by Ryland Walker Knight and Brian Darr
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RWK here tryna glut our hello lil kitty (kiddy?) corner of the internet with two podcasts in two days. This late afternoon Brian Darr and I took in some dreamlands of the night at the PFA Library here in Berkeley. (You can browse their Film Collection online.) As I say in the podcast, I'm not particularly well versed in the avant-garde. Before today I had only seen stills from and read essays about and seen the littlest of little clips of Brakhage's bigger than big films. Before today I had seen zero films by Bruce Conner, much less read anything by him. And before, inside today, I was seriously down in the dumps of confusion after reading Sheila O'Malley's rather beautiful pean to Mickey Rourke and all his hurt. So these films this afternoon sure did lift. They did some real lifting. I think this comes through in our talk, too. It started with a Kenneth Anger film, called Eaux d'Artifice, which, surprisingly, you can watch by clicking right here if you want to watch it all monochrome blues, without the occasional pink highlight. Then we moved into Anticipation of the Night by Brakhage (the pix above are stolen from Fred Camper and repurposed/reordered and cropped/edited by me). Then, after Mothlight (yes!), we watched Bruce Baillie's All My Life, which you can watch by clicking right here, if you want to watch it on youtube, which seems like sacrilege after seeing it on what has to be one of the most beautiful 16mm prints around in this cinephile-world. Then my fatigue got the better of me and I missed out on some James Benning and Bette Gordon before we switched to DVD to watch two Conner shorts, which knocked my socks off my feet and (kind of) into my mouth. It was a hell of an inauguration. And now, here it comes, the compulsion to see more. Of course, given my love of words, there's a compulsion to read more, in turn, and I think a great first place to start has to be the Avant-Garde Blog-A-Thon that Girish started/hosted with this post. There's plenty there to keep a curious reader/seer busy for years to come. Guess that's my plan!
[Our talk is bookended by some Black Dice and Fennesz. You should buy Beaches and Canyons and Endless Summer if you do not own them; they're really great.]