Amoeblog

An Interview with Alissa Walker for Women's History Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 30, 2015 08:06pm | Post a Comment
In the past most of my posts for Women's History Month have focused on historical figures. This year I decided to instead focus on living breathing women who're actively contributing to the vibrant cultural landscape of Los Angeles. This week's subject is Alissa Walker. Walker maintains the website, A Walker in LA; has written about design, architecture, cities, and transportation for the Los Angeles Times, Fast Company, Dwell, Slate, Wired, Los Angeles Magazine, Details, GOOD, the LA Weekly (and probably others); and is the urbanism editor at Gizmodo. She also co-created design east of La Brea, an organization that produces events that take place east of La Brea; is an associate produce for the KCRW public radio show DnA: Design and Architecture; is on the steering committee of Los Angeles Walks; and she just had a baby.

Continue reading...

The Dragonfly Collector Reviewed

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 30, 2015 11:19am | Post a Comment
Clementine Castro recently released his solo debut under the name Dragonfly Collector. Castro also was the leader of the popular bands, Orange and Lemons and The Camerawalls


Dragonfly Collector

Orange and Lemons released three albums in the 2000s (Love in the Land of Rubber Shoes and Dirty Ice Cream (2003), Strike whilst the Iron Is Hot (2005), Moonlane Gardens (2007)) which married 1960s pop psych to 1980s jangle pop. Though hailing from Bulacan, their sound had more in common with bands from the England’s north like Care, The Beautiful SouthLightning Seeds, Pale Fountains, The Smiths, and The Beatles than they apparently did with most of their Filipino peers. After their indie debut, Orange and Lemons signed with Universal but disbanded after their second major label release. 

A San Fernando Valley Playlist

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 23, 2015 03:33pm | Post a Comment
So the bad news is that I missed out on CicLAvia — The Valley. Cream Soda (my bicycle) was in the shop (nothing serious) and I was dog-sitting on the Eastside. I thought about bringing and walking the dog there but they’re not allowed on Metro buses or trains and there were further complications too that I won’t get into... so I ended up having breakfast at Din Tai Fung and exploring the trails of Ascot Hills Park


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's water color and oil paint map of the Valley


I am glad that so many people went and enjoyed it (hopefully getting some use out of my guide to the event) and that so many people seem to have discovered that the Valley, like everywhere else, is much more enjoyable when not seen from behind the wheel of a car. I also decided to capitalize on Valley Fever by making a Valley playlist. 


Postcard of the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s

The songs on this playlist cover the 1940s to the 1980s, which are good bookends for the Valley's period when it was a largely Anglo collection of suburbs and Cold War industry. The Valley today is much more urban and much more (predominantly even) Latino. It's also diverse, with large populations of residents with ancestral origins in Armenia, China, El Salvador, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Palestine, Persia, the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, and elsewhere. I welcome any suggestions but it would be especially great to have some that reflect the Valley identity of the last 25 years. Let me have them in the comments!


*****

Gordon Jenkins - “The San Fernando Valley”



Gordon Jenkins was from Webster Groves, Missouri but his first big hit was also the first big hit about the Valley, 1944's “The San Fernando Valley."  


Ritchie Valens - “Donna” 


Ritchie Valens was born in Pacoima in 1941. His song “Donna” was written about his real life girlfriend, Donna Ludwig (now Donna Fox), who along with Valens attended San Fernando Senior High School. It's languid love haze probably made it an ideal soundtrack for a cruise back when the streets were less congested. 


Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band - “Frownland"


Captain Beefheart's definitive album, Trout Mask Replica, was composed and rehearsed in a communal house (or cult compound) in Woodland Hills from 1968 to 1969. I’m not sure what the subject of “Frownland” is but it strikes me as appropriate.


Jimmy Webb - "Campo de Encino"


Jimmy Webb's most famous nominally-Los Angeles related song is surely "Mac Arthur Park," which was a hit for Richard Harris in 1968. Although best known for writing most of Glenn Campbell's material, Jimmy Webb's solo recording career also began in 1968. "Campo de Encino" was a track on his fourth record, Letters (1972).



Frank & Moon Zappa - “Valley Girl” 


Although Frank Zappa is more associated with the Antelope Valley than the San Fernando, he and his daughter wrote this parody of early 1980s Valley Girl subculture. It was not included in Martha Coolidge’s film of the same name, released in 1983, which made the Valley Girl an archetype although one no longer much in evidence.



Joe "Bean" Esposito - “You're The Best" 



Karate Kid (1984) is the story of a troubled high schooler named Daniel LaRusso who moves from New Jersey to the Valley suburb of Reseda where he’s harassed by local karate abusers, Cobra Kai. Joe "Bean" Esposito's “You're The Best" perfectly captures the spirit of the film, 


Southside Johnny - “Tuff Turf” 



Tuff Turf (1985) is the story of a troubled high schooler named Morgan who moves from Connecticut to the Valley suburb of Reseda where he’s harassed by local automobile abusers who run over his bicycle. Southside Johnny's “Tuff Turf” perfectly captures the spirit of the film.



Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Free Fallin’ 




In 1989 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (a band name which had already been used by a late ‘40s rhythm & blues group from DC, a doo-wop group, a soul group, a Boyle Heights duo, Johnny Thunders's punk group, and a group from New Zealand) had a hit with “Free Fallin’,” which was inflused with about as much Valley specificity as you’d typically find in a Paul Thomas Anderson film. 


Total Chaos - "DUI"



Total Chaos is a hardcore band from Pomona, but the 2001 song "DUI" is all about spending the night in a "Van Nuys Jail." 


Los Abandoned - "Van Nuys (es Very Nice)"


Although Total Chaos's experience in Van Nuys was less-than-pleasant, for Los Abandoned, the largelyMexican (with substantial Armenian and Salvadoran minorities) neighborhood "es very nice," although the lyrics of the song, from 2004's Los Abandoned EP strike me as rather ironic.

Special thanks to 
Daniel Ortega, Glen CreasonEzra Horne, and Kim Cooper for their contributions.

*****


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Female Experimental Filmmakers: A Noncomprehensive A-Z

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 18, 2015 12:27pm | Post a Comment
FEMALE EXPERIMENTAL FILMMAKERS: A NONCOMPREHENSIVE A-Z or...

50 OR SO FILMMAKERS YOU DON'T KNOW, WHO WILL SHOCK YOU, AND WHO HOLLYWOOD IS SCARED TO DEATH OF!

There are almost as many types of experimental films as there are experimental filmmakers. Many of them come to film from different directions than conventional filmmakers -- weaving together psychology, painting, dance, poetry, literature, theater, sculpture, and other fields. This being Women's History Month, I thought I'd have a crack at compiling a list of some of the names with which I'm familiar. If you have additions you'd like me to insert, let me know in the comments. 



AMY GREENFIELD

Amy Greenfield was born 8 July, 1950 in Boston. She is an originator of the cine-dance genre, her namefor her artistic intersection of experimental film and dance. In addition to film she's created holographic moving sculptures, live multimedia pieces, poetry, and video installations.



BADY MINCK

Bady Minck was born in Ettelbruck, Luxembourg. She studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts and experimental film at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Her debut, 1988's Der Mensch mit den modernen Nerven, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989. Minck today divides her time between Luxembourg and Vienna.



BARBARA HAMMER

Barbara Hammer's Dyketactics (1974) -- NSFW


Barbara Hammer was born 15 May 1939 in Los Angeles. She graduated from University of California at Los Angeles with a degree in psychology and later earned degrees in English literature and film at San Francisco State University. Today she is a professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-FeeSwitzerland.



BETH BILLINGSLEY

Beth Billingsley studied art at the School of Visual Arts. She married sculptor Scott Billingsley and the two formed the filmmaking duo Scott B and Beth B who were seminal figures of the No Wave scene. Their first film was G-Man (1978). Beth Billingsley began making films outside Scott B and Beth B in 1987.



BETZY BROMBERG

Betzy Bromberg studied film at California Institute of the Arts in the 1970s. She began making experimental films in 1976 and her early films included Petit Mal (1977) and Ciao Bella (1978). Today she serves as the Director of the Program in Film and Video at that same school.



CHIAKI WATANABE

Chiaki Watanabe's muX

Chiaki Watanabe (also known as CHIAKI) studied at School of Visual Arts. Today she divides her time between New York and Copenhagen.



COLEEN FITZGIBBON


 
Coleen Fitzgibbon's Land of Nod (1992/2013)

Coleen Fitzgibbon was born in 1950. She studied structuralist cinema at the Art Institute of Chicago and with the Whitney Independent Study Program. In 1976 she co-founded the collaborative X&Y with Robin Winters. In the late 1970s she was associated with New York's No Wave scene and today she divides her time between New York and Montana.



DINORAH DE JESUS RODRIGUEZ

Dinorah de Jesus Rodriguez's Elixir (2004)

Dinorah de Jesus Rodriguez was born 28 April, 1957 in Placetas, Cuba. At the age of six she emigrated with her family to the US via Spain. She developed an interest in filmmaking whilst studying journalism at Boston University in 1975. In 1978 Rodriguez moved to California but today she lives in Miami.



EILEEN MAXSON 

Eileen Maxson was born 1980 in New York. Maxson received degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Houston.



ELAINE SUMMERS


Elaine Summers's Tumble Dance (1965)

Lillian Elaine Summers was born 20 February 1925, in Perth, Australia. She grew up in Boston and first studied art education at the Massachusetts College of Art. She was a founding member of the group from which the Judson Dance Theater would coalesce. She died after a fall at her home at New York's Bellevue Hospital on 27 December, 2014.



G. B. JONES

G. B. Jones was born in Bowmanville, Ontario. Her synthpunk band, Bunny and the Lakers, released their only albumNumbers in 1979. She went on to co-found the post-punk band, Fifth Column. Jones also made experimental Super 8 mm films, often in collaboration with Bruce LaBruce.



GERMAINE DULAC

Germaine Dulac's Étude cinégraphique sur une arabesque (1929)

Germaine Dulac was born Charlotte Elisabeth Germaine Saisset-Schneider on 17 November 1882, in Amiens, France. After initially working as a journalist she became interested in film through her friend, actress Stacia Napierkowska in 1914. Dulac and writer Irene Hillel-Erlanger then founded DH Films and produced a series of films from 1915-1920. Dulac died in Paris on 20 July 1942.



JAN MILLSAPPS

Jan Millsapps was born 26 February 1950 in Concord, North Carolina. She rose to prominence as an independent experimental animator and her film, Parthenogenesis, was awarded at the North Carolina Film Festival in 1976. She was a professor of cinema at San Francisco State University from 1987 and from 1991 to 1995 she served as chair of the cinema department at the school.



JANIS CRYSTAL LIPZIN

Janis Crystal Lipzin was born in 1945 in Colorado Springs. She studied painting and photography at Ohio University and New York University, and film at the San Francisco Art Institute. She made numerous Super 8 mm and 16 mm films begining in the mid-1970s. She directed the film/photo program at Antioch College and taught film and Interdisciplinary studies at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1978 to 2009. Here are a couple of links to excerpts of her films, De Luce 2- Architectura and Micro-Celluloid Incidents in 4 Santas.



JEANNE LIOTTA

Jeanne Liotta was born in 1960 in Brooklyn. She studied theater at New York University where she collaborated with Gargoyle Mechanique, The Living Theatre, and the Alchemical Theatre Company. From the 1985-1995 she collaborated on films and other artwork with Bradley Eros. In 1993 she founded the Firefly Cinema, which operated until 2010. She is also currently a professor of film studies at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.



JOYCE WIELAND 

Joyce Wieland's Sailboat (1967)



Joyce Wieland was born 30 June 1931, in Toronto. She studied commercial art and graphic design at Toronto's Central Technical School and began making experimental films in the 1950s. In 1962, Wieland and her husband filmmaker Michael Snow moved to New York where they lived until 1970. She died from Alzheimer's disease on 27 June 1998.



LARUA MULVEY

Laura Mulvey was born 15 August, 1941. She was educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford. Mulvey arose as a prominent experimental filmmaker in the 1970s, co-writing and co-directing films with her husband, Peter Wollen. Today she is professor of film and media studies at Birkbeck, University of London.



LEAH GILLIAM

Leah Gilliam was born in 1967 in Washington, DC. She studied modern culture and media at Brown University, film and twentieth century studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and interactive communication at New York University. She began making experimental films with 1992's Now Pretend.



LESLIE THORNTON

Leslie Thornton was born in 1951 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She grew up in Cincinnati. She attended the State University of New York at Buffalo and later at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Thornton began as a painter in the early 1970s and began filmmaking with Face (1974). She currently a professor of modern culture and media at Brown University and divides her time between Providence and New York City.



LYNNE SACHS

Lynne Sachs was born 10 August, 1961 in Memphis, Tennessee. She attended Brown University where she majored in history and developed an interest in experimental documentary filmmaking. In 1985 she moved to San Francisco where she attended San Francisco State University and later the San Francisco Art Institute. In 1989 she made a long format experimental documentary, Sermons and Sacred Pictures. She currently teaches experimental film and video at New York University and lives in Brooklyn.



MAMA BAER

Mama Baer was born Andrea Katharina Ingeborg Gothling in 1981. She began as a post-industrial and noise musician in 1999 and began making experimental films in the 2000s. She currently lives in Flensburg, Germany where she often collaborates with her husband Kommissar Hjuler as "Kommissar Hjuler und Frau."



MARIE EPSTEIN

Marie Epstein (née Marie-Antonine Epstein) was born 14 August 1899 in Warsaw. She collaborated with her brother Jean Epstein, director Jean Benoit-Lévy, and later worked as a film preservationist at Cinémathèque francaise. She died 24 April 1995 in Paris.



MARIE MENKEN

Marie Menken's Lights (1964-1966)

Marie Menken (née Marie Menkevicius) was born 25 May 1909 in Brooklyn. She studied painting at the New York School of Fine and Industrial Arts and the Art Students League of New York. Menken and her husband Willard Maas co-founded the avant-garde Gryphon Group in the mid-1940s. She died 29 December 1970 in Brooklyn.



MARJORIE KELLER

Marjorie Keller was born in 1950 in Yorktown, New York. She enrolled at Tufts University but transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She began making films in 1972 and earned a degree in cinema studies at New York University in 1975. She was working on a book on experimental female filmmakers at the time of her death in 1994.



MARTHA COLBURN

Martha Colburn was born in 1972 and grew up in the country between Gettysburg and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 1990 she enrolled at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She began making films in 1994 and around the same time formed The Dramatics (not to be confused with the famous Motown group of the same name) who scored many of Colburn's films.



MARY ELLEN BUTE

Mary Ellen Bute's Synchromy No. 4: Escape (1938)

Mary Ellen Bute
was born 21 November 1906 in Houston, Texas. She studied stage lighting at Yale University. Bute's her abstract animated films were widely screened in cinemas before features in from in the 1930s until 1953, and she categorized them as "visual music" and later named the Seeing Sound series. She died of heart failure at New York City's Cabrini Medical Center on 17 October 1983.



MARY HALLOCK-GREENWALT

Mary Elizabeth Hallock-Greenewalt was born in 1871 in Beirut. She studied piano at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music and with Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna. Although best known as a pianist, she was also an inventor and pioneered visual music with an invention she called Nourathar which synchronized film to musical recordings and she hand-painted films films as well. She died in 1951.



MAYA DEREN 


Maya Deren was born Eleanora Derenkowskaia (Элеоно́ра Деренко́вская) on 29 April 1917 in Ukraine. In 1922, her family emigrated to Syracuse, New York, where her father shortened their family name to Deren. In 1930, Eleanora Deren enrolled at the League of Nations International School of Geneva. She graduated from New York University with a degree in literature. She adopted the surname Maya in 1943, after she moved to Los Angeles. Her experimental collaboration with Alexander Hammid, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), is one of the most influential avant-garde films in history. She died on 13 October 1961 from a brain hemorrhage brought on by extreme malnutrition.



MIDI ONODERA

Midi Onodera was born in Toronto. She began making experimental films in the late 1970s. In 1979 she made Untitled, Contemplation, and Reality-Illusion.



NANCY SAVOCA

Nancy Laura Savoca was born 23 July 1959 in the Bronx. In 1980 she married to writer and producer Richard Guay. She graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 1982 where she made two shorts, Renata and Bad Timing.



PEGGY AHWESH

Margaret "Peggy" Ahwesh was born 1954 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. She earned a degree from Antioch College. She began her film career in 1983, with the Super 8 work Pittsburgh Trilogy. She began teaching film and electronic arts at Bard College in 1990.



REBECCA HORN

Rebecca Horn's Berlin (1974)

Rebecca Horn was born 24 March 1944, in Michelstadt, Germany. In 1963 she enrolled at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg but withdrew the following year after contracting lung poisoning. She currently divides her time between Berlin and Paris.



SADAF FOROUGHI

Sadaf Foroughi (صدف فروغی) was born 27 July 1976 in Tehran. She studied French literature and philosophy at the University of Provence in Aix-en-Provence, France. She began making film with 2004's Une Impression.



SADIE BENNING

Sadie Benning was born 11 April 1973 in Milwaukee. She began experimenting with film as a child with a Fisher-Price Pixelvision PXL-2000 toy camera. In 1998, Benning co-founded Le Tigre with Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman. Benning left the band in 2000.


SHARON LOCKHART

Filmmaker and photographer Sharon Lockhart was born in 1964 in Norwood, Massachusetts. She received degrees from San Francisco Art institute and the Art Center College of Design. She is currently an associate professor at the University of Southern California's Roski School of Fine Arts, and lives in Los Angeles.



SHIRLEY CLARKE 

Shirley Clarke's Bridges-Go-Round (1958)

Shirley Clarke (née Shirley Brimberg) was born in New York City on 2 October 1919. She studied dance at Stephens College, Johns Hopkins University, Bennington College, and University of North Carolina. She began to show interest in filmmaking in the 1950s, completing Dance in the Sun in 1953. She died after a stroke in Boston on 23 September 1997.



STEPHANIE BARBER

Stephanie Barber was born in Riverhead, New York and grew up in Long Island. She studied film and poetry at Binghamton University. She is currently a resident artist in the multidisciplinary MFA program at Baltimore's Mt. Royal School of Interdisciplinary Art.



SU FRIEDRICH

Su Friedrich was born 12 December 1954 in New Haven, Connecticut. She studied art and art history at Oberlin College. She made her first film, Hot Water, in 1978. Since 1998, has taught at the Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at Princeton University. Today she lives in Brooklyn.



SUZAN PITT

Suzan Pitt produces experimental animated films. She was studying painting when began experimenting with 16mm film, creating Bowl, Theatre, Garden, Marble Game in 1970. She currently teaches with the experimental animation program at California Institute of the Arts.



TRACEY MOFFATT

Tracey Moffatt was born 12 November, 1960 in Brisbane, Australia. She graduated from the Queensland College of Art in 1982 when she filmed the documentary, Guniwaya Ngigu. She's primarily known for her photography, but has made several experimental films.



TRINH T. MINH-HA

 
Trinh T. Minh-ha's Reassemblage (1983)

Trinh T. Minh-ha was born in Hanoi and raised in South Vietnam during the war. She studied piano and music composition at the National Conservatory of Music and Theater in Saigon before emigrating to the US in 1970. Her first 16mm film, Reassemblage, was filmed in Senegal and released in 1983.



VAGINAL DAVIS

Vaginal Davis was born in Los Angeles. Davis's band The Afro Sisters released their first seven-inch EP Indigo, Sassafras & Molasses, on Amoeba Records in 1978 and later opened for The Smiths and Happy Mondays on both of their first American tours. She began making experimental films with 1994's Designy Living. She currently lives in Berlin.



VENA KAVA

Vena Kava was born 2 November 1986, in Zakopane, Poland. When seven years old, her family emigrated to the US. Kava studied experimental filmmaking at Emerson College in Boston and later the San Francisco Art Institute. Kava currently lives in Montreal.



VIVIAN OSTROVSKY

Vivian Ostrovsky was born 17 November 1945, in New York and spent most of her childhood in Rio de Janeiro. She studied psychology at Paris's Institut de Psychologie and later film at the Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle and by Henri Langlois and Eric Rohmer. In the 1970s, Ostrovsky and Rosine Grange co-founded Ciné-Femmes International.



VIVIENNE DICK

Vivienne Dick was born 1950 in Donegal, Ireland. She attended school there before emigrating to the US in the 1970s where she became associated with the No Wave scene. In 1982 Dick moved back to Ireland and today she teaches filmmaking at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.



ZEINABU IRENE DAVIS

Zeinabu irene Davis was born in Philadelphia and began making film at Brown University. She later received an MFA in motion picture/television production at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is also a professor of the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego.


*****


FURTHER READING

Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film Movement  (by B. Ruby Rich, 1998)
Women and Experimental Filmmaking (edited by Jean Petrolle and Virginia Wright Wexman, 2005)
Women's Experimental Cinema : Critical Frameworks (by Robin Blaetz, 2007)

If you're in Los Angeles, check out the Los Angeles Film Forum, the "longest-running organization in Southern California dedicated exclusively to the ongoing, non-commercial exhibition of independent, experimental, and progressive media art."


*****
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An Interview with Karie Bible for Women's History Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 9, 2015 08:48pm | Post a Comment
In the past most of my posts for Women’s History Month have focused on historical figures. This year I decided to instead focus on living breathing women who’re contributing to the vibrant cultural landscape of Los Angeles. This week’s subject is Karie Bible, an independent contractor who maintains Film Radar, volunteers for the American Cinematheque in conjunction with the Film Noir Foundation for the Noir City Festival, sometimes volunteers for the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats series, and since 2002 has been the house tour guide for Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Check out her website Hollywood Forever Cinema Walking Tour for upcoming tour dates and more details. 




*****

Film wasn’t invented in Los Angeles but no city in the world is more closely associated with the movies and yet film is rarely afforded the respect which it deserves. When I moved to Los Angeles, I discovered the largest collection of picture palaces in the world, the Broadway Theater District, but that all of their huge screens had long ago gone dark. There was no plaque at the site of Edison’s old Kinetoscope parlour in front of which oldest known footage of Los Angeles was filmed. There is no plaque at the former location of Chun Fon's Sing Kee Laundry, where the first dramatic film shot entirely in California was made in 1908. The storage facility behind my local Jack in the Box had been Mack Sennet's Edendale film studio only to spend its second act enabling hoarders as a public storage warehouse. Grand historic theaters, when not churches, were subdivided into closet sized rooms with screens smaller than some peoples televisions. 

The areas that gave me hope were the repertory and festival scenes, which seemed to be flourishing if somewhat hard to keep up with. Then I discovered outdoor screenings in parks and thought to myself that someone out to do for art houses, drive-ins, experimental film, film festivals, foreign films, outdoor screenings, revival houses, special screenings, video art what AOL’s Moviefone or NBCUniversal’s Fandango do for the suburban multiplex. Unaware of anyone providing this service, in 2008 I tried my hand at it with the intention of providing the service once a month but made only one, finding it way too much work, way too incomplete, and way too Web 1.0. The best thing about my effort (which you can behold, like the subject of an atrocity exhibition, here) was that it led to someone telling me about Film Radar -- which it turned out were already providing that service and are therefore, in my estimation, the greatest resource of its kind for the Los Angeles film scene, which is why I wanted to interview Karie Bible. 

*****

Do you run Film Radar all by yourself?

I run Film Radar along with Ray McDermott, whose contribution is invaluable.  This wouldn’t still be going without his help.


Do you receive funding from the city or any outside sources? Does it operate solely on donations?

We do sell ads sometimes, but otherwise we put our own money into it.  Donations would certainly help (hint, hint)! [There is a PayPal donation button on the website]


Do you rely on the theaters and festival promoters to get in touch with you?

We’ve been doing Film Radar since 2002, so at this point most people find us. Ray and I both have full time “day jobs”, so keeping up with the emails and requests is really challenging.


Before I knew about Film Radar I once tried my own hand at creating a similar film calendar focused on independent theaters, revival houses, special screenings, and festivals and found that there were a lot more than I was aware of. How do you keep abreast of it all and how do you decide which theaters to include in your listings?

To be honest, it is a constantly evolving thing. Right now we are currently trying to re-tool the calendar and find a way to make it much less time consuming to create.  We have huge lists of venues, links, bookmarks and paper schedules from venues all over town.   


Do you think that the city itself should take a more active approach in protecting its cinematic legacy? I’ve never been asked by a tourist how to get to the Broadway Theater District but am routinely asked for directions to the Hollywood Sign, the Walk of Fame, and Hollywood & Highland, things which are only tangentially related to film. 

Fortunately there are many organizations that help in preserving our city’s cinematic heritage for example the American Cinematheque, Los Angeles Conservancy, Hollywood Heritage, Art Deco Society, UCLA Film and TV Archive, Venice Historical Society, Echo Park Historical Society… the list goes on and on.


(Image source: Street Food Cinema)



It seems to me that as the grandchildren of the suburban pioneers increasingly choose to live in city centers that there’s seemingly a renewed interest in public space; from farmers markets, community gardens, open streets events, public transit, to outdoor film screenings held in public parks. Does this give you any hope that there’s hope for the future of cinemas and public film exhibition?


 
There is always hope!  I don’t believe that the communal experience of watching a film will ever go away. There are numerous ways to see film all over the city! There is Street Food Cinema (what’s not to love about movies AND food trucks!), movies on Santa Monica Pier, Silents Under the Stars at the Paramount ranch, movies at Hollywood Forever… again the list goes on and on.


The non-multiplex film scene seems to be dominated largely by new indies, “midnight movies,” and cult classics. Personally I wish that there were more places to see experimental, African, and silent films. Are there any other types of film you’d like to see more of in Los Angeles?

Wait, there ARE places to see these things! If you love experimental films, don’t miss Film Forum, which has been showing experimental / avant-garde film in Los Angeles since 1975.  They have several events a month. I also recommend Red Cat, which is located in downtown and the Echo Park Film Center. As for silent, well the Cinefamily (aka “The Silent Movie Theatre”) shows silent film on one Saturday per month. You can also find silents at the UCLA Film and TV Archive, Hollywood Heritage and the Old Town Music Hall.  The Los Angeles Conservancy usually includes a silent film as part of the Last Remaining Seats series. There is also the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, which features 20 silent films. The Turner Classic Movies Film Festival has silent film as well. Even though passes are expensive, you can buy tickets on an individual basis. They are showing a newly discovered Harry Houdini silent in a few weeks, which I’m very excited to see! There are opportunities to see silent film all over the place if you look for them.

As for African film, admittedly that is pretty hard to come by. That said, there is a Pan African Film Festival that happens every year and the American Cinematheque (Egyptian and Aero Theatres) do an excellent job of showcasing films from all over the world.  


In an older interview with Adrienne Crew, you mentioned L.A. Confidential, Chinatown, and Los Angeles Plays Itself as some of your favorite Los Angeles films. Are there any films that you feel get Los Angeles completely wrong?

That’s a tough question to answer. Los Angeles is a really diverse place with many facets. Most movies only capture one perspective. I always get really irked with movies that are Los Angeles stories, but are shot elsewhere in the world. The movie Battle: Los Angeles was shot in LouisianaThe Black Dahlia movie was primarily shot in Bulgaria. I know this is done for tax credits, but I find it so annoying.  


Having grown up in Texas, do you have any Texas-set films that you particularly like or dislike?

I thought the recent film Boyhood did a great job of capturing what it is like to grow up in working class Texas.  I also loved Robert Duvall’s The Apostle. Most of the time if you see a preacher depicted on film they are either saintly or evil with no in between. Duvall’s character was a raw, complicated human being. It was a brilliant performance. As for historic films, I will always have a soft spot for John Wayne in The Alamo.  My parents took my brother and I out the abandoned set of this film in Bracketville, Texas when I was a kid. Oddly enough, we were far more impressed with the movie set than the real thing, which is in a crowded urban area next to a mall


 

 


If you had a guest who was wide open to ideas and had a month to explore Los Angeles, where would you direct her or him?

I would need a month off to show them a fraction of what our city has to offer!  I would start by finding out their interests (art, architecture, film, nature, music) and then I would shape the tour around that.  The possibilities are endless.  If anyone ever says they are bored or that there is nothing to do in Los Angeles, they clearly aren’t paying attention.


Finally, do you sneak snacks into the theater?

Admittedly I have done this on occasion.  Last year at the TCM Festival I was chomping down on a philly cheese steak during one of the films.  The guy next to me was really irritated, but I couldn’t help it.  There is very little time in between films and there was no way around it. At least it wasn’t something crunchy!


*****

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