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presented in association with The Poetry Center, San Francisco State University
Gorgeous, searching and defiant, the Super-8 films of Flushing-based poet and cinema-artist Stephanie Gray urge us to look anew at subjects to which filmmakers have often attached sentiment: abandoned buildings, neon signs, shop windows, balloons in the wind, beloved businesses on the day they’re shuttered. Gray’s shorts have romance in them, a love for city blocks, for scraps of poster layered over scraps of poster, for odd fringes of wind-tickled plastic, for those overlooked places where beauty and trash edge into each other.
—Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice
Her relationship with the city is intimate; her ability to capture the subtle whispers amidst the chaos allows one to see the invisible.
—Mono No Aware
NYC filmmaker/poet Stephanie Gray has been making mostly film (and some video) since 1998, working largely in the format of Super-8mm. Her vibrant work reflects passionate engagement with the symphonic motions of ever-changing city landscapes filtered through an interlocked awareness of working-class feminism and disability advocacy while engaging playfully with queer pop-cultural icons and poetry. With references to Metallica, Eileen Myles, E.B. White, Kristy McNichol, Laverne & Shirley and more, worlds collide as Gray pries open the everydayness of the city and peers through hand-processed emulsive layers. On the occasion of two new publications of her poetry (by Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs and Argos Books), Gray visits the Bay Area (fresh from an Anthology Film Archives retrospective) to present a career-spanning, two-program survey of this expansive body of work and a live reading of recent writings.
PROGRAM ONE: Formatted as an intimate master class, this series opener will feature Gray expounding Super-8 aesthetics and the medium’s inherent tendency towards visual poetry, including discussion of hand-processing and the relationship of filmmaking technique to creativity and inspiration. She will also discuss how Super-8 lends itself to the present-tense imaging of cities and the urban everyday while ever in the gravitational pull of memory and nostalgia.
TO SCREEN: I luved this city—A crush on a hard-to-get city. A valentine to buildings melting in snow. Hoity toity types enrage the author—Who Do You Think You Are?, a recollection of a 1986 8th grader’s Fuck X-Mas day, involving Metallica and retaliatory family members; ivy league classic rock, in which working class rock n’ roll butts heads with scholars in a mildly tragic dichotic story filmed in the Buffalo Public Library; two portraits of beloved and shuttered independent businesses: More Bread Forever—depicting the next-to-last day of Zito’s Bakery, Bleecker Street—and Magic Couldn’t Save Magic Shoes. Also screening: Going against the grain, This is the bike ride to work and Dear Joan, a film letter to the heroine Joan of Arc.
NOTE: This screening is the first of two screenings. The second screening will be presented on Friday, February 12 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Complete details available here. Stephanie Gray will read from recent publications as part of the Hearts Desire Reading series at Omni Commons, Oakland on Saturday, February 13. Information available here.
NOTE: This film screens Friday, February 12. Details here.