Blonde Cobra (1963) by Ken Jacobs

Thursday, February 2, 1984, 8:00 pm

The Beat Era – Program 3

“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.

Match Girl, by Andrew Meyer, 1966, 25 min.; featuring Andy Warhol, Vivian Kurtz, Gerard Malanga; songs by The Rolling Stones and Martha and the Vandellas.

Fugs, by Ed English, 13 ½  min.; “(Sights and sounds of the Lower East Side rain forest.) This film captures a bit of their environment, Lower East Side, the MacDougal Street scene, police harassment, their audiences, and the filmmaker.” E.E.

Fist Fight, by Robert Breer, 1964, 11 min.; “Frame by frame collage of everything imaginable. First shown in New York production of K.H. Stockhausen’s ‘Originale.’ Track from these performances.” R.B.

Blonde Cobra, by Ken Jacobs, 1959-63, 25 min.; featuring Jack Smith. Images gathered by Bob Fleischner, sound-film composed by Jacobs. “Blonde Cobra is an erratic narrative no, not really a narrative, it’s only stretched out in time for convenience of delivery. It’s a look on an exploding life, on a man of imagination suffering pre-fashionable lower East Side deprivation and consumed with American 1950s, ‘40s, ‘30s disgust.” K.J.