Saturday, January 18, 2014

....from the Subterranean Chambers of Dr. Madman!


Last night while I was tearing apart a copy of the most recent SF Weekly, a local free periodical, in order to construct one of my crumpled newsprint and cellophane tape sculptures, I noticed a very small reproduction of a still from Jack Smith's Normal Love intended to illustrate one of their critics' choices, a showing of Flaming Creatures preceded by the Yellow Sequence, that took place a couple of hours before I happened upon this public notice.
Scotch Tape

So, I missed my chance to finally see the Yellow Sequence.  I've seen Flaming Creatures many times, the first time being in 1988 at the Whitney Museum of American Art on a double bill with Jack's final collaboration with his sometime friend, Ken Jacobs, Blonde Cobra.  However, I would have very much appreciated seeing a truly good print of Flaming Creatures, which I have yet to view in its newly struck state; but it's his most popular work, and I know I'll have another chance some day soon enough. 
 the Yellow Sequence


The Yellow Sequence is either the actual tail end of Normal Love, which Jack Smith lopped off in order to exhibit separately, or an addendum to that very great film; but, as Normal Love lasts some two hours and Flaming Creatures is only forty five minutes long, I can see why they would prefer to show it with the earlier film rather than the one to which it should really be attached.  I've seen Normal Love, many times in various versions of varying lengths, but I've never seen a good print of it; and I will again miss my chance to do so, as I'll be at the L.A. Art Book Fair at MOCA in Los Angeles, sitting at my table, exhibiting and hawking my cheap little chap books and zines, rather than here in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts communing with Jack's spirit directly.
I was a Male Yvonne DeCarlo




Not getting to see the Yellow Sequence really hurt, though.  I was very sad to have missed a rare chance to view a film I've been looking forward to seeing since I first learned of its existence; but such is my ill luck of late.  Still, I'll be able to see some of these other short films by Mr Smith on next Thursday and the following Sunday, as I intend to go to the box office at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and purchase the necessary tickets in advance.  This way I'll have no excuse for missing their showings.  There's one film in particular that I've long hoped to catch.  The film I refer to is Reefers of Technicolor Island, also known as: Jungle Island.  It stars Mario Montez and Ira Cohen; and as far as I know, it was all shot in Manhattan.

Reefers of Technicolor Island


The last displayed frame enlargements below are in some ways the most intriguing, as they represent what is probably the most recent of the films that will be shown in this series, though it contains within it some footage that comes from Jack Smith's earliest extant, yet uncompleted, feature, Buzzards over Bagdad.  In his later, collage approach to film making (as I understand it) Smith found uses for his very early, unfinished work in his later provisionally finished and exhibited films.  It is this aspect of his overall project that I find most useful as a model for the work I'm doing now.  I've always been committed to using other artists' discarded material as well as my own.  No doubt that's one reason I've long felt Jack Smith to be a kindred spirit.  
Respectable Creatures


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