Sweep My Chimney! - Fri. Dec 9 - 8pm

Oddball Films and guest curator Emily Schleiner present Sweep My Chimney! From the Middle Ages, Victorian England, to the Jazz Age, laugh at the silly antics of butlers, chimney sweeps, serving maids and their capaciously demanding aristocratic masters during times of strict social hierarchy! It turns out that dealings between the one percent and ninety-nine percent of society have been tumultuous for centuries; and these films offer a wide and wacky glimpse into the past, evoking uncomfortable shudders and delighted grins, and leaving us wondering at what has changed and what hasn't. The evening’s highlights include two Charlie Chaplin shorts: Mabel’s Married Life (1914) about a husband too wimpy to defend his wife from advances of a stranger, and the adventures of a tailor’s assistant who impersonates a duke at a masquerade in The Count (1916). The comedy continues with Laurel without Hardy in the rarely seen Eve’s Love Letters (1927) in which a woman tries to hide an extra-marital rendezvous with the help of her accident prone butler, Laurel with Hardy in Dirty Work (1933) as the duo attempts chimney sweeping while not interrupting their mad scientist client and Social Sea Lions (1940) featuring playful seals pretending to be kitchen workers.  Watch a servant boy earnestly repeat a tongue twister to his exacting princess and twin dukes, one sane and the other psychotic, face off in a comedy of errors. The Jazz Age chronicles the events and culture of the "Roarin' 20s" including footage of Parisian nightlife, Josephine Baker and F. Scott Fitzgerald. This documentary uses archival footage to vividly illustrate the contrast between the frivolity and wealth of the first part of the decade and despondency after the stock market crash.  Plus! An unintentionally comical 1970’s documentary about Charles Dickens and more!  Whether you enjoy a good comedy or some stinging social commentary, there is something here for everyone! 
Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door. --Charles Dickens

Date: Friday, December 9th, 2011 at 8:00pm.

Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco (map)

Admission: $10.00 - Limited Seating RSVP to programming@oddballfilm.com or 415.558.8117

Program Features:

Fun With Speech, Sounds (1973)
In this film, an adorably costumed king and queen get silly in their animated castle.  The princess teaches a servant boy a tongue-twister, pronouncing her words emphatically and pulling out flash cards.  Will the servant be able to learn?

Mabel's Married Life (1914) 
In this romp of a film, Mabel's wimpy husband, played by Chaplin, won't stand up to an amorous stranger and defend her from his advances. She buys her husband a boxing dummy with the hope it will make a man out of him, but he comes home drunk and mistakes the dummy for the bully and tries to eject it from the house!

The Count (1916)
The tailor's assistant (Chaplin) is dismissed for incompetence at the same time that his boss finds a note from a count declining an invitation to a masquerade party thrown by a wealthy heiress.  His boss decides to attend in disguise! While visiting his friend the cook, the assistant runs into his old boss who owns up to his impersonation and suggests that he act as his secretary.  The assistant gets there first, however, and presents himself as the count and develops his own style of etiquette over dinner, as soup, spaghetti and watermelon are presented to him. 

Twin Dukes and a Duchess (ca. 1920)
This comedy in which a twin duke is sent to an asylum for psychotic and murderous behavior.  When he escapes from the asylum and returns home, he attempts to murder and impersonate his brother, switching clothes with him while still maintaining his own tell-tail maniacally hunched posture.  The good duke is taken to the asylum, and the psychotic one arranges to marry the sane duke's fiance.  Will the psychotic brother get away with marrying his brother’s dame??

Etude (1973)
In this gem of a film, a man walks through a forest wearing fancy clothes.  He approaches a waterfall, and begins conducting music in nature!

The Jazz Age (Parts 1 & 2)
In these films, see social life and customs in America during the 1920s depicted.  This was a prosperous era of excessive pleasure-seeking which has come to be known as the Jazz Age.  Important historical events of the period traced: Part I begins with the Versailles Conference, then reveals a picture of the Harding political campaign and scandal, rise of the Ku Klux Klan, American town life, new manners and morals for women, and widespread use of the automobile.  Other subjects covered include nightclubs of the prohibition era, wild stock market speculation, bootlegging industry, racketeering, and popularity of foreign travel.  Part II shows night life of Paris, Josephine Baker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lindbergh's flight, ticker tape parade,American sports, Hoover campaign, stars of show business, Ziegfeld Follies type dancing, and the stock market crash in 1929.  Illustrated throughout with archive newsreel footage, and narrated by the late Fred Allen!

Social Sea Lions (1940)
No one is useless in this world who lightens 
the burdens of another. -- Charles Dickens
In this unusual and comedic film, three trained sea lions climb a ladder, go through a window, and devour fish canapes and punch being made by a servant inside a house.  They playfully invade the kitchen wearing chef’s hats while a party goes on in the living room.  The sea lions play various pranks undetected!  After everyone goes to bed, one sea lion makes noise in a piano while another one climbs into bed with a gentleman.  This sea lion is a sheet stealer!

Eve’s Love Letters (1927)
In this rare film, Laurel is a butler for a wealthy couple. The wife of the couple receives letters from a “mystery mailer” who blackmails her for past love letters she wrote to Sir Oliver Hardy before her marriage.  The blackmailer asks for $10,000 -- otherwise he will turn her over to her husband! She tries to get Laurel to retrieve those letters by sneaking into her ex-lovers house and shenanegans ensue!  The husband tries to find out where she was while she was out with Laurel but loyal Laurel covers for her with a heroically comedic effort!

It was the best of times, 
it was the worst of times.  – Charles Dickens
Dirty Work (1933)
In this hilarious gem of a film, Laurel and Hardy are chimney sweeps who destroy a chimney in the process of trying to clean it.  The house belongs to a mad scientist experimenting with a youth potion.  The mad scientist invites them to witness an experiment in which he turns a duckling into an egg.  While trying to repeat the experiment with a fish, Hardy falls into the bath with a beaker of potion, and comes out a chimpanzee!

Charles Dickens: An Introduction to His Life and Work (1979)
This documentary chaulk full of re-enactments is an entertaining and informative background to the study of Dickens and his period. Get a sense of the time he lived in when a fictional Victorian audience gathers in a tent to see it all. Bill Marigold regales them with a magic lantern show on the life and work of Charles Dickens. Included are dramatizations from several of Dickens’ novels!

Curator Biography 
Emily Schleiner is a Brooklyn and Davis CA-based new media artist and thinker.  She has been writing since 2009 and has shown internationally.  She has been published in the Trondheim's TEKS's 'Making Reality Real' Journal and has presented at the 2nd Inter-Disciplinary.net Global Conference in Budapest. She received her Masters from Performance and Interactive Media Arts department at Brooklyn College, NY in 2010.