Act Like A Toaster - Fri. Mar 2 - 8PM

Guest curator Soumyaa Kapil Behrens and Oddball Films present, Act Like A Toaster, an evening of 16mm films on the brain and all its potentialities.  From creativity to industry and perception to physiology, this collection of shorts connects the dots between the human brain and how it manifests in the concrete frame of the real world.  See the impact of man deconstructed to his central nervous system and sometimes even tested on animals.  Highlights include legendary Saul Bass' Academy Award winning documentary short, Why Man Creates (1968) that unlocks the mutations of the creative mind, and an episode of Hot Dog: The Show About Stuff (1970) starring Woody Allen, JoAnne Worley and Jonathan Winters that embraces education and imagination looking at how things get made. Flight, A New Awareness (1973), an inspiring environmental film that pairs the miracle of flight with a grander perception of the earth; Age of Invention (1984) by Albert Kish culminates in the machinery of destruction from WWI; and From Trees to Paper (1960s) made by the American Forest Product Industries demonstrates the process of transformation to finally make a paper product.  An eerie and intriguing excerpt from the CBS news documentary, New Frontiers of the Brain (1959) tests brain activity and complex actions on man and animal while the extremely lighthearted Perc! Pop! Sprinkle! (1969) follows kids as they practice morphing their bodies into household appliances.  This show is sure to ignite a cranial energy that could lead to who knows what!

Date: Friday, March 2, 2011 at 8:00PM
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 - Limited Seating RSVP to or 415-558-8117


Hot Dog: The Show About Stuff  (1970, color)
Woody Allen, JoAnne Worley and Jonathan Winters give education a go with this quirky, short series for NBC morning television.  This episode features How do they make Hot Dog Rolls? and Where Do Sardines Come From?  A hilarious query into what people think and what actually is with an awesome female sardine packing competition that will leave you hungry for more. 

Why Man Creates (1968, color)
This Academy Award winning film by Saul Bass organizes and deconstructs creativity from a variety of perspectives.  Brilliant and prolific, Bass was known in Hollywood for his movie poster creations and title sequences especially that of The Man With The Golden Arm (1955) by Otto Preminger.  He is also responsible for the iconic AT&T bell logo.  This short features animation by Bass as well as stunning visual demonstrations of points he aims to make. 

From Trees to Paper (1960s, b/w)
This is a fascinating look at paper production made by the people who produce the paper.  From written plans, watch the industry contemplate, engage and take action on forests to supply paper to a demanding worldwide industry.  American Forest Product Services shows us their stuff, and demonstrates human brains at work collectively harvesting the earth for consumer products. 

Flight—A New Awareness (1973, color)
A languid film about perception and the humble act of flight, this documentary aligns flying with environmental knowledge.  It is a delicate reminder that man works very hard to achieve perspectives naturally given to others, like birds and mountaintops, and questions what might be learned about ecological preservation from approaching flight in that way.  Narrated by John Ingle and with music by Dick McCurdy, this piece embraces the incredible nature of soaring by aligning itself with a hand glider’s journey over the land and sea. 

New Frontiers of the Brain (1959, b/w)
An excerpt from the CBS documentary about experiments in understanding how the brain works includes testing theories on cats and mice as well as human minds.  Is motor function connected to actual feelings of need?  See these investigators pry open the actual brain and poke at it to see what is really capable of.  This is a somewhat disturbing but also spellbinding film to watch as the brain becomes broken down into a tool of nuanced functions. 

Perc! Pop! Sprinkle! Interpreting Perceptual Movements (1969, color)
This high-energy film will inspire you to get moving too.  A lyrical film showing and teaching kids how to move their bodies like household appliances.  Sharpened motor skills and the amazing difference between man and machine hilariously collide in this film.  The child actors are talented, joyful and inspiring, maybe gym class should be more like this! 

Age of Industry (1984, color & b/w)
National Film Board of Canada and Albert Kish write a film essay on industry, invention and war.  Archival footage and photography along with intense rhythm combine to portray a stark difference between the vulnerability of man and the power of the things he creates.  Culminating in depictions of WWI, Kish is not subtle about his ironic point of view, erecting this experimental work on Man versus Machine. 
Curator Biography
Soumyaa Kapil  Behrens is a filmmaker based in San Francisco.  Behrens is currently directing “MY GARBAGE, MY NEIGHBORHOOD”, a documentary film on the legal battle against eviction for one of the oldest recycling centers in San Francisco located in Golden Gate Park.  Behrens also produces film and video in the Bay Area for other artists and nonprofits.  She sits on the Board of Directors for BAWIFM (Bay Area Women In Film/Media) and has taught classes at a variety of local institutions.  She also holds an MFA in Cinema Production from San Francisco State University.