Two film programs, one of avant-garde short films and the other a revealing documentary, will showcase the changing cityscape and the people who inhabit it, from the late 1950s to today. A panel discussion will follow.
Tickets: $10 (at door)
Short Films (1 PM)
Rudy Burckhardt, Square Times, 1967. 16mm, color, sound, 6:30 min
A Saturday night on 42nd Street, from dusk to dawn. The glamour, the garbage, the hot dogs, the movies, the sex, and the violence in the air. With music by The Supremes.
Marie Menken, Go! Go! Go!, 1964. 16mm, color, silent, 11.30 min
In Menken’s words: “Taken from a moving vehicle, for much of the footage, while the rest uses stationary frame, stop-motion. In the harbor sequence, I had to wait for the right amount of activity, to show effectively the boats darting about; some sequences took over an hour to shoot, and last perhaps a minute on the screen. The ‘strength and health’ sequence was shot at a body-beautiful convention. Various parts of the city of New York, the busy man’s engrossment in his busy-ness, make up the major part of the film…a tour de force on man’s activities.”
Coleen Fitzgibbon, L.E.S. (Lower East Side), 1975. Super-8mm transferred to digital video, color, sound, 10 min
“The story of the collapse of the problematic island of Manhattma, whose inhabitants worshiped the god of mamon, John Doe. Shot in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, NYC circa 1976. Filmed on Super-8mm with sound (summer 1976); shown on open-reel videotape 1978 on Manhattan Cable Channel D; Collaborative Projects, Inc.‘s Red Curtain show.” Q&A to follow.
Henry Hills, Money, 1985. 16mm, color, sound, 14.30 min
Filmed primarily on the streets of Manhattan for the ambient sounds and movements and occasional pedestrian interaction to create a rich tapestry of swirling colors and juxtaposed architectural spaces in deep focus and present the intense urban overflowing energy that is experience living here. MONEY is thematically centered around a discussion of economic problems facing avant-garde artists in the Reagan era. Discussion, however, is fragmented into words and phrases and reassembled into writing. Musical and movement phrases are woven through this conversation to create an almost operatic composition. Give me money!
“If time is money, this fifteen-minute film is a bargain.” —J. Hoberman, Village Voice
“Henry Hills’s most recent superspliced effort is MONEY, a speedy think-piece on cash and chaos in postcapitalist New York. It’ll titillate your retina.” —Katherine Dieckmann, NY Talk Collections: Museum of Modern Art, NY, and the Donnell Media Center Collection of the New York Public Library.
Joel Schlemowitz, Moving Images – The Film-Makers’ Cooperative Relocates, 2001. 16mm/ DVD NTSC, color and b/w, sound, 14 min
The day the Film-Makers’ Cooperative was forced by loss of lease to move from their offices at Lexington Ave and 31st Street in New York City, filmmaker and Cooperative member Joel Schlemowitz showed up with a camera to document the historic moment. Rather than record the event per se, a freewheeling use of roving handheld, time lapse and double exposure were employed to create a visually evocative, impressionistic documentary about the Film-Makers’ Cooperative. On the soundtrack, Jonas Mekas, one of the Cooperative’s founders, and MM Serra, the current Executive Director, describe the Cooperative’s beginnings, the organization’s recent struggles, and the difficulties of finding space for the arts. The Film-Makers’ Cooperative, founded in 1962 as a filmmaker-run distribution center, is now the largest archive and distributor of independent and avant-garde films in the world, with over five thousand films and videos.
Ken Jacobs, Jack on the Lower East Side, 1957. 16mm, b/w, silent/sound, 15 min
Excerpts from TWO WRENCHING DEPARTURES.
MM Serra, Bitch-Beauty, 2011. Video, color, sound, 6 min
Bitch-Beauty is an experimental documentary profiling the life of Anne Hanavan, whose experiences as part of the underground scene in the East Village of the 1980s was contemporary with now-deceased Zoe Tamerlis Lund. Lund was the actor and screenwriter of Bad Lieutenant, who died of a heart failure due to extended cocaine use in 1999. Using the cathartic self-expression of Hanavan’s films, performance, and music as well as footage from Lund’s work, Bitch-Beauty is an intense seven-minute time capsule of addiction and the perils of street prostitution.
The Vanishing City (3 PM)
Fiore DeRosa and Jen Senko, The Vanishing City, 2010. Video, color, sound, 55 min
New York City has changed drastically in the last few years. Luxury high-rises litter the city skyline and middle- and lower-income people, and the artists who once made this city unique, have been priced out. Narrated by Kathryn Erbe (_Law & Order_/_Criminal Intent_), this award-winning documentary pulls back the curtain to reveal the forces behind the “luxurification” of one of the world’s most iconic cities. Told through the eyes of tenants, small landlords, city planners, business owners, scholars, and politicians, The Vanishing City exposes and explains the real politic behind the alarming disappearance of New York’s beloved neighborhoods, the truth about its finance-dominated economy, and the myth of “inevitable change.” Artfully documented through interviews, hearings, demonstrations, and archival footage, the film takes a sober look at the city’s “luxury” policies and high-end development, the power role of the elite, and accusations of corruption surrounding land use and rezoning.
Followed by panel and discussion.
M.M. Serra: Filmmaker, Director, Film-Makers’ Coop
Jen Senko: Director, Producer of The Vanishing City
Fiore DeRosa: Director, Producer of The Vanishing City
Jaren Benjamin: Executive Director Met Council
Ida Susser: Professor of Anthropology at Hunter; Author of the book, “Norman Street, Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood”
Bill Samuels: Chairman, Effective New York Foundation, Inc.