YOU CALL THIS PROGRESS!? ALYCE WITTENSTEIN AT SPECTACLE

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 – 10:00 PM
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 – 8:00 PM
 ** w/ Alyce Wittenstein, Steve Ostringer, & Garrett Oliver in attendance for intro/Q&A! **
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 – 10:00 PM

Alyce Wittenstein has been called the “Queen of the New York Underground” and this September, Spectacle is pleased to play host to her and the films making up her MULTIPLE FUTURES trilogy. These films are jam packed with familiar faces, exquisite set pieces, snappy dialogue, and dazzling costumes. While the films have indeed been shown the world over, these screenings will be the first in New York in almost two decades. Join us all month for these remarkable films in a celebration of science fiction, hilarity, character actors, and ghastly view of a not-too-distant world.

PLUS
Special guests, vintage press and screening ephemera from around the world, original props, maybe some custom made buttons, outtakes, and more!


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BETAVILLE
Dir. Alyce Wittenstein, 1986
20 min.

The first in what would come to be known as the MULTIPLE FUTURES trilogy, BETAVILLE – a post-modern nightmare – finds a down and out detective Coman Gettme (played by Wittenstein mainstay Steve Ostringer) returning to his hometown after a chance meeting with The Girl (Holly Adams). Once the two arrive in Gettme’s Cadillac things immediately go from bad to worse for this gumshoe when he learns, over a slice at Stromboli’s, that High Fashion is the new law in town. Gettme becomes obsessed with The Girl and is determined to meet back up with her and “save” her from the these fashionable fascists.

BETAVILLE kicks off the trilogy in a pitch perfect send up of the French New Wave and science fiction, and turns noir on it’s ear while (literally) running through some familiar parts of NYC. Holly Adams is nothing short of dynamite and Ostringer’s distinctive production design would lay the groundwork for the look of the films to come. Years before becoming Brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery, Garrett Oliver was co-producer on the film. The short would go on to be nominated for a number of awards at festivals and play all over the world – often (unsurprisingly) alongside Godard’s ALPHAVILLE.

“Most of the detective narrator dialogue is clever, the cinematography is excellent, and I liked the (sort of) industrial music and the song by the Singing Squirrels.” – Michael J. Weldon, Psychotronic Magazine #2, 1989.


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NO SUCH THING AS GRAVITY
Dir. Alyce Wittenstein, 1989
40 min.

In the not too distant future the LaFont corporation has all but taken over Earth. The company has revolutionized all elements of style, beauty, education, and housing but in the process (progress?!) has shipped many of Earth’s more “useless” inhabitants to the mysterious man made planet – and the largest scale experiment in human history – known as Nova Terra. Two scientists – Kay Zorn (Holly Adams) and Albert Leenhardt (Steve Robinson) are about to receive a prestigious award for their work on the LaFont Facelifter when they learn that Nova Terra is disrupting the Earth’s gravitational pull and will soon collide if it’s not destroyed. A headstrong lawyer and Kay’s boyfriend – Adam Malkonian (a scenery chewing Nick Zedd) – mouths off to a judge (the incomparable Taylor Mead – RIP) while defending a human teacher and is ordered to be relocated to the doomed planet. After meeting with the ambassador of Nova Terra (Emmanuelle Chaulet of Eric Rohmer’s BOYFRIENDS AND GIRLFRIENDS), Malkonian learns that perhaps the LaFont Corporation hasn’t been entirely truthful about what really happens on Nova Terra and vows to stop the destruction.

Wittenstein’s first sync sound film is overflowing with amazing set pieces and incredible performances. Some scenes were shot at the New York Hall of Science – including an Ames room and a number of other dazzling optical illusions. Look out for cameos from Michael J. Anderson (TWIN PEAKS), Wittenstein’s father as the insidious Andreas LaFont, and the director herself on Nova Terra.


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THE DEFLOWERING
Dir. Alyce Wittenstein, 1994
40 min.

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old are dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” – Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks.

The quote above opens Wittenstein’s third and final film – THE DEFLOWERING. Again featuring some of Wittenstein’s tried and true players – Holly Adams, Emmanuelle Chaulet, Taylor Mead, and more – the film concerns yet another evil corporation this time HUXLEY BIO-TECH and their means to sanitize/beautify this world of ours. This time Wittenstein (with Ostringer back on production design) takes the costuming helm as well.

The TIB (Total Immune Breakdown) virus has left the planet reeling and lethal allergic reaction are at an all time high. Huxley’s efforts to produce perfect, designer children that are immune to viruses have had the side effect of hyper-allergic reactions. Why isn’t anything being done about allergies? No one wants to fund it! With the mortality rate skyrocketing, can mankind bounce back and feel the soft caress of skin against skin ever again or will the line at the Holo-Memorial Funeral Home grow ever longer?

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