BURNING FRAME: A MONTHLY ANARCHIST FILM SERIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LETTER TO OUTSIDE FRIENDS FROM THE KAMAGASAKI COMMUNE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All texts written by Living Assembly.

PUBLIC ACCESS, PRIVATE DESIRES

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




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

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

Special thanks to Damon Zex and Greg Smalley.

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

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

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

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

FUCK FOR DRUGS.




JOB MATUSOW’S MAGIC MOUSE MAGAZINE

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

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 – MIDNIGHT
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 – 7:30 PM

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

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

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




DAVID LIEBE HART’S JUNIOR CHRISTIAN TEACHING BIBLE LESSON PROGRAM

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

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER25 – 7:30 PM

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Patrick Wang’s A BREAD FACTORY

Patrick Wang’s miraculous two-part feature A BREAD FACTORY has made theatrical rounds over the past year and change to rapturous acclaim. Spectacle is very excited to host A BREAD FACTORY for 3 special screenings in September leading up to the release of the blu-ray by Grasshopper Films, including multiple opportunities to watch the whole back-to-back. This is the story of a community arts center in the small (fictional) town of Checkford.

Patrick Wang is author of The Monologue Plays and Post Script. His films–In the FamilyThe Grief of Others, and A Bread Factory, Parts One and Two–have premiered at SXSW and Cannes and have been nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards.


A BREAD FACTORY
PART 1: FOR THE SAKE OF GOLD
dir. Patrick Wang, 2018
122 mins. United States.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 – 5 PM with writer-director Patrick Wang in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 – 5 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

After 40 years of running The Bread Factory, Dorothea (Tyne Daly) and Greta (Elisabeth Henry) are suddenly fighting for survival when a celebrity couple—performance artists from China—come to Checkford and build an enormous complex down the street catapulting big changes in their small town.



A BREAD FACTORY
PART 2: WALK WITH ME FOR A WHILE
dir. Patrick Wang, 2018
120 mins. United States.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 – 7:30 PM with Patrick Wang in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

At The Bread Factory, they rehearse the Greek play, Hecuba. But the real theatrics are outside the theater where the town has been invaded by bizarre tourists and mysterious tech start-up workers. There is a new normal in Checkford, if it is even really Checkford any longer.

“A major new work by a singular American artist. A Bread Factory has an immense cast, a deliberate pace and thematic ambition to spare — but it also has a ground-level, plain-spoken modesty that renders it hypnotic. Critic’s Pick!”Bilge Ebiri, The New York Times

“My favorite film of the year by far. As of this writing, I’ve seen both parts three times. With each viewing, I notice new things and am more moved by the characters… This film is miraculous, and we are lucky to have it.”Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

“A richly absorbing portrait of a community theater at a crossroads. A wondrously moving, thoughtful and inventive new movie. Wang is an unusually gifted and criminally undersung talent.”Justin Chang, LA Times

“Endlessly warm, playful and lovable… Suggests the work of Richard Linklater, Christopher Guest, Robert Altman and Edward Yang. The film is utterly singular, though, the kind of work that will become a point of comparison itself.”Alan Scherstuhl, LA Weekly

TESSA HUGHES-FREELAND: Selected Video And Film Works, 1981-2013

TESSA HUGHES-FREELAND is a filmmaker, curator, and writer— a crucial downtown denizen by way of England, a scintillating vestige from the heady days of Danceteria and Club 57, and still one of the best we’ve got. Landing in the city in 1980 and beginning her film work with a super-8 camera gifted from David Wojnarowicz, her work spans four decades, tracing a unique arc that rubs elbows with many of the canonical figures and movements of NYC underground film culture. No Wave Cinema turns to Cinema of Transgression; expanded cinema bleeds into ‘multimedia’; the East Village descends and the underground breaks—Hughes-Freeland was there, camera in hand. Shifting in style and sensibility, ranging from 8mm scuzz to experimental documentary to elegiac film-portrait, her work in aggregate is difficult to summarize, better seen than described. Certain themes run through—sexuality, voyeurism, ritual, dream, and decay.

Spectacle is honored to host Tessa for two evenings in September screening and discussing her work. This series looks ahead to her solo exhibition at Howl! Happening titled Tessa Hughes-Freeland: Passed and Present, featuring multiple projections, an “interactive kaleidoscope,” sculptural fans, and the debut of her forthcoming, recently completed LOST MOVIE/THE BUG.


PROGRAM ONE (1981-1986)

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 – 7:30 PM with Tessa Hughes-Freeland in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 – 10 PM
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS         FACEBOOK EVENT

Comprised of shorts ranging from 1981 to 1986, these films can be seen as collectively documenting the East Village prior to its unceremonious death in 1985 (as declared by her husband Carlo McCormick in a eulogy in the East Village Eye). Contained here are dispatches from downtown culture including footage of graffiti culture, the experimental Butoh group Poppo, and a verité portrait of topless go-go dancers from Tribeca club Baby Doll Lounge. Also seen are delirious collage of found-footage, performance by Butthole Surfers, freshly signed to Touch and Go, and filmic evidence of the infamous 1985 Richmond, Virginia exhibition that featured downtown artists Wojnarowicz, Marilyn Minter, Luis Frangella, and more painting naughty murals while on acid.

BABY DOLL
1981. 3 mins.

JOKER
1983. 3 mins.

GRAFFITI HALL OF FAME
1983. 9 mins.

POPPO I 1984. 10 mins.

RHONDA GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
1985. 24 mins.

THE VIRGINIA TRIPPING FILM (Korean version)
1985. 8 mins.

BUTTHOLE SURFERS FILM
1986. 17 mins.

Total runtime: 74 mins


PROGRAM TWO (1987-2013)

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 – 7:30 PM with Tessa Hughes-Freeland in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

Spanning 1986 to 2013, these heterogeneous shorts include a scandalous and indelible duo with Tommy Turner, featuring dead rats as metaphor for dope; a kaleidoscopic collaboration with downtown rock art-bruts the Workdogs; a Bataille adaptation with Annabel Lee; a tongue-in-cheek mythological parable with Holly Adams; and break-beat driven sojourns through appropriated and found footage, with nods to the verve of the live multiple projections of yore. It’s fitting that the most recent piece, HIPPIE HOME MOVIE, made for an exhibition on the Catskills, takes up as one of its themes the spectre of hippies and the counterculture—a loaded note to end on, for sure!

RAT TRAP
dirs. Tessa Hughes-Freeland and Tommy Turner
1986. 12 mins.

JANE GONE
1987. 7 mins.

DIRTY
dirs. Tessa Hughes-Freeland and Annabel Lee
1993. 16 mins.

NYMPHOMANIA
dirs. Tessa Hughes-Freeland and Holly Adams
1994. 10 mins.

WATCH OUT!
2007. 3 mins.

GIFT
2010. 6 mins.

INSTINCT
2010. 12 mins.

KIND
2013. 1 min.

HIPPIE HOME MOVIE
2013. 3 mins.

Total runtime: 70 mins

MATCH CUTS PRESENTS: RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER’S WORLD ON A WIRE

WORLD ON A WIRE
(WELT AM DRAHT)
dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973.
205 mins. Germany.
In German with English subtitles.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18th – 7:30 PM & 10 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY w/introduction by Dennis Roberts

PART I – 7:30 PM (100 min.)
PART II – 10 PM (105 min.)

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

WORLD ON A WIRE is a 1973 science fiction television serial, starring Klaus Löwitsch and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Shot in 16mm, it was made for German television and originally aired in 1973, as a two-part miniseries. It was based on the novel SIMULACRON-3 by Daniel F. Galouye. An adaptation of the Fassbinder version was presented as the play WORLD OF WIRES, directed by Jay Scheib, in 2012. Its focus is not on action, but on sophistic and philosophic aspects of the human mind, simulation, and the role of scientific research. A theatrical remake entitled THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR featuring Vincent D’Onofrio was released in 1999.

DENNIS ROBERTS is the Director of Creative Technology at The Bosco, a company he helped found. He’s also a futurist, hobbyist game designer, and founder of the New York Experiential Meetup. He’s working on his first book, TRIALS OF TOMORROW, a collection of speculative fiction. In a past life, he directed music videos, some of which you can find on this site, www.dennisroberts.com.

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.

THE 1ST ANNUAL TREDICI BACCI FILM FESTIVAL


Tredici Bacci, New York’s premier 15-piece soundtrack-pop orchestra, draws a great deal of inspiration from the grand tradition of Italian film, specifically the luxe, mondo B-movies made circa 1960-80. The Tredici Bacci Film Fest—curated by the group’s bandleader and composer, Simon Hanes—will celebrate this incredible era by showing some of the epoch’s greatest (if lesser known) films. Supplementing these screenings, the group will supply intermittent musical performance plus delicious Italian food and beverage.

$10 gets you a “day pass”, i.e. a three-course meal of delicious Italo schlock. Tickets for individual screenings will be sold as capacity permits for $5.

DAY 1 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH

ONLINE TICKETS $10 for all day!!

5:00PM:

CHECK TO THE QUEEN
Dir. Pasquale Festa Campanile, 1969
99 min, Italy
With sausage/salami plate and beverage

Exactly how does one describe the indescribable? From the outside, “Check To The Queen” looks like a simple, classic, Italian psychosexual drama. It is only when we peek beneath the mantle that we find an extravagant, glorious, completely over the top film – A deranged composite of garish colors, speed zooms, jump cuts, and criminally thick mascara levels. Replete with sets and costumes that make Breakfast At Tiffany’s look like THX 1138, fevered pseudo-arabian dream sequences, and – for some reason – a terrifying mechanical horse that teeters on the edge of the uncanny valley, “Check To The Queen” is a rare example of style creating substance, of glitz and glamour generating genius. Keep an ear out for piccioni’s lurid score – at times psychedelic, at others almost horrifyingly bland – always just what the scene needs.

7:30 PM:

THE SEDUCERS/TOP SENSATION
Dir. Ottavia Alessi, 1969
99 min, Italy
With pasta with pesto, salad

A sex worker, a virgin pyromaniac, an opium-addicted, pan-sexual helicopter mom and a couple of good old fashioned swingers, all hanging out on a fancy boat, which happens to be well stocked with dynamite and sporting a state of the art closed-circuit camera system. What on earth could go wrong!? And more importantly, who ends up sleeping with who? The answers may, or may not, surprise you. Did I mention they stop on an island full of goats for awhile? This is one of those films that – by todays standards – should never have never been made, and yet it stands as an interesting and enlivening document, evidence of what filmmakers must have thought the general public wanted to see. To this day, it needs to be seen to be believed, if only for the scene of Edwidge Fenech in sailor’s garb, hand feeding a small goat.

10:00 PM:

KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL!
Dir. Romain Grey, 1971
113 min, Italy/France/West Germany/Spain
With chocolate cake or something


DAY 2 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 

ONLINE TICKETS $10 for all day!!

5:00 PM:

MONDO CANDIDO
Dir. Gualtiero Jacopetti & Franco Prosperi, 1975
107 min, Italy
With bruschetta and beverage

The word “Mondo” doesn’t get thrown around a lot these days, probably for good reason. Like “Gonzo”, “Mondo” is a descriptor best tied to a specific moment – in filmmaking, particularly the late 60s and early 70s, when Italian directors were pioneering exciting new ways to disgust, shock, and occasionally titillate audiences by showing them very fake gore and violence while promising them it was real. This trend led to a great many cinematic travesties – but none which stick out of the Mondo lineage as conspicuously as Mondo Candido – a frenetic, blatantly anachronistic and gloriously stupid retelling of Voltaire’s Candide. Galloping where ever it likes, this disfigured romp, a lovechild between Federico Fellini and Ken Russel, shakes the viewer out of normal complacency by reminding us that just because anything can happen in the world of film, doesn’t mean it always should.

7:30 PM: 

THE TREASURE OF SAN GENNARO
Dir. Dino Risi, 1966
104 min, Italy
With Pizza!

All you really need to know is that its 1966 in Naples and a bunch of handsome, stylish crooks (including an American!) want to steal some religious treasure. A classic Italian heist! You’re gonna get fast, tiny cars! hyperanimated conversation! Catholic guilt! Shouting! Mafia Stuff! Maybe some adultery? I can’t remember. In any case, it’s a non stop cinematic romp of people smoking cigarettes and looking incredible. All perfectly supported by Armando Trovajoli’s bright, mandolin heavy score. If ever I were in a situation where I had to convince someone to watch this movie, I would sit them down, look them dead in the eye and say “trust me, you’re gonna like this move” one hundred times.

10:00 PM: 

THE 10TH VICTIM
Dir. Elio Petri
93 min, Italy
With … zeppole and… limoncello?!

Every once in awhile, a movie comes along that just makes you say “Yes.” A movie that has everything your heart and mind has ever desired in a movie, wether or not you even knew it yet. For some people, that movie is “Lassie” – for some, its “Free Willy” – and for others, its “Babe: Pig In The City.” But for me, that movie is Elio Petri’s Sextopyian (a word i just made up) masterpiece “The 10th Victim”. Why? There’s no point in trying to explain with the brevity needed for this blurb, but I promise once you watch it, you’ll understand. Set in a future only Italians in 1965 could ever imagine, THE 10th VICTIM” confronts everyone’s favorite topics – humans hunting humans, jazz, and post-modern interior design. Piccioni hits it out of the park again on this one with his utterly manic, glistening score.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE: A Film Noir Double Bill


YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE
dir. Fritz Lang, 1937
86 mins. United States.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 – 5 PM
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

Fritz Lang’s 1937 YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE (his third film after fleeing Nazi Germany, and just his second American movie) is a complex social melodrama, tightly disguised as a bleak noir about star-crossed lovers on the run. Henry Fonda stars as Eddie Taylor, a jailbird who’s just been released from prison (for the third time) with desperate hopes to finally turn his life around. Unfortunately for Taylor, Lang’s fatalistic noir unravels as a thorough critique of an American judicial system that consistently sets its subjects up for failure. In a country that imprisons more people per capita than any other in the world, Lang’s social protest film is as poignant today as it was when James Baldwin praised it in 1976. With expressive black & white cinematography and a harrowing performance from Sylvia Sidney, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE is a remarkable career achievement and as James Baldwin reminds us, Lang “never succeeded quite so brilliantly.”


NIGHTFALL
dir. Jacques Tourneur, 1957
79 mins. United States.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

Working with classic film noir genre tropes (a suitcase filled with money, an innocent man being accused, a snowy day in Wyoming?), Tourneur’s late-period noir is a poetic thriller that becomes increasingly difficult to pin down with its suspenseful flashback structure and vividly set sun-filled exteriors. Released nine years after his noir masterpiece OUT OF THE PAST and photographed by film noir legend Burnett Guffey (IN A LONELY PLACE, THE RECKLESS MOMENT), NIGHTFALL tells the story of an artist (Aldo Ray) who desperately tries to prove his innocence for a murder and robbery he didn’t commit. The slow-burning thriller culminates in an epic final scene, worth noting due to its striking resemblance to a Coen Brothers movie whose location is just north of Tourneur’s Teton County exterior (oh geez).

Carlos Gonzalez’s ANTENNA TO GOD w/filmmaker Q&A

ANTENNA TO GOD
dir. Carlos Gonzalez, 2019.
United States. 105 min.
In English.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY w/filmmaker Carlos Gonzalez in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

ANTENNA TO GOD is a shot-on-video psycho-drama/mystery/comedy concerning a young hotshot journalist who gets involved with a strange local chiropractor, while researching her next piece. As her personality begins to shift more and more in resemblance to a deceased night club singer, her editor tries to unravel the real story behind the cracks. As he probes various characters associated within the fragmented story he finds himself pulled ever deeper into a thickening narrative stew that may overtake him completely.

CARLOS GONZELZ lives and works in Providence, RI. He is a comic book artist with several publications (Test Tube, Scab County, Gates of Plasma) released through Floating World Comics. He makes underground music as Russian Tsarlag, as well as crude, story-driven analog home videos. His last feature length video (FORGOTTEN WORLD) was released by Pleasure Editions in 2017 on VHS and digital.

PERSISTENCE OF VISION: The Films of Suzan Pitt

Join us in celebrating the life of legendary animator and artist Suzan Pitt (1943 – 2019) in this small survey of some of her greatest animated films, spanning across the length of her 30+ year career as one of America’s most innovative voices in experimental animation. These works, beginning with her first major hand-painted animation and cult-classic ASPARAGUS and ending with her final 20+ minute work, EL DOCTOR, track the extraordinary artist across time as she uses her unique voice to interrogate different stages in life. From the youthful mysteries of the creative process to the philosophical conundrums of death and dying, these films reflect Pitt’s evolution not only as an animator and artist but as a person grappling with the passage of time and the mysteries each phase of life brings. This shorts program will be followed by a documentary on Pitt’s life and work, PERSISTENCE OF VISION, directed by Blue and Laura Kraning, which grants unparalleled access and insight into the process and personality of this singular artist. Stick around at the later screening to catch a bonus show of Pitt’s last short film, PINBALL.

Special thanks to Blue and Laura Kraning.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

ASPARAGUS
dir. Suzan Pitt. 1979
20 mins. New York City.
In English.

JOY STREET
dir. Suzan Pitt. 1995
24 mins. Mexico, Guatemala, and the USA.
In English.

EL DOCTOR
dir. Suzan Pitt. 2006
23 mins. Mexico and Los Angeles.
In English.

PERSISTENCE OF VISION
dir. Blue and Laura Kraning. 2006
33 mins. Los Angeles.
In English.

*BONUS SCREENING — AFTER FINAL SHOW*

PINBALL
dir. Suzan Pitt. 2013
7 mins. New Mexico.
In English.

LA BODEGA SOLD DREAMS

Puerto Rico is the oldest colony in the world, a territorial possession ceded to the United States after it invaded the islands in 1898 during the Spanish American War, or in the words of Rita Indiana: ‘a social experiment full of contradictions’. In 1917, Puerto Ricans were imposed US citizenship; by 1970, New York City’s Puerto Rican population reached its zenith, making Puerto Ricans the city’s largest ‘minority’ population during that decade. Puerto Rican contributions to the city of New York are far and varied, from bodegas to salsa, from the Young Lords to Spanish being taught in elementary schools, from Pedro Pietri’s poetry and the Nuyorican movement to Hip-Hop, from Puerto Ricans involvement in Communist and Socialist parties to their contributions to the city via co-op buildings and social clubs forming close social webs. La Bodega Sold Dreams seeks to uncover the cultural legacy of Puerto Ricans in the city by presenting a body of films that captured the sentiment, makeup and preoccupations of displaced Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. metropolis. This series dabbles with the constructions edified by both outsiders and insiders of the Puerto Rican diaspora, during two decades where Puerto Ricans were demonized for anything including being unclassifiable, minding your business, and bombing the Defense Department in Madison Avenue in support for Puerto Rican Independence.

Programmed in collaboration with Caroline Gil. Special thanks to Larry Revene, Carlos de Jesus, Robert B. Young, Diego Echeverria, XFR Collective and David E. Wilt.



LA TIGRESA

dir. Glauco del Mar, 1969
85 mins. United States.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

Glauco del Mar’s penultimate film LA TIGRESA is perhapsx his most accomplished, yet far less popular than his apogee, 1975’s TONO BICICLETA. It is in this bewilderingly feminist redemption narrative that we meet Patricia, a young woman living with her father, who is mercilessly ullied by her schoolmates, assaulted and raped in her home and is left with no resolve. Her alcoholic good-for-nothing father is killed during her attack. After inheriting some money and recovering her personal power, she sets off to avenge every single last person that did her wrong – making her list, and checking it twice. This classic redemption tale combines the amazing Perla Faith a legendary vedette with espiritismo, folklore, Miguel Poventud’s jangly guitar boleros, corrupt cops, and entrancing Harlem landscapes.


YE YO
dir. Tony Betancourt, 1975
79 mins. United States/Puerto Rico.
In Spanish.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

Puerto Ricans were imposed U.S. citizenship in 1917 via the Jones-Shafroth Act. Lore recounts that Puerto Ricans were given citizenship so that they could be discharged as cannon fodder for the First World War and all succeeding wars that the U.S. engaged in thereafter. Produced by Changó International Films and shot by the prolific adult film cinematographer Larry Revene, YE YO tells the story of Rogelio Sotomayor, a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war with PTSD who returns to New York after the war. Upon his return he finds his wife Nydia with a lover and murders them. In an epic, days-long run-off from corrupt cops, Ye Yo relies on his community for cover in this Blaxploitation inspired drama.


SHORT EYES
dir. Robert M. Young, 1977
100 mins. United States.
In English.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 – 5 PM
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

“I don’t know how much of a human being I would be if I met you on the sidewalk.”

Adapted by poet Miguel Piñero from his play of the same name, SHORT EYES is closely based on his experiences incarcerated at Sing Sing after an armed robbery charge. Robert M. Young (ALAMBRISTA!) shot the film on location in the infamous Tombs, on White Street, while the prison was fully operational; the plot follows a gang of Black and Puerto Rican inmates figuring out what to do with a bourgeois white inmate named Clark (Bruce Davidson, making his big screen debut) who has been accused of raping an underage girl. “Short Eyes” is the in-prison nickname for pederasts, and Piñero’s screenplay doesn’t hold back in dissecting the dog-eat-dog culture among the inmates – several of whom have designs on Clark, who they consider the lowest of the low. A flawlessly executed ensemble piece buttressed by a silky-yet-menacing Curtis Mayfield soundtrack, SHORT EYES is a gripping and surprisingly even-handed look at life behind bars, widely considered one of the greatest prison films ever made. Young’s compassionate realism and focus on authenticity is a perfect match for Piñero, who also acts in the film (as do Mayfield and Freddy Fender, in bit parts), and whose run-ins with law enforcement would continue during and after production.

(SHORT EYES will screen with a 17-minute clip of Miguel Piñero reading at Magic Gallery in 1984, preserved and digitized thanks to XFR Collective.)


NATAS ES SATAN
dir. Miguel Ángel Álvarez, 1977
89 mins. United States.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 – MIDNIGHT

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

Best known for his comic persona “El Men” back in Puerto Rico, Miguel Ángel Álvarez delivers a blood-curdling performance in the lurid 1977 exploitation thriller NATAS ES SATAN, as an NYPD officer who is literally the devil (re)incarnate. (Screenwriter Joe Zayas based his sordid tale of blackmail and murder on true events.) Despite being Satan, Natás is also a surprisingly plausible supervillain, at one point enacting vengeance on his enemy, a businessman named Victor (Frank Moro), by hiring a “double” (played by Moro again) to put him in a compromising position. Like LA TIGRESA, this film was shot entirely en español on location in Manhattan; while the dramatic stakes are small, NATAS ES SATAN succeeds as both a crime procedural and a hysterical psychodrama. Long before Natas has invited three transgender assassins over to his place to murder Victor during a DIY porn screening, you’ll agree the end product also feels not unlike an artifact from an alternate universe. Stay alert…. Natas may return!


LA BODEGA SOLD DREAMS: SHORTS 1968-1980
dirs. Various
approx. 90 mins.
In English and Spanish with English subtitles.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

Bracketed by two short TV documentaries, this program looks at depictions of both Puerto Rican and Nuyorican culture regarding the island’s de facto status as an outpost of American imperialism. The material screened will include interviews with Ruben Berrios, leader of the Independence party, Rafael Hernández Colón, governor candidate for the Popular Democratic Party, and Carlos Romero Barceló, governor of the islands, known murderer, and darling of the Pro-Statehood party, the PNP. (Today, the PNP is the same political party incriminated in the recent upheavals over the #rickygate, #rickyrenuncia, #wandarenuncia, etcetera.)