BEST OF SPECTACLE: EPHEMERALL™

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EPHEMERALL™
Dir. Various, 1930s-1970s.
USA, 60 min.

MONDAY, JANUARY 20 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 30 – 10:00 PM

Please consult with your doctor or another qualified health care professional before starting EPHEMERALL™.

EPHEMERALL™ from Spectacle Theater on Vimeo.

Bleeding our end-of-year BEST OF SPECTACLE tradition into the first month of the New Year is a summary of Spectacle’s 2013 EPHEMERA nights into one single, hour-long program: EPHEMERALL™.

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No outlet served post-war American culture’s ebullient pride and prosperity better than that of the now-infamous educational film. Today these didactic artifacts are relegated to sideshow status by the likes of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Weird Al, MST3K and Adult Swim, all of whom freely lampoon these easy targets for their comically dated sensibilities.

Last year’s monthly EPHEMERA program aimed to present these documents to a contemporary audience in perhaps a more even light, ideally free from the ironic framing that can easily overwhelm some of their more interesting details.

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EPHEMERALL™ is a the entirety of these values, advice, commodities and information, all neatly compressed into one ultra-convenient dose. In the course a single sitting, an entire century of knowledge and wisdom will be yours.

Sources for EPMEHERALL™ include brief portions of nearly every clip from each of 2013’s 8 EPHEMERA programs:
-March: THE PRELINGER ARCHIVES
-April: FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIAL GUIDANCE
-May: WHAT WAS NEW YORK?
-June: ACT NATURAL
-July: SEX, THE PREDATOR, AND YOU
-August: PSYCHOLOGY AND CONCERN
-September: POPULUXE
-October: SAFETY FIRST!

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Special thanks to the Internet Archive, Rick Prelinger and everyone at the Prelinger Archive.

Rick Prelinger began collecting “ephemeral films”—all those educational, industrial, amateur, advertising, or otherwise sponsored—in 1982, amassing over 60,000 (all on physical film) before his Prelinger Archive was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002. Since then, the collection has grown and diversified: now it exists in library form in San Francisco and is also gradually being ported online to the Internet Archive (http://archive.org), where 6,074 of its films are currently hosted (as of this writing).

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Of course, the content of the Prelinger Archive’s films varies in accord with the variety of mankind. Historic newsreels, mid-century automobile infomercials, psychological experiments, medical procedurals, big oil advertisements, military recruitment videos, political propagandas, personal home videos, celebrity exposes, amateur narratives, scientific studies, war bulletins, instructional films, special interest op-eds, safety lessons, hobby guides, travel destination profiles and private industry productions all sit comfortably together in one marginalized category.

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