DON’T THINK, GO: Today and tomorrow in New York, BRUCE CONNER’S wildly wonderful short films at Anthology, presented in 2 daily evening programs

From Anthology Film Archives:

Bruce Conner (1933-2008) was an artist whose astounding body of trailblazing work across numerous mediums – film, drawing, sculpture, and photography to name just a few – has long been celebrated in cinemas, galleries, classrooms, and museums around the world. A puckish iconoclast who adopted numerous styles and identities over the decades, Conner never worried about audience expectations or settled into one groove. He never stopped being completely unpredictable. To celebrate Anthology’s recently completed restorations of five of Conner’s most seminal films, we present two programs that feature brand-new and pristine prints of key works alongside lesser-screened gems.

10 SECOND FILM, REPORT, COSMIC RAY, MEA CULPA, and AMERICA IS WAITING have been preserved by Anthology Film Archives through the National Film Preservation Foundation’s Avant-Garde Masters Grant program funded by The Film Foundation. CROSSROADS was restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive, and funded by the Conner Family Trust and Michael Kohn Gallery.

Special thanks to Michelle Silva and The Conner Family Trust.


10 SECOND FILM (1965, 10 sec, 16mm)

COSMIC RAY (1962, 5 min, 16mm)

THE WHITE ROSE (1967, 7 min, 16mm)

BREAKAWAY (1966, 5 min, 16mm)

PAS DE TROIS (1964/2006, 8.5 min, 16mm-to-video. Edited by Bruce Conner.)
A rarely seen document photographed by Dean Stockwell of Conner shooting BREAKAWAY with Toni Basil.

LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS (1959-67, 3 min, 16mm)

EASTER MORNING RAGA (1966, 10 min, 8mm)
While Conner produced a digital version of this work in 2008, we will be screening an original 8mm film print.

TAKE THE 5:10 TO DREAMLAND (1978, 5 min, 16mm)

VALSE TRISTE (1978, 5 min, 16mm)

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW (2006, 4.5 min, digital video)

Total running time: ca. 60 min.


10 SECOND FILM (1965, 10 sec, 16mm)

MEA CULPA (1981, 5 min, 16mm)

MONGOLOID (1978, 3.5 min, 16mm)

AMERICA IS WAITING (1981, 3.5 min, 16mm)

REPORT (1963-67, 13 min, 16mm)

CROSSROADS (1976, 36 min, 35mm)

Total running time: ca. 65 min.

LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS by Bruce Conner (1967)

From The Sound of Eye:

Looking for Mushrooms
Director: Bruce Conner
Year: 1967
Time: 13 mins
Music: Terry Riley
Expecting a nuclear disaster, Conner moved down to Mexico in 1962, where he spent his time looking for mushrooms with Timothy Leary. Later, Conner added footage of similar hunts in Frisco and in 1997 he decided to set it against a 1968 Terry Riley soundtrack. The result is a strange combination of typical ’60s psychedelic editing with what might appear to be a road movie interested in exotic landscapes. A classic of American avant film.

Download available from The Sound of Eye

LIONEL ZIPRIN: A remembrance by David Katznelson

David Katznelson (left) with Lionel Ziprin (date unknown)

A remembrance by David Katznelson

On the morning of Sunday March 15, 2009 Lionel Ziprin passed away. By nightfall, his coffin was riding on a plane to Israel, to be buried in Tsfad alongside his mother, grandmother and grandfather, the great Rabbi Naftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia. Tsfad was the home of the mystics, those Jewish spiritualists who dedicated their lives to the study of Kabbalah—the esoteric Jewish texts that were untouchable by most. The Abulafia family was one of the most famous families of Kabbalists.

I originally met Lionel because of his grandfather, a rabbi whose singing was recorded in the ’50s by pioneering musicologist Harry Smith (student of Alan Lomax and creator of the definitive collection of American folk music), because there were sacred melodies—bridging the gap of hundreds of years of cantorial practices—that were known best by him. I had read about Rabbi Abulafia’s recordings in an article by John Kalish, and contacted Lionel to license them for a non-profit Jewish reissue label I co-founded, The Idelsohn Society. Many before us had already tried to convince Lionel to allow the recordings to be released to the public; the recordings had become legendary for the very reason that Lionel refused all offers, other than allowing a single CD to be released, containing short bits of only a few masterpieces.

Four years ago my friend Roger Bennett and I started our trips down to Lionel’s apartment on the Lower East Side, situated in an island of olde Jewish culture that once flourished throughout the neighborhood. What started as skeptical conversations morphed into strange, deep discussions about Judaism, metaphysics, the otherworlds, and the angels that exist on this one.

Lionel was a born-again Hasidic Jew whose past was anchored in the artistic movements of the ’50s and ’60s. As a child he was plagued by epilepsy and rheumatic fever after which he had visions, seeing the bible come to life in his grandfather’s house. Later, he would translate these visions, along with his thoughts that came from them and his external worldly experiences, into his poetry. Ziprin as bohemian walked with the likes of Thelonious Monk, Charlie “Bird” Parker, Allen Ginsberg, Bruce Conner, and SF poet laureate Jack Hirschman to name a few; his apartment was a destination for the greatest underground artists of his time. He married a woman named Johanna, so famous for her beauty that her vision was immortalized by Bob Dylan in song. The couple had four children.

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