Every Tuesday night for more than a hex of years, the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema illuminated the snowy-white screen of the Collective Unconscious on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Initiated by Brian Frye & immediately joined by Bradley Eros, both shared the core curating frenzy of this no-budget operation, managing to produce over 300 programs and exhibiting more than a thousand artists. When Frye left, it relocated & regrouped, mutating into Roberta Beck Mercurial Cinema at Participant Inc’s gallery just around the corner, for a year, with a team of at least six, but primarily & irrepressibly Eros & Joel Schlemowitz. It later became a restless, nomadic cinema, mushrooming & mutating in myriad incarnations, most notoriously at Issue Project Room on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, both indoors and out. Lastly, it explored more artworld and musical contexts, transforming the field of experimental film, as both quixotic and quicksilver.
For this event, Brian Frye and Bradley Eros (& special guests) will present:
1.) A little (apocryphal) history, with a few “essential” films and videos, including a slide show of posters, programs, & calendars, and an exhibition of original posters & flyers. + a Q&A with Jon Dieringer (Spectacle / Screen Slate) & Elle Burchill (Microscope Gallery)
2.) A peformance/’recreation’ of the infamous Mistakes (everything you can do wrong) show, enacting a multitude of projection failures & inspired screw-ups, with guest projectionists Lary 7 and Joel Schlemowitz (from the original fiasco) and other ‘professional(?) pitch-hitters’ from Anthology, etc.
3.) An attempt at the unsuccessful Cocktail Cinema event, with related films and drinks, pairing libations & clips in a drunken mixture of free associations, perhaps overlapping, since cocktails can produce even better mistakes...
Including these works:
- The Legend of Robert Beck / Sanitarium Cinema (Brian Frye & Bradley Eros / Bradley Eros & Maria Losier, 1999, DVD, 3 min / 7 min.)
The history told & enacted.
- Robert Beck is Alive & Well & Living in NYC (Brian Frye with Stuart Sherman, 2000, 16mm, 4 min.)
The myth performed.
- burn (or, The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics) (Bradley Eros, 2004, DVD, 5 min.)
An accident of modulated destruction; an offshoot of the original “Mistakes” show.
- Punch n’ Judy Santa (double projection) (found films – Eros/Frye intervention, 2000, 16mm, 10 min.)
An RBMC fave.
- X times X (Bradley Eros, 1998, R-8mm/16mm, 4 min.)
The X-rated X-ray film, a subterranean science experiment.
- Other influences & inspirations
Pirated works, stolen gems & archival mold.
Bradley Eros: An artist working in myriad media: experimental film & video, collage, photography, performance, sound, text, contracted and expanded cinema and installation. Also a maverick curator, composer, designer & investigator. Concepts include: ephemeral cinema, mediamystics, subterranean science, erotic psyche, cinema povera, poetic accidents, and musique plastique. Work has been exhibited at Whitney Biennial & The American Century MoMA, Performa09, The New York, London, and Rotterdam Film Festivals, The Kitchen, and Microscope Gallery. Worked for many years with the New York Filmmakers’ Cooperative, Anthology Film Archives & co-directed the Robert Beck Memorial/Roberta Beck Mercurial Cinema.
Brian L. Frye is a filmmaker, writer and law professor. His films explore relationships between history, society, and cinema through archival and amateur images. His films have appeared in places like The Whitney Biennial, New York Film Festival’s “Views from the Avant-Garde”, New York Underground Film Festival, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Warhol Museum, Pleasure Dome, Media City and Images Festival. His short films are in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum and distributed by the Filmmaker’s Coop. He’s been awarded grants from the Jerome Foundation and ETC. His writing on film and art has appeared in October, The New Republic, Film Comment, Cineaste, Millennium Film Journal and the Village Voice. He is currently a visiting assistant professor at Hofstra Law School and is developing a beer-brewing hobby.