Oddball Films and guest curator Lynn Cursaro present Brooklyn: Cradle of Culture. No, it’s not too strong a claim to make for a town that gave both Mel Brooks and George Gershwin to the world. This treasure trove of rare cinematic delights from the 1920's-1980s features all of Brooklyn's homegrown heros. Carl Reiner and Brooks talk New York World’s Fair in The Two-Thousand Year Old Man (1964). She’s a big deal in Malibu now, but Barbra Streisand’s former neighbors recall a different girl in the colorful documentary I Remember Barbra (1981). Woody Allen is among the celebs unraveling mysteries in How Do They Make Hot Dog Buns? (1971). Mae West tames lions, men and looks fabulous doing it in I’m No Angel (1933). Though he’s not from Brooklyn, Leonard Bernstein helps us class up the program with some music from locals Aaron Copland and George Gershwin in Sounds of an Orchestra (1966). Carole King sets the magical words and images of fellow King’s County-born Maurice Sendak to music in Chicken Soup with Rice (1975). Clara Bow and Barbara Stanwyck both show us what made them stars in snippets from 1927’s It and The Lady Eve (1941.) A favorite Brooklynite heads to the Big Easy with a lot to say in the comic travelogue Brooklyn Goes to New Orleans (1953). Plus the trailer for The Warriors, and so much more! So come and be part of the fun, already! And as always, complimentary (and thematically appropriate) home-baked treats from the Kurator's Kitchen!
Date: Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 8:00PM.
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00, RSVP Only to: 415-558-8117 or [email protected]
I Remember Barbara (Color, 1981, Kevin Burns)
A charming portrait of city remembering, re-imaging and loving its native daughter. Miss Streisand hit the heights of stage stardom in 1964 in the Broadway smash Funny Girl, conquered the rest of show business and never looked back. But Brooklyn kept its eye on her and more than a decade later strangers and friends provide multi-faceted take her lasting celebrity. Yes, even the beat cop who caught Babs playing hooky! A light-hearted look at the nature of superstardom and blast of old school Williamsburg pride.
We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bowl!
Chicken Soup with Rice (Color, 1975)
Meet Rosie, the self-proclaimed "sassiest girl on Avenue P”! Maurice Sendak based his pint-sized diva on a neighborhood girl whose front stoop was her very own Ziegfeld Follies stage. For this number, she directs a block-full of kids in a tribute to a lunchtime favorite. Brooklyn-reared Carole King performs the tune she composed from Sendak's much-loved Nutshell Kids books.
A Reel Lifesaver!
I’m No Angel (B+W, 1933, Wesley Ruggles, 1933, excerpts)
You can take the girl outta Brooklyn but you can’t take the Brooklyn out of the girl! The borough can claim Mae West as yet another of its bombshells. In I’m No Angel, Mary Jane West from Bushwick puts it to good use as a dancing temptress and lion tamer! An audacious slice of pre-Code sparkle and grit.
Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler, Already!
Brooklyn Goes to New Orleans (B+W, 1953, Arthur Cohen)
Another adventure from the "Brooklyn Goes to . . ." series, which showed us the world from the eyes of a Brooklynite. Our favorite "dese, dem and dose" fella checks out the colorful delights of the Big Easy. Who else would compare the Mardi Gras to your average Saturday night on Coney Island? Portrayed on screen by Arthur Cohen, the Brooklyn shorts were actually narrated by Phil Foster, who may be better known as Laverne DeFazio's dad Frank on Laverne and Shirley.
Make me One with Everything!
How Are Hot Dog Buns Made? (Color, 1971 Frank Buxton)
An apt topic for an edition of Hot Dog, NBC’s delightful mini documentary series. This time the mysteries of purpose-baked rolls are revealed on a trip to Fine's Bakery in Brooklyn. Jonathan Winters and Brooklynite Woody Allen offer surreal commentary.
2,000 Years and Counting
Two-Thousand Year Old Man (B+W, c. 1964)
Little wonder 1964 World's Fair organizer Robert Moses called on Mel Brooks's Two Thousand Year Old Man. After all, he worked with the original Moses on the first World's Fair. Carl Reiner gets the scoop on the primitive fun at the 0026 World's Fair in Morty's cave, when people paid good money to drop off cliffs! Oy, that was a good time!
Barbara and Bow of Brooklyn!
It (B+W, 1927, excerpt of Age of Ballyhoo, 2 minutes)
A singular screen presence, Prospect Park’s Clara Bow came up from poverty to epitomize the Jazz Age. In real life, Bow sliced hot dog buns at her dad's Coney Island stand, but the seaside playland used by Hollywood for her 1927 comedy It is Santa Monica Pier. Gloria Swanson's narration will remove any doubt that Clara was the very definition of flapper. Also screening: a trailer for Preston Stuges’s The Lady Eve, featuring Flatbush’s own Ruby Stevens, better known to most as Barbara Stanwyck.
Some High Culture, Do You Mind?
The Sound of an Orchestra (CBS, 1966)
At the conclusion of Leonard Bernstein’s discussion of the characteristics of orchestral styles, textures, and colors, he focuses on Brooklyn boys George Gershwin and Aaron Copland. Gershwin’s An American in Paris is sampled to illustrate Bernstein’s point, but we get to hear Copland’s always stirring Rodeo in its entirety. Lenny’s charisma makes this touch of class pretty painless!
Plus - For the Early Arrivals:
Phil Silvers in a excerpt from The Judy Garland Show (1963)
Judy sings “I Happen to Like New York” only to get a reality check from Phil. Phil gives Judy a chance to glimpse life in Fun City without stepping off her variety show stage via a series of role-playing vignettes. Little Leather Lungs and everyone's favorite Dalai Lama look-alike have a chemistry that more than redeems the corny premise.
About the Curator
Lynn Cursaro is a local film blogger. Over the past two decades, she has worked in research and administrative positions a variety of Bay Area film organizations. Her only regret is that she could only be born in Brooklyn once.
About Oddball Films
Oddball films is the film component of Oddball Film+Video, a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Summer of Love, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.
Our films are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educationals, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.