Oddball Films presents Strange Sinema 55: Lost Summer, an evening of newly uncovered gems, new finds and offbeat films from America’s strangest film archive, all hand-picked by curator Stephen Parr. Tonight’s program features a look at the lost summers of wayward, wandering and just plain confused youth along with quirky highlights and histories from our nation’s most popular summer hotspots. Visit San Francisco, SoCal, Mazatlan and even Niagara Falls in all its glory. Highlights include: Banana Skin Freaks (1960s), a only-in-San Francisco shot film featuring banana skin smoking freaks in a post Be-In Golden Gate Park, Skater Dater (1965), the quintessential award-winning young love/sidewalk surfing film, (with a boss soundtrack by Davie Allen and the Arrows), The Day That Sang and Cried (1968) showcases the SoCal teen angst of the 1960s produced by Dale Smallin (The Surfaris), Come to LA (1970s) an unintentionally hilarious promo for LA produced by the LA Visitors Bureau (Where else can you have lunch outside every day?) replete with bikinis clad gals on the beach, Matzlatlan Mexico (1960s) watch trashy tourists play donkey polo
on the beach in this swingin’ home movie!, Niagara Falls (1985), witness daredevils go over the falls in barrels in this Blue-Ribbon awarded doc about the history of America’s favorite honeymoon destination, “educate” yourself on How to Choose a Sunscreen (1985) Plus! Rolling in Style (1954) a rolling fashion show on wheels hits the farm belt!
Date: Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to email@example.com or (415) 558-8117
Banana Skin Freaks (B+W, 1960s)
Hippies in Golden Gate Park freak-out in a post-Be-In Summer of Love with banana skins (Remember the Donovan song “Mellow Yellow”?) you know, the fruit skins that supposedly made you high...what else?
Directed by Noel Black (who went on to direct the cult feature Pretty Poison), Skater Dater has developed a strong following both for it’s amazing skateboarding and it’s surf-inspired Davie Allen and the Arrows soundtrack. Skaterdater has your proverbial summer fun all sewn up; sidewalk surfing action, blue Southern California sky, matching racing stripe jackets, blondes on Schwinn Sting-Rays, white jeans, first love, a boss surf rock soundtrack and a downhill finale. Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1966 and nominated for an Academy Award, this no-dialogue short comes off like a SoCal Quadrophenia, as the young protagonist falls for a cutie and struggles to break away from the crowd. Features riders from the Imperial Skateboarding Club out of Torrance, CA.
Thanks to Albert Steg from Zampano’s Playhouse in Boston for turning us on to this film. Produced by Dale Smallin for Centron this film uses slow motion photography, flash-backs, and 1960s rock music to portray a day in the life of a teen-aged boy. Reveals the boy's thoughts and conveys his search for identity. Smallin was also producer of what would become one of the world’s best-known surf bands - The Surfaris. It was Dale who arranged to record the band's first single Wipe Out/Surfer Joe and release on his small independent label DFS Records. Dale continued to make short educational and industrial films into the 70's. As Mr. Steg says in his notes to last years “Depraved Youth “ program this film ”portrays a groovier, more sympathetic late-60s approach that attempted to reveal the inner life of the perennially troubled teen”. Yeah man!
They say there is a war between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The only problem is they don’t know anything about it in Los Angeles. The city everyone loves to hate has more amusement parks than any other city in the country. “Who cares!”, you say. Well this lively and oftentimes idiotic promotional piece, complete with Shaft-like wah wah funk soundtrack made by the Greater Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau tells you things you never knew about LA like: “Did you know when you come to LA you can be relaxed and casual? Where else can you have lunch outside everyday? And Beverly Hills- just think people actually live here!”
Wow, a promotional piece capitalizing on all the clichés we’ve known grown to hate! Don’t miss the opening and closing bikini scenes. Truly trashy. Welcome to LA-oh yeah-be right there!.
Mazatlan Mexico (Color, 1963)
Tacky tourists invade the relatively untarnished Mexican resort of Mazatlan in 1963. Watch Anglos play donkey polo on the beach the beach while a Mexican surf band swings.
Niagara Falls: The Changing Nature of a New World Symbol (Color, 1985)
Nik Wallenda scion of the Flying Wallendas recently walked across a high wire over Niagara Falls. Oddball Films thinks it’s time for a historical look at that all-American summer attraction. There is only one place in the Western Hemisphere that has figured in the American imagination since its discovery -- Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls: The Changing Nature of a New World Symbol is a fast-paced, archival footage laced documentary that tackles the fundamental question of what a nation does with its symbols. The film incorporates newsreels, crazy “barrel over-the-falls” stunts, vacationers and honeymooners, interviews with an Iroquois man, high wire aerialist Philippe Petit (“Man on Wire”) and archival and historical stills and moving images.
In the 17th century, the Falls were seen as the quintessential wilderness symbol, vast and terrifying. In the 18th and 19th centuries, this symbol changed to represent the moral and national strength of the new world. The Falls have been written about, painted, and photographed more than any other site in the Americas. Hypnotic, overpowering, and magnificent, the Falls and their rainbows draw in the viewer. With civilization in the background, this film allows the viewer to see Niagara with the eye of the artist, the explorer, and the Iroquois. Directed by Diane Grey and Lawrence Holt with camerawork by Ken Burns. Blue Ribbon winner of the 1985 American Film Festival.
Choosing a Sunscreen (Color, 1989)
Watch this exciting (yeah sure!) infomercial about sunscreen produced by Neutrogena. Witness shots of people windsurfing, horse riding, catamaran sailing, golf, hurling, white water kayaking, gardening, fishing, sailboat sailing, hot air ballooning while we question Dr. Nicholas Lowe, dermatologist, next to a pool. Learn everything you always wanted to know about sunscreens as we see women playing backgammon in a hot tub, playing tennis and polo, the application of sunscreen and sunscreen labels and pool side gardening, biking, roller coaster, dancing, a fashion show. Outside-it’s where we burn up!
A young woman leaves the farm to go to modeling school, where she receives lessons in movement, posing and makeup. She joins a "fashion caravan" mobile modeling show. The fashion caravan stops in Fogelsville, a rural town with pseudo Amish women in bonnets, a cement plant and Harold Ziegler's farm bringing the latest in fashions to the agricultural and working classes.
Stephen Parr’s previous programs have explored the erotic underbelly of sex-in-cinema (The Subject is Sex), the offbeat and bizarre (Oddities Beyond Belief), the pervasive effects of propaganda (Historical/Hysterical?) and oddities from his archives (Strange Sinema). He is the director of Oddball Film+Video and the San Francisco Media Archive (www.sfm.org), a nonprofit archive that preserves culturally significant films. He is a member of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) where he is a frequent presenter.