The Comedy Show

Part 1 (in 7 Parts)

“The Comedy Show,” designed and printed by Jacob Berendes

“The Comedy Show,” designed and printed by Jacob Berendes

THREE SCREENINGS!

Wednesday the 16th of November at 9:30 at the Cable Car Cinema (204 S. Main St, Providence, RI) $5

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Friday the 18th of November at 8:00 at the Experimental Film Club (Cobb Hall 306, U of Chicago, Chicago, IL) FREE

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Thursday the 1st of December at 8:00 at Balagan (Coolidge Corner, 290 Harvard St., Brookline, MA)

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. As always, Magic Lantern has your best interests at heart (ha ha), and so we’re bringing you a collection of madcap (ho ho) comic films from the sharpest kino-eyes in the (Western) world of experimental (hee hee) cinema. Wait, wait, don’t go – we’re serious, but here’s a joke:

A: KNOCK KNOCK.

B: WHO’S THERE?

A: EXPERIMENTAL CINEMA.

B: EXPERIMENTAL CINEMA WHO-HO-HO-HA-HA-HA (laughter trails off into tears)

Get it? No? Well, let me explain – historically, the Avant-Garde hasn’t been known for its ribald sense of humor, and so by invoking a normative mode of American joke-telling with the words “experimental cinema” as an abbreviated punch line, the humorist engages in a sideways critique of… Aww fugedaboudit. Suffice to say that Magic Lantern is delivering the comedy straight to your funny bone – in no short order, we’ve got Zany Educational Films, Bears and Nonsense, Bittersweet Blow-Up Doll Tears of Joy, Droll British Street Scenes, Funny Page Funnies, Drag Hippie Re-Enactments of Ex-President’s Daughter’s Weddings, and So Much More. Seriously – no, not seriously – no, seriously…

Featuring: Mary Worth by Various Directors from Milwaukee (15:00, 16mm, 2001), What’s Wrong With This Picture, Parts 1&2 by Owen Land (10:30, 16mm, 1972), Fluke by Emily Breer (7:00, 16mm, 1985), Hold Me While I’m Naked by George Kuchar (15:00, 16mm, 1966), The Girl Chewing Gum by John Smith (12:00, 16mm, 1976), Pinball Laffs by Heather McAdams (4:20, 16mm, 1986), Tricia’s Wedding by The Cockettes (33:00, 16mm, 1971)

TRT 96:00

SYNOPSIS:

Mary Worth by Various Directors from Milwaukee (15:00, 16mm, 2001) From the mad cinema geniuses of Milwaukee comes a re-enactment of that oh-so-droll daily feature of the funny pages. Mary Worth – in the film-framed flesh, presented in glorious black-and-white 16mm film with all of the integrity of the original comic strip. A re-enactment in the most direct sense of the word.

What’s Wrong With This Picture, Parts 1&2 by Owen Land (10:30, 16mm, 1972) “The first portion of this film is an old instructional film about being a ‘good citizen,’ presented intact; the second section is a color reconstruction of this black and white film by Land. The original film abounds in absurdities in both image and sound; [Land’s] ‘copy’ is even more bizarre. Both are also extremely funny, and the humor is not totally without meaning: it comes out of the way that each line of dialog, each direction given, implies a situation or character so absurdly plodding as to be almost inconceivable. In [Land’s] version he creates an additional paradox – one of depth – by matting out certain parts of the frame.” – Fred Camper

Fluke by Emily Breer (7:00, 16mm, 1985) A barrage of images and scenes connected, in some sense, by nonsense. Fish flying onto heads of men riding camels in a desert. A bear that can’t get out of the frame by force of an optical printer. Dust, ants and flies are animated on top of found live action footage and joined with a similarly wild soundtrack.

Hold Me While I’m Naked by George Kuchar (15:00, 16mm, 1966) “A very direct and subtle, very sad and funny look at nothing more or less than sexual frustration and aloneness. In its economy and cogency of imaging, HOLD ME surpasses any of Kuchar’s previous work. The odd blend of Hollywood glamour and drama with all-too-real life creates and inspires counterpoint of unattainable desire against unbearable actuality.” — Ken Kelman

“This film could cheer an arthritic gorilla, and audiences, apparently sensitized by its blithely accurate representation of feelings few among them can have escaped, rise from their general stupor to cheer it back.” — James Stoller, The Village Voice

The Girl Chewing Gum by John Smith (12:00, 16mm, 1976) “…Self-reflexivity is another Brit kick, semi-spoofed in The Girl Chewing Gum (1976), in which artist John Smith directs street-level passersby via post-synched voice-over, then bids buildings and the sun to move through the frame. Smith takes the piss out of mainstream auteurist ego, but provides proof of the underground ethos: Even with meager mechanical means, the artist can command the universe.” -Ed Halter, Village Voice

Pinball Laffs by Heather McAdams (4:20, 16mm, 1986) “The films of Heather McAdams… combine the collage finesse of a Bruce Conner with the crude campiness of the Kuchar Brothers.” -Ruby Rich, Chicago Reader

Tricia’s Wedding by The Cockettes (33:00, 16mm, 1971) The world-famous hippie-drag-queen performance troupe the Cockettes enact Tricia Nixon’s wedding to Edward Cox on June 11, 1971. Hurtme O. Hurtme, television correspondent, covers the wedding and interviews celebrities in attendance such as Golda Mier, Indira Ghandi, Jaquelyn Onassis, Queen Elizabeth, and Elizabeth Taylor. Coretta King sings. During the reception, Eartha Kitt puts LSD in the punch. All hell breaks loose.