THE BEST PROGRAMMING IN TOWN: French Noir

By Meredith Brody

(November 5, 2022)

San Francisco is lucky to have Donald Malcolm’s French Noir Series, The French Had a Name for It at the Roxie.

The upcoming festival programs 15 films over four days at the Little Roxie, and once again I will be there for all of it.  It unspools on Sunday November 6 and Monday November 7, and the following on Saturday November 12  and Sunday November 13.    

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SANTOS: Skin to Skin

By Gaetano Kazuo Maida

October 16, 2022

“The drum is like a heartbeat.” —John Santos

I grew up in the Bronx in the ‘50s. This was in an old Italian neighborhood, full of grape arbors and fig trees (even a goat!), but by the time I was eight our neighbors on one side and across the street were from Puerto Rico, and on the other side were African Americans; it’s mostly Caribbean now. My public school was a ten block walk from home and most of my classmates there were Jewish. My parents were a mixed couple (Japanese/Sicilian) and most of their friends were mixed in one way or another as well, so I had a strong sense of a wonderfully polyglot community that ill-prepared me for the rather homogeneous and affluent population of my elite public high school. But it did open my ears to a wide variety of music. The soundtrack at home was folk, blues, soul (long story), flamenco, and opera, but in the streets it was doo-wop and Afro-Caribbean.

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Hallelujah—Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song

A Review by Gaetano Kazuo Maida

July 1, 2022

They had me at “Leonard Cohen.”

Ever since Judy Collins introduced his song “Suzanne” on her great 1968 album, In My Life, his name on a project—book, album, song, film—had special meaning, somehow within and yet beyond pop culture. Here, it’s perhaps his best-known, and certainly most covered song, “Hallelujah” that takes the lead, and offers a lens through which to survey his life, the music business, and the cultural era he inhabited and inspired. Continue reading

You’re In The Gone, Gone Picture and Beyond

By Gary Meyer

May 26, 2022 (updated May 29)

Most of us see in 3D. We can look around, above, and below. We take it for granted and it is generally not a thrill ride.

But offer us a pair of 3D glasses, a VR rig or some kind of created immersive environment to take us to places we have not been, other worlds or to be in the middle of action scenes and many of us are willing to pay a premium for the enhanced experience—at least once. And then the novelty wears off and we go back to traditional ways of viewing.

Vicki Bennett looks at us

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Gravity Spells Returns- “Embrace the Vortex”

By Brian Darr

May 19, 2022

In 2014 John Davis produced a double-album entitled Gravity Spells: Bay Area New Music and Expanded Cinema Art, which presented sound recordings made by himself as well as Maggi Payne, Tashi Wada, Ashley Beloun and Ben Bracken, paired with accompanying DVDs featuring work by local moving image artists Lawrence Jordan, Craig Baldwin, Paul Clipson and Kerry Laitala. The release was accompanied by four weekend performances at the Kala Art institute in Berkeley, and the discs quickly sold out.

Now nearly eight years later there’s a sequel release, Gravity Spells II involving an entirely new slate of Bay Area sound artists and filmmakers. This time around the performances celebrating the release will all be held  May 19-22  at venerable Mission District venue The Lab. Only the artists know quite what to expect, but they’re sure to present a unique live cinema experiences.

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More Loudly Anticipating the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Part Two- What I Will Be Seeing

By Meredith Brody

May 4, 2022

I learned my lesson early with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival: GO TO EVERYTHING.

The first year I attended, I cherry-picked only the movies I hadn’t seen before.  The ones I went to were such a revelation – both in the presentation and the group experience – that my heart hurt as I walked away.  What a MAROON I was. Even a movie I thought I knew well would be a fresh experience, featuring as it did not only live music, but one of the world’s great audiences. There’s a kind of euphoria that sets in when you commit to seeing everything on offer. Continue reading