Tag Archives: Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Mother Joan of the Angels’

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It seems like only yesterday that I was bemoaning the recent dearth of nun movies. And yet here I am a mere month later, once again writing about the Brides of Christ – this time of the genus a dæmonio vexatus– thanks to the recent digital restoration of Matka Joanna od aniolów (Mother Joan of the Angels), screening at 7:00 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive on Wed. June 25 as part of the series ‘Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema’.

Based on Aldous Huxley’s semi-fictional novel ‘The Devils of Loudon,’ Mother Joan of the Angels depicts an extraordinary popular delusion breaking out in Poland during the 17th century. A grim existentialist examination of repressed desire and madness, the film has previously only been available on a grainy and rather scratchy British DVD. Hopefully the restoration will be a revelation. … Continue reading »

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‘The Saragossa Manuscript': Jerry Garcia’s favorite film?

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Word on the street for many years has been that Wojciech Has’s 1965 feature Rekopis znaleziony w Saragossie (The Saragossa Manuscript) was musician Jerry Garcia’s favorite film. Rumor also has it that Garcia loved the film so much that he purchased a print and donated it to Pacific Film Archive, stipulating only that he could screen it there any time he liked.

Is any of this true? I’m far from sure, but I’ve always held Garcia’s perhaps apocryphal passion for the film against it, as there are few things in life I enjoy less than listening to The Grateful Dead. However, with the film screening at the Archive at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 14 as part of the series ‘Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema’, it’s time for a reassessment. Presumably Jerry will not be in attendance. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

The artists of The Possible gather on the rug at the Berkeley Art Museum. Photo: Fritz Haeg
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THE POSSIBLE CLOSING CEREMONY The closing ceremony for ‘The Possible,’ an exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, will begin this Friday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m. ‘The Possible’ re-imagines the museum as the locus of an ever-evolving artistic projects that connects the artists with the community. This final celebration of creative spirit will draw together artists from around the Bay Area. There will be music, dancing, and ceremonies honoring those who made the whole exhibition, well, possible. Tickets are $7. It should be noted that there will also be a free garden bazaar on Sunday, May 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., where the gallery will be ceremonially emptied. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2626 Bancroft Way. (Read our review of ‘The Possible.’)

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Salvaged trees to be used in Berkeley’s new art museum

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Seven Canary Island pine trees that were cut down in order to allow construction of the new Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive in downtown Berkeley were salvaged and will be used for several interior elements of the new museum, its director, Lawrence Rinder, revealed last week.

At a May 12 presentation made at Berkeley’s Skydeck, which afforded birds’-eye views of the site of the emerging museum on Center Street and Oxford, Rinder said Paul Discoe, a highly regarded wood craftsman known for designing Larry Ellison’s Japanese-style Woodside home, as well as Berkeley’s Ippuku restaurant, will use the pines, along with other reclaimed wood, to design elements such as the museum store, the admissions desk and seating. The trees used to be on Oxford Street, clustered near the corner of Addison.

“The wood is curing in a mill in Oakland right now,” Rinder said, adding that he was thrilled Discoe would be contributing the warm quality of his work to the museum.

Rinder brought the new museum into focus in other ways, with more details of its build-out and events leading up to its scheduled opening in January 2016. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: 57th SF International Film Festival

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Ever wondered what a horror film directed by Terrence Malick might look like? The 57th San Francisco International Film Festival (continuing through May 8 at Pacific Film Archive) is here to help. Screening at the Archive at 8:45 p.m. next Wednesday, May 7, Historia del miedo (History of Fear) blends the brooding naturalism of Malick with the existential dread of Michael Haneke, the end-result a grimly fascinating examination of the discreet discomfort of the bourgeoisie.

Set during a hot Argentinian summer plagued with power outages, History of Fear introduces viewers to an extended upper middle-class family living on a large estate in Buenos Aires’ Moreno district. It’s not only the constant blinking on and off of electricity that has the family on edge, however, but a multitude of other disturbances: holes cut in the estate fence by unseen intruders, fires left burning unattended, violent reality television, and – of course – naked men at the local toll booth. … Continue reading »

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Barbara Chase-Riboud in Berkeley: Revelatory, ravishing

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Barbara Chase-Riboud: The Malcolm X Steles, is an exhibition not to miss. It’s inspirational, revelatory, ravishing to look at, and a dramatic contrast to The Possible: the experimental, hyper-interactive, buzzing, booming art-making project organized by local artist David Wilson that will occupy most of the Berkeley Art Museum through May 27.

Chase-Riboud had her first solo exhibition at the UC Berkeley Art Museum in 1973, at the invitation of the museum’s founding Director (now Emeritus) Peter Selz. At the time she was only the third female artist to have had a solo museum show in the United States. She was certainly the first female African American artist to have earned that singular recognition.

This stunning installation of Chase-Riboud’s sculpture and drawings is a home-coming of sorts: the triumphal kind of homecoming you dream about, where the locals are amazed by the magnificent things you’ve accomplished in the intervening years. One good reason for our amazement is that the artist has lived in Europe, Paris mostly, since the 1960s. And while she’s well-known in Europe — not only for her visual art but also for her numerous novels and books of poetry — we in the U.S. are only just catching up with her work. … Continue reading »

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Events

The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Yiddish singer Anthony Russell
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CONVERGENCE One of the highlights of this year’s Jewish Music Festival will be Sunday night’s performance of Convergence by Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, together with Bay Area klezmer trio Veretski Pass. “I knew no precedent of a Yiddish song organically growing out of a Negro Spiritual, but inside my own head — and I hesitate to say this, but in my heart — I felt I didn’t particularly need a precedent,” explains Russell. Convergence combines diverse strains of traditional Jewish and African-American music to explore exile, spirituality, hope and redemption. The performance includes animation work by San Francisco-based artist Meredith Leich. Tickets ($25, $22 for students, seniors and JCC East Bay members) are available from Brown Paper Tickets. 7 p.m. Sunday, March 23, JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St.  … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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JOAN LA BARBARA Some say Berkeley is still stuck in the ’70s. Music fans who wish that were the case should head to the L@TE event this Friday, March 14. It’s been 38 years since experimental musician Joan La Barbara performed her “Circular Song” at BAM/PFA in 1976, and she’s back for round two. The piece is a presentation of the award-winning artist’s expansive repertoire of vocal techniques, including circular singing, glottal clicks, and split-tone multiphonics. The $7 show starts at 7:30 p.m. at 2626 Bancroft Way. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Side Street,’ one nasty noir

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The American film industry was born on the Atlantic Seaboard. From Biograph’s lower Manhattan studio to the film factory that was Fort Lee, New Jersey (a city now infamous, of course, for an entirely different reason), the first American movies were primarily an East Coast affair.

That changed in 1911 when the advantages offered by the sunshine and vast open spaces of Southern California convinced New Jersey’s Nestor Studios (later to merge with Universal) to relocate to Hollywood. The secret was out: land and good weather were plentiful out west, and the industry moved en masse. By the 1920s, the East Coast film boom had quickly turned to bust.

And so it would remain for the next few decades: during the ‘20s and ‘30s, New York City locations were recreated hundreds of times on the Hollywood back lot, and no one complained. In the post-war years, however, audiences wanted something a little less artificial and a bit more realistic, and studios realized they needed to offer something to counter the growing threat of television. Second units began to pop up around The Big Apple — especially for crime pictures.

One of those pictures was MGM’s Side Street, an above average noir screening at 7:00 p.m. on Friday Feb. 28 at Pacific Film Archive as part of the series ‘Against the Law: The Crime Films of Anthony Mann’. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

A musical adaptation of the beloved children's book "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" opens this weekend in Berkeley. Photo: Bay Area Children's Theater
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WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON UC Berkeley grad Min Kanhg is a triple-threat: composer, lyricist, and playwright. And he donned all of those hats to create Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, a musical Bay Area Children’s Theater adaptation of the beloved book of the same name. The story follows an adventurous young girl in an ancient mythical China as she and a friendly dragon set out on a quest to help her family. The music of the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese violin, accompanies the performance. Director Mina Morita is also based in Berkeley, where the show opens on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. at Osher Studio on 2055 Center St. The two-hour show is recommended for children ages 7 and up. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $16 for children. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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TASTING IN THE DARK  Think you’re a beer buff? Here’s your chance to prove it (and sip some delicious craft beers at the same time). The Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room’s “Tasting in the Dark” event designed to challenge beer drinkers’ assumptions and help them cultivate a more perceptive palate. The blindfolded participants will learn to identify different styles of beer. The event begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13. The limited $20 tickets are available at the Torpedo Room, at 2031 4th St., Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Discovering ‘The Possible’ at Berkeley Art Museum

Fritz Haeg's Domestic Integrities, Part I. Photo: Berkeley Art Museum
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Over the next four months the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive is the site of a grand experiment optimistically titled The Possible. Rather than showcasing finished objects and artifacts, the building is hosting a series of interdisciplinary encounters involving nearly 100 artists and museumgoers organized by Oakland illustrator and renegade impresario David Wilson.

Built around interactive Sunday workshops featuring a dye lab, print shop, ceramics studio, and recording facility, The Possible sprawls through five galleries and, weather permitting, the museum’s sculpture garden, turning the institution into a beehive of activity that runs through May 25. Families are encouraged to attend the Kids Club gallery, which is designed to involve children in the creative process.

In preparing for the building’s closure at the end of the year, BAM seems to be stretching conventional notions of what an art museum is beyond recognition. As works are completed they’ll end up as part of The Possible’s installation. … Continue reading »

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Back to the Roots: Evan Ziporyn plays Berkeley

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People move to Berkeley for all kinds of reasons. For Evan Ziporyn the big draw was gamelan.

Best known as for his two-decade tenure in the Bang On A Can All Stars, the prolific composer and clarinet virtuoso was an undergrad at Yale in 1979 when he became entranced by Balinese music. On the same day that he experienced his gamelan epiphany, Ziporyn heard about an East Bay ensemble, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, recently launched in a Berkeley living room by Rachel Cooper, Michael Tenzer and the great Balinese composer I Wayan Suweca.

“They had just started but to me it seemed like they were already established,” says Ziporyn, who performs a solo recital at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive as part of BAM/PFA’s L@TE Friday Nights concert series. “That’s why I went to graduate school at Cal, to join Sekar Jaya, and I played with them until I left in 1990.” … Continue reading »

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