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!

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

GET YOUR TICKETS!

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

GET YOUR TICKETS!

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!

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

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

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

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

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! **

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

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

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

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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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!

THE BEST OF LOST & FOUND FILM CLUB

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THE BEST OF LOST & FOUND FILM CLUB

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 – 7:30 PM & 10:00 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!
ALL ON 16MM!

Over the last two years, The Cinefamily’s Lost & Found Film Club has made a name for itself as Hollywood’s greatest (and only) monthly showcase of rarely-screened ephemeral and unclassifiable short films– always presented in that most gloriously fuzzed-out of formats: 16mm film. Collecting eclectic oddities from estate sales, auctions, libraries, friends & neighbors, Lost & Found has made a hobby of rescuing under-appreciated treasures from oblivion. Now they’ve brought their greatest “finds” across the country for a “best-of” revue brimming with eye-popping experiments, student animation, strange docs and even a little harmless smut.

We’ll look at some of Jim Henson’s “for hire” work using Muppets to spice up dull corporate meetings, a sci-fi Arthur C. Clarke adaptation filled with outrageous aliens, and a real police training film discouraging the use of shotguns on public streets. Plus awkward teen dating, the first-ever commercial appearance by the Kool-Aid Man, 80’s insect love, and a secret 16mm surprise from the father of America’s favorite cartoon family.

Come see some LA ephemera as it was meant to be seen: leaders, scratches, splices and all!

Featuring:
MACHINE STORY
Dir. Doug Miller, 1983.
USA, 4 min.
CalArts Student Film

DOUBLETALK
Dir. Alan Beattie, 1975.
USA, 10 min.

MUPPET MEETING FILMS – MUPPET SIDE SPLITTER
Dir. Jim Henson, 1981.
USA, 9 min.

CIGARETTE STYLE
Dir. Unknown
USA, 3 min.

SHOTGUN OR SIDEARM
Sid David Productions, 1977.
USA, 14 min.
Pasadena Police Dept. Training Film

THE FIRST KOOL-AID MAN COMMERCIAL
Dir. Unknown, 1975.
USA, 30 sec.

WHY’D THE BEETLE CROSS THE ROAD
Dir. Jan Skrentny, 1985.
USA, 8 min.

RESCUE PARTY
Dir. Bernard Wilets, 1978.
USA, 25 min.
BFA Science Fiction series: Arthur C. Clarke adaptations

AND MORE SURPRISES!

EXPEDITION: AN EVENING OF EXOTICISM & ARMCHAIR TRAVEL

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 – 8:00 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

For the Edification and Pleasure of the Audience: In Order to Please the Eye and Excite the Imagination!

A very worthy adjunct to our regular EPHEMERA series, we present an evening of exoticism and armchair travel, imagery and sound, with artist, writer, and inveterate exot Evan Crankshaw, also known as Flash Strap of the FLASH STRAP blog. Come and embark on a journey—conveyed by means of synaesthetic virtual-voyage—to the heart of timeless darkness and beyond; embrace the numinous monolith of the exotic immensity.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FACEBOOK EVENT

EXPEDITION’s program will consist of Three Parts:

I: MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO: A PRIMEVAL BOLERO (CONCERNING THE ORIGINS OF MAN AND THE SAVAGE EARLY DAYS OF THE EARTH)

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A trio of educational video tapes of stop-motion dinosaurs subjected to extensive re-edits and fitted with a new soundtrack of exotica, library music, and cosmic synthesizers.

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II: “EXPEDITION”

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EXPEDITION is a 104-page collage book that loosely follows an archetypal expedition narrative, simultaneously reveling in exotic fantasy and offering both a critique and surrealist/ethnographic culture-history of Western exoticism. Each page has dozens of collaged components, genuine artifacts of authentic exoticist 20th century culture, drawn from a vast collected archive; each of these parts and their sources are detailed in the book’s dense index, along with their original context and some historical info. The book will be presented by the artist as a slide show—using an analogue slide projector—with a soundtrack of exotica music and field recordings.

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III: VOYAGE TO THE PREHISTORIC PLANET (PORTS OF PARADISE)

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A re-cut of a 1965 Hollywood re-cut (“Voyage To The Prehistoric Planet” with Basil Rathbone) of a 1962 Soviet science fiction film “Planet of Storms,” using some footage from an additional 1968 B-picture re-cut, “Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women.”

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The film is re-edited (in chronological order, but greatly shortened and with redesigned sound) to reveal the classic nature of the expedition narrative at its core, with a preference for the sensory over the sensical. The result is a woozy narrative more in line with dream-state story-telling, surrealist strategies, or the psychedelic logic of midnight movies.

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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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