Thursday, October 21, 2010

Private Lives

Beth Custer Ensemble & the films of Alexander Hammid

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

presented in collaboration with SFMOMA as part of the NOW PLAYING series
supported by the San Francisco Foundation
[Free with admission]

Alexander Hammid (born in 1907 as Alexandr Hackenschmied) was a significant if underappreciated figure of twentieth century cinema, creating variously poetic personal “city symphony” films in the 1930s, anti-Nazi documentaries in the ’40s and pioneering IMAX spectacles in the ’70s. The spouse of Maya Deren from 1942–47, Hammid was a collaborator on perhaps the avant-garde’s most influential work, Meshes of the Afternoon. In celebration of this vastly underappreciated artist, the Beth Custer Ensemble (consisting of Custer, Jan Jackson, David James, Diana Mangano and Lisa Mezzacappa) will perform original scores by Custer to his earliest films, Bezucelná procházka (Aimless Walk) and Na Prazském hrade (At Prague Castle) —both extremely rare loans from the Czech National Film Archive in Prague—and his lesser-known collaboration with Deren, Private Life of a Cat. Complimenting the performance will be a screening of Martina Kudlácek’s loving 1996 documentary portrait, Aimless Walk: Alexander Hammid and the seminal Meshes…. (Steve Polta)

Alexander Hammid: Aimless Walk (1930) 9 min. / At Prague Castle (1932) 11 min. / with Maya Deren: Private Life of a Cat (1947) 22 min. / Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) 14 min. / Martina Kudlácek: Aimless Walk: Alexander Hammid (1996) 48 min.

9:00PM Beth Custer Ensemble: My Grandmother
The Beth Custer Ensemble will perform an original program with an expanded ensemble in SFMOMA’s Haas Atrium following the 7:00PM program.

Download program notes