In a letter dated June 1, 1962, the newly formed Film-Makers’ Cooperative offered their first list of films that were available to rent. Fourteen filmmakers were represented.
In 1998, Brian L. Frye was a transplant from San Francisco looking to open a new microcinema in NYC, having been inspired by Craig Baldwin’s Other Cinema at Artists Television Access and David Sherman and Rebecca Barten’s Total Mobile Home.
Happy Birthday to Jonas Mekas! Who turns 95 today! From humble beginnings in a small Lithuanian town, to escaping the Nazis, to arriving in New York City in 1948 to become a champion of the cinema!
In 1983, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, along with Media Study/Buffalo, created a touring retrospective of avant-garde films, primarily feature-length ones and a few shorts, which they called “The American New Wave 1958-1967.”
1963 was a pivotal year in the history of avant-garde film in the United States. In Visionary Film, P. Adams Sitney calls it “the high point of the mythopoeic development within the American avant-garde.”
The prisoners locked in a Marine Corps jail in 1957 Japan are subjected to intense abuse and punishment from the guards.
In 1966, as the underground film wave was sweeping the country, a Boston off-shoot of New York City’s Film-Makers’ Cinematheque opened at a performance space at 53 Berkeley Street. Underground films were shown on weeknights, while on the weekends the space transformed into a music venue called The Boston Tea Party.
Hey, if it’s Christmas Eve, then it’s time to celebrate the birthday of a very jolly old soul, Jonas Mekas, the Godfather of Underground Film. Face it, without Jonas promoting the underground as fiercely as he did back in the ’60s, then most of us who are into this unique art form probably wouldn’t be here celebrating it, much less making it. So, here’s to you Jonas, who turns 92 today!
And now a little dinner music courtesy of the short diary video In Solidarity With Tartars and Ukraina by Jonas Mekas, who captures a lively performance by roaming musicians. The where, the why, the wherefore are all unimportant. All that matters here is the energy of the moment captured by a master video diarist.
Let’s wish an astounding 91 Happy Birthday wishes to Jonas Mekas, the godfather of underground film! To celebrate, let’s listen to some of Jonas’s own words of wisdom from 2007 and hope that it changes some minds in the process!