Pordenone Festival Catalog Entry on the 1897 Middle East Films

For further background, please see my previous posts here, here, and here.

Following is the official English translation from pages 120-121 of the catalog for the 2007 Pordenone Silent Film Festival (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto). I have added a few links where relevant; comments in [bracketed italics] are my own. The full bilingual (Italian/English) catalog can be downloaded from the Pordenone web site (PDF, 2.9 mb).

Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange are the co-directors of Lobster Films in Paris. David Shepard is president of Film Preservation Associates in California which, among other things, owns the old Blackhawk Films collection.

Bible Land Films

This is the story of a cinema miracle — which is also still a mystery. All we have are a few clues pointing towards an explanation. In March 2007, one can of film, with the name “Collection ELGE”, appeared in the window of an antique shop. With the kind complicity of Sabine Lenk, we went behind the window, and in the shop we found 93 small rolls of Edison-perforation 35mm nitrate camera negative, some in ELGE cans, others in Lumière cans. The shrinkage was greater than 6%, but the rolls were not decomposed. And on the first frames of each were written in India ink such amazing titles as Baydar Nazareth, Fontaine à Bethléem (Fountain in Bethlehem), Panorama de Tibériade, and Jésus en Croix (Jesus on the Cross).

The rolls bear numbers from 1 to 203 (many are missing), and those recovered include films rejected due to technical defects. We brought them to the Haghefilm Conservation laboratory, where they were printed onto 35mm fine grain positives, allowing further identification. They are proving one of our most exciting and important discoveries.

At this writing, some films and locations remain unidentified. Most of the negatives have small perforations with square corners, as do most Gaumont films from 1897 to 1903; however, some of those with the highest numbers have perforations with beveled corners.

A Lumiere film tin, containing Lumiere single-perf film.The dozen films in Lumière cans reminded us that as of 1897 Lumière was selling Edison-perforated film. The cans indicating technical rejects reminded us of Gaumont’s unusual trading process. Before 1900, Gaumont provided independent cameramen with raw stock and equipment, in return for the right of first refusal to purchase whatever they photographed. The rejected films remained the cameraman’s property. This explains why the first Gaumont catalogues contain films made by Georges Hatot, Albert Londe, or P. Gers.

In his 1925 book, Histoire du Cinématographe des origines à nos jours, film veteran Georges-Michel Coissac, director of the religious publishing house Maison de la Bonne Presse, names another 19th century cameraman who provided films to Gaumont: the mysterious Albert Kirchner. We know very little about him, but we do know that in 1896, Kirchner, professionally known also as Léar, made religious lantern slides for Masion de la Bonne Presse, as the French Catholic church was very interested in visual education at this time. Léar also filmed for pioneer filmmaker-producer Eugène Pirou the striptease from Louise Willy’s stage play Le Coucher de la mariée (The Marriage Bed), and probably many other erotic and risqué films, and, with Father Bazile, made knock-off versions of such popular Lumière films as L’arroseur arrosé (The Sprinkler Sprinkled / Watering the Gardener [watch it on YouTube]), La bataille d’oreillers (Pillow Fight), and so forth.

We also know that in January 1897 Albert Kirchner filed a patent for a camera called the “Biographe Français Léar”. One of these instruments may still be seen in the collection of the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris. Amateur versions of the Biographe Français Léar were produced and sold by Léar (as well as by Jules Demaria under the name “Pygmalion”). That same year, Léar claimed two other camera patents, although these seem never to have been produced, and established a partnership with Paul Anthelme, a former agent of Pirou, and a Mr. Pacon, a wealthy printer. In the spring of 1897 Kirchner/Léar left for Palestine with Father Bailly, a priest who would supervise the religious aspects of the first life of Christ to be filmed on location.

Coissac’s book and Stephen Bottomore’s entry on Léar in Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema, edited by Stephen Herbert and Luke McKernan, indicate that in early 1897 Léar and Father Bailly photographed many films in the Holy Land, among them perhaps the first motion pictures taken in Egypt, Palestine, and today’s Israel. Coissac names a few titles: Vues du Caire (Views of Cairo), Débarquement à Jaffa (Embarking at Jaffa), Entrée des pèlerins dans la ville Sainte (Pilgrims in the Old Section). Coissac added that as Gaumont obtained 35mm cameras only in November 1897 (their previous output was on 60mm), they decided by the very end of that year to buy all the Kirchner/Léar negatives, to be able to provide 35mm films as quickly as possible. In the Gaumont catalogue of 1898, we find views of Cairo, Jerusalem, and the Holy Sepulchre (also included among our negatives). Actually, Léar also took a lot of other views, probably intended for sale to Pathé and other companies.

Among the films shot by Léar we find Les dernières cartouches (The Last Cartridges), number 93 in the Gaumont catalogue; not far from that number, 56 to 67 are views of Cairo and Palestine. Were all of these Léar films? Here’s another clue: on some of our films, we see at the edge of the frame, or for a few seconds, the silhouette of a priest. Could this be Father Bailly?

Among the films we discovered are complete episodes of a Passion du Christ (Life of Christ), including variant takes for some tableaux. In the summer of 1897, Léar, in collaboration with Coissac, completed his Passion by photographing more scenes in Paris, with actors from a tableau vivant version.

This first film version of the Gospel story was widely shown. In February 1898 it formed part of an illustrated lecture given by the Rev. Thomas Dixon, the future author of The Clansman and The Leopard’s Spots, upon which D. W. Griffith based The Birth of a Nation. That same year, Léar opened a short-lived cinema in the basement of the Olympia theatre in Paris, and it seems that he also sold his negatives to Gaumont, which would explain the ELGE cans now in our collection.

The end of Kirchner’s life also remains a mystery. Another famous cinema veteran, René Bunzli, writes in the margin of his copy of Coissac’s book that Léar died in an asylum shortly afterwards. But if so, who was running the firm Léar & Company in Cairo, which was prosecuted in 1901 for exporting pornographic pictures to Europe? So many questions, for one sure fact: if our conjectures are wrong, these films remain an unsolved mystery.

– SERGE BROMBERG, ERIC LANGE, DAVID SHEPARD

Some Speculation Concerning Father Bailly

As noted above, a “Father Bailly” accompanied Albert Kirchner on his trip to Palestine in order to “supervise the religious aspects” of the filming of scenes from Christ’s life. Perhaps if this priest could be identified, further clues about these films might be found even through some tangential, non-cinema archive or reference.

As we’ve seen, Kirchner was associated with Masion de la Bonne Presse, which was founded by the Augustinians of the Assumption (aka the Assumptionists). According to Wikipedia, Father Emmanuel Bailly served as superior general from 1903-1917. I theorize this may be the “Father Bailly” referred to above.
It is apparent that this Father Bailly was a traveler, as I found Google references to letters he sent to France from Rome in the late 1800s. According to this web page (which I auto-translated using Google Translate) in 1900 a “Father Bailly” led a congregation of French Assumptionists on an Easter pilgrammage to Nazareth in Palestine, where he apparently gave a powerful sermon (if that’s the correct term to use). I’m only guessing, of course, but it seems probable to me that this was Emmanuel Bailly — if he was prominent enough in the order to become the superior general three years later, it seems likely that he would be entrusted to lead an Easter pilgrammage to far Palestine. This suggests (barely) that he may have traveled there previously…perhaps with Monsieur Kirchner/Léar.

My online research is greatly hampered by the fact that I can’t read French. But I can’t help but wonder if the archives of Bayard Presse (the antecedent of Maison de la Bonne Presse) or an Assumptionist order in France might hold any further clues about the 1897 film expedition that could perhaps positively identify the films recovered by Lobster Films?

Glowing Seafood? FDA Doesn’t Give a Crap.

The article below just appeared on the front page of the Seattle P-I. According to multiple accounts, shrimp, crab, and fish being sold in groceries in the Seattle area actually glows in the dark. Does the FDA care? Hell no. Count on the Bush FDA to keep us safe from rogue bio-engineered mutants or possibly “nukuler” radiated food…not. They won’t even let their scientists comment on the subject, which is about what you’d expect from the cronyist “free market” retards.

Also so very reassuring is the fact the dumb-asses at Washington Poison Center “wouldn’t hesitate” to eat GLOWING FISH AND SHRIMP. According to this article, even cats know better than the idiots charged with “protecting” our food supply. What the hell?!?

Possibly worst of all, the story is being treated as a mildly humorous human interest piece! I can only conclude that Ming the Merciless on Planet Mongo has unleashed the StupidAssRetardifier Ray on humanity while I was resting in my handy lead box. I can see where this is leading, so please shoot me in the face when Paris Hilton is floated as a viable candidate for President, won’t you?

(And, alas, count on the P-I to be lame enough to actually lose the domain name seattlepi.com to bottom-feeding cybersquatters after owning it for more than a decade. Sigh.)

Glow-in-the-dark shrimp — it’s all a little fishy
Luminescent crustaceans bought in Seattle stores; FDA won’t investigate

By Andrew Schneider
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Thursday, October 25, 2007

It sounds like a Halloween joke. A pile of brightly glowing cooked shrimp sitting on the counter in a darkened kitchen.

But Randall Peters doesn’t see the humor in it. He bought the shrimp last week from the West Seattle Thriftway. He ate some that evening and returned to the kitchen a few minutes later.

“It was like a bright eerie light was shining on it,” said Peters, who works for a natural food store.

“I thought that maybe it had been overirradiated, you know, too much radiation. Now, whenever I buy seafood, I take it home and turn out the lights.”

Another batch of glowing shrimp apparently was bought at a Quality Food Center in Wallingford.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it was not going to investigate the Seattle episodes because no “official, through-the-proper-channels” report was made.

“Further,” a spokeswoman added, “it’s not a food safety issue because no one got sick.”

Glowing seafood has been reported in the past. A government report in the ’90s said some products exhibited luminescence from the presence of certain light-emitting bacteria — a chemical reaction similar to that found in fireflies. There are at least nine luminescent species of bacteria in salt water.

Andy Richards, manager of the seafood department at the Thriftway, calls the glowing shrimp “creepy.”

He said he took Peters’ report seriously but believes it’s an isolated incident and doesn’t present a health hazard.

“We don’t hear a lot of complaints about glowing seafood, but then people rarely look at their shrimp and crab in the dark.”

However, Richards admits that he might “take a peek” at the seafood now and then in a darkened freezer “just in case.”

A caller who identified herself only as Barbara told the Seattle P-I on Monday that she had given some cooked shrimp she bought at the QFC in Wallingford to her three “very large” cats Sunday night as a “birthday treat.”

An hour later, she said, she was frightened at what she found. She saw a greenish-blue glow coming from the cat bowl on the darkened porch. When she turned on the light, she found the six shrimp untouched. Her porky cats, which she said “would eat your leg off if you stood in one place long enough,” didn’t touch them.

She pulled open the refrigerator door. The light bulb had burned out weeks ago, she said, but the plastic bag holding the remaining shrimp glowed brightly in the chilled darkness.

Neither Peters nor Barbara, who also ate some of the shrimp, said they were made ill, just a bit queasy at the idea of consuming the glowing seafood.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to eat the stuff,” said Dr. Bill Robertson of the Washington Poison Center, when asked about the safety of consuming the glowing food.

“I don’t know of any studies that show it’s hazardous, but, then again, I can’t envision anyone spending the money to do the costly tests to prove it’s safe,” the medical toxicologist said.

Some might expect the FDA would test glowing seafood.

Fortunately, the agency’s Seafood Product Research Center is in Bothell. Unfortunately, it hasn’t done anything on glowing seafood for almost a decade, said the center’s spokeswoman, who declined to permit any of the scientists to discuss the topic. The spokeswoman said the only research into luminescent bacteria or phosphorescing phytoplankton in seafood was begun about 20 years ago by Patricia Sado, an FDA microbiologist.

Sado’s study, which was published in 1998, examined reports of glowing seafood in the mid-1990s to health departments, poison centers and FDA offices across the country.

The products involved were imitation crabmeat, lobster and shrimp, herring, sardines and the always mysterious seafood salads.

Sometimes all that was left were the glowing plastic foam trays or empty wrappers.

A man in Aberdeen reported his fingers glowed after he and his wife ate some crabmeat.

Fresh, uncooked fish also were reported as glowing in the dark. A team of Environmental Protection Agency investigators evaluating the pollution of the Columbia River near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation were stopped by members of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. They had 200 to 300 pounds of brightly glowing fish — whole king salmon they planned to use in a ceremony.

They were afraid to eat it because they believed the fish were radioactive, Sado reported. The analysis found the salmon — skin, intestine and gills — heavily contaminated with a bacterium called Photobacterium phosphoreum.

The reports the microbiologist collected listed only one death attributed to a bioluminescent seafood, and this was not from consumption of the bacterium but rather a 72-year-old man who cut himself while cleaning fish.

The ailments most often reported by Sado were headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and diarrhea — symptoms similar to most food poisonings. However, many of her case studies — like Peters and Barbara — reported no health problems.

The FDA scientist — now retired and living in the Seattle area — still retains her interest in bioluminescence.

“It is just fascinating to study,” she said in an interview this week. “But people who see their seafood glowing should not think they’re crazy nor that the aliens have landed. There are reasons backed by solid science.”

She believes the problems at the Seattle stores probably were the result of cross-contamination. Cooking the product kills the luminescent bacteria and pathogens.

“Boiling the shrimp would have killed the P. phosphoreum, so the contamination probably happened after cooking,” she said. “Somewhere, either in the grocery that sold the product or the plant where the cooked shrimp were packed, contamination from uncooked seafood had to get on the shrimp. This could present a problem.”

The shrimp from the two stores were supplied by Ocean Beauty Seafood.

“We’ve spoken to the folks at Thriftway and QFC and are addressing their concerns,” said Jim Yonkers, director of corporate quality assurance for the Seattle-based seafood company, the largest in the Pacific Northwest.

“We’re going back to the eastern Canadian company that supplied the shrimp to us to discuss the procedures that they use. That’s only common sense.”

More on Lobster Films’ Rescued 1897 Movies of the Middle East

As I’ve noted previously (here and here [with stills]), early in 2007 Lobster Films in Paris recovered 93 reels of previously unknown actuality and dramatic footage from various locations in the Middle East, notably Jerusalem and other locales in Palestine, Egypt, and Turkey. Lobster co-founder Serge Bromberg reported that despite their age and the fact they are, of course, on volatile nitrate film stock, the precious films evinced “not a scratch, [and] no decomposition”.

To say these films are of enormous historical importance is definitely an understatement.

Prints of a number of the motion pictures restored by Lobster Films were premiered during the 2007 Pordenone Silent Film Festival (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto), held October 6-13 in Italy, in a program entitled “Incunabula: Bible Land Films” (“Incunabula: film dai paesi biblici”). The films of Turkey were not shown.

I was not able to attend the festival, a source of nearly physical pain for me — besides these films, there were no less than 8 films by René Clair (including a screening of À propos de Nice accompanied by freakin’ Michael Nyman), 4 films by Georges Méliès recently rediscovered in Barcelona, a presentation by no less than John Canemaker on the life of Winsor McCay, an extensive retrospective of films by master animator Ladislas Starewitch, and about a gazillion other things I’d give my eyeteeth to have attended. But I digress and wallow…

Precious little information about the newly-rescued 1897 Middle East films is known, even less is (so far) available. So much so (is that a paradox?) that one professor of film studies who actually attended the festival contact me for information. While most (and humbly) flattering, I’m afraid I was not much help.

Even two weeks after the screening at Pordenone, Google reveals almost nothing of substance. Thus far, the only worthwhile discussion I’ve come across is a post to the excellent Bioscope blog run by Luke McKernan, who attended the festival and posted a daily diary while there. But I do not intend to damn with faint praise: McKernan’s post is chock full of wonderful information. (It should be noted that he also co-edited, with Stephen Herbert, the absolutely essential book Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema [BFI, 1996], which I simply cannot recommend too highly. The companion web site reproduces, I do believe, all of the entries in the book — a remarkable move which I applaud them for. I refer to both resources constantly.)

And so, in the interest of further propagating precious information (and my own archiving), I am posting an extended excerpt from Mr. McKernan’s post on the subject. Links within the excerpt below are from the original post unless otherwise noted. Comments in [italicized brackets] are mine, but the post is not otherwise altered. Many thanks to Luke for posting this!

(The catalog/program for the 2007 Pordenone Silent Film Festival can be downloaded from the official web site [PDF, 2.9 MB].)

Update: I have posted the catalog’s entry about the films.

Pordenone diary – day five
By “urbanora” (Luke McKernan)
The Bioscope (blog)
October 15, 2007

In March [sic?: my understanding is it was in February] of this year, someone spotted a small can of film in an antique shop window. It had the words ‘Collection ELGE’ on the can, indicating a Gaumont film (from the letters L.G. for Léon Gaumont [link added]). The discovery came to the attention of film historian Sabine Lenk, who in turn alerted Lobster Films of Paris, specialists in early film and inspired discoverers of the extraordinary. What lay within the antique shop, however, hinted at being their most exceptional discovery yet. There were ninety-three cans in the shop, the owner apologising that they were only negatives (!). They were Edison-perforation 35mm, some in ELGE cans, some in Lumière cans, with some shrinkage but little decomposition. And they appeared to date from 1897.

Films very rarely turn up these days from the 1890s, and when they do they tend to be in ones and twos. For ninety-three to emerge in one go is practically unprecedented. And there there was their subject matter. Handwritten titles on the opening frames indicated films taken in Nazareth and Bethlehem, and dramatised scenes of the life of Christ. Before a single film had been printed or viewed, it was clear that here was a truly major discovery.

Seven months on, and amazingly the collection was ready for exhibition at Pordenone. Inevitably enough, this being a collection of early, non-fiction films, the Verdi [theater] was less than full for this historic premiere. So there were folks who preferred their cappuccino to witnessing the most remarkable discovery of the festival, but more fool them. The rest of us heard an introduction from Serge Blomberg of Lobster, who said that the rolls of film bore number 1 to 203, with many missing. The films we were to see came from Palestine and Egypt. Other titles showing scenes in Turkey would be shown at a later date.

And so to the films. They were one-minute or so each in length, actualities of life in the Bible lands (as Lobster have labelled the films), very much in the Lumière style. Indeed, the films showed the sort of studied composition and coherent action encompassed within the frame and completed within the film’s duration that characterises Lumière productions. Some had two shots, some featured camera movement [unusual for the time]. They were all in superb condition. We saw camel drivers, a snake charmer (whose cobras tried to escape into nearby bushes and were hauled back, not best pleased), children dancing in front of the ruins at Luxor, street vendors in Cairo, an Arab street funeral procession, a funfair (illustrated above) with swings pulled by ropes and a mini ‘big’ wheel, women drummers, men dancing, men and women making bricks, women preparing food, a panning shot of the Kedron Valley, women sowing seeds on horse-drawn ‘carts’ (they looked like sleds) outside Nazareth, and many more such scenes. Perhaps most impressive were the two or three films showing the shadouf being operated, the human-powered (usually child-powered) irrigation system with a bucket and a counterweighted arm. These were scenes that had gone on from centuries, millennia even, and here was the motion picture capturing them — in 1897 (or thereabouts), when in truth they could have been scenes from any time.

Following the actualities, we had the dramatic films. There were scenes from two lives of Christ — or at least, filmed in different locations. The first was clearly filmed in Palestine, presumably in Nazareth and Bethlehem themselves. These were brief scenes from the birth and childhood of Christ, extraordinarily featuring an Arab (Christianised?) Joseph and Mary. The Adoration of the Shepherds and then the Magi (not much difference between the two) took place by some steps, with a rough authenticity unlike any Nativity film you ever saw. Mary wore a large white shawl that covered much of her face. We saw further scenes with this couple, Mary on a donkey, the rest on the flight to Egypt, Mary breastfeeding her child, the toddler Jesus’s first steps (not a scene I remember from the Bible).

And then the backgrounds changed. The scenery became wooded, without buildings, and Mary, Joseph and Jesus (a young girl) were now played by white performers, with attitudes and iconography far closer to the conventional. These scenes appear to have been filmed in France, but they continued to surprise. We had an Annunciation scene with an angel Gabriel suddenly appearing (a trick effect unlikely to be as early as 1897), Joseph working at his carpentry, someone dropping a pot which the child Jesus then magically mended, Joseph rowing Mary and Jesus across a river, young girls dressed as angels joining Mary and Jesus. Most astonishing was the film where the child Jesus carried a cross, placed it upon the ground, and then lay down upon it. Then is some precedent for this sort of intimation of the future on the part of the child Jesus in the Western art tradition, but it was still a mind-boggling feat of the imagination.

So who made these films, and how saw them? Although there is not certain evidence as yet, the most likely candidate is Albert Kirchner, also known as Léar. Kirchner was a French photographer and likely producer of risqué postcards, who is first recorded as having made a striptease film, Le Coucher de la Marie, with Eugène Pirou in 1896. Unblushingly moving from pornography to religion, Kirchner teamed up with a Catholic priest and educationalist, Father Bazile, to make short comedy films. In Spring 1897 he set off with one Father Bailly to film in Egypt and Palestine, returning to France to film a twelve-scene Life of Christ with Michel Coissac (a future film historian who wrote about this episode). This was the first-ever Life of Christ to be filmed, and it enjoyed huge popularity — the Reverend Thomas Dixon, author of The Clansman on which D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation would be based, exhibited it in America in 1898 — and was much imitated. Kirchner’s films were bought up by Gaumont, and some can be found listed in Gaumont catalogues. He then disappears from the historical record, but he may have died soon afterwards.

There was much excited discussion among the early film enthusiasts after the screening (there aren’t many of us who get wildly enthused by 1890s films, but we’re a dedicated breed). It seems unlikely that all the films date from 1897, given some of the sophisticated techniques on view at times, and we may have seen films produced by different hands. And so many questions. Why the two lives of Christ? Were the ‘authentic’ scenes shown in France, rejected by audiences, and scenes more in keeping with Western taste shot in their place? Or were the two lives really one and meant to be shown together, despite the changes in performers and costumes? Were the actuality scenes meant to be integrated with the dramatised scenes? We know that the films — assuming they are Kirchner’s — were popular, but what exactly did audiences see? It is only a few months since this extraordinary collection was discovered, and there is still a huge amount to be discovered. What is certain is that a gap in the history books needs to be filled, and we have a collection of views of life in Palestine and Egypt at the end of the nineteenth century which will not only excite the historians but enrich generations to come. [Remainder of original post omitted.]

Keith Rowe Performs in Seattle, Monday Oct. 15

Poster for Keith Rowe performance - incl. the score for 'Treatise'

Avant music fans take note! Legendary improviser Keith Rowe will perform live on Monday, October 15 at Seattle’s Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. Show time is 8:00 PM, and admission is $5 -$15 sliding scale.

Rowe will perform the score Treatise, composed by his friend Cornelius Cardew between 1963 and 1967. Rowe will be playing solo, as well as with an ensemble of Seattle avant music all-stars including Mike Shannon, Stuart Dempster, Esther Sugai, Dean Moore, Rob Millis, Carl Lierman, Dave Knott, Robert Kirkpatrick, David Stanford and Eric Lanzillotta. Coincidentally, Stuart Dempster was one of the performers in the US premiere of Treatise in 1967.

To learn more about Keith Rowe, read this 2001 interview in Paris Transatlantic Magazine by Dan Warburton.

Chapel Performance Space
Good Shepherd Center, 4th floor
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle
(in Wallingford, west of I-5, just south of 50th St.)

Seattle Movie Palace History

David Jeffers, SIFFBlog stalwart and inexhaustible silent film historian, used the recent series of screenings of Chaplin silents at The Paramount Theatre as hook to explore the rich but largely-ignored history of Seattle’s movie theaters and palaces. These postings of his on SIFFBlog are recommended reading, not least because he did some great legwork and unearthed rare photographs.

Here are links to the relevant articles:

While you’re there, also worth a read is David’s rare interview with Diana Serra Cary, better known as silent child star Baby Peggy, in which she reminisces about Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and her childhood friend Jackie Coogan.

Seattle's Coliseum Theater, cica 1936

The Coliseum Theater in Seattle, circa 1936, at the corner of 5th and Pike. Today, it is the site of a Banana Republic store. Sigh.

Ten Hours of Stan Brakhage Radio Broadcasts

The ever-lovin’ folks at the utterly phenomenal UBUWEB have posted MP3s of Test of Time, a 20-part series of radio broadcasts by seminal experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage, recorded at KAIR, Univeristy of Colorado in 1982.

The series includes “long passages of Brakhage musing on subjects such as film, poetry, theater, and other arts. Includes music, lectures, readings, and sound pieces by Edgar Varèse, Peter Kubelka, Kenneth Patchen, Charles Ives, Kurt Schwitters, Robert Duncan, Ed Dorn, Glenn Gould, James Joyce, Virgil Thomson, Gertrude Stein, Olivier Messiaen, Louis Zukofsky, William Faulkner, Charles Olson, Henry Cowell and many others.”  Transcripts of the broadcasts are also provided in both HTML and PDF formats.

UBUWEB also offers a free PDF e-book edition of The Brakhage Lectures (1972: The GoodLion, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago), in which he discusses the works of George Méliès, D.W. Griffith, Carl Theodore Dreyer, and Sergei Eisenstein.

2007 WebAward Winner

One of the sites I helped build has won a 2007 WebAward from the Web Marketing Association.

The site for San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts won an Outstanding Website award, recognizing “work above and beyond the standard of excellence.”  WebAwards were also won by six other sites created by POP.
Screen capture of the YBCA.org home page

Here is the team from POP that worked on the site:

Account Director: Jennifer Showe
Designer: Brad Holst
Information Architect: Minoru Uchida
Flash Designer: Dave Curry
Flash Designer: Aaron Hedquist
Web Developer: Spencer Sundell
Software Developer: Keith Richardson

My own work included interface integration with the online ticketing application, creation of page templates (XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, images) and related documentation used by YBCA’s internal web staff for migrating their content to the new site, a fair amount of content migration of our own, and related tasks. The site also uses a little sIFR dynamic font replacement.

It’s a beautiful design and I’m pretty proud to have worked on it, though I do wish I could have optimized a few things a little further (like the olde school legacy markup on the event calendar).

Congratulations to the team at POP, and to the folks at YBCA.

The other POP sites that won 2007 WebAwards are listed below — mad props to everyone who worked on those: