Category: Ephemera

EPHEMERA: GIVE THANKS


EPHEMERA: GIVE THANKS
Dir. VARIOUS. 1933 – 2009

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

GET YOUR TICKETS!

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!

EPHEMERA: GIVE THANKS

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EPHEMERA: GIVE THANKS
Dir. Various, 1933—2009

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1 – 5:00 PM
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – 10:00 PM
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4 – 10:00 PM
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9 – 7:30 PM

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!

EPHEMERA: SEE AMERICA!

EPHEMERA: SEE AMERICA!
Dir. Various, 1939s-1970s.
USA, ~80 min., Color/B&W

SUNDAY, JULY 5 – 5:00 PM
MONDAY, JULY 13 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, JULY 24 – 7:30 PM

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 Spectacle in July’s series, 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 July!

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

Rick Prelinger began collecting “ephemeral films”— educational, industrial, amateur, advertising, or otherwise sponsored—in 1982, amassing over 60,000 on physical film before his collection was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002. Since then, the Prelinger Archive has grown and diversified: it exists in physical library form in San Francisco and is gradually being ported online to the Internet Archive (http://archive.org), where 6,490 of its films are currently hosted (as of this writing).

The contents of the Prelinger Archive vary in accord with humanity. 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. Get both sides of it- the polished lure of tourism boards and the rough-edit and poorly focused home movies at the actual sites.

EPHEMERA: GOING TO THE CHAPEL

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EPHEMERA: GOING TO THE CHAPEL
1940-1967
Approx. 85 min., Color/B&W, USA

RETURNING IN FEBRUARY 2017!!
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23 – 7:30PM

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.

June’s series, GOING TO THE CHAPEL, walks you up to the altar and beyond. From getting serious about dating, to picking the proper mate, to dealing with domestic squabbles, these films aimed to teach a generation relationship skills and entice them into domesticity. With marriage an important social and civic institution and major part of the U.S. economy, these films were intended to encourage, reassure, and most importantly, prepare young couples for the realities of marriage.

GOING TO THE CHAPEL spans a narrow slip of time from the end of the 1940s, after two world wars and economic slumps cast doubt on the entire institution of marriage, to the post-war boom of the early 1950s, when the marriage rate skyrocketed to the point of a housing shortage for new couples. It’s no surprise then that the films range from neorealist case studies to perky sales pitches.

Today, the median age for marriage is at an all-time high, and the U.S. marriage rate is at an all-time low. In the 1950s, the median age was at an all-time low and marriage rates soared. This generation has the luxury of getting to know potential spouses well before marriage – earlier generations went straight from parental homes to their own households, barely getting a chance to know themselves outside their nuclear family. GOING TO THE CHAPEL showcases the well-intended attempts to patch the gap and warn against rushing into freedom and sex, taking a pragmatic look and optimistic jump into dating and marriage.

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

Rick Prelinger began collecting “ephemeral films”— educational, industrial, amateur, advertising, or otherwise sponsored—in 1982, amassing over 60,000 on physical film before his collection was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002. Since then, the Prelinger Archive has grown and diversified: it exists in physical library form in San Francisco and is gradually being ported online to the Internet Archive (http://archive.org), where 6,462 of its films are currently hosted (as of this writing).

The contents of the Prelinger Archive’s vary in accord with humanity. 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.

HOW MUCH AFFECTION?
Crawley Films, Ltd.,1958

IS THIS LOVE?
Crawley Films, Ltd., 1957

HOW DO YOU KNOW IT’S LOVE?
Coronet Films,1950

CHOOSING FOR HAPPINESS
Affiliated Film Producers, 1950

ARE YOU READY FOR MARRIAGE?
Coronet Films, 1950

GOING STEADY?
Coronet Films, 1951

IT TAKES ALL KINDS
Affiliated Film Producers, 1950

SOCIAL-SEX ATTITUDES IN ADOLESCENCE
Crawley Films, Ltd., 1953

WHEN SHOULD I MARRY?
McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1957

ENGAGEMENT PARTY
Sterling-Movies USA, 1956

GOOD GROOMING FOR GIRLS
Cheseborough-Ponds, ca. 1940s

TOMORROW ALWAYS COMES
Lamont-Clemens, Inc., 1941

CONSUMING WOMEN
Jam Handy Organization, 1967

DAYS OF OUR YEARS
Dudley Pictures Corporation, 1955

BRIDE AND GROOM
NBC Television, 1954

MARRIAGE PSA
ABC Television, 1964

UNIVERSAL NEWSREEL: PALISADES PARK, ZIPPY WEDDING
Universal City Studios, ca. 1940s

HOME MOVIE
Unknown, 1940

HOME MOVIE
Unknown, 1944

HOME MOVIE
Unknown, 1942

HOME MOVIE
Unknown, 1955

MARRIAGE TODAY
Affiliated Film Producers, 1950

THIS CHARMING COUPLE
Affiliated Film Producers, 1950

WHO’S RIGHT
Affiliated Film Producers, 1954

WHO’S BOSS?
Affiliated Film Producers, 1950

Runtime: approx. 85 min.

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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EPHEMERA: SAFETY FIRST!

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EPHEMERA: SAFETY FIRST!
1940s-2002
Approx. 95 min. USA.

MONDAY, JUNE 1 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10 – 10:00 PM
SUNDAY, JUNE 14 – 5:00 PM
SUNDAY, JUNE 28 – 7:30 PM

Safety films are modern morality plays aimed at You, The Everyman! Without their stern guidance you would get your dumb self killed in short order. OSHA’s 2010 statistics list over 4,000 on-the-job fatalities and millions of productive hours lost due to accidents. Unfortunately, even when depicting very real dangers, safety films’ authoritative tone and stiff reenactments (not to mention terrible gore effects) elicit more laughter than concern.

These ephemeral films fill a social (and sometimes legal) need to educate the public on what it means to be ‘safe’. When society is confronted with new technology or changing environments, it is up to the safety film to show the proper path to tread. They want to save you from yourself – your wild emotions, lazy shortcuts, rule-bending and other human foibles all lead straight to your gory, violent death. Safety films want you to watch out, and whether by gentle caution or gruesome reenactment, they WILL get their message across.

So join us for an evening of well-intended threats, frights, falls and severed limbs! Bonus: a US Postal Safety Rap featuring young Justin Timberlake!

LIVE AND LEARN (1951)
TIME OUT FOR TROUBLE (1961)
ON EVERY HAND (1969)
COOKING – KITCHEN SAFETY (1949)
ONE GOT FAT (1963)
WHY TAKE CHANCES? (1952)
RANGE SAFETY (1990)
DANGER IS YOUR COMPANION (1940s)
OFFICE SAFETY (1970)
SAFETY IN OFFICES (1944)
CHRISTMAS TREE HARVEST (2002)
SHAKE HANDS WITH DANGER (1970s)
HAZARDS AROUND BINS AND HOPPERS (1978)
DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE (1976)
STAIRWELL SAFETY (2001)
GUNS ARE DIFFERENT
HALLOWEEN SAFETY (1985)
POST OFFICE SAFETY RAP (1990s)
HAZARDS IN MOTION (2001)
SAFETY: IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY (1982)
WILL YOU BE HERE TOMORROW? (1998ish)
SAFETY: IN DANGER OUT OF DOORS (1970s)
A SAFE DAY (early 1940s)
HOSPITAL SAFETY (1979)

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 (archive.org), where 5,336 of its films are currently hosted (as of this writing).

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.

EPHEMERA: POPULUXE

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EPHEMERA: POPULUXE
1956-1964.
Approx 78 min. USA.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 – 10:00 PM
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 – 10:00 PM

EPHEMERA: POPULUXE from Spectacle Theater on Vimeo.

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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September’s installment POPULUXE is the first all-color edition, celebrating the  Golden Age of America via the lavish advertisement culture of late-50s/early-60s. This is the Space Age, the Atomic Age, the age of car and kitchen culture, of the nuclear family, of modern design, of leisure, wealth, empowerment, ideals and commerce. In the luxurious world of the future, everything is going to be gorgeous, sleek and perfect and we would like to sing and dance and dazzle all that money out of your pocket. The sky is the limit.

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Films featured in POPULUXE include: Aluminum On The March (1956), American Look (1956), Century 21 Calling (1964), Design For Dreaming (1956), The Golden Years (1960), A Touch Of Magic (1961) and The Wonderful New World Of Fords (1960).

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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 5,336 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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EPHEMERA: SEX, THE PREDATOR, AND YOU.

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EPHEMERA: SEX, THE PREDATOR, AND YOU.
1947-1973.
Approx. 80 min. USA.

THURSDAY, JULY 11 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, JULY 25 – 10:00 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.

July’s installment SEX, THE PREDATOR, AND YOU focuses on the common themes of adolescent sexual education and awareness. After a program of didactic shorts that run the gamut from hand-holding to menstruation-training will be the mashup BOYS BE AWARE, a home-made combination of two infamous, classically-homophobic Sid Davis atrocities that use the exact same script: Boys Aware (1973) and Boys Beware (1961). This edit switches between the two liberally, providing an interesting look at how the same piece of undeniably dated writing is manifest in two markedly different eras.

Finishing up the program will be the entirety of the notorious 1964 paranoia-bomb THE CHILD MOLESTER, a PSA so dark and foreboding that it seems equally inappropriate for children, teens, parents and even child molesters.

*WARNING: ‘THE CHILD MOLESTER’ FEATURES EXTREME IMAGERY*

Sources for SEX, THE PREDATOR, AND YOU include: As Boys Grow (1957), Boys Aware (1973), Boys Beware (1961), The Child Molester (1964), Dating Do’s and Don’ts (1949), Going Steady (1951), How Much Affection? (1958), Human Reproduction (1947), Molly Grows Up (1953), Physical Aspects of Puberty (1953), Social-Sex Attitudes In Adolescence (1953), What To Do On A Date (1950).

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 4,439 of its films are currently hosted (as of this writing).

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.

EPHEMERA: ACT NATURAL

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EPHEMERA: ACT NATURAL
1949-1972.
Approx. 80 min. USA.

SATURDAY, JUNE 8TH – 7:30PM
SATURDAY, JUNE 29TH – 7:30PM

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.

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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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June’s installment ACT NATURAL compiles moments from the common theme of psychological and emotional unease, particularly in adolescence. How best can Tom, Dick and Jane navigate the rough terrain of daily social interaction, family dynamics and self-actualization? If there must be something wrong with me, are things ever going to be okay?

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Preceding the feature collage will be the short WHY DOESN’T CATHY EAT BREAKFAST? (1972, 4m, Color, USA), a puzzling and surreal PSA that manages to eerily dance around its core theme of childhood body consciousness.

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Sources for ACT NATURAL include: Angry Boy (1950), Boy With A Knife (1956), Facing Reality (1954), Habit Patterns (1954), Jealousy (1954), Keeping Mentally Fit (1952), The Outsider (1951), Self-Conscious Guy (1951), Stage Fright (1949) and more!

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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 3,801 of its films are currently hosted (as of this writing).

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.

EPHEMERA: WHAT WAS NEW YORK?

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EPHEMERA: WHAT WAS NEW YORK?
1939-1969, TRT: 90m, Color/B&W, USA.
MONDAY, MAY 13 – 8:00 PM
TUESDAY, MAY 28 – 8:00 PM

As one of the most characteristically diverse places on the planet, New York City’s 20th-century history has produced sights and sounds of an astonishing breadth. May’s EPHEMERA program WHAT WAS NEW YORK? offers a curated selection of moments from the history of NYC as it has been captured on celluloid. From specific transit exposés to neighborhood profiles, this edit utilizes a variety of framing contexts interchangeably to present an appropriately-scattered portrait of a location in constant flux; its assembly chronological yet timeless.

Preceding the feature program is LIVE AND LET LIVE (1947, 10m, Color, USA), an innovative safety awareness film produced by the Aetna Casualty & Surety Company that utilizes brightly-colored model cars to demonstrate traffic scenarios via tabletop stop-motion animation.

Sources for WHAT WAS NEW YORK? include: Around The World In New York (1940), Arteries Of New York City (1941), Coney Island (1940), For The Living (1949), R.F.D. Greenwich Village (1969), Story Of A City (1947), Story Of Newspaper History In The Making (1945), The City (1939), Third Avenue El (1950) and Village Sunday (1960), as well as many private home movies.

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 3,801 of its films are currently hosted (as of this writing).

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.