Media Arts Preview: Cranial Experts, Maverick Directors, Experimental Impulses

Cormans World

Many of the events this week celebrate the exploits of artists from the past, including Black cinema in UCLA's screening series, exploitation cinema with a new film on Roger Corman, and gay porn through the life and death of Fred Halsted.

Machine PhrenologyThursday, December 15

Machine Project has a great line-up of events this weekend, starting today with Drop-in Phrenology from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Colin Dickey, a cranial expert, will rub the heads of those who drop in, trying discern personality traits. The fun continues on Friday with the band ING, followed by the Drive-Thru-Fry-BQ and more shenanigans on Saturday and Sunday.

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MOCA Grand Avenue invites you to tour the Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles exhibition with researcher MacKenzie Bennett and guest assistant curator Jason Goldman today at 6:30 p.m. The show features 200 images taken by Weegee during his mid-century stint in Los Angeles. The images are often surreal, critical commentaries on celebrity culture and life in LA.

Halsted Plays HimselfFriday, December 16

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel is a fast-paced, star-studded tribute to the career of Roger Corman and opens for a one-week run today at the Nuart. Ron Howard, Martin Scorses and Jack Nicholson - among dozens of others - talk about the maverick low budget director's influence in a film filled with clips from Corman's extensive body of work.

Artist and filmmaker William E. Jones will be at the center of an event at Human Resources tonight celebrating the recent publication of his book, Halsted Plays Himself, which looks at the public and private personas of Fred Halsted, a filmmaker who made an explicit "gay porn masterpiece" in 1972, and represented a particular moment in gay history. The event also includes a screening of the film, and starts at 7:00 p.m.

Jesper JustUCLA's L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema series comes to a conclusion this weekend with five more screenings. Tonight, catch Emma Mae, a 1976 film by Jamaa Fanaka which is described as "a sympathetic portrait of a young Black woman from the South and her difficult adjustment to life in the big city." Bellydancing - A History & an Art, by Alicia Dhanifu, follows. The screening starts at 7:30 in the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum, and both filmmakers, as well as actress Jerri Hayes, will be in attendance.

Saturday, December 17

UCR's Sweeney Art Gallery presents Sirens of Chrome, a new work by New York-based Danish artist Jesper Just. The project was shot in Detroit and focuses on five African-American women. The show opens today and continues through January 21, 2012, with a reception on January 14 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Robert CovingtonThe Gallery at REDCAT will be home to a panel discussion, The Experimental Impulse, featuring Thomas Lawson, Aram Moshayedi, Fiona Connor and Benjamin Tong. They will talk about the research process behind The Experimental Impulse, an exhibit that "explores the pivotal role of experimentation in Los Angeles in the years immediately following the city's emergence as a vital artistic center." The discussion starts at 3:00 p.m.

Rosa_ParksUCLA's L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema series comes to a close tonight with several screenings. At 4:00 p.m. Julie Dash will present her portrait of "the mother of the Civil Rights Movement" with The Rosa Parks Story. Charles Burnett's Selma, Lord, Selma, a film from 1999 that chronicles the events leading up to the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., follows. At 8:00 p.m., the series closing event will take place with a special multimedia performance of Spaces Looking in Looking Out by Ben Caldwell.

Holly Willis teaches in USC's School of Cinematic Arts and writes about new media art. She is the author of "New Digital Cinema: Reinventing the Moving Image" and editor of "The New Ecology of Things" on pervasive computing.

Read her recent posts here.

About the Author

Holly Willis teaches in USC's School of Cinematic Arts and writes about new media art.
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