Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles 1945 – 1980

November 12, 2010 - November 14, 2010, Varied

The Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre & The Ray Stark Family Theatre

The USC School of Cinematic Arts, Los Angeles Filmforum
and Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative
Invite you to attend a symposium on experimental film 

Friday, November 12 – Sunday, November 14, 2010
The Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre & The Ray Stark Family Theatre


A three-day symposium that aims to expand understanding of how experimental filmmaking evolved in Los Angeles and to contextualize its place in postwar art history. The project places focus on the community of filmmakers, artists, curators and programmers who contributed to the creation and presentation of experimental cinema in Southern California in the postwar era. It will add to the definitive overview of the topic provided in David James's book The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles, while creating a complementary archive of resources for future scholars.



Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles 1945-1980
, a project of Los Angeles Filmforum, is part of Pacific Standard Time, an unprecedented collaboration in which more than fifty cultural institutions across Southern California are coming together from October 2011 – May 2012 to tell the story of the birth of the LA art scene. Core support for Alternative Projections is provided by the Getty Foundation. 

All screenings, exhibits, panel discussions and receptions are free of charge and open to the public, however you must complete an electronic registration in order to attend the events.

To register for the symposium, CLICK HERE.

THE SCREENINGS IN NORRIS CINEMA THEATRE DO NOT REQUIRE REGISTRATION.


Schedule of Events

Friday, November 12

2:00 PM - 8:00 PM: Alternative Projections exhibit and Side Phase Drift 1965 open to the public in the Steven Spielberg Building lobby and School of Cinematic Arts Gallery.

  • 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM: Welcome reception in the lobby of the Steven Spielberg building, School of Cinematic Arts Complex.
  • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM: Film screenings to complement panel presentations. Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre.
Saturday, November 13

12:00 PM - 8:00 PM: Alternative Projections exhibit and Side Phase Drift 1965 open to the public in the Steven Spielberg Building lobby and School of Cinematic Arts Gallery.

  • 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM: Coffee available in the lobby of the George Lucas Building.
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM: Panel #1 - Shopper's Market: Exhibition, Distribution and Canonization. Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108.
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Lunch Break -- mobile lunch trucks with food for sale will be stationed on  34th Street just outside of the School of Cinematic Arts Complex.
  • 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM: Panel #2 - Subcultures Scene and Seen. Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108.
  • 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM: Panel #3 - Blurred Bondaries: Outsider/Insider Filmmaking & Group Identities. Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108.
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM: Catered dinner reception in the lobby of the Steven Spielberg Building, School of Cinematic Arts Complex.
  • 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM: Special Presentation by Single Wing Turquoise Bird, followed by a panel with original members of the group, moderated by Adam Hyman. Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre.
Sunday, November 14

11:00 AM - 3:00 PM: Alternative Projections exhibit and Side Phase Drift 1965 open to the public in the Steven Spielberg Building lobby and School of Cinematic Arts Gallery.

  • 11:00 AM - 11:30 AM: Coffee available in the lobby of the George Lucas Building.
  • 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM: Panel #4 - High Concepts: Cross Section of Art and Film. Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108.
  • 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Catered lunch reception in the lobby of the Steven Spielberg Building, School of Cinematic Arts Complex.
  • 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM: A screening of works by members of the Los Angeles Independent Film Oasis. Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre.
  • 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM: Panel Discussion with members from the Los Angeles Independent Film Oasis, moderated by Terry Cannon. Featuring Morgan Fisher, Roberta Friedman, Amy Halpern, Tom Leeser, Beverly O'Neill, Pat O'Neill, Grahame Weinbren, and David Wilson. Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre.

Check-In & Reservations

All screenings, exhibits, panel discussions and receptions during Alternative Projections are free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a photo ID or print out of your regeistration confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully  registering through this website. At the symposium, you will be issued a badge that will allow you to attend all events listed on the schedule.

About the Panel Discussions

The symposium will feature 4 panel discussions comprising 17 presentations on various aspects of filmmaking and exhibition during the postwar era in LA. Panel topics will include:

Shopper's Market: Exhibition, Distribution and Canonization
Moderated by David James and including presentations by Ken Eisenstein, Adam Hyman, Alison Kozberg and Tim Lanza.

Subcultures Scene and Seen
Moderated by George Baker and including presentations by Alice Hutchison, Erika Suderburg, Marc Siegel and Mike Olenick.

Blurred Boundaries: Outsider/Insider Filmmaking and Group Identities
Moderated by Mark Toscano and including presentations by Ross Lipman, Jesse Lerner, Julie Turnock, and Pauline Stakelon.

High Concepts: Cross Sections of Art and Film
Moderated by Russell Ferguson and including presentations by Grahame Weinbren, Liz Kotz, Carlos Kase and Katherine Kerrigan.

For more detailed information about each panel discussion, as well as bios for the moderators and panel presentors, and abstracts for the individual presentations, please visit: The Los Angeles Filmforum website for Alternative Projections.

About the Gallery Exhibit and Friday Night Film Screenings

During select hours over the course of the symposium, there will be an exhibition of historic posters, filmmaking artifacts, catalogues and original artwork. The exhibit is curated and mounted by Terry Cannon, who is an advisor on the Alternative Projections project team.

The below films were selected to complement presentations that are being held on Saturday:

  • The Wormwood Star by Curtis Harrington (1956, 16mm, color, sound, 10 min). Discussed in Alice Hutchison's presentation: "Scarlet Woman on Film: Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954) and The Wormwood Star (1956): Kenneth Anger, Curtis Harrington, Cameron, and Los Angeles alternative film and culture in the early 1950s"
  • Flesh of Morning by Stan Brakhage (1956, 21 min, 16mm). Discussed in Tim Lanza’s presentation: "Raymond Rohauer and the Society of Cinema Arts: Exhibition and Distribution 1948-1962"
  • Shoppers Market by John Vicario (1963, 16mm, color, sound, 22 min). Discussed in Ken Eisenstein’s presentation: "John Vicario's Shoppers Market vs. 'The Cool School'"
  • Passion in a Seaside Slum by Bob Chatterton (1961, 28 min). Discussed in Marc Siegel's presentation: "Taylor Mead, a Faggot in Venice Beach in 1961"
  • A Painter's Journal by Renate Druks (1967, 10 min). Discussed in Mike Olenick's presentation: "The Inauguration of Renate Druks"
  • Nun and Deviant by Nancy Angelo & Candace Compton Pappas (1976, video, 20 min). Discussed in Erika Suderburg's presentation: "Deviant Bicentennial Redux 1976"

About Side Phase Drift 1965

A film by John Whitney, Jr. that will be projected throughout Alternative Projections in the School of Cinematic Arts Gallery, located in the lobby of the Steven Spielberg Building in the School of Cinematic Arts Complex
.
Side Phase Drift 1965 is an abstract three-screen performance projection piece. The film took a year to make as each frame was composed of sets of images that were manipulated in form, color, superimposition and time.  The image sequences are logical permutations of a progressively evolving order.  

The images were realized on a mechanical analogue computer system called a CAM machine and an Optical Printer at Motion Graphics, Inc. The Optical Printer was modified with controls and accessories to facilitate the color sequencing which was based on complimentary color relationships utilizing a hierarchical system.

Side Phase Drift 1965 has been shown/performed all over the world; in the early 1970s it was presented under the auspices of the United States Information Services throughout Western and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In England it was presented at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol and at The London Film School.  In 2005 the film was transferred to HD Digital format and was shown on a continuous basis at Visual Music, a major exhibition jointly organized by the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.


Thanks to Motion Graphics, Inc., founded by John Whitney, Sr. in 1962, for use of its studio facilities. For her contributions, special thanks to Glo Minaya, Technical Director, Walt Disney Animation Studios, who has donated her time and resources to re-render the film in high resolution for this presentation.

The USC School of Cinematic Arts, Los Angeles Filmforum and the filmmaker wish to gratefully acknowledge the donation of the digital projector from Epson America, Inc. and the screen from IMAGE Screens.

About the Single Wing Turquoise Bird Light Show


The Single Wing Turquoise Bird Light Show was the most significant light show group in Los Angeles from 1967 to 1975, a "collective improvisation performance group" that used film, slide projections, and oils to marry the artistic possibilities of music, painting, and moving images. The SWTB first played behind bands such as the Velvet Underground and the Grateful Dead, then conducting its own performances in a loft space above the Fox Venice Theater.



During the past two years SWTB has re-formed to rehearse, perform and record new work. The SWTB members -- which varied over time but included such artists as Larry Janss, Peter Mays, Jeffrey Perkins, Jon Greene, David Lebrun, and Michael Scroggins -- sought to raise consciousness in their remarkable multimedia presentations.


The SINGLE WING TURQUOISE BIRD - 2010.  L-R  Larry Janss, Amy Halpern Lebrun, Jeff Perkins, David Lebrun, Michael Scroggins, Peter Mays.  Not shown: Shayne Hood, Rol Murrow. Photo credit: Andy Romanoff.



Screenings will include:

  • The Single Wing Turquoise Bird Light Show Film by SWTB. (1970, 4 min., SD). This is the only record of the original Single Wing Turquoise Bird light show. Shot in 1970, it was featured in the Visual Music Exhibition at Los Angeles MOCA and the Hirshhorn Museum in 2005.
  • Adagio for Jon and Helena by Michael Scroggins. (2009, 5 min., HD). This silent film is the uncut filmed record of a single liquid plate performance.
  • Metamorphosis by David Lebrun. (2010, 14 min., HD). An animated excursion through the history of man-made forms, patterns and symbols, based on material originally created for Single Wing Turquoise Bird in 1968.
  • Yoga-Sutras by Peter Mays. (2010, 12 min.,  HD). An extended meditation, derived from 3D animations created for Single Wing performances.
  • Slum Goddess Goes To New Mexico by Larry Janss. (2010, 7 min.,  SD). An homage to wanderlust in the '70s.
  • Jackpot by Shayne Hood. (1991, 3 min., SD). An abstract animation.
  • Fluxus Film #22: Shout by Jeff Perkins. (1991, 3 min., SD). Camera by Yoko Ono. This 16mm silent film premiered at the first Fluxus Film Festival in NYC in 1966.
  • Invocation by Amy Halpern. 2 min. (1982, 2 min., 16mm film). A tiny step in the attempt to carve the immaterial.
  • Out of Our Depth by SWTB. (2010, 34 min., HD; World Premiere). A journey through multiple worlds recorded from live, in-studio improvisation by the resurgent Bird.

About the Los Angeles Independent Film Oasis

The Los Angeles Independent Film Oasis was an experimental film screening organization from 1976 to 1981. Founded and run by a group of filmmakers, it also functioned as a nurturing meeting place to exchange information and ideas. Oasis -- whose members included Pat and Beverly O'Neill, Morgan Fisher, David and Diana Wilson, Grahame Weinbren, Roberta Friedman, Amy Halpern, Tom Leeser, and Susan Rosenfeld -- operated as a collective where each member could suggest programming, and it held approximately one hundred fifty screenings, primarily focused on works of contemporary experimental filmmakers.

The below films were selected to complement Sunday's activities, both the presentations and the panel of filmmakers from LA Independent Oasis:

  • Filament (The Hands) by Amy Halpern (1975, 6 min., 16mm, b/w, silent). Discussion of Halpern and her work will be in the Oasis members panel directly following the screening.
  • Projection Instructions by Morgan Fisher (1976, 4 min, 16mm). Discussion of Fisher and his work will be in the Oasis members panel directly following the screening.
  • Sidewinder's Delta by Pat O'Neill (1976, 20 min, 16mm). Discussed in Grahame Weinbren's presentation: "Pat O'Neill in Monument Valley"
  • Presence of Mind by David Wilson (1976, 17 min, 16mm). Discussion of Wilson and his work will be in the Oasis members panel directly following the screening.
  • Four Corners by Diana Wilson (1978, 10min, 16mm). Discussion of Wilson and her work will be in the Oasis members panel directly following the screening.
  • Murray and Max Talk About Money by Grahame Weinbren and Roberta Friedman (1979, 15 min, 16mm). Discussed in Carlos Kase's presentation: "Storm, Stress, and Structure: The Films of Roberta Friedman and Grahame Weinbren"
  • Gratuitous Facts by Tom Leeser (1981, 12 min, 16mm). Discussion of Leeser and his work will be in the Oasis members panel directly following the screening.

Address and Parking Information

The USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. The SCA Complex includes two adjacent buildings, with the George Lucas Building on the East side of the SCA Courtyard and the Steven Spielberg Building on the West side. The SCA Gallery is located in the lobby of the Steven Spielberg Building. The Ray Stark Family Theatre is located in the lobby of the George Lucas Building. The Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre is located several buildings away from the SCA Complex at 3507 Trousdale Pkwy. Directional signage will be present at the event to help direct you.

Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd. Street parking is free on Sundays.

For a map of the USC University Park Campus, click here.

About the Organizers

Terry Cannon
Terry Cannon has been involved in the artistic and cultural life of Southern California since the mid-1970s. In 1975, he founded Pasadena Filmforum (now Los Angeles Filmforum), and served as its Executive Director for nine years. In 1984, after leaving Filmforum, Cannon founded SPIRAL, a quarterly magazine which examined significant topics related to experimental film and which featured writings and artworks by the filmmakers themselves. Cannon edited and published nine issues before the magazine's demise in 1986. He has also, since 1988, served as President of the Board of Directors of the Museum of Jurassic Technology. In 1996, Cannon founded the Baseball Reliquary, a Pasadena-based nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the prism of baseball history and to exploring the national pastime’s unparalleled creative possibilities. He continues to serve the Baseball Reliquary in the capacity of Executive Director.

Adam Hyman

Hyman is Executive Director and Programmer for Los Angeles Filmforum. He has programmed over 200 shows since 1998, including historical retrospectives, tributes, and contemporary practitioners. Hyman has also been a documentary filmmaker for the past fourteen years, producing and/or writing a variety of historical and archaeological documentaries that have aired on the PBS, the History Channel, the Learning Channel, and others. He co-produced the 2007 Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning feature documentary Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience and The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music. He is currently directing and producing a film on R&B sax legend Big Jay McNeely. A native Angeleno, Hyman has an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.

David E. James
David E. James  is presently on the faculty of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. His teaching focuses on avant-garde cinema, culture in Los Angeles, East-Asian cinema, cinema and music, and working-class culture. He has published widely in these fields, including most recently Power Misses: Essays Across (Un)Popular Culture and  The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles, and the edited collection, Stan Brakhage: Filmmaker.  Together with Michele Pierson, he edited the forthcoming, Optic Antics: The Amazing Cinema of Ken Jacobs.

Stephanie Sapienza
Stephanie Sapienza is an archivist who specializes in access for archival and historical moving images. Currently she is the Project Manager for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's American Archive project. Before this (very recent) development she was the Managing Director of the iotaCenter, an organization that promotes experimental film and abstract animation by linking historical work to contemporary. She has a master's degree in Moving Image Archive Studies from UCLA. Before entering that program, she worked for six years as a researcher and producer of documentary films and television series. She has been volunteering for Filmforum doing outreach and publicity since 2001, and was elected to the board in 2004. She currently serves as Board President.

About Los Angeles Filmforum

Filmforum was incorporated in 1975. Its mission is to promote a greater understanding of film as an art form and the filmmaker as an artist by providing a forum for independently produced, experimental films, which have little opportunity of reaching the general public through normal channels of commercial distribution. It showcases alternative media that aims to inspire, enlighten, and empower, as well as to entertain. By featuring the underrepresented voices and visions of truly independent filmmakers, Filmforum exposes audiences to the full range of artistic expression, cultural perspectives, and critical inquiry. It continues as the city's longest running organization that screens experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation. 

For more information, visit www.lafilmforum.org

About Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative

Visions and Voices is a university-wide arts and humanities initiative that is unparalleled in higher education. The initiative was established by USC President C. L. Max Nikias during his tenure as provost in order to fulfill the goals set forth in USC's strategic plan; to communicate USC's core values to students; and to affirm the human spirit. Emphasizing the university's commitment to interdisciplinary approaches, the initiative features a spectacular array of events conceived and organized by faculty and schools throughout the university. The series includes theatrical productions, music and dance performances, conferences, lectures, film screenings and many other special events both on and off campus. Each program invites students to dialogue and interact with artists, writers, professors and special guests. These interactions provide a dynamic experience of the arts and humanities and encourage active exploration of USC's core values, including freedom of inquiry and expression, team spirit, appreciation of diversity, commitment to serving one's community, entrepreneurial spirit, informed risk-taking, ethical conduct and the search for truth.

For more information, visit www.usc.edu/VisionsAndVoices




Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago
Email: aago@cinema.usc.edu
Phone: 213.740.2330