Artists' Television Access


with Ira Cohen and Andrew Wilson

Friday, November 9, 2007, 8:00 pm, $6-

paradise now

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Alternatives of Alternatives introduces film and video works that focus on “alternative” lifestyles or subcultures (new age gnostics, new media-art zealots, cryptozoologists, revolutionary theatre collectives) with critical eyes and ears, presented in an “alternative” cinematic structure. One purpose of the screening is to investigate the way “alternative” forces arrange and define themselves in our world, another is to present works in which form meets content in a synthesis beyond the industry standard for documentary.

 PARADISE NOW: The Living Theatre in Amerika, a film by Marty Topp, produced by Ira Cohen for Universal Mutant

In 1968 The Living Theatre, led by Julian Beck and Judith Malina, triumphantly returned to America from years of self-imposed exile in Europe with their theatrical breakthrough Paradise Now. The play introduces the practice of collective creation, dissolving the boundaries of human interactions and forging a harmony between the actors and audience. Of this process, Julian Beck writes, “Collective creation is the secret weapon of the people… This play is a voyage from the many to the one and from the one to the many. It’s a spiritual voyage and a political voyage, a voyage for the actors and the spectators. The play is a vertical ascent toward permanent revolution, leading to revolutionary action here and now.† The revolution of which the play speaks is the beautiful, non-violent, anarchist revolution. The purpose of the play is to lead to a state of being in which non-violent revolutionary action is possible.”

The result of this shared voyage is the spontaneous creation of a temporary anarchist collective- free from the enslavements of war, violence, the State, money and the self.

 FOLK / TAX, (2007) a video by Andrew Wilson – 32 min

The purpose of this video was to engage in the creative production of a map in order to understand and then expose the ways in which certain New Age Gnostic entrepreneurial forces arrange themselves in our world. The classificatory system produced for this semiotic regime is esoteric in its nature, as the classifications arose from the gradual analysis of the content. Concepts are organized to call attention to specific information, while the work also serves to blur the conventional distinction between a folk taxonomy and a scientific/academic taxonomy.

 Blobsquatch: In the Expanded Field, (2007) a video by Carl Diehl – 11 min. 30 sec.

Cryptozoology, a field known for its inquiries into unknown creatures like the Bigfoot

and Lock Ness Monster, constitutes a challenge to exclusive hierarchies of knowledge and established scientific authority by presenting alternative theories and new taxonomic models. While many Bigfoot aficionados have dismissed Blobsquatches (photos too blurry to be discernible as Sasquatches) as impediments to serious cryptozoological research, this densely packed document speculates on another understanding of the blobsquatch. Under the panopticonfident gaze of a Google-crazed world, the Blobsquatch personifies noise, is a provocative counter-sight to the over-exposed Sasquatch, and simultaneously challenges and perpetuates alternative thought processes


“Joyous, brutal, exploding with the kinetic energies of psychic catharsis… Marty Topp’s PARADISE NOW: The Living Theatre in Amerika has captured the essence of this extraordinary theatrical experiment.† It is unquestionably one of the finest artistic documentaries to come out of the United States cinema.† Its heartfelt sincerity should be sheer inspiration to the many young people throughout the country who are struggling to make meaningful and influential work.† It is the reverberation of a crucially important message that must not be neglected, for the consequences are too terrible to endure. Marty Topp’s achievement is not just in the making of a great film, but in making us remember again, Paradise as a reality.” – PARADISE ON FILM – Don Snyder, July 1970, East Village Other”Marty Topp’s beautiful film of ‘Paradise Now’ reveals how the theories of revolutionary change and the experience of sexual liberation are not separate paths to the beautiful nonviolent anarchist revolution.† Practiced together they are a single thrust, encompassing both political action and sensual joy, leading to the dreamed-of terrestrial paradise.” — Judith Malina

“Paradise Now is possibly The Living Theatre’s greatest achievement … unsurpassable!” — Ira Cohen

“This past spring, in a group art show at New York’s Swiss Institute, an old black-and-white television played a grainy print of bodies writhing to the tune of distant drumming. ‘As long as you have people working for money and not love, there will be violence,’ intoned a tall, angular man on the screen. The bodies- women in scant bikinis and men in what looked like loincloths-piled together in an orgiastic tribal dance, some simulating (or perhaps actually having) sex as the voice continued: ‘Psycho-sexual repression is impeding the revolution.’ What looked like an underworld-of the 1960’s counter-cultural variety, in this case- is the Living Theatre’s Paradise Now, as documented in the 1969 Ira Cohen-produced film† Paradise Now: The Living Theatre in Amerika … soon to be released on DVD from Arthur Magazine.” — CAN THEATER STAGE A REVOLUTION? – Traci Parks, Fall ’07 Preview, V MAGAZINE

“Like an astonishing portion of the country’s popular music, the spectacles of The Living Theater proved to be in content and form outside the social system- not structured by it nor, except as outlet, implementing it: liberated territory.” — Revolution at the Brooklyn  Brooklyn Academy – Stefan Brecht, The Drama Review number 43: Spring 1969, The Living Theater Issue

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