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.”

SOVIET PROPAGANDA: ANIMATED SHORTS
Dir. Dziga Vertov, et al., 1924–55
USSR. 85 min

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

“From 1924 to perestroika the USSR produced 41 animated propaganda films. Their target was the new nation and their goal was to win over the hearts and minds of the Soviet people. Anti-American, Anti-British, Anti-German, Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Fascist, some of these films are as artistically beautiful as the great political posters made after the 1917 revolution which inspired Soviet animation… The films feature some astounding animation techniques from stop-motion to paper cutout animation to impressively intricate puppetry. Includes interviews with the directors and commentary by the leading Soviet film scholars.”

“The animated film was another weapon in the Totalitarian war of ideas. In a Soviet Union where over a hundred languages were spoken, moving pictures communicated ideas better than words. Animated cartoons were also ideal to teach small children. The influential power of film is undisputed, even here.”

Text by Glenn Erickson

MATCH CUTS PRESENTS: PAUL CHAN’S TIN DRUM TRILOGY (PRESALES SOLD OUT)

TIN DRUM TRILOGY
dir. Paul Chan, 2002-2005.
USA, 111 min.
English, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

TUESDAY, APRIL 4 – 7:00 PM–PRESALE TICKETS SOLD OUT
ARTIST IN ATTENDANCE

Spectacle Theater is excited to collaborate with critical platform Match Cuts on a new series of screenings. Scroll down for more information on Match Cuts.

“Each video in the series was made utilizing different experimental traditions, but with one consistent theme: that to love your enemy is to know you enemy… The Bush administration (in RE:_THE OPERATION), Iraqis (in BAGHDAD…), and the religious right living in red-state America (in Now promise now threat) are all perceived, rightly or wrongly, as enemies. The task of all three videos has been to make the friend/enemy distinction more difficult while at the same time giving a time-based critique of the political tragedy/farce that is our first five years of the twenty-first Century.” – Paul Chan

The TIN DRUM TRILOGY is comprised of:

RE:_THE OPERATION

2002, 27 min.

“Based on a set of drawings that depict George W. Bush’s administration as wounded soldiers in the war against terrorism, RE:THE_OPERATION explores the sexual and philosophical dynamics of war through the lives of the members as they physically engage each other and the “enemy”. Letters, notes, and digital snapshots “produced” by the members on their tour of duty become the basis of video portraits that articulate the neuroses and obsessions compelling them toward an infinite war. Part M*A*S*H*, part Three’s Company, part philosophical meditation, with a dash of character assassination thrown in.”

BAGHDAD IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER
2003, 51 min.

“BAGHDAD IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER is an ambient video essay of life in Baghdad before the invasion and occupation. Men dance, women draw and sufis sing as they await the coming of another war. In seven languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish).”

NOW PROMISE NOW THREAT
2005, 33 min.

“Now too late, he understood her. The heart that pumped out love, the mouth that spoke the Word, didn’t count.” – Toni Morrison, “Beloved”

“Part documentary, part visual manifesto, NOW PROMISE NOW THREAT uses Omaha, Nebraska (population 390,000, literally located in the middle of the U.S.) as a site and subject to follow the often unexpected lines connecting people, religion and politics in ‘red state’ America. An evangelical pastor opposes the mixing of church and state on religious grounds. An anti-abortion mother deplores the hypocrisy of the pro-life movement for being pro-war. A young man wants to die for his country so he can–at last–have a life worthy of living. Now promise now threat mixes interviews with locally produced footage and kidnapping videos from Iraq transformed into fields of undulating color to create a moving ‘apologia’ for the united red states of America.”

 

PAUL CHAN is an American artist, writer and publisher. His single channel videos, projections, animations and multimedia projects are influenced by outsider artists, playwrights, and philosophers such as Henry Darger, Samuel Beckett, Theodor W. Adorno, and Marquis de Sade. Paul Chan’s work concerns topics including geopolitics, globalization, and their responding political climates, war documentation, violence, deviance, and pornography, language, and new media.

Chan has exhibited his work at the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennial, documenta, the Serpentine Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, and other institutions. Chan has also engaged in a variety of publishing projects, and, in 2010, founded the art and ebook publishing company Badlands Unlimited, based in New York. Chan’s essays and interviews have appeared in Artforum, Frieze, Flash Art, October, Tate, Parkett, Texte Zur Kunst, Bomb, and other magazines and journals.

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, and produced by Meg Murnane.

EPHEMERA: GIVE THANKS


EPHEMERA: GIVE THANKS
Dir. VARIOUS. 1933 – 2009

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20 – 5:00PM
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23 – 7:30PM

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Thanksgiving is an American holiday celebrating two things – food and family. Okay, three things – food, family, and culturally whitewashing American history. EPHEMERA: GIVE THANKS showcases all of the above with a convergence of grocery tips, frustrating relatives, meal preparation and awkward historical reenactments. Like your sexist uncle waxing philosophical at the dinner table, GIVE THANKS uncomfortably reminds you though America’s social mores and attitudes have come a long way, there’s still so much further to go. Featuring a 70s decision on what to eat next framed as vitriolic political debate, a very nervous turkey serenaded by Liberace, so many condescending Dads, and the most disgusting 50s ‘salad’ recipe put to film (“Lime Jell-o with diced pineapple on watercress, topped with creamed cottage cheese, garnished with radish roses and carrot flowers!”).

Let us all bow our heads and be truly thankful this season for the visual bounty freely available to us in the modern age, and that these ephemeral treats have been spared the Memory Hole and dished up for our viewing pleasure.

Including selections from:

THOUGHT FOR FOOD
(Handy (Jam) Picture Service, 1933)

PICK OF THE POD
(Palmer (W.A.) & Company, 1939)

EARLY SETTLERS OF NEW ENGLAND (SALEM 1626-1629)
(Encyclopedia Britannica Films, 1940)

FOOD FOR FIGHTERS
(U.S. Office of War Information, 1943)

KITCHEN MAGIC (1948)
A Brighter Day In Your Kitchen
(Ray Waters, 1949)

LET’S TALK TURKEY
(Armour & Company, 1951)

A DAY OF THANKSGIVING
(Centron Corporation, 1951)

DINING TOGETHER
(Children’s Productions, 1951)

SOMEONE’S IN THE KITCHEN
(On Film, Inc., 1960s)

THE FOOD PLATFORM
(Directions Unlimited Film Corporation; Pyramid Films Inc., 1972)

Long Live La Familia – No Hay Nada En El Fridge
(New Mexico State University, 2009)

…and more!

DIMINISHED HORIZONS: TWO FOR THE ROAD

Just in time for fall’s trudge back to work, SPECTACLE presents a double dose of sun-soaked open roads from a past promising novelty and excitement with every detour. These films capture types of travel and vacation nearly extinct today, when airlines have ellipsed the country to coastal spots and a few destinations between, and efficiency’s eliminated small pleasures like roadside attractions and scenic views that made driving worth the effort. The two films present America as it was and as it wished to be seen: while EPHEMERA: SEE AMERICA! revels in the commercial side of travel films (and their attendant staginess), Rick Prelinger’s NO MORE ROAD TRIPS? offers the inverse, imposing no outside narrative on its home movies save for arranging them into a bicoastal journey. Come see America’s vast promise and dimmed hopes this September at SPECTACLE!


NO MORE ROAD TRIPS?
**W/ LIVE SCORE BY SULLEN PROSPECTOR**
Dir. Rick Prelinger, 2013.
USA. 70 minutes.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 – 7:30PM & 10:00PM

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Rick Prelinger’s coast-to-coast compilation of “private views of the public land” takes us on a physical and temporal journey through America, captured by its own citizens enjoying their country. This is evidentiary cinema, which in Prelinger’s own words:
…privileges original documents, putting them before an audience whose appreciation of the evidence completes the film. I produce a portion of the film; the audience makes the rest. Right now, this happens through questions, answers and conversations in the dark. Indeed, it could happen by many means – tweeting, remixing, call and response.

In Spectacle’s case, we ask you to please join Sullen Prospector for a transcontinental journey across our great nation as Zach and Dan (formerly of Archie Pelago) perform live and inside the incredible mosaic of footage compiled in NO MORE ROAD TRIPS? Combining live saxophone, vocals, found sound and field recordings as well as choice selections of classic folk and ambient Americana, this live scoring effort will be predominantly improvised and reactionary as the film traverses a series of gorgeous and timeless recorded experiences of the American Road Trip. Emphasizing a balance of acoustics, electronics and sound design, the score will explore textural and rhythmic ideas as we hitch a few rides across this ol’ United States.



EPHEMERA: SEE AMERICA!
Dir. Various, 1939s-1970s.
USA. ~80 minutes.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 – 5:00PM
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 – 7:30PM
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 – 10:00PM

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Our monthly EPHEMERA program aims to present educational films from the post-war era without the usual ironic framing, letting the films’ genuine charm and dated sensibilities shine through on their own.

Stuck at work on another gorgeous day? Longing for better times and warmer climes but trapped in city grime? Hit the road (and by road I mean screen) with SEE AMERICA!, an optimistic trip across these United States.

Back before they were haunted by fear and a failing economy, Americans worked hard and played even harder. Vacations weren’t relaxation so much as tactical planning opportunities swayed by tourism boards, cotton corporations, car dealers and the Government itself. But the blatant commercialism was win-win: you and your family enjoyed the country’s cultural capital (state fairs, museums, historic points and cities) or natural beauty (parks, beaches, well-maintained highways), and the economy was bolstered for everyone!

Today’s sad state of affairs, with ‘staycations’, ‘long-term unemployment’ and the least stable leisure time for average Americans since labor laws were passed, leaves little time for relaxation, with less to enjoy the journey itself. Travel used to be half the fun, whether lounging on a cruise, enjoying a four-course seafood banquet on a luxurious modern jet, or just cruising down the highway in the family car. Nowadays cruises are floating plague ships, planes charge double for the privilege of cramming you in, and gas prices hike ever upward.

SEE AMERICA! looks back at a time when Americans’ commercial capitalism and can-do attitude were harnessed on both sides of the lens to entice and enjoy the land’s wondrous sites. Whether visiting a tax-built National Park or dangling a Route 66 tourist trap, there is genuine enjoyment surrounding the films. Selections include several home movies from the 40s and 50s, visits to newly-acquired commonwealth Puerto Rico, southwestern fashion shoots and tips on long car trips. Come SEE AMERICA! with us this September!

AUGUST MIDNIGHTS

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5:  Aachi & Ssipak
SATURDAY, AUGUST 6:  He Walked By Night

FRIDAY, AUGUST 12:  Maneater
SATURDAY, AUGUST 13: Crying Freeman

FRIDAY, AUGUST 19:  He Walked By Night
SATURDAY, AUGUST 20:  Maneater

FRIDAY, AUGUST 26:  Crying Freeman
SATURDAY, AUGUST 27:  Aachi & Ssipak


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AACHI & SSIPAK
Dir. Jo Beom-jin, 2006.
South Korea, 88 min.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, AUGUST 27 – MIDNIGHT

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Rude, but very smart and funny, with extremely fast-paced animation that’s slick and distinctive, Aachi & Ssipak (2006) follows its eponymous petty crooks as they try to get rich in a world where feces is money. Literally.

It’s an action “Buddy Movie” from another dimension—as if Gary Panter, Takeshi Miike and Paul Verhoeven collaborated on a Hope & Crosby flick: “The Road to Shit City.” Aachi is the short one, with more plans than brains, and Ssipak is the big, bald bruiser who thinks with his fists—and he’s fallen hopelessly in love with a wannabe-porn starlet, the very pneumatic Beauty (who’s much smarter than our heroes, and belongs next to Jessica Rabbit or Tex Avery’s Red Hot Riding Hood in the Sexy Cartoon Bombshell Hall of Fame). After her anal-chip is tampered with, Beauty becomes the “MacGuffin” of this movie, the object everyone will kill for.

It seems the rulers of the future need human excrement for both fuel and building materials, and in exchange for each dump, citizens with an implant get one delicious and mind-altering “juicybar.” But these yummy narco-popsicles are so addictive that some people are turned into blue mutant dwarves, the “Diaper Gang”—who cause chaos with their juicybar raids and demands to rule society. “Did they appreciate us for our crap!?!” bellows the megalomaniacal Diaper King rhetorically as he calls for rebellion.

A government that would stick ID-chips up people’s rectums would do anything to maintain power, and so have unleashed a sadistic and homicidal cyborg to enforce their draconian alimentary laws by slaughtering the Diaper Gang wantonly.

When sleazeball porno-producer Jimmy’s plan for Beauty’s “magical anus,” uh, backfires, all these forces are aimed at each other in a pulse-pounding climax that rips off—and totally improves on the coal-car chase from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Obsessed with defecation but tasteful enough never to show any brown ploppies, Aachi & Ssipak is lysergic speedfreak anime for the mayhem crowd—that’s surprisingly good natured (when it’s not willfully gross or gory). The violence is so excessive and over-the-top, it is hilarious, but (thankfully) explicit scatological scenes are nowhere in sight—which in itself may be a socio-political comment as well… But the movie also has heart: the two hoods care about each other; Ssipak’s love of Beauty is genuine; pathetic Jimmy is funny but human; and even the grotesque Diaper Gang deserves some sympathy—they didn’t ask to be mutated and addicted.

Almost an exhausting movie, and overloaded with delightful eyeball kicks, Aachi & Ssipak is packed with multiple cultural references (including graffiti—keep your eyes open for “Neckface”!), but especially to action films: Structurally, the film is much like Robocop (plenty of rewarding “media blasts”), with tributes/spoofs of John Woo, Hitchcock and Terry Gilliam—as well as countless anime—littered throughout.

This South Korean production combines a tight and twisty script (equal to the best episodes of The Venture Bros. or The Simpsons), with exciting animation (characters look hand-drawn; and the backgrounds are a combo of CGI and hand-painted) to create a crazy, non-stop, almost sacrilegious meta-movie: “An animator isn’t a real director!” screams a character before kicking someone’s face in.

Aachi & Ssipak is hyperactive, but hardly incomprehensible—even when trying to read the subtitles and keep up with frenzied cartooning at the same time—and looks reallygood: The movie reportedly cost only $3.5 million—a low amount for an animated flick (Pixar’s Cars, also released in 2006, cost $120 million)—and every cent is on the screen. But aside from the anarchic 1970s work of Ralph Bakshi, it’s almost impossible to think of Pixar or any other U.S. animator making a film so, ummm, “earthy.”

Like all good B-movies, there’s a metaphorical political message here, but it’s surrounded by so much quasi-exploitative “good stuff,” that even action fans with one-track-minds will be satisfied.

Aachi & Ssipak is manic, unadulterated weirdness that deserves a massive cult following!

WARNING: If the synopsis didn’t give you a hint, this is not a movie for small children or easily-offended adults!


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HE WALKED BY NIGHT
Dir. Alfred Werker (credited) and Anthony Mann (uncredited), 1948.
USA, 79 min.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 6 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19 – MIDNIGHT

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The template for Dragnet and a direct inspiration for dozens of police procedurals, HE WALKED BY NIGHT is based on the story of Erwin “Machine Gun” Walker, a WWII vet who began a series of burglaries which resulted in multiple gunfights with police, leading to his arrest in 1946. That role is played in the film by a young Richard Basehart, whose ice-cold performance became his breakout role. Charming at times, brilliant at others, but with a deep sociopathic core, Basehart’s move from vet to safecracker to mad-dog killer prevents the docudrama angle from bogging down. Hunted down by Scott Brady (SHOTGUN SLADE, a million westerns, and a final role as the sheriff in GREMLINS!) and Roy Roberts (basically *every* tv show in the late 50s-60s), we get a look at the details of detective work more in line with Homicide/L&O/CSI than most films of the time, from false leads to confused witnesses.
It’s Alfred Werker’s name as director, but most film historians put the bulk of the work on the shoulders of Anthony Mann (EL CID, WINCHESTER ’73. THE FAR COUNTRY), and fans of his earlier docudramas RAW DEAL and T-MEN will be able to see his influence right away. Fans of LA noir will find a lot to love here, with a dramatic chase through the Los Angeles sewers (later a key location for the film THEM! among a million others), absolutely stunning lighting by cinematographer John Alton, and none other than Jack Webb as lab tech Lee Whitey. Overlooked by too many for too long as an early film with “promise”, HE WALKED BY NIGHT is actually as deeply tense, dark and ambiguous a noir as one could ask for. If that doesn’t sell you, note that chunks of this film were later used in the Lon Chaney Jr. sleeper creeper THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN!



CRYING FREEMAN

Dir. Christophe Gans, 1995
USA, 102 min.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 26  – MIDNIGHT

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Adapted from the classic manga by Kazuo Koike and Ryoichi Ikegami and featuring one of the proudest VANCOUVER, B.C. title cards in cinema history, CRYING FREEMAN stars Mark Dacascos as its nominal assassin, a weepy and beautiful slab of a man whose chiseled contours do not go unnoticed by Thomas Burstyn’s wide-canvas cinematography. Working on behalf of “the sons of the dragons”, Freeman exists as a myth haunting Yakuza apparatchiks from night to night, while his romance with a murder witness on their list named Emu (Julie Condra) takes up a significant portion of the movie’s runtime. This being the directorial debut of the man who would go on to direct 2001’s needlessly pizzazz-freighted BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF, CRYING FREEMAN abides over the decades for the scope and poignancy of its big-budget aspirations.

What separates CRYING FREEMAN from other comic adaptations of the late pre-digital cinema epoch is Gans’ piercing command of comic-worthy tableaux, Patrick O’Hearn’s remarkably icy orchestral score, and the film’s otherwise whistle-inducing musculature of production design. The hideous CGI dragons bracketing the opening credits barely taste at what CRYING FREEMAN is able to accomplish on a budget approximately one-sixth that of, say, David Fincher’s SE7EN. Long before you’ve seen a bourbon fireball spewed from one man’s mouth into another’s face over an executive-suite sized table in almost Marilyn Minter-worthy slow motion, you’ll know (or hazily remember) Gans’ insane fugue-state John Woo knockoff for the sublimity that it truly is.

SPACE: THE F∞KED-UP FRONTIER

SPACE: THE F∞KED-UP FRONTIER
Dir. Various.
70 min.
FRIDAY, JULY 8 – MIDNIGHT
WEDNESDAY, JULY 20 – 7:30 PM
** 47th anniversary of the faking of the moon landing! **

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SPACE: THE F∞KED-UP FRONTIER!!!!
Get HIGH with this show!

Weren’t we supposed to have astronauts on Mars by now?
Where is the space wheel?
How come the U.S. and Russia don’t have domed cities all across the moon?

Well, it looks that, in regards to the so-called “Conquest of Space,” we sure fucked up.
Mankind’s attempts to touch infinity have all failed, like legendary Icarus, and the mud of the earth will forever be our home, the stars perpetually out of reach. Even the shuttle program is dead, and all R&D is now conducted by plutocrats seeking to save themselves when our sad and pathetic Earth is finally, completely poisoned.

From genuine NASA footage to slick computer graphics to crude claymation, this series of shorts, created to celebrate the 47th Anniversary of the Faking of the Moon Landing, examines the stellar beauty just out of our reach, as well as casting a cosmic eye on the awful behavior humans are sure to take with them into the galactic void. For roughly 70 minutes, 25 short films take the viewer out of this world, sometimes calming the soul—and other times disturbing it.

See the planets dance!
See spaceships fight black holes—and lose!
See humans and aliens interact—poorly!
See how far the IRS will actually go!
See Patti Smith’s secrets about flying saucer!
See more eyeball kicks than stars in the galaxy!
See more things in Heaven and Earth and Mars than are dreamt of in your philosophies!

A show that will blast you off–
It is SPACE: THE F∞KED-UP FRONTIER!!!

MYSTERY MEAT

Mystery Meat is a weekly secret screening program handpicked by a different Spectacle volunteer. Each week, follow the clues and see if you can discern what’s on the menu. Programming will range from bizarro science fiction jazz westerns and museum installations of grandparents eating fruit off of dead people, to a varied selection of lost television episodes about a kid in the woods with only a jetpack to survive. It could really be anything, but since it’s Spectacle, it’s probably the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen.

SATURDAYS @ 5:00 PM


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Dir. ???? ????????

Featuring set designs by the legendary Annie Sprinkle, this marionette showcase from one of porn’s most celebrated auteurs would make even Matt Stone and Trey Parker blush.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 20 – 5:00 PM


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Dir. ????? ???????, 198?.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 6 – 5:00 PM

An 80s feminist classics in which a group of repressed women rose up and destroyed patriarchy in silent solidarity.


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Dir. ????? ???????, ????.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13 – 5:00 PM

Directed by a slumming horror maestro and VERY loosely based on a short story from the King of noir adaptations, this made-for-TV thriller’s goofy premise alone is worth the price of entry. All hell breaks loose in a college town when a cursed Aztec cape makes its way into undergrad hands. A shy wallflower unwittingly sews it into a dress for a dance, turning all who wear it into violent murder machines. Featuring a belle of 90s oddball TV, a Spaghetti Western staple, and a multifaceted star pigeonholed by his most famous role.


??? ???????
Dir. ??????? ????????, 19??.


SATURDAY, JULY 16 – 5:00 PM

A string of brutal murders in Washington, DC’s Georgetown neighborhood and the sudden appearance of a colleague long thought dead lead a nearly retired detective into a hellish vision of a demonic world within our own in this contemplative, atmospheric yet mostly unpopular sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time, directed by the original film’s author.


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Dir. ????? ???????, 19??.

SATURDAY, JULY 23 – 5:00 PM


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Dir. ????? ???????, 19??.

SATURDAY, JULY 30 – 5:00 PM

JUNE MIDNIGHTS

FRIDAY, JUNE 3: Wild Beasts
SATURDAY, JUNE 4: Shakma

FRIDAY, JUNE 10: Desperate Teenage Lovedolls
SATURDAY, JUNE 11: Lovedolls Superstar

FRIDAY, JUNE 17: Inseminoid
SATURDAY, JUNE 18: Embryo

FRIDAY, JUNE 24: Wild Beasts
SATURDAY, JUNE 25: DeAundra Peek’s Greatest Hits


WILD BEASTS
Aka Belve Feroci
Dir. Franco Prosperi, 1984.
Italy, 92 min.

FRIDAY, JUNE 3 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, JUNE 24 – MIDNIGHT

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Cahiers du Cinema founder Andre Bazin theorized that montage allowed for homogenous barriers between images, allowing (or perhaps begging) viewers to suspend their notions of disbelief. As an example, he cited the match-cuts between a little boy and a lion in the jungle in an “otherwise mediocre English film” called WHERE NO VULTURES FLY, wherein the distance was suddenly ruptured in a wide-focus master that included both parties in the frame. This question gets a thorough shellacking in WILD BEASTS, a singularly disgusting tale of widespread animal revenge directed by none other than Franco “GOODBYE UNCLE TOM” Prosperi.

WILD BEASTS takes place in a nameless dystopia not so different from any big city today – although the camera goes to a hell of a lot of work to avoid identifying this metropolis as Frankfurt, which is obviously is. Hypercapitalism metes inequality out with remorseless exactitude; Prosperi sees it trickling down the most powerless denizens of any city, the animals held hostage by zookeepers. When a mysterious pile of angel dust-loaded syringes find their way into the city’s sewer water, the prisoners erupt into bloody, pithy, skull-crushing revolution.

Not for the faint (or reasonably healthy, really) of heart, Prosperi’s film is the Mr. Hyde to ROAR’s Dr. Jekyll, which is to say it’s no easier to watch animals suffer in service of a whack-ass international coproduction than a washed-up Hollywood vanity project. Good luck taking the film’s disclaimer that “no animals were harmed in the making of this production” at face value; that said, WILD BEASTS is a thrill ride more for its fakery than its realism. One sequence where two lovers in a parked car are overtaken by lysergic mutant rats becomes a master class in giallo staging far more disgusting than David Lynch’s Dinkins-era anti-rat PSAs for the City of New York, while the inevitable death-embrace of a deranged dog and his bewildered master takes way long to happen to register as anything other than hilarious.


SHAKMA
Aka Terror in the Tower
Dir. Tom Logan / Hugh Parks, 1990.
USA/UK, 101 min.

SATURDAY, JUNE 4 – MIDNIGHT

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“The world’s most aggressive primate just got mad!”

What better time than midnight for a failed experiment? Moments after using a power drill to graft a microchip onto a baboon’s heart, it’s Friday – and so a plucky group of horny and misguided researchers decide to go after-hours LARPing in the lab. Trouble is, the baboon’s heart has been flooded with steroidal enyzmes, and he’s out for revenge.

Leading a sundry cast of lowercase-E expendables, Roddy McDowell lends simian blessings to a gruesome and hardheaded terror-jaunt equal parts “man vs. nature” and haunted house. But the real star is the indestructible SHAKMA, played by a small company of real (and presumably authentically angry) baboons.


DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVEDOLLS
Dir. Dave Markey, 1984.
USA. 50 min.
In English.

FRIDAY, JUNE 10 – MIDNIGHT
TUESDAY, JUNE 21 – 10:00 PM

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“In the way good punk music inspires you to form a band, David Markey’s DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVEDOLLS makes it seem easy and fun to make your own movie.” —L.A. Weekly

DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVEDOLLS was received as an instant cult classic when first released on the Los Angeles punk underground in 1984. Since then, the no budget super 8 film has gained international and aboveground praise. Bunny, Kitty, & Patch (Hilary Rubens, Jennifer Schwartz, & Janet Housden) are three teenage runaways who form the hottest all-girl band of all-time, The Lovedolls. Their meteoric rise to the top from a drug addled street life in Hollywood comes not without a price, thanks to sleazy rock manager, Johnny Tremaine (Steve McDonald). Rival all-girl gang The She Devils and their leader Tanya Hearst (Tracy Lea) have it in for our heroes, as do annoying mothers and psyche ward doctors. The film also features Jeff McDonald, Phil Newman, Vicki Peterson, Annette Zilinskas & Dez Cadena. Directed by David Markey, the saga is continued in the 1986 sequel LOVEDOLLS SUPERSTAR.


LOVEDOLLS SUPERSTAR
Dir. Dave Markey, 1986.
USA. 90 min.
In English.

SATURDAY, JUNE 11 – MIDNIGHT
SUNDAY, JUNE 19 – 7:30 PM

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The 2004 restored Directors Cut of the 1986 sequel to DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVEDOLLS, LOVEDOLLS SUPERSTAR which features the return of the beloved all-girl band The Lovedolls from their untimely demise. Patch Kelley (Janet Housden) is now Patch Christ, the leader of a religious cult who rescues Kitty Karryall (Jennifer Schwartz) from a boozy, wasted life. They recruit Sunset Boulevard hooker Alexandria “Cheetah” Axethrasher (Kim Pilkington) to replace the murdered Bunny Tremelo (Hilary Rubens). Rainbow Tremaine (Steven McDonald), from the Freedom School in New Mexico ventures to Hollywood only to discover his twin brother Johnny committed suicide after taking The Lovedolls to the top. Tracy Lea also returns, portraying the mother of She Devils’ slain leader Tanya Hearst, Patricia Ann Cloverfield. Meanwhile obsessed fanatic Carl Celery (Jeff McDonald) lives in his own world of Lovedoll worship, only to carry out an assassination of Brews Springstien (Jordan Schwartz). With special guest appearances by Vicki Peterson (Bangles), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) & Sky Saxon (The Seeds). With major rocking by Redd Kross, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Dead Kennedys, & more! You can’t kill a Lovedoll, babe… because Superstars never die!


INSEMINOID
aka Horror Planet.
Dir. Norman Warren, 1981
United Kingdom/Hong Kong. 91 min.
In English.

FRIDAY, JUNE 17 – MIDNIGHT

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“A silent, lifeless world. Until they broke open the underground chamber and discovered in the most vile way imaginable that the planet was not truly dead. That a sleeping life form had been waiting for millennia, needing only a chance to breed before escaping to spread like a foul, devouring disease into the lifeblood of the universe. And to breed it needs the bodies of those who had disturbed it.”

Many minutes watching Norman J. Warren and Run Run Shaw’s space hell gorefest INSEMINOID are spent on the film’s outside, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the breathtaking scope and variety of its (inevitably low-budget) production design and perspicacious use of (all-analog!) lens flare. A crack squad of space archaeologists touch down on a hellish planet of red rock; a member of their crew named Sandy (Judy Geeson) is raped and impregnated by an alien, which overtakes her personality and results in a slasher-style killing spree among the remaining crew. With its agonizingly redundant screenplay and extensive ensemble cast, INSEMINOID is like a sooty cardboard cutout of ALIEN (perhaps by way of ROSEMARY’S BABY): bland, hoary and post-dystopian in its misogyny, Warren’s film is perhaps a misbegotten filmic premonition of the “Sex Colony” coda of Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR…


EMBRYO
aka Created to Kill.
Dir. Ralph Nelson, 1976.
USA. 99 min.

SATURDAY, JUNE 18 – MIDNIGHT

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“The film you are about to see is not all science fiction. It is based upon medical technology which currently exists for fetal growth outside the womb. It could be a possibility tomorrow…or today.”
—Charles R. Brinkmen III, M.D.

Directed by Ralph Nelson (CHARLY, THE WILBY CONSPIRACY), the 1976 sci-trag EMBYRO is a gracefully clunky work of genteel schlock, built on a plot premise of ridiculously bad taste – perfect viewing for America’s favorite patriarchy-themed weekend. Rock Hudson stars as Holliston, a woebegone geneticist who hits a pregnant dog with his car while driving drunk in a downpour. Holliston takes it upon himself to save the injured animal by removing a fetus and using its tissue to keep the mother alive. Emboldened by this discovery, he repeats the experiment with a human embryo – and his “daughter” Victoria ages from there to a beauty-paegant worthy Barbara Carrera in mere days. Soon, however, Victoria begins to see Holliston as a threat, and must take action to preserve her youth and beauty…


DeAUNDRA PEEK’S GREATEST HITS
Dir. Dick Richards, 1988-2004.
USA, 93 minutes.
In English.

FRIDAY, JUNE 10 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JUNE 25 – MIDNIGHT
THURSDAY, JUNE 30 – 10:00 PM

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DeAundra Peek (Rosser Shymanski) was the first of a long line of singing sisters featured regularly on Atlanta public access television to break apart from her kin and garner her own exclusive public television show. Produced by FUNTONE USA (producers of RuPaul’s earliest film and music ventures), the character of DeAundra is a perpetual sixteen-year-old musical prodigy and teenage southern belle broadcasting weekly from the community room at Odum’s All-Doublewide Mobile Homes Court in Palmetto, Georgia and featuring DeAundra’s favorite songs, original music videos, fashion tips, community news and recipes, and providing a broadcasting platform for the era’s queer entertainers.

Beginning broadcast in 1988, the DeAundra Peek’s Teenage Music Club show would come to see several different permutations and name changes over the years, until it ended broadcast in 2004, but not before seeing a stage show, a string of musical singles, two commercially released music video compilation tapes, and a feature in the Whitney Museum of American Art. Accessing the FUNTONE archives, we will be presenting a curated retrospective of the DeAundra Peek Teenage Music Club though its various iterations to provide a capsular look at an artist’s legacy in queer public access television.

404 FUTURE NOT FOUND – Cyberworlds and Terminal Cases

Everything is becoming science fiction. From the margins of an almost invisible literature has sprung the intact reality of the 20th century. – J.G. Ballard

With virtual reality making headlines again, it’s time to revisit our past hopes for a projected, bypassed future. During the early 90s, humanity teetered on the verge of enormous innovations that would completely change the way we interfaced with reality and interacted with technology. Fantasy and sci-fi normally tap into an existing zeitgeist, but back then fiction led fact, with J.G. Ballard and William Gibson writing worlds innovators set out to make real.

This series takes a look at the lag between processing power and materials catching up with the half-digital future we strove towards, a technical wonderworld still bound by wires and clunky physical machines, with early CG and cyber-aesthetics influenced by practical effects from 80s films, and neologisms like ‘cyberspace’ created by an author still writing on typewriter.

As we enter the fourth stage of Baudrillard’s full precession of simulacra, let’s take a look back at our ham-fisted attempts to make man, machine and reality become virtually one. Consider these films the awkward yearbook photos of our sleeker, detached present-day.



EPHEMERA: SOCIAL MACHINES
Dir. Various, 1939 – 2008
USA. Approx. 75 min.
MONDAY, MAY 9 – 10:00 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 15 – 5:00 PM
SATURDAY, MAY 28 – 10:00 PM

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Social machine – n. An environment comprising humans and technology interacting and producing outputs or action not possible without both parties present.

Robo-human relations get a bad rap in media – if it’s not machines gaining sentience, rising up and brutally enslaving/destroying human oppressors, it’s some human going mad with technologically-enhanced power, with the occasional cyborg killing spree or computer-to-human virus spreading. SOCIAL MACHINES aims to correct this dystopian bias by highlighting decades of positive, if goofy and awkward, man-machine interaction.

Could it be said the still-burgeoning cyberworld is the praxis of humanity’s robot hopes? In hoping to improve our fragile, mortal selves we extended our bodies via machine – outsourcing memory to data banks, enhancing strength with bionic prosthetics, building robots in our own image*. Slowly we shifted from bringing technology into the world to work as we do, to building technology to become a world we enter into. We’re now extending our minds to a larger digital neural network, using feedback algorithms to tailor our online experiences, and, once again, trying to create a believable virtual reality.

Join us as we take a journey deep into the Uncanny Valley of good intentions and electronic interactions, with humans and machines working side by side to create a better world for all.

*and by ‘own image’ I mean automatically defaulting to bipedal vertebral structures and YEARS’ worth of freaky, mostly female-gendered simulacra.



AN INITIATION INTO VIOLENT EXHIBITIONS OF MACHINE PERFORMANCE: THREE DECADES OF SURVIVAL RESEARCH LABS
USA.
FRIDAY, MAY 20 – 10:00 PM
THURSDAY, MAY 26 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, MAY 31 – 10:00 PM

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For over three decades, Survival Research Labs has awed and intimidated with large-scale, fantastically destructive mechanized performance art. Founded in 1978 by Mark Pauline and joined by a larger organization of engineers, technicians, and artists, SRL literally built a world with humanity marginalized as fragile spectator, completely irrelevant to the chaotic industrial maelstrom at hand. Brutal is incorrect – inhuman is the exact word – these events feature machines turned performers, completely freed from practical use. Names like Flame Hurricane, Shockwave Cannon, Hand O God, Big Arm, and Mr. Satan undersell the intense workmanship and severe destructive capabilities behind each creation – often utilizing sketchily-sourced military-grade parts, these machines are elegant and pragmatic in their operation. Unlike today’s everyday appliances, designed to be physically inaccessible to the user, SRL’s robots are marvels of hand-built efficient futility.

Spectacle is very proud to present a sampler of SRL’s over-30 years and 50 shows of work, each a general dedication to the idea of more is more, with apolitical agenda and displays of terrifying power. Things comes full circle with L.A. MOCA’s 2011 installation; featuring the De-Manufacturing Machine from SRL’s first show MACHINE SEX, then sprung on an unsuspecting audience at a commandeered gas station, now in a comfortable institutional setting destroying electronic-organic creations (including a crawling baby doll fitted inside a raw chicken), nothing could more perfectly sum up SRL’s history of creation and subversion than well-heeled museum patrons attentively waiting to be splattered by guts and wires. SRL continues “producing the most dangerous shows on earth”.

With selections from:

A BITTER MESSAGE OF HOPELESS GRIEF
Dir. Jon Reiss, 1987

EXTREMELY CRUEL PRACTICES: A SERIES OF EVENTS DESIGNED TO INSTRUCT THOSE INTERESTED IN POLICIES THAT CORRECT OR PUNISH
Dir. Jon Reiss, 1985

AREA NIGHTCLUB SHOW NYC
Ed. Jon Reiss, 1985

CRIMEWAVE SHOW
Dir. Dave Scardina, 1995

DANGEROUS CURVES
Dir. Dave Scardina, 2005

SURVIVAL RESEARCH LABS AT L.A. MOCA
Ed. Allan Kelley, 2011

THE DOOM SHOW
Dir. Leslie Asako Gladsjo, 1994


CYBERPUNK
Dir. Marianne Trench, 1990
USA. 60 min.

FRIDAY, MAY 6 – 10:00 PM
MONDAY, MAY 16 – 10:00 PM
TUESDAY, MAY 24 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, MAY 25 – 10:00 PM

SUNDAY, MAY 29 – 5:00 PM
FRIDAY, JUNE 10 – 5:00 PM
** BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! **  Director present!
SUNDAY, JUNE 19 – 5:00 PM ** BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! **

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Itself an artifact of the time and aesthetic being documented, CYBERPUNK is a fun, highly stylized sampler capturing its eponymous subculture still coalescing. Featuring interviews with William Gibson, Timothy Leary, founder of VPL Research/inventor of the Data Glove Jason Lanier, and encompassing musicians, animators, plastic surgeons, crafters, and self-proclaimed hackers, the movie shows and tells simultaneously with talking-head interviews overlaid and interspersed with then-cutting-edge CG animation and graphic effects. Reflecting the range of its subjects’ motivations, sometimes this is practical, masking coders casually chatting about illegal data access, and sometimes it’s purely for visual flair.

The documentary’s timing places it at a unique juncture – there’s talk of phone phreaking, VR potential and research, body modification, warez trading, database hacking, but no concrete mention of the internet as we know and use it today. AOL for DOS was released February 1991, Windows in 1992; CYBERPUNK just missed the radical breakthrough that was readily accessible dial-up, existing in a world where text-based intranets with node points were the closest equivalent. Of all people it’s a computer theorist outlining the blind spot most clearly; speaking to the (assumed) main fear of technology being how small and powerless it makes the average person feel and citing the military-industrial complex as example, the idea of complete personal connectivity and power doesn’t even occur. And yet the possibility is present in the film – one hacker tells how a 14-year-old poking around an AT&T database for kicks had the FBI knocking on his door after he’d inadvertently nudged a satellite out of orbit. In a present with unlimited texting on readily available handheld computers, it’s tempting to giggle at one hacker bragging “I make free phone calls…everywhere. You name it…Europe, Asia…..The United States…”, but hindsight’s 20/20 – CYBERPUNK is a snapshot of those excited for a future they nearly saw coming.

 



DIGITAL MAN
Dir. Philip J. Roth, 1995
Nevada, 91 min.
In English.
FRIDAY, MAY 13 – MIDNITE
SATURDAY, MAY 28 – MIDNITE

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Spectacle offers up this late-night cyberwar curio fielded from the pixelated precipice between Atari and The Matrix. Starring an Altmanesque corps of noteworthy surnames, Philip Roth’s Digital Man concerns a glitch in national security so cruel, it’d be divine if it weren’t so damn digital: a time-traveling supercyborg touches down in the small-town Southwest just in time to hijack an apocalypse’s worth of nuclear launch codes.

Fresh off a realm too insane in its violence and punishment for mere humans to enter, the Digital Man must be stopped – and it’s up to a motley crue of wisecracking heavyweights (some military experts, some shotgun-toting salt of the earth) to take him out, analog style. Tons and tons and tons and tons of fireball explosions (replete with slo-mo backflips and brutal, spaghetti-worthy shootouts) ensue, culminating in one night you can’t merely “attend” while on your laptop.

Digital Man is a very entertaining movie, with good acting, excellent photography and outstanding F/X. It does suffer from a mediocre script however. A very good, overall effort from a bunch of actors who fall into the category of “where have I seen them before?” A rating of 8 out of 10 was given. – VCRanger, IMDB

lets get down to brass tax where can we get this movie someone upload cmon it cant be ilegal look at it buying it would be a magor crime – Jamie Mcfayden, YouTube

I’ve seen Digital man almost a decade ago when it came to video. My dad rented me this movie to watch over the weekend since he was leaving with my mom. I loved it so much that I’ve watched it five or six times in 48 hours !!! – thebigmovieguy, IMDB

Don’t just settle for T2 ,experience this equal, yet lower budget Sci-Fi action outing,with martial arts giant Matthias Hues in the lead. – “A Customer”, Amazon

I rented this when it came out on video. I remember thinking the special effects and costumes were pretty cool back then. And in the early-to-mid-1990s computer animation was a novelty, so that added to the movie’s appeal. (And back then CGI looked cooler with those smooth surfaces.) – felicity4711, YouTube



HOLOGRAM MAN
Dir: Richard Pepin, 1995.
USA. 101 min.

FRIDAY, MAY 6 – MIDNITE
SATURDAY, MAY 21 – MIDNITE

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

LOS ANGELES, THE 21st CENTURY: Slash Gallagher (Evan Lurie), a revolutionary bomber locked in holographic stasis, finally gets a parole hearing. “Relax,” the technician transporting Gallagher says: “I’m a genius.”

But when Gallagher’s corporate handlers get hacked, the vicious terrorist is on the loose again – from prison to prism. As his vengeance is wreaked across the city, innocent blood spilt in multiple dimensions, the only man to stop him is the rookie who put him in the slammer way back when: Kurt Decoda (Joe Lara). Richard Pepin’s direct-to-video film is a brain-flattening kaleidoscope of superhighway chases, dusty warehouse explosions, shocking shootouts and gorgeously realized dystopian nightmares. This May, justice isn’t blind – it’s holographic.

EPHEMERA: MARCH MADNESS

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EPHEMERA: MARCH MADNESS
1956-1979.
Approx 74 min. USA.

BACK FROM 2016!!
SUNDAY, MARCH 12 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, MARCH 14 – 7:30 PM

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 such easy targets for their comically dated sensibilities. Our monthly EPHEMERA program aims 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. Fortunately… the humor is irrepressible.

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March 2016’s installment MARCH MADNESS is a rare edition of mostly color shorts that employs a liberal interpretation of madness, presenting a varied selections of purported solutions to the various emotional problems, personality complications and physical ailments that may in some way—by someone—be termed “mad.”

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

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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 6,533 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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