Aug 2, 2008

Education is Bliss


On Wednesday night, my fellow Trash Palace programmer Jonathan Culp had written me for contributions to that Friday night's Educational Film Night at the theatre. I had already planned on showing up and throwing in a couple of films for good will, but I was delightfully surprised to be more involved in a greater capacity. Since Stacey was out of town this night, Jonathan and I co-hosted, and he projected (tried though I did, I still haven't mastered the quirks of the mighty TP projector). The show comprised of collections from the vaults of Jonathan, my own, and those of Rob Cruickshank (who periodically brought ephemeral shorts to precede TP features, and had left some for us to screen in absentia), divided into three segments, giving people a couple of intermissions to eat, drink and be merry.

Some of Rob's safety shorts were priceless, as was Jonathan's amazing Linda's Film On Menstruation (which pretty much tells it all). Yet the highlight was the second section of the show, or "the celebrity hour". Jonathan offered up Meadowlark Lemon Presents The World and a completely dumbfounding cartoon cautioning kids from molesters, featuring Fat Albert and the gang! My contribution was the hilarious Billion Dollar Ripoff (seen above) with Casey Kasem wearing one godawful 70's suit after another, telling us all about employee theft.

Tonight I had planned on showing some of the films I bought from Skot Deeming three years ago, including At Your Fingertips: Boxes, which we couldn't thread, so instead I put on Mexican Village Life and finally managed to fulfill my ambition in unleashing Duke Thomas: Mailman to the world. While my film prints of educational shorts leave something to be desired, especially in view of what Jonathan and Rob had at their disposal, I was happy and honoured to be invited to take part in this event.

It was a gentle reminder of when ESR ran its own Educational Film night (albeit on video) two years ago-- there's a built-in audience of eccentrics who appear out of the darkness specifically for these films, and tonight was no exception. Minus the exploits of one loud patron (whose beer I had mop up at the end of the night), the 60 or so customers were well-behaved and enjoyed themselves. I love too how one guy came up and started reviewing Duke Thomas: "Why was this made?" Why, indeed! Most of tonight's films were perhaps misguided in their scare tactics to educate impressionable young minds, and that's why we love this ephemera so.

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