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

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
7:30 p.m. Pieces of Eight: Fragments, Curiosities, and Hidden Realities

Bob Branaman, Keith Evans, Janis Crystal Lipzin, Steve Polta, Jeff Warrin, and Jacalyn White in Person

The Bay Area was a primary home to artists working with the amateur formats of Regular 8mm and Super 8mm beginning with the street films of Bob Branaman and continuing through the work of Janis Crystal Lipzin and Jacalyn White, to the enigmatic sound portraits of Steve Polta. The films on this program consciously work with the small-scale 8mm image, conveying an intimate connection to their subjects while reflecting on daily life and social issues or discovering formal delights in otherwise familiar objects. Branaman offers a lush Kodachrome journey through the San Francisco streets of 1959 to 1961 filled with magical superimpositions. Ellen Gaine’s Fragment reimagines water ripples as a mesmerizing shadow play. Lipzin’s Government Property uses major news event reporting to comment on film’s illusory nature. White’s Waiting for X to Happen playfully uses Super 8mm synch-sound images to do just that. Polta’s Estuary #1 transforms vehicular movement in and around a drawbridge into an abstract poem, and Peggy Ahwesh’s Martina’s Playhouse is a candid mother-daughter portrait that is also a deeply revealing exploration of innate human sexuality. Plus surprise short by collaborative film group silt.—Steve Anker

Films by Bob Branaman (Bob Branaman, 1959–61, 25 mins, Silent, Color, Regular 8mm, From Filmmakers’ Cooperative). Fragment (Ellen Gaine, 1982–85, 13:30 mins, Silent, B&W, Super 8mm, From the artist). Waiting for X to Happen (Jacalyn White, 1984, 8 mins, Color, Super 8mm, From Canyon Cinema). Estuary #1 (Steve Polta, 1998, 10 mins, Color, Super 8mm, From the artist). Government Property (Janis Crystal Lipzin, 1981, 10 mins, Color, Super 8mm performance/projection for three projectors, From the artist). Martina’s Playhouse (Peggy Ahwesh, 1989, 20 mins, Color, Super 8mm, From the artist)

• (Total running time: 90 mins)