Herb Shellenberger

Friends and Artists
April 19, 2013
International House Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA, USA

Part of The Cinema is Jonas Mekas
Introduction + Q&A with Jonas Mekas

This program features short films by Jonas Mekas documenting some of the most important artists of the 20th century, who also happened to be his close friends in New York. Film portraits focusing on Andy Warhol, The Living Theater (Street Songs) and George Maciunas show that Mekas’ contributions consist not only of his personal diary footage, but also of valuable documentation of how these artists worked and lived.

Film Magazine of the Arts, Jonas Mekas, 1963, US, 16mm, 20'
“In Spring, 1963 Show Magazine called me and asked that I make a film on arts in New York. I told them, why did they want me to make it – didn’t they know I was a bit unusual? … ‘We want something unusual,’ they said. So I went out and made a newsreel on arts. Show people looked at the rough cut of the film and became very angry. ‘But there is nothing about Show Magazine and DuPont fabrics in the movie,’ they said. ‘What has that to do with the arts in New York!’ I said. The battle was short. The film was destroyed. Really, I have no idea what they did with it. This workprint of the first Film Magazine of the Arts is the only print in existence, as far as I know.” —Jonas Mekas

Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol, Jonas Mekas, 1990, US, 16mm, 36'
Music: Velvet Underground, recorded in 1966. Opening segment taped at the Dom at the public performance with Nico. End section: Mass for Andy Warhol at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The film is made up of my film diaries related to Andy Warhol from the years 1965-1982. The “cast” includes Lou Reed, Nico, Edie Sedgwick, Gerard Malanga, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, Barbara Rubin, Tuli Kupferberg, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, George Maciunas, Paul Morrissey, John Kennedy Jr., Caroline Kennedy, Mick Jagger and many others. Completed in June, 1990.

Street Songs, Jonas Mekas, 1983, US, 16mm, 11'
Made 1966/1983, Street Songs is a 1966 performance, in France, of a section of the Living Theater’s “Mysteries and Smaller Pieces.”

Zefiro Torna, or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas, Jonas Mekas, 1992, US, 16mm, 35'
A tribute from one Lithuanian expatriate to another, Zefiro Torna is Jonas Mekas at his most heartfelt. Comprised of diary footage of Maciunas from the mid-50s until his tragically early passing in the mid-70s, this early-90s production is a beautiful portrait of a lost friend and living spirit. —Anthology Film Archives