Saturday, June 30


Three Thick Paragraphs

My transit-centric post last week noted that the Stanford Theatre had not yet announced its summer program. Well now it has, starting July 10th with a reprise of the Fred Astaire film festival that launched the theatre on its current path of screening classic Hollywood (and occasionally British, or otherwise non-Hollywood) films to large, appreciative audiences 20 years ago. With 63 films on the schedule including six titles from the new AFI 100, and at least a few shouldabeens as well, there's something to catch any movie lover's eye but I'll point out a few examples I'd particularly fancy travelling down for: a Bogie from each of the aforementioned lists on August 11-14 (Casablanca and In a Lonely Place). A British pair August 30-31 (Sabotage and Green For Danger). An Anthony Mann double-bill proving the Stanford to be one of the few venues on Frisco bay to still screen truly great Hollywood Westerns, on September 19-21 (Man of the West and the Man From Laramie). And silent comedies on biweekly Wednesday evenings starting August 1 with, at least tentatively, the Whirl of Life starring Vernon and Irene Castle, and concluding September 12th with a pair of Buster Keaton films accompanied by Christian Elliott on the Wurlitzer organ: the Navigator and Steamboat Bill, Jr. The latter Keaton also plays in San Rafael July 16th with an accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, fresh from their Silent Film Festival performances with Beggars of Life and Miss Lulu Bett the previous weekend.

But please don't get the impression that one must leave Frisco's city limits to find worthwhile alternatives to the summer's would-be blockbusters. I've mentioned a number of them in previous posts, but several Frisco theatres have recently updated their upcoming film schedules. The Red Vic has its lineup set through the end of July, including short runs of Antonio Gaudi July 8-10 and Grindhouse July 27-29. The Four Star hosts a roadshow of Houston's Slant Film Festival July 21, two days after launching a re-scheduled Thursday evening series of Asian films of various genres from kung fu (Shaolin Temple, Jet Li's first, and Fearless, his last film in the genre, play together August 9th) to J-horror (Ghost Train and Illusion of Blood September 13th). And the Roxie, currently the only place left in town to see Brand Upon the Brain!, will be the home of the Frozen Film Festival July 12-15, with at least one animated masterpiece, Don Hertzfeldt's Everything Will Be OK, on the slate July 13th at 10:25 PM (leaving plenty of time to head over from the Castro screening of the Student Prince in Old Heidelberg that evening.)

But the Frisco venue that may outdo all others with its summer schedule is Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. There are the usual co-presentations with other local film organizations, from the July 11th screening of Ian Gabriel's Forgiveness in conjunction with California Newsreel, the Black Film Festival and the Museum of the African Diaspora, to a July 25th examination of rarities and oddities from Jonathan Marlow's Cabinet of Curiosities presented with the assistance of Greencine and Cabinetic. But the season highlight will surely be a dozen films, mostly from the seventies and eighties, shown in 35mm prints under the series title "Screw Netflix! Movies Not Available on DVD." It starts with John Cassavetes' Love Streams July 12th, ends with the director's cut of Robert Aldrich's Twilight's Last Gleaming August 18th. In between every Thursday and Sunday bring a different unburied treasure, including Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It July 28, Jack Nicholson's Drive, He Said August 9, and Peter Watkins' Privilege August 11. Each film is screened just once, except for the 1982 concert film Urgh! A Music War, with screens twice on July 14th. I'm sorry I'll have to miss it, as I've been crossing my fingers for a chance to see it theatrically for well over a decade. The über-rare film showcases terrific performance footage from a series of round-the-world concerts featuring post-punks and new wavers like XTC, Oingo Boingo, Gang of Four, Devo, the Go-Go's, the Dead Kennedys, the Police, and more.

Oh, Heavens!

PRIVILEGE is on the upper strata of my wish list. I think I have pestered everyone with the slightest influence in cinema booking in Frisco to present this puppy.

Of course this includes the delightful Mr. Sheppard. During the Peter Whitehead series, I was especially rabid. I promised him I would make everyone I know come to the screening.
Love Streams? Really?
I believe the series is unofficially called "Fuck Netflix".
I resolve to call it that from here on in.

Apparantly, Love Streams is Joel Shephard's favorite film. I'm glad it's finally going to play in town again.

And, if I recall correctly, this screening of Privilege marks the first Peter Watkins film to show in Frisco in several years. Punishment Park and Edvard Munch played in the Easy Bay and the North Bay before being released on DVD, but nowhere this side of the bridges.

Since there seems to be interest in this series, and incomplete info on the YBCA site as of yet, might as well lay out the whole series:

July 12: Love Streams
July 14: Urgh! a Music War
July 19: the Last Days of Disco
July 21: Freebie and the Bean
July 26: Nothing Lasts Forever
July 28: She's Gotta Have It
August 2: Boys in the Band
August 4: Unholy Rollers
August 9: Drive, He Said
August 11: Privilege
August 16: Payday
August 18: Twilight's Last Gleaming (director's cut)

All shows 7:30 PM, except July 14's two shows, 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM.
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