Oddball Films and guest curator Lynn Cursaro present: Jukebox Confidential: Portraits and Curios from the World of Pop, an evening of toe-tapping ephemera highlighting hit-makers in performance, behind-the-scenes footage and stuff that defies category. Aretha Franklin, Soul Singer (1968) captures the Queen of Soul as a singer and musician in the whirl crossover stardom and also as an artist questing to find the truest expression of her gifts. The story of a squeaky-clean 70s superstar and her downfall is told in a deluxe excerpt from Todd Haynes' cult classic Superst*r (1988). At just 19, Paul Anka’s plugging away at amusement parks in Atlantic City and the Copa in NYC on his way to Vegas big-time. Lonely Boy (1962), captures his naked ambition in an jaw droppingly sharp cinéma vérité style. After a decade of success writing for stars like Franklin, Carole King lent her voice to Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library, including the delightful Chicken Soup with Rice (1975). Frank Sinatra shines as a potent symbol of America in the WWII propaganda short The House I Live In (1945) and some outtakes featuring a famous first couple sometime in the 1980s. And MORE! As usual, home-baked pie, this time from adapted the Queen of Soul’s own recipe, and other complimentary treats from the curator’s kitchen. (16 mm except where noted.)
|Long Live the Queen!|
Date: Friday November 9th, 2012 at 8:00PM.
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 RSVP Only to: 415-558-8117 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Aretha Franklin, Soul Singer (Color, 1968)
Whether Franklin is harmonizing with her brother in her father’s Detroit church or working out a new composition of her sister’s in the studio, it’s clear that music is a family matter with the Franklins. But when you’re the Queen of Soul, roots spread even wider: when February 16, 1968 is declared Aretha Franklin Day, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is among the well-wishers. Along with electrifying performance footage, we are also treated to intimate moments such as a living room dance practice with her backup singers and demonstration of various gospel and jazz piano styles. Song highlights include You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman, Chain of Fools and of course Respect.
Lonely Boy (B+W, 1962, Wolf Koenig and Roman Kroitor)
You might think you don’t want to see a documentary about Paul Anka but that's only because you don’t know LONELY BOY. A gritty cinéma vérité, this rock doc remains influential. Directors Wolf Koenig and Roman Kroitor know when to cut and when to linger for the sharpest effect and strip the Canadian pop idol and would- be Vegas headliner down to his tighty-whities literally and figuratively. Anka is astonishingly frank about both his ambition and rigorous self-reinvention (he would go on to write the words to My Way after all). Not yet out of his teens, we see him issuing commands to an orchestra of men twice his age with his special brand of confidence and charming his teeny-bopper fans with aplomb. An inspiration for Privilege, Peter Watkins’s 1967 rock and roll dystopia flick, Lonely Boy has retained much of its audacious power.
|Oh, You Beautiful Doll!|
Superst*ar: The Karen C@rpenter Story (Color, 1988, digital)
An early work from Todd Haynes, one of American cinema’s current Superstar directors, this cult phenomena stars a cast of dolls reenacting the rise and tragic fall of Karen C@rpenter.
|Francis Albert - Red, White and Blue!|
The House I Live In (B+W, 1945, Mervyn LeRoy)
Tolerance and well-aimed hatred are both preached in this lovely “information” mini-musical. When Ol’ Blue Eyes catches a group of overgrown moppets chasing down a Jewish kid, he rechannels their bullying energies toward the real enemy. Lyricist Abel Meerpol, (who also gave us the anti-lynching ballad Strange Fruit and adopted Ethel and Julius Rosenberg’s two young sons after the couple was sentenced to fry) was outraged when he saw this film. Besides the straightforward jingoism, and entire verse of the song was omitted for containing the phrase “and all my neighbors black and white”. Also on the program: Paul Anka claims to have written My Way from the Chairman of the Board’s point of view and we will hear it accompanying some political fundraiser outtakes for the 1980s.
Plus! For the Early Arrivals!
After conquering the America with their stomping beat, the DC5 make a triumphant return to the London borough of Tottenham and it’s all related in breathless Pathe Newsreel style voiceover! Motown produced a lively promo film to help launch Temptations tenor Eddie Kendricks’s solo career. Both Smokey Robinson and the Supremes’ Mary Wilson pop by to wish him well
About the Curator
Over the past two decades, Lynn Cursaro has worked in research and administrative positions a variety of Bay Area film organizations. The monthly picture puzzle on the Castro Theatre’s calendar is of her devising.