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Alternative Visions

Wednesday, November 3, 2010
7:30 p.m. Flaming Creatures
Jack Smith (U.S., 1963)

Curated by Federico Windhausen


Federico Windhausen writes about experimental film and video and teaches film history at California College of the Arts.

The influence of Jack Smith’s casually outrageous style, which interpreted the B movie in a sexually inventive manner, and his refusal to separate his persona from his art can be seen in artists from George Kuchar to Andy Warhol; performances in his New York loft, even more fugitive and underground than his film production, were forebears of the avant-garde theater. Among classics of New American Cinema, Flaming Creatures was the most maudit, and the most frequently seized for obscenity. The setting for this pre-Cockettes fantasy of sexual confusion is a transvestite orgy where Smith's "creatures" go in for the kind of role-playing and exhibitionism that made him the (il)legitimate daddy of camp.

• (45 mins, B&W, 16mm, From Canyon Cinema)

Preceded by short:
Razor Blades (Paul Sharits, U.S., 1965-68). The two films of Paul Sharits's double-screen Razor Blades are composed of fourteen repeated loops consisting of images that are often only a few frames in length. They are both easily read in their simplicity—a hand, a word, a color—and impossible to read as they speed by, subsumed within the rhythm and “mandala” effect of the film. The desire to make sense of the film coexists with an immediate physiological response to the bombardment of images. (25 mins, B&W/Color, 16mm dual-screen projection, From Film-makers' Cooperative)

• (Total running time: 70 mins)