Plastic Haircut (1963) by Robert Nelson

Thursday, March 22, 1984, 8:00 pm

Robert Nelson


800 Chestnut Street

San Francisco, CA, 94133

The Cinematheque is proud to honor Robert Nelson with a three-part retrospective of his work. Nelson, a painter turned filmmaker, is a San Francisco native now living and teaching in Milwaukee. Of the San Francisco style, with which Nelson is closely associated, Nelson says: “It is basically a non-intellectual practice with roots in the Historical Art Tradition. The unique cultural situation in California, the influx of Near and Far Eastern thought and a strong sense of community among artists have all nourished this tradition… It has no goal.” Nelson did collaborative film-work with funk artist William T. Wiley, Ron Davis (director of the S.F. Mime Troupe), and composer Steve Reich. The third program in this retrospective will be shown early May. (Suite California: Parts 1 & 2).

Plastic Haircut, 1963, 15 min. Mime R.G. Davis and actress Judy Goldhaft participate in bizarre absurd settings created by painter William T. Wiley and sculptor Robert Hudson. Sound montage by Steve Reich.

Oh Dem Watermelons, 1965, 12 min.; Directed and edited by Nelson, written by Nelson, Ron Davis and Saul Landau. Soundtrack by Steve Reich. Originally shown as part of the S.F. Mime Troupe production A Minstrel Show, or Civil Rights in a Cracker Barrel.

Hot Leatherette, 1967, 5.5 min.; “A kinetic sketch designed to involve the viewer’s muscles.” R.N.

Grateful Dead, 1967, 7.5 min.; A 7-minute dream of a Grateful Dead concert.

The Great Blondino, 1967, 41 min.; A collaboration between Nelson and Wiley with poet Lew Welch as The Cop. “The great Blondino is a figurative allusion to the tightrope walker Blondin who gained international fame in the 19th century by walking many times across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The film speaks about the level of risk at which we live and the foolishness and beauty of our lives at the edge, where we confront that risk.” — P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film.