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Taking Some Of It In by Les Blank

As a filmmaker, I view everything in the world around me as potential subject matter for a film. I’m looking for things that manage to retain a quality of inspiration that does not fade with time. In the past this has included music like Dizzy Gillespie’s bebop, Ry Cooder and various blues, Cuban, Polish-American polka, Texas-Mexican Conjunto, Appalachian, Serbian-American tamburitza and other world musicians. One of my very first interests was food culture and it still is. My attraction to Alice Waters led to a film about her restaurant Chez Panisse and garlic. The film Yum Yum Yum took me back to Louisiana to indulge in Creole and Cajun cooking. My latest film All In This Tea, ten years in the making, follows rare-tea enthusiast David Lee Hoffman to remote areas of China in search of the perfect leaf. Another film I’ve been working on for 11 years is on Alabama outsider artist, Butch Anthony, who works with found materials and junk to create extraordinary sculpture. For Taking Some of It In, I’ve selected an event connected to each of the afore mentioned interests: music, food, visual art and, of course, documentary film. In all these I hope that, as with the best film, they can be enjoyed repeatedly, like a good Zydeco song or a perfect gumbo.

Center of the Periphery by Jens Hoffmann

The course Center of the Periphery looks at San Francisco’s position in an increasingly globalized world. The city has over the last hundred years seen intense cultural, political as well as technological activity and has since the days of the Gold Rush been a product of modern ambition. Yet, it seems that San Francisco has somewhat lost its position as one of the world’s mayor cultural centers that can guide us to new social, political and aesthetic experiences. By examining which innovations made in this city played a part in the process of social, cultural and political development Center of the Periphery aims to assess where we as inhabitants of the city stand at this point in time in a globalized world and how we can reclaim some of the pioneering sprit of risk taking and social responsibility that has set San Francisco apart from most other American cities in the past.

Amateur Night by Beth Lisick

Professionals are definitely better suited for some things: psychiatry, rollercoaster design, law enforcement, to name a few; but what about arts and entertainment? That person making you laugh, weep, or finally, after all these years, feel connected to your place in the universe, just might not make their living off of their art. Does that matter? And if they’re so original, why aren’t they pros, anyway? How does their work hold up when compared? Amateur Night highlights a small sampling of artists, organizations, and venues who are more than familiar with the concept of the “amateur”, though their dedication, passion, and creative output rivals those who have been deemed professional. Listen to poetry in a gay men’s bathhouse, see art created by the developmentally disabled, watch old film reels in a warehouse, witness a play where no one has their lines memorized, and listen to a man who has made his living by falsely claiming to be an expert.

Do Parallel Lines Meet at Infinity?by Rick & Megan Prelinger

We are engaged in a variety of public cultural practices, most of which employ historical materials as interventions into the present. After opening our private research library in 2004, we’ve become deeply interested in the possibilities awakened by hybridizing analog and digital materials, cultures and spaces. Our library is an evolving public experiment that explores the changing relationship between analog and digital cultural resources. It’s visited annually by some 1,000 people, most seeking images, text or ideas to incorporate into their own work. We invite you to join us in a discussion that challenges many current ideas about the relationship between analog and digital cultures, and to become immersed in reservoirs of little-known cultural materials. The events in this course focus on new lives for old materials, issues of appropriation, and the analog/digital detente. They engage the cultural worlds of film, sound, and print. Each of the course components has been chosen to be fun, discovery-oriented, and to inspire further exploration.

Biographies Colophon

Les Blank

is a prize-winning independent filmmaker, best known for a series of poetic films that led Time Magazine critic Jay Cocks to write, “I can’t believe that anyone interested in movies or America…could watch Blank’s work without feeling they’d been granted a casual, soft-spoken revelation.” John Rockwell, writing in The New York Times, adds, “Blank is a documentarian
of folk cultures who transforms anthropology into art.” And Vincent Canby, also in The Times, declared that Blank “is a master of movies about the American idiom… one of our most original filmmakers.” His many films include Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers (about Alice Waters and other Bay Area garlic fanatics) and Burden of Dreams (about the making of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo). Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers and Chulas Fronteras have been selected by the U.S. Library of Congress for inclusion in The National Film Registry, one of only three documentarians to be honored with two films.

Megan Prelinger

is co-founder and architect of information design of the Prelinger Library. The library’s information design plan creates
juxtapositions between artifacts to create new associations and depictions of north American regional landscape and social history; its open-access and appropriation-friendly policies reframe ideas about public access to primary source materials. Her other installation works integrate historic documents with other media, and have been exhibited at galleries
and museums in Berkeley, San Francisco, and New York. She is also a writer, author of the forthcoming Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race (Blast Books, 2010).

Jens Hoffmann

is a writer and curator of exhibitions. He has worked as a curator since 1997 and is cur-rently the Director of the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. From 2003 to 2007 he was the Director of Exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. He has curated over 30 exhibitions internationally since the late 1990s.

Emerging, unusually, from a training in theatre rather than art history or curatorial studies, Hoffmann has used his directorial knowledge in particular to articulate his unique approach to curating. Of key importance for all of his exhibitions is the actual staging of the experience—ranging from the design of the space and installation, the conceptualization of the catalogue and related programming, to the attention paid to the performance of the work itself. The ‘stage-set’ or rather the exhibition space, site, or geographical location is itself an important factor in the development of his ideas which respond to both time and place. Hoffmann takes into account both the larger historical and socio-political context in which an exhibition takes place as well as the rel- evant curatorial or art historical relationships pertaining to a project. Using the ideas and strategies of artists, in particular conceptual art, and applying this approach to a curatorial idea of the author is a defining characteristic of Hoffmann’s work and results in a highly unique practice and personalized exhibition history reflective of a creative development not dissimilar to that of an artist.Hoffmann was trained as a theater director and studied Stage Directing, Dramaturgy and Cultural Sociology at the Ernst Busch School for Performing Arts in Berlin. He holds an MA in Performance Studies from DasArts – School for Advanced Research in Theatre and Dance Studies in Amsterdam.

Ben Kinmont

is an artist, publisher, and antiquarian bookseller living in Sebastopol, California. His work is concerned with the value structures surrounding an art practice and what happens when that practice is displaced into a non-art
space. Since 1988 his work has been projectbased with an interest in archiving and blurring the boundaries between artistic production, publishing, and curatorial practices.

In the past few years he has taught courses in the Social Practices Program at the California College of Arts as well as organized various workshops with students from the École des Beaux-Arts in France (Angers, Valence, and
Bourges). Exhibitions include those at Air de Paris, ICA (London), CNEAI (Chatou), the 25th International Biennial of Graphic Arts (Ljubljana), the Frac Languedoc-Roussillon (Montpellier), Documenta 11 (Kassel), and Les Abattoirs (Toulouse). He is also the founder of the Antinomian Press, a publishing enterprise which supports project art and ephemera.

Joseph del Pesco and commissioned by
the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Design and typsetting by Scott Ponik
Web development by Chadwick Wood

Thanks to: Dominic Willsdon, Brian Conley,
Anne Walsh, Renny Pritikin, and Helena

Beth Lisick

is a writer, performer, and arts organizer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her books include The New York Times best-selling comic memoir Everybody Into the Pool and the gonzo self-help manifesto Helping Me Help Myself. Lisick has toured the U.S. and Europe as a solo spoken-word performer, frontperson for the band the Beth Lisick Ordeal, and member of the groundbreaking female roadshow Sister Spit. Her other projects include comedic performances for the stage and screen with Tara Jepsen, curating the monthly Porchlight Storytelling Series with Arline Klatte, and teaching creative writing to young adults. She recently played the female lead in Frazer Bradshaw’s award-winning feature film Everything Strange
and New and is currently working on a new film with the director.

Rick & Megan Prelinger

Rick Prelinger founded Prelinger Archives, a collection of advertising, educational, industrial and amateur films, in 1982. In 2002, the film collection was acquired by the Library of Congress. Rick partnered with the Internet Archive to put 2000 of his films online for free viewing, downloading and reuse. He is active around intellectual “property” and archival is-
sues, sits on the National Film Preservation Board, and is a board member of the Internet Archive and San Francisco Cinematheque. He recently completed “Panorama Ephemera,” an all-archival feature film. Rick and his spouse Megan recently opened the Prelinger Library, an appropriation-friendly private research library in San Francisco.