalgic karaoke sounds of Monsieur Fromage! Sweat to the world premiere of the Black Metal exercise video Home Exorcise! Indulge in complimentary cake and champagne to celebrate the 6th wedding anniversary of Russ and Maggie! PLUS glimpses of Russ' zines (paper and video), a demonstration of the Telex 12-tape turret player, and an 8-track trivia contest, with prizes!
|SAT. 10/16: CHIP LORD + ANT FARM + ARCHIMEDIA +
Beth Federici and Laura Harrison's Space, Land, and Time: Underground Adventures with Ant Farm delves into the work of that renegade '70s collective. Radical architects, video pioneers (Media Burn, Eternal Frame), and mordantly funny cultural commentators, the Ant Farmers (Chip Lord in person) built a body of subversive work that questions the status quo, mashing up Bucky Fuller and NASA with trashy backyard Americana. Chip kicks in with his own piece in this book-launch of UC Press' Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the SF Bay Area. Opening the program is Archimedia's (David Cox and Molly Hankwitz) half-hr. lecture-demo Playfields, Mindmaps and Screen Culture, on the increasingly aggressive use of screen displays and data-mining to depict, and control, the idea of self and the city. SPECIAL TREATS: Come early for Carl Diehl's Polterzeitgeist, and during intermission, David Sherman--in from Arizona for the anthology's release--debuts his video installation An Outdoor Cinema in West Texas.
| SAT. 10/23: GERRY FIALKA'S PXL THIS 19 +
The penultimate part of our Dead Media mini-series (the fifth iteration's on 12/11), Gerry Fialka's annual PXL THIS FEST returns to OC, featuring a new set of motion pictures made with the Fisher-Price PXL 2000 toy camcorder, a plastic video camera that records low-res b/w video onto audio-cassettes! The NorCal premiere of PXL inventor's James Wickstead's Color PXL unveils the only footage ever shot with the one-of-a-kind PXL-2000 color camcorder. ALSO on view are Jesse Drew's Cultural Democracy, Mariko Drew's Wild Beast, 6-year-old Chester Burnett's Donut Memorial, Lisa Marr/Paolo Davanzo's The Chaser, Janor Hypercleats' Interview with Rockstar Marilyn Osbourne, and Gerry Fialka's own Effects Precede Causes. An electronic invocation by presiding media guru Korla Pandit opens the door to a signature Fialka conspiracy yarn.
|SAT. 10/30: WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS + GODZILLA FANTASIA +
Editor of the national J-Pop mag Otaku, Patrick Macias and August Ragone respond to the Halloween call with a titanic tribute to the storied director of the original Godzilla, Ishiro Honda. With more than a nod towards the recently released Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda, the provocative pair of kaiju fanboys contextualize Honda's prolific career, which saw the production of Rodan, Mothra, The Mysterians, Monster Zero, Destroy All Monsters, Terror of Mechagodzilla, Atragon, and Battle in Outer Space (the latter two excerpted here). Starring Russ Tamblyn, the 16mm Gargantuas is Honda's 1966 effort, in which two hairy humanoids spawned from Frankenstein's monster (!) wreak havoc on--where else?--Tokyo. Free hot sake! Doors open at 7:30 for cinematic trick-or-treats; come in cosplay! *8pm showtime.
|COLD WAR ART|
|SAT. 11/6: M. PRELINGER'S ANOTHER SCIENCE FICTION + ATOMIC SUBLIME +
With a visual trip through rocket history, Megan Shaw Prelinger, author of Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race, presents a slideshow about the past, and the future, of the technologies of design and advertising that promised deliverance from the Cold War. Her handsome volume (available at the show) represents the harvest from the fertile image-bank that is her SoMA library. ALSO IN PERSON, Jesse Lerner escapes from SoCal with the world premiere of his feature essay film, Atomic Sublime. This rich compilation doc, on the ideological role of the Abstract Expressionist movement constitutes a critically engaging inquiry into the interface of art and politics in the McCarthy era. PLUS jaw-dropping dollops of the nuclear mindset from Classifying Nuclear Weapons, Operation Ivy, Fighting Fires After Atomic Attack, a CIA filmstrip, and 3D atomic-test blasts!
|SAT. 11/13: FREE THE HIKERS + FORBIDDEN IRAN +
As many already know, East Bay residents (and UCB grads) Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd (in person!) , and Josh Fattal were arrested by Iranian forces while hiking in Iraqi border areas last year. Their detainment is being exploited for political reasons in the current US/Iran standoff. We screen some clips about their predicament, and hear from close associates, including journalists David Martinez, Mark Brecke, and the "fourth hiker," Shon Meckfessel. ALSO a report on Evin Prison, from Carla Garapedian's Forbidden Iran. Come early for a 16mm overview of Iranian history, Land of the Peacock Throne. *$7-$100 benefits the freethehikers org.
|SAT. 11/20: McCORMICK's FUTURE SO BRIGHT + UMAN + SACHS +
Matt McCormick's Future So Bright meditates on abandoned spaces in the American West. This half-hr. sneak peek at his experimental essay considers the failed efforts of the American Western Expansion, exploring ghost towns, abandoned military bases, and boarded-up tourist traps. In 16mm, Naomi Uman's Ukranian Time Capsule is a 55-min. personal journey to her familial roots in Eastern Europe, organized in poignant episodes of earthy village life. PLUS the Bay Area premiere of the much-lauded Last Address by Ira (Forty Shades of Blue) Sachs, cataloging exteriors of the final residences of NYC artists who died of AIDS (Haring, Mapplethorpe, Eichelberger, and too many more). AND Marcy Saude's This Kind of Town, Bryan Boyce's Valencia Gardens, Rich Bott's Hard Feelings, and free maps!
|SAT. 11/27: A.D.D. + BOTT + SHALO P + IANNAZZI + STARK + PAPER RAD + 3D +
The first--co-curated with Cyrus Tabar--of three parts in our Testing...Testing exploratory sound series has Animal Charm's Rich Bott, along with local muse Anne McGuire, treat us to a "Dark Acoustic" musical piece in front of his typically giddy video diggings. Zach Iannazzi's Chanting at the Crystal Sea also employs multiple-projection and live music. PLUS Shemoel Recalde, Luis Garcia, and Omori (A.D.D.) debut Blackhole Bizarro, and Shalo P performs Untitled Suite. Pad McGlaughlin throws up a three-wall immersive environment of stereoscopic imagery, while Walter Funk shares his homemade Hologlyphics. The premiere of Scott Stark's A Better World documents the public deployment of the miraculous TV-B-Gone. AND contemporary works from Paper Rad, People Like Us, Negativland, Animal Charm, Davy Force/TV Sheriff, and a Robot Dog cameo. Free vinyl at our "high-art-bar"! *$7.
|SAT. 12/4: GRANATO'S D-TOUR + SONIC YOUTH'S SLEEPING NIGHTS AWAKE +
As part of the ATA/Other Cinema annual benefit weekend, local lensman Jim Granato (in person) generously shares his award-winning long-form, shot by Christian Bruno, on personal survival in the rock 'n' roll milieu. Rogue Wave drummer Pat Spurgeon is threatened with a deteriorating kidney (his only one) right at the start of a national tour. John Vanderslice, the Moore Brothers, and many other musicians appear in this hometown tale of courage in the face of an inadequate health-care system. CO-BILLED is Michael Albright's 79-min. Sleeping Nights Awake, capturing Sonic Youth's July 4th Reno performance. The band's Nevada visit was in fact documented by six high-school students, affording a candid rockumentary much less pretentious than the typical music-biz promo. PLUS: Rev. Douglas Katelus welcomes all at his cozy piano bar, while Bill Daniel, Richard Kern, and Vanessa Renwick garnish the Sonic stew. *8pm showtime for the double feature; Sleeping Nights starts at 10pm. $6-$10.
|SAT. 12/11: ELISE BALDWIN + VANESSA O'NEILL + THOMAS CARNACKI +
Let the dead speak! Programmed by Christine Metropoulos, the fifth vignette in Other Cinema's Dead Media suite offers a night of innovation through excavation, repurposing, and reanimation. We begin with a nod to pre-cinema as Thomas Carnacki (Gregory Scharpen, Gregory Hagan, Jim Kaiser) intones its miscellanea and machines amidst Jesse Burson's shadow-puppet theater, to invoke a decidedly visual symphony. We enter the realm of cinema, as hand-processing maven Vanessa O'Neill collaborates with filmmaker and musician Kent Long to re-register the projection experience with their multiple-16mm paean of layered and reworked film, to live sound by Kent. And we extend beyond cinema, as Elise Baldwin conjures her Theater of Plants, a digitally-processed exploration of time, growth, and decay using time-lapse botanical films from the National Archive. PLUS A very rare screening of Steve Polta's Super-8 invocation, Red Sketch. Arrive at 8pm for divinatory drink specials and other delicious atrocities! $7.
|AVANT TO LIVE|
|SAT. 12/18: 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 Kenneth Anger's Missoni, Deborah Stratman's It Will Die Out in the Mind, Roger Beebe's Beginnings, David Cox' Time Ghosts, Linda Scobie's Piel Canela, Kerry Laitala's Chromatastic, Greg Zifcak's Life Forms, Rodney Ascher's I'm a Transformer, Kelly Sears' The Body Besieged and Ben Wood's Wisdoms of East and West. PLUS recent pieces by Richard Mitchell, Karl Lind, Wago Kreider, Zach Iannazzi, Bryan Boyce, Martha Colburn, Bryan Konefsky, Molly Hankwitz, Salise Hughes, Angela Reginato, and others TBA. Come early for artists' reception, Laitala's 3D peep-show installations, and the Dream Machine!