Artists' Television Access

[email protected]; USA Poetry: Allen Ginsberg & Lawrence Ferlinghetti & Ruth Asawa: Of Forms and Growth (SCREENING AT NOE VALLEY BRANCH LIBRARY)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 6:30 pm, Free

USA Poetry: Allen Ginsberg & Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Richard O. Moore, 1966)
 
Upon returning home from a year in New York, learning techniques from Albert Maysles and other cutting-edge documentarians, San Francisco poet and KPFA co-founder Richard O. Moore began making dozens of cinema verite films for KQED, most prominently a 1963 James Baldwin profile called Take This Hammer. In 1966 he directed eleven films about American poets, including this dual portrait of two San Francisco literary heroes. Ginsberg’s seen at peak beard in Berkeley, North Beach, and the Mission, having recently been deported from Cold-War era Czechoslovakia. He recites a poem about this incident, and several others including (for the first time on film) “Howl”, which brought so much attention to the Beat movement a decade before. Its publisher Ferlinghetti takes the spotlight for this film’s final section; he takes his pet Homer for a walk from his Potrero Hill home to North Beach and Chinatown, where he stands against a brick wall reciting his famous anti-establishment verse “Dog”.
 
Ruth Asawa: Of Forms and Growth (Robert Snyder, 1978)

This half-hour documentary provides a rich overview of the life and work of one of San Francisco’s greatest artists: the sculptor, educator and activist Ruth Asawa. We learn how her art was affected by her time in a World War II-era internment camp, and her far happier time at Black Mountain College where she met mentors Josef Albers and Buckminster Fuller (whose son-in-law directed the film), and her eventual husband, architect Albert Lanier. She guides us through her paper art, her paintings, her woven wire sculpture, and her bronzed fountains. It’s as illuminating to see her in her own Noe Valley garden as out in the wider world, whether the nearby Alvarado School, Golden Gate Park, or the Exploratorium. Perhaps the greatest value of the film is getting long looks at her sculptures in varying stages of creation; entrancing music by Ikuko and Mitsuru Yugi aid in this contemplation.

 

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