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Daily Briefing. Ernie Gehr, Weegee, Kenneth Anger, Mario Montez, Alejandro Jodorowsky

Icons of the avant-garde will be appearing on both coasts over the next few days and weeks.

Tomorrow and Tuesday in Los Angeles, Redcat will be presenting Two Nights with Ernie Gehr: Early Films and New Digital Works. "It's an eye- and mind-expanding lineup," writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. "It also provides a condensed primer to some of the issues at stake in American avant-garde cinema, which, partly because of its historical opposition to the dictates of commercial mainstream moviemaking and partly because it resists commodification (unlike, say, abstract painting, oppositional cinema doesn't rack up big sales at Sotheby's), has been relegated to the status of museum pieces and festival marginalia."

Also in LA, the Museum of Contemporary Art opens two exhibitions today, Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles and Kenneth Anger: Icons, both on view through February 27.

For the Voice, Melissa Anderson meets Mario Montez, "featured player in Jack Smith's polysexual fantasia Flaming Creatures (1963), Andy Warhol's first drag-queen superstar, and a regular in Charles Ludlam's unhinged plays… When asked over hot chocolate and a tartine at a Prospect Heights café what other golden-era film stars he loves, Montez takes a long pause, finally settling on Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, Billy Wilder's comeback vehicle for the legendary silent-era actress. 'In a way, I’m going through a similar period myself at the moment,' Montez, 76, laughs, referring to his re-emergence in the spotlight after a 30-year absence." Following a screening of John Rawlins's Arabian Nights (1942) this afternoon, An Evening with Superstar Mario Montez begins at 6:30 at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. Alt Screen has a big Mario Montez roundup.

Introducing himself as the new critic at Vanity Fair, Paul Mazursky recalls the time Vincent Canby panned Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) in the NYT:

I was instantly depressed. I was a failure. I should've been a shoe salesman. I wanted to call my therapist, but I didn't have one. So my wife (who says she never reads reviews) and I went to a hotel and I tried to sleep. At about eight a.m. the next morning, the phone rang.


"Is this Paul Mazursky?"


"This is Pauline Kael. I read Vincent's review. He's wrong. I loved your movie and so do all the other critics I've spoken to. I just wanted you to know that."

I felt like crying tears of joy. I was back in auteursville.

Catherine Grant points us to the Permanent Seminar on the Histories of Film Theory and a collection of lectures to watch online.

Back in the NYT, Alejandro Jodorowsky explains to David Colman why it is that "all deviations from the Tarot de Marseille are nothing but inglorious bastards." Related online viewing: At the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jodorowsky talks with Richard Peña about "his unorthodox preparation for the production of [El Topo (1970)], the influence of theater on his fimmaking, and the overt symbolism of his masterpiece" (32'18") and, at Dangerous Minds, he talks with Richard Metzger about "Occupy Wall Street, why revolutions fail but mutation succeeds, the magical side of reality, the search for gurus and wisdom and why Twitter is the haiku of this century!"

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