No Nothing Years and Beyond – Films by Marian Wallace

gatu2 (1)
8:30 pm tuesday august 19th 2014
black hole cinematheque
1038 24th street x linden

Join us in welcoming Marian Wallace in person to present a night of hand-crafted, mostly non-narrative 16mm films from her SFAI and No Nothing filmmaking days (Ephemerality, Getting At The Underworld, Crayfish of Doom, Project Y, 3 by MW and more), followed by her rarely-shown documentary “After-Crass.” “After-Crass” includes a performance by Penny Rimbaud; an art show of Gee Vaucher’s Crass record-sleeves, collages from back in the day, and more recent paintings; and interviews with both of these Crass founders, by V. Vale of Search & Destroy and RE/Search.

**Marian Wallace and V. Vale in person**

A founding member of the rebel underground fllm collective, No Nothing Cinema, Marian Wallace began making experimental films as a student at SFAI, studying with George Kuchar, Gunvor Nelson, and Lawrence Jordan. After receiving her MFA, she was employed at a film sound studio, going on to work on features (including mixing sound effects for “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” by Francis Ford Coppola). For the past decade she’s produced a monthly talk show with host, V. Vale, for public access television in San Francisco, while continuing to work on experimenal films, printmaking and painting, and also co-publishing RE/Search books and zines.

Posted in this week's screening | Leave a comment

Word War Disney Wolves (A-Z) and TM – the found footage films of Pablo Marin

word war disney wolves
8:30 pm monday august 11th 2014
black hole cinematheque
1038 24th street x linden/oakland

Join us to welcome Argentine filmmaker Pablo Marin in person from Buenos Aires to present the second of two bay area screenings of his extraordinary works in super 8mm and 16mm. The first of which will be presented by San Francisco Cinematheque at ATA in San Francisco on August 9th (
Tonight’s program will focus on some of his masterful manipulations of archival and “found footage” films.


TM (2008, 16mm, b&w – color, sound, 2 min.)

“TM stands for “tuyo/mío” (“yours/mine” in Spanish): an idea related to found footage practice but also to the hypnotic rhythm of 35mm film frames cut in half by a 16mm film projector. What you hear is what you originally saw.”

Word War Disney Wolves (A-Z) (2009, Super 8, b&w – color, sound, 45 min.)

“A snowball holds an anthology of detachments in its core. For years I accumulated Super 8 prints of all sorts of stuff… unknowns home movies, reduction prints from Disney and Universal, weird old porn, souvenir/postcard films, nature documentaries, those few-feet-long films you find inside projectors bought at sale auctions, etc… This long film comes out as a result of that personal depository of found images -and a few discarded rolls of footage of my own- being set into motion to abandon the stillness of the archive and become active. In its progressive alphabetical array the film disintegrates all individual syntaxis in benefit of a collective purpose. But what purpose?… not so much a conceptual or structural creature I like to think of this as a museum of jump cuts across time and space. “
Pablo Marin is a filmmaker, editor, teacher, writer and translator. He has presented Argentine experimental film programs in the United States, Canada and Spain. In 2014 he was artist in residence at the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT), Canada. He lives and works in Buenos Aires.
admission is free as always but please be prepared to bring donations for the traveling filmmaker!

Posted in this week's screening | Leave a comment

We Live In Cities: Films by Steve Polta

Snapshot 2014-07-13 15-22-00
8:30 pm/Tuesday/August 12/2014
black hole cinematheque
1038 24th x linden/oakland

We Live In Cities: Films by Steve Polta
**Steve Polta in person**

“Bay Area artist Steve Polta has been producing a body of films, mostly on Super 8, over the past two decades that are as exquisitely nuanced as they are rarely seen. Each film presents a narrow window onto the ordinary world, prodded by subtle observation until it yields images of ethereal beauty.” (Rick Bahto: Echo Park Film Center)

“In 1997A Arrival and 1997B Departure the elements of a profoundly defocused lens distort a transit tunnel into a portal between worlds, traversed by color-spiked forms. And in Picture Window the picture verges on pure black, the barest hint of an image causing the screen to reverberate between a window and a surface plane. It’s the texture of the image that constitutes the film, the essence of a film, which one can reveal only by opening the window hidden in every screen.” (Brian L. Frye, The New Science of the Cinema in Radical Light: Alternative Film in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945–2000.)

Program will include:

Red Sketch (1997c) (1997)

interval Oakland 99 (2000)

Departure (1997c) (1997)

Picture Window (1996a) (1996)

Minnesota Landscape (1997)

Estuary #1 (1998)

The Berries (2000)

Summer Rain for LMC, side A (2007/2011)

Summer Rain for LMC, side B (2007/2011)

A House Full of Dust (2007)

Steve Polta is a San Francisco taxi driver, a filmmaker, occasional writer and occasional historian. He is also the Archivist and Artistic Director of San Francisco Cinematheque. He is a recent contributor to INCITE! Journal of Experimental Media and Radical Light: Artists Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area: 1945–2000. His films have screened at—among other venues—Anthology Film Archives, the Chicago 8 Small Gauge Film Festival, the Images Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Film Festival’s Views from the Avant-Garde, the Pacific Film Archive, the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Posted in this week's screening | Leave a comment

PEOPLE’S PARK (Libbie D. Cohn & J.P. Sniadecki/2012)

8:00 pm/tuesday/july 1/2014
black hole cinematheque/1038 24th x linden/oakland

*Director Libbie D. Cohn in person*

“PEOPLE’S PARK is a 78-minute single shot documentary that immerses viewers in an unbroken journey through a famous urban park in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

The film explores the dozens of moods, rhythms, and pockets of performance coexisting in tight proximity within the park’s prismatic social space, capturing waltzing couples, mighty sycamores, karaoke singers, and buzzing cicadas in lush 5.1 surround sound.

A sensory meditation on cinematic time and space, PEOPLE’S PARK offers a fresh gaze at public interaction, leisure and self-expression in China.”

“A walk through the park like no other, this brilliantly joyous conceptual documentary takes the vivid reality of an urban park: People’s Park in Chengdu, Sichuan, and, with a pure kind of cinema magic, makes it more real than real. Directors Libbie Cohn and J.P. Sniadecki use an utterly unique and perfectly apposite method of filming: they shoot their tour of the park in one continuous 75-minute long tracking shot. No cuts, no edits: the film starts, it rolls, it stops. Sounds simple, but in the completely uncontrolled context of a crowded Chinese public space, their work required meticulous preparation and rigorous execution to achieve what looks like a spontaneous result. Their camera, as it pans side to side and glides relentlessly forward, catches hundreds of Chinese urbanites out for fun, relaxation, socializing and freedom: eating, strolling, singing, practicing calligraphy, dancing (to various, surprising beats) and watching each other. And being watched (by us) in a way that, though it may start out with what feels like unadorned observation, slowly gathers a kind of ecstatic, trance-like groove, building to a rapturous climax, as people, movement, music, image and sound dance together: this is as close to pure pleasure as cinema can provide.

The soundscape is rich, complex and carefully manufactured, as is the preternaturally smooth movement of the camera, again the result of painstaking preparation and post-production. The result is something extraordinary: a documentary re-creation of reality, or rather a production of something super-real, that activates our sympathetic gaze and ecstatic participation.”

- Shelly Kracier, Vancouver International Film Festival

free and open to the public

Posted in this week's screening | Leave a comment


friday june 27 2014 11:30 p.m.  to 6:00 a.m. june 28 2014
black hole cinematheque/1038 24th x linden/oakland

join us for a MIDNIGHT to DAWN screening to kick off our new series titled:

a marathon of disparate elemental collisions in film, video, performance and states of consciousness. exploring the effects of duration, obfuscation, chance occurrence and irrational confluence on the subjective viewing experience.

the program will begin at midnight and last roughly five or six hours. the order and content will be kept secret for reasons of perceptual experimentation. you just have to “trust”.

free coffee throughout the night and breakfast at dawn.
free and open to the public.

Posted in this week's screening | Leave a comment

SOLAR SHADOWS (((Saturn Returns))) a cosmic centennial cinematic celebration of Sun Ra: program three – Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise (Robert Mugge/1979) and Ra’s Arrival Day party

8:30 pm/thursday/may 22/2014
black hole cinematheque/1038/24th street x linden/oakland

“I came from somewhere else, where I was part of something that is so wonderful that there are no words to express it… I arrived on this planet on a very important day, it’s been pinpointed by wise men, astrologers, as a very important date. I arrived at the very moment, a very controversial arrival… in a position where a spiritual being can arrive right at that particular point.” – Sun Ra

Join us to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Sun Ra’s Arrival Day (May 22nd, 1914)!!

We will begin the night with a multi-projector cosmo-ritual on 16mm dedicated to Ra’s astral trajectory, followed by Robert Mugge’s vibrant documentary portrait of Ra and the Arkestra in “Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise” (1982). A poster made to commemorate the occasion as well as some celebratory libations will be available for free. Come early or stay late to hear a constant stream of selections from Ra’s musical myth-science universe and to ring in the next century of Sun worship.

Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise
(Robert Mugge/1982/60 mins/digital projection)

“More personal portrait than actual comprehensive musical documentary, it presents a good range of Ra’s many musical moods, from heraldic horn fanfares (“Discipline 27″) to funky seriocomic chants and jingles (“Astro Black,” “We Travel the Spaceways”), from free-form outbursts and African inflected tone poems to more traditional fare (“‘Round Midnight”). There are also revealing interviews with some of Ra’s longest-standing sidemen/acolytes, including John Gilmore, another noble and dignified warrior/musician who happens to be right up there with Sonny Rollins among the best tenor saxophonists in all of jazz-though, because he’s remained with Ra, few know it.

But A Joyful Noise is best at showing Ra’s whimsical yet stern personality, his playful gifts for phonetic/syntactic/philosophical punning; it shows Ra leading his band in a variety of indoor and outdoor locations, catches Ra rehearsing the band for a while, and lets him sermonize outside the White House and, most felicitously, in the Egyptian Antiquities wing of a museum in Philadelphia (where Ra has resided since the early ’70s). “They say history repeats itself,” says Ra in his beguiling cat’s-purr of a drawl, “but that’s His story, not my story. MY story is endless. My story is more a mystery “

free and open to the public

Posted in this week's screening | Leave a comment

SOLAR SHADOWS (((Saturn Returns))) a cosmic centennial cinematic celebration of Sun Ra: program two – The Magic Sun (Phil Niblock/1966), The Cry of Jazz (Ed Bland/1959), Sun Ra in Egypt (Richard Wilkinson/1971) and more

Snapshot 2014-05-19 01-56-59
8:30 pm/tuesday/may 20th/2014
black hole cinematheque/1038 24th street x linden/oakland
free and open to the public

Our Sun Ra Centennial tribute continues with two important and classic works – Ed Bland’s The Cry Of Jazz, Phil Niblock’s The Magic Sun, recently resurfaced home movies of the Arkestra shot on tour in Egypt and more (tba shortly)!

The Cry Of Jazz 
(Ed Bland/1959/34 mins/digital projection) 

A landmark of early Black American independent filmmaking utilizing elements of fiction and documentary into a striking essay film (in part based on a book by Bland himself titled The Fruits of the Death of Jazz) arguing that the conditions of black life in America share a structural identity with jazz music. The music and performances of Sun Ra and an early incarnation of his group (then based in Chicago) tie together and punctuate Bland’s message through a narrator that pinpoints exactly how “jazz is the cry of the Negro’s joy and suffering” and how it could consequently never have been invented by anyone else.

“…the music is built on a contradiction between restriction and freedom: improvisation of melody occurs against two restraining features: song form, which repeats itself endlessly without going anywhere (and is a reflection of the Negro’s Condition – ‘a futureless future’), and harmonic changes, and is a pattern which repeats itself over and over again. Rhythm and melodic improvisation represent joy, while form and harmony represent suffering. This ‘worship of the present’ in the face of having no future, life as it should be versus what it is.”
– John F. Swzed
(Space is the Place; the Lives and Times of Sun Ra)

“British drama critic Kenneth Tynan called THE CRY OF JAZZ a historical document because it marked the first time that Blacks openly challenged Whites in film. London Observer, February, 1960.”
-Ed Bland

The Magic Sun
(Phil Niblock/1966/17 mins/digital projection)

“In 1968, filmmaker and minimalist composer Phill Niblock shot the Sun Ra Arkestra performing on the roof of a New York City apartment building. Capturing extreme close-ups (fingers striking keys, lips blowing air, cymbals vibrating rapidly) on high-contrast black and white film, Niblock crafted a striking 17-minute montage that became a classic of underground cinema. The Magic Sun’s kinetic rhythm perfectly matches the Arkestra’s amorphous, free-flying sound. As Niblock’s images fly by, they seem to merge and blur, much as the fluid curves of the Arkestra overlap and build into intangible clouds of energy. “

- Marc Masters (Jazz Times)

Sun Ra in Egypt (Arkestra home movies)
(Richard Wilkinson/1971/7 mins/digital projection)

Recently resurfaced silent films shot by Richard Wilkinson, the Arkestra’s light and sound coordinator, during a mini-tour of North Africa. These were some of the many films projected behind the Arkestra’s performances which became increasingly elaborate throughout the 1970’s. They also offer beautiful snapshots of Ra and the group’s first encounters with the landscape and monuments of a culture that was of massive fundamental importance to his own mythological ideology.

Posted in this week's screening | Leave a comment