THE LAST REVENGE

THE LAST REVENGE
(DIE LETZTE RACHE)

dir. Rainer Kirberg, 1982.
85 mins. Germany.
In German with English subtitles.
Music by Der Plan.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4 – 10 PM
MONDAY, OCTOBER 7 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29 – 10 PM

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While Spectacle has been host to a number of films noteworthy for their soundtracks (ROCK N’ ROLL HOTEL, HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS) as well as their love of the sepulchral (MARQUIS, BLACK PAST), Rainer Kirberg’s little-seen German No Wave oddity straddles both sensibilities. First broadcast in on the second TV channel in West Germany (ZDF), THE LAST REVENGE is a camp nightmare, a Brothers Grimm-style fairy tale told in bravura musical numbers. The score (and subsequent album) by legendary electronic group DER PLAN (Moritz R., Kai Horn, and Frank Fenstermacher) is at once jarring, hypnotic, abrasive, flouncy and dissonant, but the film is more than just an extended riff on the wild and subversive pop paegantry of the band’s concert appearances: Moritz designed the spellbinding 2D sets in the style of METROPOLIS and THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI. The plot, such as it is, concerns Worldly-Wise (Erwin Leder), an adventurer duped into participating in an experiment to help an aristocratic ruler gain immortal life. Something goes terribly wrong in the process, and Worldly sets his sights on the ruler’s two children, and their possibly incestuous relationship…

BURNING FRAME: A MONTHLY ANARCHIST FILM SERIES

CALLING ALL LEFTISTS! The past few years have been a whirlwind: exhausting, invigorating, and ripe with potential. It’s tremendously difficult, when in the thick of it, to pause, reflect, or even find a moment to catch a breath. Especially when “it” refers to the rise of fascism on a global scale, with any number of future cataclysms hovering just over the horizon. But we digress.

Join us, then, for a series that asks: if not now, when? Come for great works of radical political filmmaking, stay for the generative discussions, or even just to gossip and gripe. The hope isthat this forum for authentic representations of successes, defeats, and the messy work of political action, will be thrilling, edifying, and maybe even inspire your next organizing project. To butcher the title of a great film for the sake of a moderately applicable pun: “Throw away your dogma, rally in the cinema.”

NAGAI PARK ELEGY
(長居青春酔夢歌)
dir. Leo Sato, 2009
69 mins. Japan.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

“In 2006, the Osaka Municipal Government forcibly evicted two major tent villages, one in Utsubo Park and another in Osaka Castle Park. After having confronted with the riot police for defending the dwelling space, we were sadly realizing the impossibility of competing with the state power. Now the remaining village was only in Nagai Park. The dwellers and supporters of the village knew that they were doomed to be kicked out sooner or later. In the following winter of 2007, the people in the park staged a collaborative play, while their village was being attacked by the riot police. This was a festive choice in desperation. The director Sato was shooting this entire process. The present documentary is thus centered on the confrontation/play at Nagai Park.

During the 1990s, Japan’s real estate bubble dramatically burst. The day-laborers lost their jobs in construction and most of them turned to be homeless. On riverbeds and streets, in stations and parks, many large-scale tent villages appeared across Japan. There was a construction boom for a short period, after the Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, when jobs for day-laborers increased and homeless population decreased. But in the 2000s, tent villages returned everywhere in Osaka. The homeless people sought to sustain their reproduction by building tents, earn living by collecting cans and wastes, thereby organize their autonomous community. We, the outside supporters, went in their village, seeking to find a way of symbiosis.

Eventually we were evicted from Sagai Park as well. The loss affected our relations nurtured during the communal life-in-struggle. Being unable to create a new base, we were dispersed. Some of us were badly depressed in devastation. But in the summer of 2008, a riot broke out in Kamagsaki, the day-laborers’ ghetto in Osaka. It was locals’ response to the police brutality against a day-laborer. The event was a sheer surprise for most of us, because the locals had not rose up against the police since 1992. Though the police oppression was tough, we were nevertheless empowered. It provided the opportunity to connect the older dispossessed and the younger precariats in Osaka. It gave us who had been disseminated after the eviction an ideal occasion to reassemble. While shooting the riot, some of us organized a film production collective the Nakazaki-cho Documentary Space (NDS). Therefore, the documentary connects the struggle of underclass across Osaka’s urban space, from the tent village defense in the park to the inner-city riot.”

LETTER TO OUTSIDE FRIENDS FROM THE KAMAGASAKI COMMUNE:

We want to share our struggle with you, who are fighting against capitalism and the state, somewhere on the planet. We are seeking to make the labor center a space of our encounter and cohabitation. That is the most substantial objective of our present occupation.

On the evening of March 31st, we began occupying Airin Labor Welfare Center in Kamagasaki, Osaka. The humongous building was originally constructed in 1970 to provide the space for a large-scale labor market where construction companies could buy the labor power of day laborers on daily basis. After the construction boom was gone, the need for labor market has diminished and the building has gradually come to function as a common space for the workers and homeless people, being used communally for cooking, sleeping, hanging out, playing shogi, etc.

In the summer of 2018, closure of the building was announced by the Osaka Municipal Government. The building was to be demolished for new development. Expecting the eviction, various forms of protests were attempted by different groups. However, nobody had thought that a physical occupation was possible, until it actually happened on March 31st, the date scheduled for the closure. At the moment when the dear and necessary space fell under attack, a crowd emerged as so many bodies ready to physically defend it. The ensuing struggle manifests how this space had become a part of their lives.

The occupation has begun and continues. We have been observing much passion of left leaning academics to analyze why and how the occupation had taken place. We would say: if you need bread for your career, here it is, take it! But to be honest, ex post facto analyses do not help our occupation. What we need is to exchange and share the ideas and aspirations for what we want to create out of this occupation. Since the remarkable Sunday evening, when many bodies spontaneously gathered and rose up — beyond the divisions of activists vs. workers/homeless — our common passion has been to ask each other on our future orientation: what we want to do, how we want to do it, … It is the questionings that are presently rearranging the power of our struggle, as the impetus to go beyond the stagnant frameworks of day-laborers’ movement and homeless movement.

We would like you, our friends, to know that the occupied space has openness and uncertainty at the moment. Although the space is managed by us to welcome everyone, homeless people and neighbors, many of them are still standing-by, hesitating to join. Although increasing number of friends are visiting, the space is far from being a common place for the locals.

The power (or genius loci) of Kamagasaki is made by a hybridization of various types of people, who are essentially outsiders. The majority of residents are social outcasts (clerics, activists, criminals, day-laborers, performers, street vendors, miners, migrant peasants, prostitutes, transvestites, all kinds of losers, …), who originally come from somewhere else. It has been the place of radical struggles and periodic riots. But there has been no single ideology leading them. If there is anything that has led them, it is the power of cohabitation of those others who come from different backgrounds.

The hybrid power is manifest in various dimensions. For instance, the communal kitchen – one of the most crucial projects there — has been sustained twice a week (Tuesday and Saturday) in the autonomous space of Sankaku Park, since the 90s, by various individuals: Christians, day-laborers, park dwellers, organizers of homeless movement, leftist radicals, anarchists, citizen volunteers, … This project has been made possible by everyone’s gesture that is equally forged by persisting in everyday troubles, rather than by the efforts of selected few.

In the present occupation, the moment of cohabitation with all locals has not yet been discovered. But with the incompleteness, we intend to experiment a new arrangement of cohabitation. Especially, we would like you, our friends who are outsider to Kamagasaki, to bring something different to our common space shared by the present occupies, in order to create a new arrangement of cohabitation with those homeless people and neighbors, who are standing-by. It is high time to fully employ the hybrid power of outsiders/social outcasts as the genius loci of Kamagasaki.

The conventional premise of the leftist movement in Kamagasaki has been to postpone the end of workers’ autonomous space, tacitly taking for granted that it is destined to be lost sooner or later by the development. It is high time to go beyond this fatalism with a flavor of nostalgia. What is crucial for us now is to take this event as an opportunity to experiment a new social relation that would maximize the power of our struggle. As To Our Friends keenly said, while the subject of strike was the working class, the subject of occupation could be anyone, namely, the heterogenous and hybrid crowds.
Since the beginning of center’s crisis, young precariat like us have been engaged in the struggle leading to the occupation, in order to construct the base for a communal life of the dispossessed. Thereby we have been seeking to create a new form of life-as-struggle against the capitalist-nation-state on the everyday basis. This is an ongoing attempt to realize what we would want to share, which entails much unknown factors at the moment. But what we would want to realize is clear: to create a new village of the dispossessed within the mammoth building.

To begin with, we want to improve the present state of our living, where tens of us are surviving only with several tents installed on the small area covered with blue sheets, in the center’s huge floor. We want to make a kitchen with which we can cook for a hundred people. We want to become a power that makes possible a safe and comfortable cohabitation for all genders. We want to organize the openness and uncertainty as flexible as possible, so that everyone of us can attempt to create what we all share in their own ways. We want to stop representing the oppressed by professing to be supporters/activists, and instead, nurture the power together with the locals through our common struggle. We want to think together with you all what this struggle can achieve, beyond our intention.

We call to all friends who are passionate to participate in this occupation: the success of this struggle is not in sustaining the occupation forever. We are well aware of the fact that we could be evicted by the police anytime. Our objective is not to beat them. It is a sheer impossibility today. It is not only impossible, but also undesirable. What we want to have is not the power rivaling the power that the state conceives. What we want is a totally different power, namely, the power of association that creates an yet unknown arrangement of planetary struggle against the capitalist-nation-state, by connecting our attempt for a new cohabitation of the dispossessed in Kamagasaki with the struggles of our friends outside Kamagasaki. We believe that today’s revolutionary potency exists in the power nurtured by the encounter among the struggles across the planet.


KAMAGASKI CAULDRON WAR
(月夜釜合戦)
dir. Leo Sato, 2018
115 mins. Japan.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!


Kamagasaki is the town of day-laborers, homeless and social outcasts in Osaka Japan. Along with another urban ghetto, Sanya in Tokyo, the town saw periodic riots — even after the age of uprisings in the 60s — whose last manifestation was in the summer of 2008 during the G8 Summit. The town embodies all aspects of otherness to the country known for its near completion of social control and consumerist paradise.

During the economic growth, the resident workers were made to provide their blood and tears for massive developments, while excluded from nation’s civil society. After the construction boom dwindled, the town was disinvested and the impetus of all activities declined, but the exclusionary status has sustained, while the majority of residents have turned to be homeless. Today the area is the target of gentrification and the spaces of autonomy that the residents had achieved by their long-time struggles are being evicted one after another.

The town has been a center of political activism. The activists of liberal inclination work for welfare projects designed to domesticate homeless population, mostly, in collaboration with the government. Certain artists are mobilized to make the town look neater and more accessible to the general public. Labor organizers of different veins have long been working with the residents in the framework of their political organizations. Left leaning academics (mostly urban theorists) passionately study the history of labor militancy as well as the recent development of gentrification. And finally, young precariats (including those with anti-capitalist convictions) seek to create a cohabitation space with the older day-laborers and homeless by developing new autonomous zones. During the past two years, the annual gathering of Living Assembly was hosted by the community there.

On the evening of March 31st 2019, the residents of Kamagasaki began occupying the local labor center. This was the date scheduled by the Osaka municipal government for the center’s closure, in order to demolish it for a new development. At the moment when the existence of the center — dear and necessary in the minds of so many — fell under attack, a crowd emerged as so many bodies ready to physically defend it. The ensuing struggle manifests how the space itself had become a part of their lives.
Though originally constructed in 1970 as a massive labor marketplace where construction companies could buy the labor power of day laborers, the building had since come to function as a common space for the workers and homeless people, used communally for cooking, sleeping, hanging out, playing shogi, etc.

The occupation ended within twenty-four days. But the short-lived event broke the ice of powerlessness that had long been affecting the entirety of Japan, and opened a potency for the unknown. What was happening inside the occupied space was remarkable. It was an experimentation of cohabitation between the young and old dispossessed, outside the consumerist society. When the spring wind turned cold, heaters were brought in; when their stomachs got empty, a community kitchen was organized; when the night grew long, bedding was collected. The occupiers organized general assembly for sharing the prospect of occupation. They held various discussions for all decision-makings. They built a library. They invited authors to give talks. They had film screenings. Music concerts took place. Many outside friends in and out of Japan visited for support (…) These are manifestations of real capacity for a communal life in happiness, deriving from the power nurtured by the worker/homeless through their lives-as-struggle, that was reawoken by the new encounter between the older residents of Kamagasaki, young newcomers as well as friends from outside. The event created relations beyond the previously dominant duality between the activist (as savior) and the day-laborer/homeless (as victim); it surpassed the phase of leftists’ passive immersion in the nostalgia of good old days of labor militancy. The event created a new body of communal life-as-struggle.

This body is now charged with a question, that is shared universally among all of us living under the endless drive of capitalist/state mode of development. If every autonomous zone we create is destined to perish by violence, sooner or later, at some point in future, how can the autonomous zone and the communal relations nurtured therein sustain themselves and grow further? Is it possibly by creating a certain mobile form and synchronicity with others?

This film’s story takes place in various Kamagasaki locales, unfolding in the shadow of what its characters refer to simply as “Abeno.” This is the high-rise complex Abeno Harukas, Japan’s tallest building and the epitome of reckless development. Today, powerful and vested interests threaten to displace the old Kamagasaki dwellers and destroy the forms of life they created outside of civil society. The film maps this ongoing gentrification through the perspectives of a diverse cast of characters, representative of Kamagasaki’s real inhabitants: there are day laborers, prostitutes, homeless, a pickpocket, a street performer, a blind masseur, an orphan, a political activist and a priest. There is also a yakuza family called the Kamatari Gang who rule underground businesses, including the red light district Tobita Ukaku. Like real-life yakuza, the Kamatari regularly collaborate with the police and with developers. When the Kamatari’s prized possession — a kama emblazoned with the family emblem, used in pledging ceremonies — is stolen by a wandering performer, a great melee ensues, embroiling gangsters fighting for prestige, locals looking to make a few bucks, workers/homeless protecting their symbol of survival, and bystanders who can’t help but get involved. The countless kama being circulated around only complicate the situation, and confrontations multiply…

The cast includes only a few established actors. The majority of the characters are played by friends of the production team, and real people living in Kamagasaki. The film was shot in 16mm in attempt to capture the special atmosphere of Kamagasaki, its smells and its aura, as well as people’s breath and heartbeat. All in all, the real subject of the film is the town of Kamagasaki itself.

In the process of the film’s distribution, however, a conflict arose, between those who prioritize screening in political communities across the world and those who cherish major distribution, especially in national and international film festivals. This conflict is so idiotic, since there is no reason that these two stances have to oppose each other. On the other hand, however, in the context of Japan it embodies a recurrence of the important debate that surfaced in the late 60s among revolutionary film makers, between the film of movement (collectivity) or the film of author (director).

The production of KAMASAGAKI: THE CAULDRON WAR was made possible by the collaborative relations nurtured in the Nakazaki-cho Documentary Space (NDS), where all members contribute to making films directed by other members. This assumes a de-hierarchized collaboration among all, wherein all are directors and production assistants at the same time. But after the production ended, the drive for success in the capitalist mode of film making has come to dominate and a group led by the producer has come to monopolize the object and means of distribution. Meanwhile, another group persists in guerrilla screening across the world, focusing on small enclaves of radicals. It goes without saying that this screening is part of the latter.

All texts written by Living Assembly.

PUBLIC ACCESS, PRIVATE DESIRES

In the early 70s, a group of academics, documentarians and free-speech enthusiasts dragged the chairman of the FCC into the desert and threw soft, dusty pillows at him until he ceded a few bands of the commercial broadcast system for local use. They swore there and then that not all public-access would be coverage of town fairs and talent shows, but that hilarious and oddly beautiful things would be broadcast to audiences of tens, maybe even hundreds. This September, Spectacle brings you five public-access greats: David Liebe Hart, Job Matusow from Utah, Damon Zex from Columbus, Splendid Recipes out of Pittsburgh, and NYC’s very own Concrete TV.




THE DIABOLICAL DAMON ZEX / CHECKMATE
dir. Damon Zex, 1992-2004
84 mins. Ohio.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 – MIDNIGHT

Special thanks to Damon Zex and Greg Smalley.

“Damon Zex wears his badge of Artistic Elitism as a warning to the bourgeoisie… a kindred spirit to innovators such as Georges Melies, Kenneth Anger and Ernie Kovacs.” – Alfred Eaker, 366weirdmovies

Although he was making films as early as 1984 and even had a few appearances on Toronto’s Much Music, Damon Zex found his home as the Patron Saint of Public Access in the sleepy little hamlet of Columbus, Ohio in 1992. Zex’s show aptly titled “Zextalk” crashed like a bolt of lightning amidst shows like “Bee B The Clown” and it wasn’t long until folks took notice. Assaulted by the likes of City Council and CNN alike, Zex weaved and dodged through the wagging fingers defending his ability to bring surrealism to the masses eventually landing spots on Geraldo, Jerry Springer, and more.

Zex’s love for silent film and German expressionism pours onto the screen while episodes featured himself and a few guests participating in things the suburbs simply couldn’t stomach. If you happened to land on Zextalk while channel surfing (or made it a point to leave a function to catch the show like some folks) it was possible to see a vampire eating used tampons, a chessboard made of drugs, a televangelist who claims God loves to watch you fuck, and more. In fact if you ask just about anyone who lived in Columbus at the time it’s safe to say they have at least one Damon Zex story. When the channel finally closed in 2004 Zex was thankfully able to get out with his collection of U-Matic tapes of his episodes.

A long time coming, this program features a sort of “Best Of” complied by Damon Zex and Greg Smalley from the original tapes and is paired with CHECKMATE.

FUCK FOR DRUGS.




JOB MATUSOW’S MAGIC MOUSE MAGAZINE

dir. Harvey Matusow, 199X
70 mins. Utah.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 – MIDNIGHT
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 – 10 PM
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 – 10:00 PM

Harvey Matusow had a pretty storied life—he was a fink during the House of Un-American Activities hearings, ratting out his comrades at People’s Song and leading to Pete Seeger’s unceremonious blacklisting. He later recanted his testimony, leading to a perjury conviction that landed him in Lewisberg (he was cellmates with Wilhelm Reich).

It turns out there are second acts in American lives, because after his sentence he ended up relocating to London and becoming a fixture in the experimental arts scene—he was briefly married to composer Annea Lockwood—most notably organizing a 7-day festival called ICES ’72 that brought together John Cage, AMM, Cornelius Cardew, and Gee Vaucher of Crass. It’s said that Matusow helped introduce John Lennon to Yoko Ono.

He relocated back to the US in 1974 and after some time flirting with the Elwood Babbitt commune in western Massachusetts, he settled west, first in Arizona then Utah, developing a clown character named Cockyboo and a set of children’s stories called Magic Mouse Magazine. In the ’80s he became active in the Church of Latter Day Saints, changed his name to Job, and established Utah’s first public access television station, bringing his Magic Mouse concept with him.




DAVID LIEBE HART’S JUNIOR CHRISTIAN TEACHING BIBLE LESSON PROGRAM

dir. David Leibe Hart, 1994-2008
70 mins. Los Angeles.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 – 10 PM

Well before his memorable segments in Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show Good Job, David Liebe Hart was a showman in his own right, arriving in Hollywood in 1976 and soon after appearing with Robin Williams and working as an intern on Chuck Barris’ The Gong Show, among other stints.

JUNIOR CHRISTIAN TEACHING BIBLE LESSON PROGRAM was a Los Angeles public access program that ran for nearly 20 years, featuring biblical explications illustrated by puppet sketches, hosted by Hart, a life-long member of the Christian Science faith.

“I am the image and likeness of god, I am I am I am, I am the image and likeness of God, I am I am I am…” – Albert Hermann, first reader

“It’s the most bizarre, horrible, extraordinary piece of Christian puppeteering I think you’ll ever see.” – Andy Nyman on a episode of Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe



SPLENDID RECIPES
produced by Chris Coleman, 2007ish
72 mins. Pittsburgh.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 – 10 PM

Time to take a trip and spend a holiday in Pittsburg! Certain cable access shows could be categorized as mixtapes, yet it’s especially apt here, given how it’s a collaboration between local hip hop & noise grind artists, along with their pals. But instead of being inside a studio or on-stage making music, they’re screwing around the neighborhood and making each other laugh, be it yelling at city buses or making a scene at a midnight launch for a video game. Splendid Recipes is a greatest hits of everyone’s shot on VHS antics from childhood, later refined attempts at sketch comedy as adults, experiments in Video Toaster, some good old-fashioned found footage, and a whole lotta love for the neighborhood. Spectacle is proud to present what is believed to be special editions/director’s cuts of the first two episodes, entitled “EPISODE THRICE” & “EPISODE 4REIGNER”, and which were sold on DVD-Rs at a local Pittsburg comic shop. As well as “EPISODE SCI-FIVE”, which may have never been released into the wild and instead only obtainable to the select few who managed to establish a relationship with the show on MySpace, back when that was still a thing.


CONCRETE TV
dir. Ron Rocheleau, 19XX-20XX
70 mins. New York City.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 – 7:30 PM w/Concrete Ron in person for Q&A
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 – 7:30 PM w/Concrete Ron in person for Q&A
(Both these events are $10.)

When Rolling Stone Magazine cited a local New York cable access program, Concrete TV, as the best thing on television across the board in 1996, everyone from MTV to NBC came knocking on creator Ron Rocheleau’s door. Network executives all wanted his keen eye and even sharper editorial chops for distilling plus remixing the pure nonsense and madness that is commercial television, Hollywood drivel, workout videos, car crash footage, professional wrestling, vintage porn, and even more car crash footage.

When it was explained that what he did could not be replicated on a corporate payroll, because the type of art that he produced has zero concern for trifling matters such as copyright and intellectual property, everyone tried their best to copycat. These pale imitations would evolve over time, and Concrete Ron’s style would ultimately be popularized over the years, albeit without the direct involvement of the creator himself. Hence why it is no exaggeration to say that the DNA of every single video collage effort over the past 20+ years can be directly traced to Concrete TV, which stands as perhaps the most influential forms of modern media to go unrecognized.

Concrete TV is still being produced today… you can catch episodes on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network every Friday night at 1:30am… and Spectacle is proud to present not only brand new, yet to air episodes, but to also have Ron Rocheleau in attendance, who will fully detail how he’s still using VCRs and nothing but VCRs in the year 2019.

ADDICTED TO MEDIOCRITY: THE FILMS OF FRANKY SCHAEFFER


The film career of Franky Schaeffer has largely faded from public mind, but nonetheless remains a curious and inscrutable chapter in ‘80s genre B-movies. Francis “Franky” Schaeffer, Jr. grew up as the son of noted Evangelical theologian and pastor Francis Schaeffer, known as the founder of the Swiss alp spiritual center L’Abri in 1955, an influential philosophy seminar and commune hybrid that attracted bohemian spiritual seekers and rigid neo-Calvinists alike. A lover of Christian art and texts, Schaeffer Senior honed a strict presuppositionalist approach to theology and ethics, developing a worldview highly cautious of attitudes and art trends he deemed “post-modern” (especially directing his ire towards John Cage and Andy Warhol, et al), meanwhile preaching a brand of Christian Reconstructionism that sought to reinvigorate evangelical participation in official state politics.

In the years leading up to Ronald Reagan, Schaeffer Senior was a critical figure in the burgeoning Protestant Right—particularly on the issue of abortion, which prior to his influence was primarily the domain of the Catholic Church. With the help of former White House chaplain, and personal spiritual counsel to born-again Gerald Ford, Billy Zeoli, Schaeffer Senior was able secure funds (in part from Amway billionaire Richard DeVos) to adapt his book and lecture series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? into a 10-episode television show directed in part by his then-25-year-old son Franky. (It was post-produced by evangelical pastor Mel White, later an out gay man and LGBTQ advocate, as well as father of SCHOOL OF ROCK scribe Mike White.) The program was a history of Western civilization told from the Christian point-of-view, designed to assert the necessity for a new dominion; and indeed, it did fire up a young generation of right-wing Jesus freaks, among them Tea Party firebrand Michele Bachmann who noted it as a core influence. Later, in 1979, Schaeffer Senior co-penned a notorious anti-abortion screed titled Whatever Happened to the Human Race?—conspicuously, with soon-to-be Reagan Surgeon General D. Everett Koop.

Following his TV show production credit, Schaeffer Jr.’s interest in the entertainment industry would only grow. In 1981, the aspiring filmmaker penned a fascinating diatribe titled Addicted to Mediocrity, drawing in part from his rigorous education at L’Abri. He argues that Christian art once reigned supreme in craft and complexity but was by the 20th century losing out to secular artistic endeavors, and that it was up to a new generation of Christians to re-emphasize cultural production. Schaeffer Jr. imagined a world in which dyed-in-the-wool conservative Christians would make prestige art on par with Fellini and Bergman, a culture war with its eye on capital-C culture.

The films he eventually made were perhaps another story. Shortly after his father passed away three years later, in 1984, Schaeffer Jr. distanced himself from the ministry and cancelled further speaking engagements, instead burrowing himself on the edge of the film industry with hopes of making elevated sci-fi films on par with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BLADE RUNNER, or REPO MAN. Reception was poor. One former devotee, inspired by Schaeffer Jr. to continue to soldier on in the film world despite it conflicting so drastically with his evangelical life, wrote in the LA Times: “Yes, I was indeed “blown away” by WIRED TO KILL. That someone as literate as Schaeffer could write such a dull-witted and thudding rehash of tired old themes and then presume to pass this off as a committed Christian making a philosophical statement is appalling.”

For Christians, the films weren’t explicit enough; for audiences at the time, they were simply mediocre. But for Spectacle’s audiences, watching now with over three decades of hindsight, these films might reveal something else. They are a snapshot of a religious right refuge in the thick of the Reagan years, capturing Schaeffer in increasing doubt before he left Protestantism entirely and disavowed his politics. (He was a diligent Obama supporter, appearing as a talking head on network news often in the ‘00s; today he describes himself as a “Christian atheist” and is affiliated with the Orthodox church.) They’re crypto-Christian oddities, unsure of whether they want to ooze into the pop-cultural membrane as popcorn action flicks or philosophizing high art. But most of all, they’re pretty good B-movies, filled with good bad synth leads, suspect practical FX, set pieces pulled off to varying degrees of success, and of course the schlock and sheen of the Me-First decade and its discontents.




WIRED TO KILL (a.k.a. BOOBY TRAP)
Dir. Francis Schaeffer, 1986
96 min, USA

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2 – MIDNIGHT
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, AUGUST 13 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 24 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

Taking place in an alternate 1998 in which famine has transformed society into a wasteland of miscreant gangs and deindustrialized clutter, Schaeffer was perhaps trying to channel ROBOCOP (one particularly Verhoeven-ian throwaway gag has a hospital dispatcher reminding patients that if they wish to sue their doctor, there’s a round-the-clock toll-free number) but instead taps more into the proto-militia movement survivalism of John Milius’s RED DAWN. Steve (Devin Hoelscher) lives a quiet life with his law-abiding suburban family, moonlighting as an electrical engineer in his spare time, toying with primitive robotics and perfecting his own synth pop rig. When a gang murders his family and leaves him legless, he and Rebecca (Emily Longstreth of PRETTY IN PINK) conspire to exact revenge. Per the film’s seething tagline—“If you want to make history, you gotta make your own”—it’s got a creeping soft Nietzschean undertone that might pass for Christian allegory. Co-produced by future Christian right-wing radio personality Paul McGuire. Schaeffer says he “laced” WIRED TO KILL “with what [he] would describe as small Felini tributes”… but if you can guess how or where, you deserve to be refunded the price of admission!




HEADHUNTER
Dir. Francis Schaeffer, 1988
91 min, USA

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9 – 10 PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 12 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, AUGUST 16 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, AUGUST 24 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

Schaeffer’s first with Gibraltar Entertainment, the ‘80s cheapie studio headed by VALLEY GIRL writer Wayne Crawford, HEADHUNTER follows cop Pete Giuliani (Crawford) as he trails a voodoo ritual serial killer who has beheaded a Nigerian immigrant in Miami. (In actuality, it’s South Africa, which leads to roughly the same feel as RUMBLE IN THE BRONX’s Vancouver-Bronx). As many reviews have noted, the movie attempts to fuse its cop-procedural-slasher with a rather ‘deliberately paced’ domestic drama, as Giuliani is coping with a recent divorce due to his wife taking a female lover—a reminder that Ari Aster didn’t invent melodrama-occult-horror hybrid. Notable is its climax, which juxtaposes the final encounter with the killer with a television broadcast of THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON.




RISING STORM (a.k.a. REBEL STORM, a.k.a. REBEL WAVES, a.k.a. SHIP OF THE DESERT)
Dir. Francis Schaeffer, 1989
95 min, USA

SATURDAY, AUGUST 10 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 24 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 30 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

Made in the thick of several high-profile televangelist scandals (Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart in quick succession), RISING STORM imagines a world in which the bunk TV preachers have taken over, a zany Terry Gilliam-esque dystopia of Reagan-Bush proportions. It’s 2099 in Los Angeles and Joe (Gibraltar’s Wayne Crawford) has just gotten out of prison, reuniting with brother Artie (Zach Galligan of GREMLINS). America has become some sort of post-nuclear barren wasteland crossed with the twin influences of supreme spectacle (WWE wrestling and archaeological digs for ‘80s pop culture ephemera) and biblical repression (citizens are allotted one act of intercourse a month). The brothers lead an underground resistance against the tyrant president Reverend Jimmy Joe II, teaming up with a pair of affable blonde women. Schaeffer’s most cynical—and personal?—film, it’s relentlessly down on the merchandise frenzy and mediatized religious fervor of the late ‘80s.

MATCH CUTS PRESENTS: MIKE KELLEY’S DAY IS DONE


DAY IS DONE
dir. Mike Kelley, 2006.
USA, 169 min.
English.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21st – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

DAY IS DONE is a carnivalesque opus, a genre-smashing epic in which vampires, dancing Goths, hillbillies, mimes and demons come together in a kind of subversive musical theater/variety revue. Running over two-and-a-half hours, this riotous theatrical spectacle unfolds as a series of episodes that form a loose, fractured narrative. The video comprises parts 2 through 32 of Kelley’s multi-faceted project Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions, in which trauma, abuse and repressed memory are refracted through personal and mass-cultural experience. The source material is a series of high school yearbook photographs of “extracurricular activities,” specifically those that represent what Kelley has termed “socially accepted rituals of deviance.” Kelley then stages video narratives around these found images.

In DAY IS DONE, these restagings take the form of “folk entertainments” that Kelley memorably subverts. Featuring characters such as Motivational Vampire, Morose Ghoul and Devil/Barber, much of the action—antic song-and-dance numbers and dramatic scenes, with Satan as emcee—takes place in a generic school gymnasium and a wooded landscape.

Writes Kelley: “For this project, I limited myself to specific iconographic motifs taken from the following files: Religious Performances, Thugs, Dance, Hick and Hillbilly, Halloween and Goth, Satanic, Mimes, and Equestrian Events. Many of the source photographs are of people in costume singing or dancing, so the resulting tapes are generally music videos. In fact, I consider Day Is Done to be a kind of fractured feature-length musical…. The experience of viewing it is somewhat akin to channel-surfing on television.”

The video reconstructions were originally seen within an ambitious, sprawling exhibition of video/sculpture installations, photographs, sets, props and drawings at the Gagosian Gallery in New York in 2005; the videos were incorporated into 25 sculptural viewing stations. Writes Kelley, “My intention was to create a kind of spatialized filmic montage: a feature-length film made up of multiple simultaneous and sequential scenes playing in architectural space.”

– text courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix

MATCH CUTS is a weekly podcast centered on video, film and the moving image. Match Cuts Presents is dedicated to presenting de-colonialized cinema, LGBTQI films, Marxist diatribes, video art, dance films, sex films, and activist documentaries with a rotating cast of presenters from all spectrums of the performing and plastic arts and surrounding humanities. Match Cuts is hosted by Nick Faust and Kachine Moore.

SCUM IN THE SUN PART TWO: JON MORITSUGU

Scummer’s not over til it’s over.




PIG DEATH MACHINE
dir. Jon Moritsugu, 2013
82 mins. United States.

*Preceded by the short MOMMY MOMMY WHERE’S MY BRAIN (1986)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 17 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, AUGUST 19 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28 – 10 PM

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If you joined us for July’s selections, you know by now that Jon Moritsugu has a thing with meat, especially in raw form. In MOD FUCK EXPLOSION London walks through 800 pounds of the stuff, and MY DEGENERATION features a punk band sponsored by the beef industry. PIG DEATH MACHINE explores the supernatural power of rancid pork, which transforms the lives of two women who consume it. Amy Davis has a sudden spike in brain power, her IQ rising faster than temperatures in the New Mexico desert. Hannah Levbarg, a punk plant-lover, develops a psychic connection with the local flora that includes their screams for water and attention. This film was shot digitally, adding to the garish putridness of the whole operation. All of this is bookended by a mysterious pig-mask love affair, hinting at the origins of the shipment of magic meat.




FAME WHORE
dir. Jon Moritsugu, 1997
73 mins. United States.

*Preceded by the shorts BRAINDEAD (1987) and DER ELVIS (1988)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2 – 10 PM
SATUDAY, AUGUST 17 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 22 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 26 – 10 PM

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They say fame comes at a price. For the psychos found in the last gem of Moritsugu’s 16mm empire, that price is sanity. Told in triptych, FAME WORE examines three unrelated eccentrics lost in total delusion within their profession, all taking place on a day where each get smacked hard with reality checks that force consideration for saner perspectives.

One story follows that of Jody George (Peter Friedrich)—a ruthless bro whose blessed tennis prowess has earned him the #1 rank in the field worldwide. But once rumors spreading through the newspapers put his straightness into question, his several investors begin to drop him one by one, throwing him on a infantile rampage in his SF hotel suite. Another tale peers into the office of a milquetoast animal lover (Victor of Aquitaine) whose dignity is continuously trampled on at his New Jersey dog adoption agency. All the intensely bottled up repression and isolation naturally lead him to manifest an imaginary friend (a sauced St. Bernard who offers half-hearted advice).

But frankly it’s Amy Davis who steals the show as the true Fame Whore, Sophie: a seriously talentless, bong ripping New Yorker, who lives in a business suit but can’t seem to file her own taxes. Tormenting her unnecessary personal assistant, J (Jason Rail), with endless self-obsessed and hyper-judgmental confab while her headshots go unautographed, Sophie’s fate unlikely holds fame and glory, but rather a doomed personal esteem, void of substance or meaning.




SCUMROCK
dir. Jon Moritsugu, 2002
79 mins. United States.

*Preceded by the shorts CRACK (1999) and SLEAZY RIDER (1988)

TUESDAY, AUGUST 6 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 17 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, AUGUST 20 – 10 PM

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Youth is forever fading, but sleaze will never die… In this departure from celluloid, Moritsugu and Davis probe at juvenescence on its deathbed, as a cast of all too familiar drifting personalities tussle with not just the imminent death of their 20s, but the existential perils of preserving creative and offbeat livelihoods in the face of daunting adulthood, chilling reality, and personal failure.

Trashing and thrashing through the streets of a yet to be tech gentri-fried San Franciscan milieu, a no-budget underground filmmaker (sound familiar?) writhes his precarious sanity in order to hopefully yield a cinematic opus, while on a vaguely non-linear beaten course, a pissed miscreant (none other than Amy Davis) fumes and flounders to stubbornly keep her lowly punk band from being swallowed into the abyss of obscurity (and not the cool kind either).

Pressing on the perishability of the proverbial salad days, SCUMROCK is a tenderly relevant meditation for the aging hipster with chronic slacker-depression, which should inspire all of us to ask ourselves “What do I have to show for all my avant-gardness?”




MOD FUCK EXPLOSION
Dir. Jon Moritsugu, 1994
67 min. USA

SUNDAY, AUGUST 25 – 7:30 PM **Q&A WITH DESI DEL VALLE [M16]**
SUNDAY, AUGUST 25 – 10 PM **PHONE Q&A WITH JON MORITSUGU & AMY DAVIS**
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 – 7:30 PM **Q&A WITH CINEMATOGRAPHER TODD VEROW**
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 – 10 PM **PHONE Q&A WITH JON MORITSUGU & AMY DAVIS*

ALL SCREENINGS ON 16MM!
*THIS EVENT IS $10*

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

The Nipponese bikers have leather jackets and London, a broken-family blonde, wants a leather jacket more than anything. Her sister Nasty has one, but she’s a post-Quaalude comic artist and won’t give it up. London’s brother is a dumb wannabe mod, clinging to a style that is just nativism with thick-framed glasses. Top Mod Madball sums up their situation with a joke:

“Why did Hitler kill himself?”

“To get to the other side!”

All London has to do is party with the bikers and tell Kazumi that he has a great bod, but instead she’s in love with death-obsessed M-16. Cleopatra, the supernatural succubus and queen of feces, tries to give London some T-R-U-T-H but she won’t hear it! Everything is leading in a fucked-up, not-knowing-how-to-fuck direction not to mention the ultimate showdown between the pale mods and a powerful biker gang.

DOUBLE THE PUPI, DOUBLE THE FUN



THE HOUSE WITH THE LAUGHING WINDOWS
(LA CASA DALLE FINESTRE CHE RIDONO)
dir. Pupi Avati, 1976
110 mins. Italy.
In Italian with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 8 – 10 PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 12 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, AUGUST 27 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

Stefano, a young painter, is sent to a rural town to restore a fresco depicting the execution of Saint Sebastian begun by a local artist who committed suicide before its completion. As Stefano dives into the work, he finds himself drawn deeper into the strange web of stories surrounding the original artist and his more sinister proclivities.

Regarded by some as one of the best giallos ever made (including, ugh, Eli Roth), THE HOUSE WITH THE LAUGHING WINDOWS has mood for days, favoring a long, slow burn and a more naturalistic approach over the lurid colors and psychedelic freakouts of genre masters like Argento and Bava.

What it lacks in standard bonkers giallo fare (the body count is relatively low, and the “sex scenes” are almost laughably chaste for the genre), it more than makes up for in pure dread, building a thick mood of uncertainty and paranoia, leading up to a shockingly strong ending.



ZEDER (REVENGE OF THE DEAD)

Dir. Pupi Avati, 1983
100 mins. Italy.
In Italian with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, AUGUST 9 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23 – MIDNIGHT
TUESDAY, AUGUST 27 – 10 PM

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The story follows a novelist (also named Stefano) who discovers the writings of a scientist named Zeder still legible in the ream of an old typewriter. He slowly becomes obsessed with the details of his research at the mention of something known as the ‘K-zone’, a specific area of land that has the power to return the dead to life.

Marketed in the US as REVENGE OF THE DEAD, ZEDER is a heady slow-burn freakout, grossly underseen given the number of things that have lifted from it (looking at you, Pet Semetary). Don’t expect your average schlocky zombie thriller, but a more unique blend of and riff on sci-fi zombie-mystery-and-giallo tropes.

LONG WEEKEND


LONG WEEKEND
dir. Colin Eggleston, 1978
97 mins. Australia.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, AUGUST 10 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, AUGUST 30 – MIDNIGHT

ONLINE TICKETS      FACEBOOK EVENT

“Their crime was against nature. Nature found them guilty.”

Given the crushing heat waves and our full throttle race to planet-death, it seems as good a time as any to give LONG WEEKEND another look. Safe to say its aged entirely too well.

Peter and Marcia are going through a bit of a rough patch, so the natural solve is, of course, go camping. Marcia wanted to go away for the weekend with their good friends, but Peter is set on a long weekend of camping on a remote beach. Thinly buried resentments quickly bubble to the surface as they take out their frustrations on the natural world around them in increasingly egregious ways.

One of the best when nature attacks films ever made, it has some of the spirit of Daphne du Maurier’s original short story of THE BIRDS, diving full on into the existential dread of man’s ignorance and impotence in the face of nature’s wrath.

PAYDAY


PAYDAY
dir. Daryl Duke, 1973
100 mins. United States.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 15 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, AUGUST 18 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 – MIDNIGHT

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

“If you can’t smoke it, drink it, spend it, or love it… Forget it.”

While it’s not possible to honor the passing of every fallen hero of ours at 124 South 3rd Street, we’re thrilled to salute the departed Elmore Rual “Rip Torn” Jr. (1931-2019) by shining a light on one of his absolute greatest performances, as Maury Dann – a hellraising honeydripper outrunning his past one 95-mile-per-hour at a time in the underrated 1973 drama PAYDAY, directed by Daryl Duke (who made the phenomenal THE SILENT PARTNER a few years later, with Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland.)

Having achieved a measure of fame with a minor hit single, Dann’s life is a string of saloon gigs and one-night stands, propelled by bourbon and propped up by pills; while he’s making arguable headway in the music business, his problems keep piling up on the margins. His manager McGinty (Michael C. Gwyne) and girlfriend Mayleen (Ahna Capri), both long-suffering, bear witness to his bouts of rage and capriciousness, yet stay the course from one Alabama tussle to the next. Dann is certainly a character the performatively woke film critics of 2019 would call “unsympathetic”, yet Torn’s signature tortured charisma makes it make sense: in this decrepit economy of also-rans, hangers-on and the earnestly pure of heart, Maury is the most exciting thing anybody’s got going on.

Not for the faint of stomach, PAYDAY spans 36 hours in the life of a man who can’t stop hurting others (or himself), a classic story rendered in unforgettable Alabama texture. Produced by pioneering rock critic Ralph Gleason, with songs written by Shel Silverstein and an endlessly quotable screenplay by the great novelist Don Carpenter (Hard Rain Falling), PAYDAY never got a proper national release despite widespread critical acclaim; it’s exactly the kind of offbeat 70s slice-of-life cinema that attracted the interest of restless, status-quo bucking artists like Rip Torn. “You only pass through life once… Might as well be in a Cadillac.

“PAYDAY holds you in fascination. The totality of Rip Torn’s inspiring portrait is overwhelming.” – Judith Crist, New York Magazine

“Brilliant. Impressive. Awesome. Extraordinary.” The New York Times

“PAYDAY is a great fucking movie.” – Nick Tosches, Creem

Special thanks to the Saul Zaentz Company.

MUBI PRESENTS: JAMILIA

MUBI PRESENTS: JAMILIA
dir. Aminatou Echard, 2018
84 mins. Kyrgistan/Russia.
In Kyrgyz with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 1 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 5 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

MUBI presents Aminatou Echard’s lovely documentary, which compassionately uses a literary classic as a cultural passkey to allow women to talk about their feelings, frustrations, and hopes of love in Kyrgyzstan. Filmed in the diary-like warmth of Super 8, this is a remarkably intimate encounter with perspectives too often unheard.

Jamilia is the heroine of the classic Kyrgyz novel about a young woman who, having been forced to marry, fled with her lover. Fifty years later, the director meets several generations of Kyrgyz women, resulting in portraits reflecting both the novel’s candor and the strength of today’s Jamilias.

JAMILIA is available to stream exclusively on MUBI as part of their ongoing Undiscovered series. Watch here.

A message from MUBI’s curators:

“We discovered Aminatou Echard’s documentary Jamilia at the Berlin International Film Festival and were completely smitten. Here was a film that tackled a challenging subject—the marginalized voices of Kyrgyz women in a conservative and frequently repressive society—with an approach that was intimate, compassionate, and open-minded. Watching it felt like being embraced. Using Chinghiz Aitmatov’s classic 1958 novel Jamilia—widely known throughout Kyrgyzstan—as a discussion topic, Echard provided a way for these women to express their personal feelings about love, marriage, and personal liberty through the lens of a famous literary heroine.

In a country where the kidnapping and forced marriages of women are still common, speaking about desire, romance, and happiness is still often considered taboo. Aitmatov’s Jamilia provides an emblematic character for women to admire, long to be, and emulate—or even reject as immoral. By varying the ages of its subjects, the film is remarkably able to offer insight into female perspectives that arc from the era of the USSR, when female literacy was widespread, into the post-Soviet present, when such literacy is shrinking. This scope may be large, but Echard’s style is one of individual character and warmth. Shooting on beautiful and grainy Super 8 film, and weaving between portraiture and anecdotal details of each woman’s life, the film has the personal touch of a diary film. And it is by separating the soundtrack of women’s voices from the images—which was partially a production necessity that allowed the director greater access into Kyrgyz households—that we are allowed to imaginatively roam between the fictional Jamilia, what women see in her, and how they see themselves.”

— Daniel Kasman, Director of Content at MUBI

MUBI is a curated online cinema, streaming hand-picked award-winning, classic, and cult films from around the globe. Every day, MUBI’s film experts present a new film and you have 30 days to watch it. Whether it’s an acclaimed masterpiece, a gem fresh from the world’s greatest film festivals, or a beloved classic, there are always 30 beautiful hand-picked films to discover.