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

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
7:30 p.m. 1969–79

During the 1970s, a strong personal tradition emerged in Bay Area filmmaking. It took the form of disclosures, jive, and harangues in Curt McDowell’s Confessions, Mike Henderson’s Dufus!, and Joe Gibbons’s Weltschmertz. Whether relating the sins of the flesh and the details of unhappiness, or exploring possible identities, their films also used comic effect. Women filmmakers increasingly turned their camera on their daily lives, as seen in Freude’s joyous love poem, Promise Her Anything But Give Her the Kitchen Sink, and Barbara Hammer’s frank sexual exploration, Dyketactics. Both Dorothy Wiley’s Miss Jesus Fries on Grill and Barbara Linkevitch’s Chinamoon are powerful, impressionistic examinations of the often dark side of women’s lives. As the decade progressed, poetic, vibrant formal explorations paralleled and overlapped with the personal tradition as seen in George Kuchar’s Wild Night in El Reno, Bruce Conner’s Take the 5:10 to Dreamland, and Abigail Child’s Ornamentals.

—Kathy Geritz

Dufus! (Mike Henderson, 1970, 8 mins, B&W, From Academy Film Archive). Promise Her Anything But Give Her the Kitchen Sink (Freude, 1969, Color, 3 mins, PFA Collection). Confesssions (Curt McDowell, 1971, B&W, 16 mins, From Canyon Cinema). Dyketactics (Barbara Hammer, 1974, Color, 4 mins, From Canyon Cinema). Chinamoon (Barbara Linkevitch, 1976, Color, 15 mins, From Canyon Cinema). Miss Jesus Fries on Grill (Dorothy Wiley, 1972, Color, 12 mins, PFA Preservation Print). Wild Night in El Reno (George Kuchar, 1977, 6 mins, Color, From Canyon Cinema). Take the 5:10 to Dreamland (Bruce Conner, 1977, 5.5 mins, PFA Collection). Ornamentals (Abigail Child, 1979, 12 mins, Color, Silent, From Canyon Cinema). Weltschmertz (Joe Gibbons, 1979, 15 mins, Super 8 transferred to Digital Video, From artist)

• (Total running time: 97 mins, 16mm, unless indicated otherwise)