Friday, April 2, 2010

Theater Reopenings, Restored Classics, Hijoshi Zukan and Dennis Nyback

A few weeks ago, I read an article that the Great Star Theater would be reopening. I recalled that at last year's Hole in the Head, there were some live performances scheduled at the Great Star but they were cancelled at the last minute because the Great Star "didn't get their permits in time."

The people re-opening the Great Star are George Kaskanlian Jr. and his business partner Ken Montero. Kaskanlian is described as "a real estate refurbisher" in the San Francisco Chronicle article I read. I know him as the programmer from the Hole in the Head festival for the past several years. Now it makes sense why Hole in the Head was programming events at the Great Star.

I wish Kaskanlian and Montero success with reopening the Great Star. I would certainly be interested in seeing the inside of that theater. According to the article, they should be screening films at the Great Star by June with periodic live events (such as Chinese opera).

Here is a link to the article about the reopening.


Speaking of Hole in the Head, Indiefest has announced the dates for the 2010 festival. The festival will be held July 8 to 22. Unfortunately, this overlaps with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival being held July 15 to 18. The highlight of that festival is the screening of Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) which has been nearly restored to the original version. Recent discoveries of long-lost negatives allowed for the missing scenes to be restored (with the exception of a few frames).


Staying on the subject of silent films, the Castro Theater is screening F.W. Murnau's Sunrise on Sunday, April 11. The film will have three sceenings that day at 1:30, 4:00 and 7:30 but only the 7:30 show will have live accompaniment (Warren Lubich).


The 4 Star has the exclusive engagement of Hijoshi Zukan starting on April 23. It's a bit surprising that Frank was able to get it before Viz Cinema. The Japanese film is described as "a 6-part...omnibus film by six different directors called Hijoshi Zukan. Each segment features a unique female protagonist in an unexpected situation."

Hijoshi Zukan (Part 2: Sakigake!! Micchan)

Linked is Kevin Ouellette's blog entry on Nippon Cinema which summarizes the six parts ("7 if you count his own introduction").


The Red Vic has a number of films which I missed the first time they screened in the Bay Area. Among the films I want to see in April and May are: Police, Adjective, Terribly Happy, The Red Machine (2009 Mill Valley Film Festival) and Avatar (screened in 2-D).

In addition, the Red Vic is hosting Dennis Nyback on April 14 & 15 for two programs called

Terrorism Light and Dark - a revealing program of cartoons, short films and propaganda clips displaying America’s schizophrenic view of terrorism before 9/11 which includes, among others, the Cold War US Government film, What You Need to Know About Biological Warfare and Buster Keaton’s Cops.

Know Why You’re Afraid - Nyback’s program of educational films that should never have been shown to impressionable children! Included are the darkly hilarious bus safety film, Death Zones (1975), an excerpt from the drivers ed shocker, Mechanized Death (1961) and many more macabre films that does much to explain our culture’s paranoia.

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