Facebook event page
San Francisco Public Library
Main Library - 100 Larkin St, San Francisco, California 94102
USA Poetry: Allen Ginsberg & Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Richard O. Moore, 1966) black & white, 30 minutes
Upon returning home from a year in New York, learning techniques from Albert Maysles and other cutting-edge documentarians, San Francisco poet and KPFA co-founder Richard O. Moore began making dozens of cinema verite films for KQED, most prominently a 1963 James Baldwin profile called Take This Hammer. In 1966, he directed eleven films about American poets, including this dual portrait of two San Francisco literary heroes. Ginsberg’s seen at peak-beard in Berkeley, North Beach, and the Mission, having recently been deported from Cold-War era Czechoslovakia. He recites a poem about this incident, and several others including (for the first time on film) “Howl”, which brought so much attention to the Beat movement a decade before. “Howl” publisher Ferlinghetti grabs the spotlight for this film’s final section; he takes his pet Homer for a walk from his Potrero Hill home to North Beach and Chinatown, where he stands against a brick wall reciting his famous anti-establishment verse “Dog”.
James Weldon Johnson (Stuart O’Brien, 1972) color, 12 minutes
The multifarious achievements of Harlem Renaissance writer, educator, statesman & civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson are summarized in this short biographical documentary. The film concludes with a reading by Raymond St. Jacques of one of Johnson’s best-known poems, 1927′s “The Creation,” set against prismatic nature imagery befitting its spiritual theme.
…I Told You So (Alan Kondo, 1974) black & white, 18 minutes
One of the first films made by the Asian-American media collective known as Visual Communications, …I Told You So is a vibrant vérité portrait of poet Lawson Fusao Inada as he revisits his childhood home in Fresno, California’s multi-ethnic Chinatown, where his grandparents ran a popular fish market both before and after World War II. He also visits one of the internment camps where his family was confined during those years, and speaks about how that experience became, along with jazz music, one of the defining influences on his poetry.