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Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area

Saturday, October 16, 2010
8:30 p.m. The Erotic Exotic

Introduction by Eric Schaefer
Alice Anne Parker in Person

Please note: Tonight’s program is intended for Adults Only because of graphic sexual content. Expect some smutty surprise additions to the program!

Eric Schaefer is an associate professor in the visual and media arts department at Emerson College in Boston. His groundbreaking book
, Bold! Daring! Shocking! True: A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959, helped establish the burgeoning study of adult and exploitation films. Tonight he will discuss the edgy relationship between San Francisco’s erotic film community and the sexploitation industry.

The summer of love, 1967, liberated more than just a generation: it liberated a generation’s filmmakers as well. As a result, the body as erotic object became the core fascination of many experimental films in the decade that followed. These body-centered films set out not to shock, but to release sexuality from the taboos of depiction. Alice Anne Parker Severson stripped the body of its culturally produced titillations in her erogenous epic Near the Big Chakra, with 37 vaginas held in studied contemplation, and in the gender-effacing Riverbody, in which 87 nudes morph—one to the next. In Constance Beeson’s The Now, elliptical encounters between racially diverse couples naturalize the body and its many colorations. A poetic observation, Scott Bartlett’s Lovemaking captures an ecstatic moment of sexual embrace, close-up but never clinical. This careens against Jerry Abrams’s Eyetoon, a symbolic orgy of stroboscopic images voluptuously enveloping couples in congress. Finally, James Broughton returns us to the primal with Erogeny, his sensual mapping of the body poetic. Here, bodies, the hillocks and meadows of thigh and breast, undulate like a San Francisco landscape.

—Steve Seid

Orange (Karen Johnson, 1971, 3 mins, Color, PFA Collection). Eyetoon (Jerry Abrams, 1968, 8 mins, Color, From Canyon Cinema). Near the Big Chakra (Alice Anne Parker Severson, 1972, 17 mins, Color, From Canyon Cinema). The Now (Constance Beeson, 1971, 15 mins, Color, PFA Collection). Lovemaking (Scott Bartlett, 1970, 13 mins, Color, PFA Collection). Riverbody (Alice Anne Parker Severson, 1970, 7 mins, B&W, PFA Preservation Print). Erogeny (James Broughton, 1976, 5 mins, Color, From Canyon Cinema).

• (Total running time: c. 85 mins, 16mm, plus introduction)