Avant Garde Cinema
This Week in Avant-Garde Cinema

Sunday, October 27

  • Chicago, Illinois: X-Film Chicago: PROTEST FILMS OF THE AVANT GARDE: M.M. Serra in person.

  • Los Angeles: Filmforum: The Society of the Spectacle: Guy Debord's legendary yet rarely-shown film adaptation of his 1967 manifesto will be presented on videotape with new English subtitles by Keith Sanborn. To those who found his film essay dense, Debord replied, "No film is more difficult than its time." But that was 1973. When this tape was shown at Exit Art last April, Amy Taubin wrote in the Village Voice that it was "the must-see screening of the year." But that is New York. As Keith Sanborn has written, "this is not just a film; it is a conscious attempt to change the world."

  • Vancouver, British Columbia: Edison Electric: PLOTNICK SUPER 8 WORKSHOP! DANNY PLOTNICK, America's own GIMME SUPER 8 OR GIMME DEATH true believer has been making the wildest and most off-the-wall Super 8 films around for the last ten years (SEE ABOVE) and has released a number of his films as video compilations with other filmmakers (SMALL GAUGE SHOTGUN, FAT CITY DEATH SLED). Plotnick will be conducting a Super 8 intensive workshop on SUNDAY, October 27 from noon to 6pm at the Edison.Open to both filmers and potential filmers alike!

  • San Francisco: SF Cinematheque: Beats on Film: Beat energy infiltrated all forms of performance and art: Mounting Tension (Rudy Burckhardt, 1950), Larry Rivers as the madly energetic, over-sexed artist, with John Ashberry, Jane Freilicher; The Man Who Invented Gold (Christopher MacLaine, 1957),"...a deliberate anti-climax of aesthetic perfection."(Stan Brakhage); Happenings: One (Raymond Saroff, 1962), The Ray Gun Theater with Claes and Pat Oldenberg, Lucas Samaras; Jamestown Baloos (Robert Breer, 1957), The White Rose (Bruce Conner, 1967), "a very subtle, deep exploration of art's place in the world."(Carney); The Cut-Ups(Anthony Balch and William Burroughs, ca. 1962), a cut-up vision of art, drugs and mayhem. PLUS at 9:00: The Connection (Shirley Clarke, 1962), The Living Theater's harrowing portrait of junkies waiting for a fix in a Manhattan apartment.

  • Norwich, England: Cinewomen, Cinema City: Barbara Hammer's Tender Fictions

  • Toronto: Pleasure Dome: Hustler White explodes on the screen with bold references to film culture, challenging sexual content and sizzling wit and humour. Co-directors Bruce LaBruce and Rick Castro escort us on a rough-trade romp along Santa Monica Blvd., LA's infamous strip of outdoor male prostitution. Fast food, fast sex, fast exits. The film starts with a nod to Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard and ends with a kiss from Death In Venice. As in Bruce LaBruce's other films (Super 8 1/2, No Skin Off My Ass) Bruce plays the lead. This time he's the arch writer and gay ghetto anthropologist, Jurgen Anger. As Jurgen spies Monti the strutting hustler, played by former Madonna boy-toy and current Dolce and Gabanna model Tony Ward, the objectification begins as well as the chase. It's a new slant on tainted love with an all-male cast including Vaginal Creme Davis, gay porn stars Kevin Kramer and Alex Austin, as well as an assortment of homocore skin heads, midnight cowboys, and a very memorable amputee.

Tuesday, October 29

  • Reading, Pennsylvania: Berks: MIKE KUCHAR (in person): MIKE KUCHAR (NYC) is back from visits this summer to Berlin and Edinburgh where he presented retrospectives of Kuchar brothers films to enthusiastic audiences , and he was recently feat ured in the book, Desperate Visions by Jack Stevenson. Mike, who tends to tour less than his brother George and whose solo work has unfortunately thereby rarely been seen outside of NYC, will be here to present his new trilogy of Hi-8 Teleplays:CUPID'S INFIRMARY, BLUE BANSHIES, and LUCITETIA'S POEM (all produced in 1995-96 on Hi-8 video), some of the most original, hilarious and strangely poetic film or video to come along in decades.

  • Paris, France: Scratch Projections: Enfance-Fiction: Marcel SCHWIERIN: DIE BILDER 1994 coul son 24'; Jay ROSENBLATT: THE SMELL OF BURNING ANTS 1994 coul son 21'; Su FRIEDRICH: SINK OR SWIM 1990 nb son 48'; Retour a l'enfance selon differentes trajectoires. A partir de found footage, comme c'est le cas avec Die Bilder alors que The Smell of Burning Ants questionne la production du male. Le film de Su Friedrich s'interroge sur les rapports entre une fille et son pere. Des roles sociaux imposes et leurs consequences sur les futures generations.

  • Berkeley, CA: Pacific Film Archive: Intimate Light:Films of Nathaniel Dorsky: Artist in Person: Local filmmaker Nathaniel Dorksy is known to lovers of experimental film for his exquisite, meticulously composed films. Reveling in the possibilities of the medium itself, he finds beauty in the act of observing, both by filmmaker and film viewer. He describes his newest film, Triste: "During the Bronze Age a variety of sanctuaries were built for curative purposes. One of the principal activities was transformative sleep. This montage psalm speaks to that tradition." In Pneuma, shown tonight in a revised version, the images come from outdated film stock processed without being exposed. "A world is revealed that is alive with the organic deterioration of film itself, the essence of cinema in its before-image, preconceptual purity." In Alaya, "sand, wind, and light intermingle with the emulsions. The viewer is the star." Stan Brakhage termed it "little short of a miracle!"

Wednesday, October 30

  • Moscow, Russia: Cine Fantom: PREMIERE Inna Kolosova and her VIDEO MAGAZINE FOR HOUSEWIFES. Hard representation of different kinds of cookery. Do you want to find secret exit from the kitchen? S-VHS, 30min, 1996

  • Seattle, Washington: 911 Media Arts Center: In Your Blood: Probing deeply into Seattle's underground arts scene, In Your Blood uncovers illicit stimulation in pursuit of creative breakthroughs. Since the dawn of human history, extreme intoxication has been used in the pursuit of spirituality and artistic creation. Norman Mailer once said, "The artist who exploits drugs in order to make artistic breakthroughs is borrowing from his future, and in the event that he has bankrupted his own future, due to addiction, he is then stealing from our collective soul." In Your Blood is about theft from the collective soul. Writer Lorn Richey, and Director Jeff Brunk, have tweaked the conventions of horror/vampire films to create a work that transcends its low-budget beginnings.

  • San Francisco: FILM ARTS FESTIVAL: Through November 3: Fifteen rock 'em sock 'em programs of independent works made by Northern California artists. Don't miss this eclectic blend of shorts, features and everything in-between, covering every genre and genre hybrid. All of the films are highlights! Presented by Film Arts Foundation. For more information, call FAF at 415-552-FILM.

  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Cinematheque Ontario:VIDEO ART FROM LONDON, ONTARIO: A strong sense of community knits together this programme, the second of a two-part showcase examining work from London, Ontario. Some of the threads that connect the contemporary London scene include the fact that a number of the city's artists have studied at Beal Art (a post-secondary art school); others are involved with London's alternative, artist-run centre the Forest City Gallery and Ed Video (the closest cooperative production facility located in Guelph, Ontario); and then there are the "second-generation artists", Owen Curnoe and Mark Favro, sons of Greg Curnoe and Murray Favro, respectively, whose music videos for their band, the Anthropomorphics, use expressive montage. Tonight's group show offers an impressive array of meditative or abstract studies, animation, and music videos with an indie edge.

  • Berkeley, CA: Pacific Film Archive: Made in Hollywood: Bruce and Norman Yonemoto (U.S., 1990) Preceded by short:Vault (The Yonemotos, 1984). Oedipal phobias meet the stuff of advertising. A concert cellist has a vacuous love affair with an affluent cowboy. Their fated relationship is captured with the polished detachment and self-important imagery typical of commercial spots. (11:45 mins) With Made in Hollywood the L.A.-based Yonemotos have created an unwashed soap opera that doesn't cleanse the soul, it leaves it feeling smudged. The dirt isn't so much in the plot, a satiric story of burst bubbles, but in the sly critique that permeates the drama. Tammy (Patricia Arquette), a naive bumpkin who leaves her beloved Granny to fulfill her technicolor dreams in the movies; and a couple of soured artists, Matt (Ron Vawter) and Mary (Mary Woronov), who abandon the Big Apple for Tinsel Town, pursue their dreams, only to find them reduced to convenient consumer size. Cloaking their videowork in the glossy garb of mainstream media, the Yonemotos subvert television by filling it with skewed perspectives, queasy emotions, and disruptive tactics. In a perverse way, Made in Hollywood presents a picture of a fading glitter industry supplanted by the pure pull of commerce: the dream itself has been scaled down to the dimensions of a thirty-second spot.--Steve Seid

Thursday, October 31

  • Seattle, Washington: 911 Media Arts Center: Zombified:Walking corpses! The living dead! Your Mother-in-law! Zombified is an exploration of the zombie character. Gregory Deadlia offers a curious attempt at explaining the unseen forces behind the graphic horror, disease and mythology of the walking dead. Special effects may keep them alive, however, supernatural powers truly control them. Reflections of the human character are alive and well in this dramatic form of imaginative terror. Everyone is welcome to bring in their own zombie film on VHS to screen after the presentation. Please dress-up for a frighteningly fun time. And be warned, some footage may be too "gross" for some viewers.

  • New York: The Institute for Contemporary Art's Clocktower Gallery: HOT & HAUNTED HALLOWEEN!!! film & video, performance: Classics of perversion and other hot new items curated by the Mistress of many hot and bothered nights, M. M. Serra.* ELATIONS IN NEGATIVE by Jennifer Reeves * SCARY MOVIE by Peggy Ahwesh * BLOOD SISTERS (excerpt) by Michelle Handelman * TORTURED SOULS, an expanded cinema performance by Tessa Hughes-Freeland and Ela Troyano, "sexy and scary--a haunted display of glamorous, nocturnal, psycho-surrealism." * TRICK FILM by Peggy Ahwesh * BETTY PAGE films w/live music by Rebecca Moore * ALOT OF FUN FOR THE EVIL ONE by M. M. Serra. Part of the ongoing TIMEBOMB series curated by Janene Higgins

  • San Francisco: SF Cinematheque: Hell-O-Rama Halloween Hoe-Down! A Triple Dose Of 70's Sleaze Horror: To celebrate Halloween, we bring you a triple-bill of impossibly rare 70's exploitation trash. First, Blood Freak (1972), a sleaze classic with heavy Christian overtones in which ugly biker hippies smoke pot and turn into giant turkeys! Then, Boarding House (1979), a 42nd Street favorite: a boarding house turns into a blood-drenched inferno of death, and minds and faces are slashed open. And last but not least, it's the inimitable Andy Milligan's Bloodthirsty Butchers(1976), a loose version of the "Sweeney Todd" story, set in ye olde Victorian England (actually, Staten Island). Incomprehensible stretches of dialogue are mixed with decapitations, breast pies, and grotesque sex scenes. Stupefying! Be there or hate yourself in the morning. (Programmed by Joel Shepard)

  • Seattle, Washington: Penny University: "Television is Good" Film and Video Screening. Free.

Friday, November 1

  • Williamsburg, Virginia: Sharp Stick Cinematheque: All Saints' Day (Happy Birthday, Mom)*; Ken Jacobs "Blonde Cobra (featuring Jack Smith)" (30 min; 1959-63) fmc 60; Kenneth Anger "Kustom Kar Kommandos" (3.5 min; 1965) cc 10; George Kuchar "Hold Me While I'm Naked" (15 min; 1966) fmc/cc 20; *It's Sharp Stick's second anniversary, too--sort of.

  • San Francisco: Artists' Television Access: Post-Halloween, Pre-Election FRIGHT NIGHT! with Paper Tiger TV, Deep Dish TV, and the LA Alternative Network. The San Francisco premieres of Breaking Conventions and Off the Record, two new alternative media collaborations that strip the veneer off the mass-media fluff-fest known as the political convention. These two works, produced by teams of volunteer video activists, show you what really happened both inside and outside the recent Demopublican and Republocratic conventions in San Diego and Chicago. A benefit for Paper Tiger TV and LA Alternative Network.

  • Buffalo, New York: Hallwalls: Hallwalls Paul Sharits Cinema: GENDER OUTLAWS & JODIE FOSTER Shinjuku Boys (Kim Longinotto & Jano Williams, Australia, 1995, 16mm 54 min. ) is an award winning documentary on the lesbian transvestite hosts of Tokyo's Cafe Marilyn. The film follows their life at home and at work, eliciting exceptionally candid revelations from them about their gender-bending lives. An empowering testament to the openness and ingenuity of these outlaws and the transcendent space of resistance they have constructed for themselves and their female clients, lovers and confidantes. Outlaw (Alisa Lebow, USA, 1994, Video, 26 min. ) Transgender activist Leslie Feinberg author of Stone Butch Blues, challenges society's rigid gender definitions in this powerful documentary. Jodie (Pratibha Parmar , UK, 1996, Video, 26 min.) explores the phenomenon of Jodie Foster as a dyke screen idol, lending insight into the uncertainty of her butch/femme identity.

Saturday, November 2

  • San Francisco: Other Cinema: Superhoney + Ecstasy Unlimited: In its SF debut, Manhattan videomaker Charles Atlas' 50-min. danse macabre fashions a dangerously erotic cyber-gothic world of the future, rife with libidinal robots, human profligates, and statuesque hairdressers. ALSO: author Laura Kipnis' Ecstasy Unlimited:The Interpenetrations of Sex and Capital, whose dramatic vignettes in a massage parlor, interviews with sex-shop owners, and sundry images from the Id industry comprise a somewhat less speculative prognosis for the pleasure business.

Sunday, November 3

  • Chicago, Illinois: X-Film Chicago: PROTEST FILMS OF THE AVANT GARDE: Tom Palazzolo and Greg Biermann in person.

  • San Francisco: Artists' Television Access: Works In Progress Screenings: Here's your chance to show pieces not yet complete but you need a critique! Anyone who brings a tape or a reel will have a chance to show and tell. VHS, SVHS, 16mm, Super 8. Call for special needs.

  • New York: the Knitting Factory: : Loud Music/Silent Film:Tetsuo: The Iron man: With soundtrack by the Resonance Impeders Chris Dahlgren (bass) Ted Cruz (keyboards) Jay Rosen (percussion) Briggan Krauss (alto) Bruce Arnold (guitar)

  • San Francisco: SF Cinematheque: Beats on Film: A look at some key Beat figures: 7:30PM: Pull My Daisy (Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie, 1959), from a Kerouac script based on an actual evening at the Cassady household, with Ginsberg, Orlovsky, Corso, Rivers and Delphine Seyrig; Huncke and Louis (Laki Vazakas, 1995), a wonderful and disturbing portrait of Herbert Huncke and Louis Cartwright; Lenny Bruce Performance Film (John Magnuson, 1968), Bruce's brilliant hour-long riff based on the transcript of his trial. 9:00PM: The Hipster, The Delinquint and The Square (ca. 1960), a lost treasure from the vault of Craig Baldwin, an education-film warning parents and teens; The Subterraneans (Ronald MacDougall, 1960), Hollywood's turgid version of Kerouac's novel; music by Gerry Mulligan, with Carmen McRae.

  • Los Angeles: Filmforum: Stan Brakhage The Governor: On July 4, 1976 and July 20, 1976, Stan Brakhage filmed Colorado governor Richard Lamm performing his official duties, and after a year of editing the footage he produced this sixty-minute, silent meditation on natural light and political power. Twenty years later, Lamm offered himself as presidential candidate to the Reform Party and was rejected in favor of Ross Perot "while Brakhage continues more honestly to offer his films. To accompany The Governor, we present two more recent Brakhage films that may also be regarded one day as precious documents of their time: Delicacies of Molten Horror Synapse (1991, 10 mins.)"the primary molten horror is TV"and Christ Mass Sex Dance (1991, 6 mins) with a haunting score by James Tenney.

List courtesy of Scott Stark at Flicker.