Harry Ransom Center Hosts “Beat Film Series” at Alamo Drafthouse

March 18, 2008

EVENT: The Harry Ransom Center hosts the "Beat Film Series."

WHEN: 7 p.m., four Wednesdays between April 2 and April 23.

WHERE: Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz, 320 6th St.

BACKGROUND: The Harry Ransom Center presents a series of features, shorts and documentaries that showcase the cinematic creativity of the Beat generation. This event is co-sponsored by the Austin Film Society.

The Beats did not limit themselves to one exclusive medium, foraying into visual arts, music, performance art and film. The themes of Beat films generally mirror those of Beat literature: post-war alienation, anxiety, loneliness and the pursuit of something meaningful in the profoundly traumatized, newly atomic world. This film series will immerse audiences in the avant-garde film scene of the mid-1950s to 1960s. It includes films by Beats, about Beats, and films that reflect or were inspired by the aesthetic innovations of the Beats.

The following films will be screened in the series:

April 2: Frank Paine's "Motion Picture" (1956), Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie's "Pull My Daisy" (1959), Ed Bland's "Cry of Jazz" (1958), Shirley Clarke's "Bridges-Go-Round" (1958) and Stan Brakhage's "Anticipation of the Night" (1958).

April 9: John Cassavetes's "Shadows" (1959), Stan Brakhage's "Desistfilm" (1954) and Shirley Clarke's "Skyscraper" (1959).

April 16: Alfred Leslie's "The Last Clean Shirt" (1964), Peter Whitehead's "Wholly Communion" (1965), Anthony Balch and William S. Burroughs's "Towers Open Fire" (1962) and Christopher MacLaine's "The End" (1953) and "Beat" (1958).

April 23: Kenneth Anger's "Scorpio Rising" (1964) and "Kustom Kar Kommandos" (1965) and Roger Corman's "A Bucket of Blood" (1959).

Tickets are required, and advance tickets will soon be available through the Alamo Drafthouse Web site. Discounts are available for students and members of the Ransom Center and/or the Austin Film Society.

This series is held in conjunction with the Ransom Center's exhibition "On the Road with the Beats," which traces the travels of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and their friends across America and the globe. The exhibition runs through Aug. 3.

Several film organizations and museums provided the prints screened in this series. A full list of acknowledgments can be found online.

High-resolution press images are available.

For more information, contact: Alicia Dietrich, Harry Huntt Ransom Humanities Research Center, 512 232 3667;  Jennifer Tisdale, Harry Huntt Ransom Humanities Research Center, 512-471-8949.