Warm Broth (1988) by Tom Rhoads

Thursday, March 28, 2024, 7:30 pm

Two Films by Tom Rhoads

Remembering Luther Price II


567 5th Street

Oakland, CA 94607

Presented in association with Shapeshifters Cinema

Admission: $12 General / $10 Cinematheque Members
Event tickets here

As an echo to Luther Price: New Utopia and Light Fracture (presented Sunday, March 24 at CounterPulse) and in celebration of the life of filmmaker Luther Price, Cinematheque proudly presents this rare screening of early works by the artist’s pre-Price avatar Tom Rhoads.

“I actually changed my name to Luther Price [in 1987] because I couldn’t make the film [Sodom] under the previous name. He was much too innocent to make films like Sodom. Tom Rhoads, he made films about birthday cakes and mothers. Luther was thinking about other things. He had a different cake in mind.”*

In 1985, following a near-fatal shooting suffered in Nicaragua in 1985, the artist later known as Luther Price (and previously known by myriad appellations, including LA, Brigk Athey, Laija Brie and others) suspended his physically-demanding sculptural/installation practice and turned to filmmaking, adopting the persona Tom Rhoads. Just as obsessive and fastidious as Price would later be, Rhoads immediately dove deeply into Super-8 filmmaking, creating elaborate works which radically extrapolate on home movie aesthetics while enacting primal domestic psychodramas and complex expressions of familial portraiture and which assail audiences with assaultive walls of mid-century American kitsch, aggressive audio collage and gender-confounding drag performance. Screening to include Green and Warm Broth (both 1988, both screened in Super-8mm) and the confounding late-period Price work, Dipping Sause (2005), a fetishistic meditation on the adversities of childhood in a godlessly mechanistic yet absurdly mocking and humiliating universe. (Steve Polta)

*Luther Price: Lecture given at California College of the Arts, San Francisco, November 12, 2012. Cited by Tanner Tafelski: “An Experimental Filmmaker’s On-Screen Exorcisms.

Dipping Sause (2005) by Luther Price; 16mm screened as digital video, b&w, sound, 7 minutes
Warm Broth (1988) by Tom Rhoads; Super-8mm, color, sound, 36 minutes, print from Canyon Cinema
Green (1988) by Tom Rhoads; Super-8mm, color, sound, 37 minutes, print from Canyon Cinema

The two-part series Remembering Luther Price also celebrates the release of two publications on the artist (both available from Cinematheque):

Luther Price: New Utopia and Light Fracture

Published by the Visual Studies Workshop’s VSW Press/Film Art Book imprint, New Utopia and Light Fracture features images taken from artist Luther Price’s handmade 35mm slides with excerpts from texts and emails sent by the artist to Tate Shaw, editor of VSW Press, in 2017 and 2018. The book includes an introduction by curator Ed Halter (Light Industry) who was a close friend of Price, and an afterword by Shaw. Full details here.

Luther Price in San Francisco: A Remembrance

Published by San Francisco Cinematheque, Luther Price in San Francisco is a visually oriented zine focusing on the filmmakers’ relationship to San Francisco Bay Area film culture. Edited by Brett Kashmere, Director of Canyon Cinema Foundation and Cinematheque’s Steve Polta, Luther Price in San Francisco features brief oral history reflections, film stills, performance documentation, archival ephemera and reprinted texts. Full details here.

Luther Price

Luther Price. One of the weirdest, most wonderful, most fascinating, most unique filmmakers (and humans) ever to live. As an artist, Price would just go for it—dive deep into his weirdness, his queerness, his obsessiveness—and grind out these insanely freaked out, beautiful, violent films in which themes of personal/family life, sexuality, mortality and bodily experience screamed out like mutant screaming monstrosities, as if he were ripping bandages off of gnarly wounds. His films swirl in never-ending maelstroms of repetition and perpetuity and are the most intense, beautiful/ugly, most harrowingly cathartic experiences ever to be had: insanely weird, funny, frightening, baffling, overwhelming… (Steve Polta: Remembering Luther Price