Aleph (1965) by Wallace Berman

Thursday, January 19, 1984, 8:00 pm

The Beat Era – Program 1

“Things Are More Like They Are Now Than They Ever Were Before"


800 Chestnut Street

San Francisco, CA, 94133

The ‘50s was a time of H-bombs, witch-hunts and the Cold War. It also provided the fertile ground for an explosion in American art. While Kerouac was leading the Beat writers to a rejection of America’s white Protestant underpinnings, the new cinema was struggling to assert itself. Middle-class complacency was answered by anger and a Bohemian life of freedom and romance. Today, in the face of rearmament and Reagan’s Big Stick philosophy, these films of the Beat Era and the early ‘60s have an immediacy that has been brought into focus by our disturbing entry into 1984.

Aleph, by Wallace Berman, 1965, 15 min.; a densely packed collision of fleeting images by the well-known collage artist and sculptor, every frame hand-painted with Hebraic symbols.

The End, by Chris Maclaine, 1953, 35 min.; filmed in San Francisco, this is a newly reconstructed print of Maclaine’s bleak vision of personal despair and nuclear destruction. Beat, by Chris Maclaine, 1956, 6 min.; images seen on the street deny ordinary patterns of narrative sequence or causality

Doomshow, by Ray Wisniewski, 10 min.; “a ritual firedance in a cellar on 10th Street in the shadow over Christmas Island.” R.W

The Hipster, the Delinquent and the Square — a hilarious satire of exaggerated adolescent style.