MESS with Beat Poet ruth weiss - Fri. Sep. 18th - 8PM

Oddball Films is proud to present the seventh annual installment in the innovative interview-based series MESS (Media Ecology Soul Salon) featuring a rare appearance of one of the first ladies of the Beat Generation: poet, playwright and artist ruth weiss. For one night only, Los Angeles media artist and curator Gerry Fialka will interview weiss in person on Oddball's Cine-Stage. MESS (Media Ecology Soul Salon) is an engaging interview by Gerry Fialka with modern thinkers who will address the metaphysics of their callings and the nitty-gritty of their crafts. ruth weiss was one of the pre-eminent women of the largely male Beat Generation and a good friend of and collaborator with Jack Kerouac. A performer as well as a poet, weiss often combined live jazz music with her poetry (the first to do so) and organized jazz and poetry nights at The Cellar, a San Francisco beat club in the 1950s. In addition to this unique interview delving into weiss' fascinating personal and professional life, we will be screening weiss' rare cinematic film poem The Brink (1960) photographed by painter Paul Beattie. The Brink was described by Stan Brakhage as "one of the most important San Francisco films of the period." Plus, early arrivals will be treated to several 16mm beat rarities from the Oddball Archives before the show including rare footage of Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, and the beat rhapsody Help My Snowman is Burning Down (1964). 

Date: Friday, September 18th, 2015 at 8:00PM 
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 in advance or $15.00 at the door, Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117


ruth weiss (born 1928) is a German-born poet, performer, playwright and artist who made her home and career in the US, as a member of the Beat Generation, a label she has recently embraced and that is used frequently by historians detailing her life and works. weiss spells her name in lowercase as such as a symbolic protest against "law and order," since in her birthplace of Germany all nouns are spelled capitalized. She is often credited as the originator of combining live poetry with live jazz music.

The Brink (1961, digital projection) 

Based on a poem by ruth weiss, this intriguing and lyrical film was called by Stan Brakhage "one of the most important San Francisco films of the period." A playful love story about two lonely people that was breathtakingly photographed by painter Paul Beattie.

"The Brink, by ruth weiss, is a cinematic poem that plunges into shadow and enchantments in nature, chronicling mythic dimensions, poetic imagination, and the disorientation of sequence. The 40 minute film was shot traversing the seaside and city of San Francisco, in 1961. With intensity but not precision, similar to a dream, The Brink presents a tangle of shadow and illumination where meaning is deferred to changing moments, and the chimerical arises only to collapse. ruth weiss' wayward narrative gives confidence in the carnage of the simulacrum. ruth's voice interlaces the images: "She's somewhere else, she can't corner you there...give my love to the game though I can't belong....I'm obsessed with the past and no one remembers beyond" alongside lines that include phantoms, the water, ancient tension, the awkward end, the magic hat, the ageless and shapeless, and many things continually beyond." - Kari Adelaide

"Gerry Fialka asks unexpected Questions about important Ideas, eliciting Answers that can surprise even those doing the answering.  My Interview with him taught me something about myself; it was a Gift." - David Gatten

"Great interviewing requires a stimulating interviewer and Gerry Fialka is certainly that. Best part is that he makes the rare act of deep thinking in public before an audience flow as creatively and easily as a Basquiat painting." - Jay Levin, LA Weekly founder and former editor-in-chief

"Fialka's cool questions are right at the heart of all my work. By far the best interview I have ever been treated to." - Ondi Timoner, only two time Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury winner

"My experience in Gerry Fialka's MESS series was a scintillating discussion of history, culture, philosophy, sociology and the creative process. His questions and ideas transcend the accepted, traditional limitations of 'the interview.' " - Brad Schreiber, author, producer, screenwriter, journalist

"Fialka's interview with me was an invigorating, pleasurable, philosophical, specific, awakening journey." - Harry Northup, actor and poet and

About Oddball Films
Oddball films is a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Silicon Valley, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our screenings are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.