Wallace Berman's Underground - repeat screening!

January 7, 2012, 5:00PM
Cinefamily, 611 N Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles 90036, 323-655-2510

Cinefamily web page: http://www.cinefamily.org/films/alternative-projections-experimental-film-in-los-angeles-1945-1980/


Tickets: $10 general, $6 students (with ID) & seniors; free for Filmforum and Cinefamily  members, via Brown Paper Tickets

In person: Toni Basil, Tosh Berman, George Herms, Russ Tamblyn (schedules permitting)

In the mid-1960’s, Wallace Berman inspired and communed with a close-knit circle of actors and artists, who screened their underground films domestically among a group of Topanga Canyon bohemians.  These films were influenced by Berman’s spiritualist and radically amateur concepts of art, that nevertheless thrived in the intersection among art, Hollywood, and the institutions of the semi-commercial underground.  Among this expanded circle in Topanga were Dennis Hopper, Russ Tamblyn, Toni Basil, Dean Stockwell, George Herms, Bruce Conner, and Robert Alexander.  Tonight’s show features the world premiere of Bruce Conner’s edit of Dean Stockwell’s film Pas de Trois!

The evening will include several films made by the artists in this community, along with a conversation among the guests.  It is slightly different from the screening on December 3, adding Aleph and Pas de Trois.

Curated by Rani Singh and David E. James

This screening is in conjunction with the Armory’s exhibition  Speaking in Tongues: The Art of Wallace Berman and Robert Heinecken, 1961-1976.  armoryarts.org


Films to be Screened

  • Aleph (1956-66, 6 min., 16mm, color, silent)
    Directed by Wallace Berman

    “… A dense collage of images drawn from disparate sources including his own works; newspaper and magazine illustrations often animated by the camera’s staccato movement over them; images from his own artwork, especially that of the single-image Verifax collages, including one of Flash Gordon that Berman titled “Portrait of Kenneth Anger”, home-movie footage of himself, his family and friends, and other artists, including Stockwell and Tamblyn; and trips to movies to see It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and The T.A.M.I. Show, where Berman shot footage of the Rolling Stones and James Brown in concert.  ” – David E. James, The Most Typical Avant-Garde, p. 278

  • A Dance Film Inspired by the Music of Jim Morrison (1968, 2min., color, sound)
    Directed by Toni Basil

    Perhaps the first film to combine classical dance with dancing of “the street.”

    "dancers in white face groove out in photomontage on a black backdrop to the music of Jimi Hendrix…” – from "Paper Monument: A Journal of Contemporary Art," review by Naomi Fry of the exhibition "Semina Culture: Wallace Berman & His Circle" at NYU

  • BREAKAWAY (1966, 5 min., 16mm, color, sound)
    Directed by Bruce Conner

    Music by Ed Cobb. Dance and vocal by Toni Basil

    "The camera captures her movements in gestural, expressive light smears. Intercut rhythmically with strophes of black leader, she gyrates in graceful, stroboscopic accelerations. Conner's editing is consummate as he alternates angles of her figure from different shots into a kinesthetic, flowing continuity."- Anthony Reveaux

  • Pas De Trois (1964, 8 min., 16mm b&w transferred to video)
    Directed by Dean Stockwell

    World premiere of Bruce Conner’s edit!  Courtesy of the Conner Family Trust, Dean Stockwell, and Toni Basil.

    Film by Dean Stockwell; Edited by: Bruce Conner

    Featuring: Toni Basil & Bruce Conner

    The only film showing Bruce Conner at work, making BREAKAWAY with Toni Basil.  This utterly unique document, never before screened, also is perhaps the only film made by Dean Stockwell in this period to survive.  Sharing the camera rhythms of Stockwell and the editing rhythms of Conner, the film conveys the excitement and the labor of artistic creation.

  • First Film (c. 1966, ~8 min., 16mm, color, silent)
    Directed by Russ Tamblyn

    A fast –paced view of the times and activities of Russ Tamblyn, largely edited in camera. Glimpses of scenic locales, artistic possibilities, people on the move, and the full gamut of filmic manipulations.

  • Rio Reel (c. 1968, ~6 min, 16mm, color, silent)
    Directed by Russ Tamblyn

    Similar in style to First Film, Tamblyn filmed a journey to Rio.  

  • George Herms, 1965, in Topanga, photo by Wallace Berman George Herms, 1965, in Topanga, photo by Wallace Berman

    Topanga Rose (1960s, 22min., film transferred to video color)
    Directed by George Herms

    This selection of ethereal home movies shot in and around Topanga Canyon paints a rich portrait of Los Angeles as it once was….(The footage compiled includes beautiful landscape photography, the Birds of Chaos sculpture, Neil Young’s wedding, a protest at the construction of a trailer park, a palm trees study, Gena’s (a local waitresses) wedding, and footage of Herms’ and Paul Beatties’ families)