Meet me at Alamo San Francisco for 2 special movies this week

I’m really excited to be working in San Francisco all week. It gives me the opportunity to drop into Alamo Drafthouse San Francisco at the New Mission Cinema presented by my good friend and yours, Bret Berg, famed cinema programmer and host and Monday Night musician.

First up is “Terror Tuesday” with Jason Goes to Hell which Bret describes as “The Evil Dead + The X-Files + Jason.”

How ’90s!

From the Alamo web site:

If you asked a twelve-year-old metalhead to explain what would happen in a movie called JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY, and then made that movie, it would feel a lot like JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY. That’s a compliment. As the possessed soul of Jason Voorhees embarks on a mission of chaos, bounty hunter Creighton Duke attempts to bring him to justice. But not really. Because ten minutes in, the expected FRIDAY THE 13TH template is replaced with an unexpected commitment to full throttle insanity. Cannibalism! EVIL DEAD crossovers! Jason using bondage gear to tie up a man and shave his mustache! Unjustly misunderstood for the past two decades, this movie’s time for universal conquest IS NOW. JASON GOES TO HELL is a goop-filled, action-horror cyclone that delivers big F-U-N to anyone who gets within five feet of its radiant power. This point is more than proven when a scientist calls Jason a “fat-ass, maggoty, blown-up fucker!” and then Jason removes his face. If you’re still on the fence, there’s a scene where a baby is placed in a cardboard box for safekeeping.

I’ve never seen it. Barely remember it. But here I go. Won’t you join me?

Did I mention this is in 35mm? Ooooh.

Jason Goes to Hell screens tomorrow night, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Tickets are still available.

While I’m always down for a good / bad Jason flick, what I’m really excited about seeing is the Prog Rock double bill—also in 35mm—of Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Genesis: In Concert this Wednesday, September 11, 2019.

Mr. Berg, as the NY Times would call him, had been conversing for some time with Mr. Keith Emerson about screening this 1972 classic (but rarely if ever seen in the 21st Century) film document of ELP live at the London Lyceum 1970. It’s Prog at its most overstuffed peak. ELP were major teen heartthrobs, besides being incredibly accomplished and pioneering musicians.

These are actual frames from the film print to be screened:

Pictures at an Exhibition both ratified and destroyed ELP’s prog-as-pop careers. They never again had the raging fan base they had when they recorded this film.

Emerson killed himself in 2016 so the screening was put on hold until now.

The 35mm print of Pictures at an Exhibition may be the last one extant, unbelievable considering this at one time packed midnight screenings across the globe.

The print itself is shambling into decrepitude. It suffers from “Vinegar Syndrome” which is the cancer of the vintage film world. Pictures at an Exhibition is self-catalyzing its own decomposition. Don’t miss this screening, huh?

But if you must, watch the video transfer:

Here are some notes from the New Mission projectionist team (these folks are heroes of culture) about the print—notes that the public normally never gets to read but that I intercepted and am sharing—I think this is just fascinating:

6 reels
9’s are good or marked
CUES: GREASE with SCRIBE support
CURTAIN @ TAPE over credits: “Sound Supervisor Peter Brown”
Potent vinegar odor.
Massive amounts of sprocket/edge damage.
There are several sets of SCRIBE cues. Use the GREASE cues. Cues may be difficult to see during “psychedelic” visuals on screen.
After extensive repair work it played through without issue.

Joining ELP is another even MORE celebrated Prog Rock film (Prog is all about the MORE). One that packed in midnight movie audiences through my era of the 1980s—Genesis In Concert.

I think this was popular for so long because screenings were, duh!, a drug-meetup for heads.

The film shows Genesis slaying it just post-Gabriel with guest second drummer Bill Bruford, himself just post-Crimson.

Music doesn’t get any better than this!

If you can’t make the screening here’s the whole thing on YouTube:

Bret sums up the night:

It’s a 35mm double bill played L*O*U*D, communing us with the colorful godz of classic progressive rock. Come take a topographic journey into 21st Century Schizoid land with us and our pals at Amoeba Records.

Everything that makes prog wonderful (and everything scoffed at by critics of the day) is on display in GENESIS: IN CONCERT (‘77) and ELP: PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION (‘73): synths, organs, dual drummers, Rickenbacker basses, guitar prodigies, elaborate stage shows, astounding sounds, lyrics from another planet and melodies from the eighth dimension.

Even though it’s only 45 minutes—the length of a single LP—GENESIS: IN CONCERT is one of the great music films of its era, filmed in Cinemascope(!) and documenting the band at the apex of its mindblowing powers. In that moment as previous legendary frontman Peter Gabriel ditched to start his solo career, drummer Phil Collins stepped up, took center stage and became a straight-up Hall of Famer. Bonus: Bill Bruford (King Crimson, Yes) is on 2nd-drummer duty, lock-stepping with Collins in a near-psychic link.

ELP keyboardist Keith Emerson and bassist Greg Lake left us too soon (RIP), but we still have their impeccable virtuosity to celebrate. PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION is a blistering set filmed in 1970, awash in solarized analog video FX, capturing these young turks at peak hotness! Highlights: Emerson’s thrashing of his instruments within an inch of their lives, and drummer Carl Palmer’s superhuman prowess behind the kit.

The Prog Rock double feature is part of Alamo’s “Weird Wednesdays” and these are popular so definitely get tickets.

See you in at Alamo San Francisco this week? Let’s hang!

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