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Steven Arnold Special


Artist, photographer, and filmmaker Steven Arnold was a muse and model of Salvador Dalí’s, and the center of a Los Angeles circle reminiscent of Warhol’s Factory. His films provide a bridge between the early cross-gender experiments of Claude Cahun and Pierre Molinier and what Gene Youngblood termed the “polymorphous subterranean world of unisexual transvestism,” which he saw as a hallmark of the emerging “synesthetic cinema” of the 1960s. The screening also pays homage to an innovative—yet often overlooked—poet of the Beat Generation, Ruth Weiss, who stars in all the films.

All films are directed by Steven Arnold

Various Incarnations of a Tibetan Seamstress

1969. 10 mins. “Originally, it was to be a serious look at Westerners influenced by Eastern trends. As it developed, however, it became much more humorous, with characters in yoga positions with high heels and smoking cigarettes at the same time.” —Stephanie Farago

Messages, Messages

1972. 23 mins. “A journey of the psyche into the world of the unconscious. Made when Arnold and I were students at the San Francisco Art Institute, the film is influenced by Dali, Buñuel, and the German expressionists.” —Michael Wiese

The Liberation of the Mannique Mecanique

1967. 15 mins. Loosely based on William A. Seiter’s 1948 film One Touch of Venus, Steven Arnold’s first film is a macabre, decadent work presenting mannequins and models that travel through strange universes. 

Tickets to Friday evening screenings are $10 ($7.50 for students and senior citizens).