Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Oakland Underground Film Fest

By awoodall
Saturday, May 1st, 2010 at 8:56 am in Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife.

There were a lot of saggy skinny jeans and black denim last night. Even a pair of roller skates. But relatively few people at the Oakland Underground Film Festival in Jack London Square. That’s too bad. Not because the documentary about Sonic Youth’s stop in Reno on an old tour was a “must see.” (Unless you’re a die-hard Sonic Youth fan.) The high-school made doc was aimless (exploratory) much like Sonic Youth’s riffs. So “Sleeping Nights Awake” matched the subject well. It’s just that it could have been half as long and twice as interesting. But kudos on effort.  It just didn’ t belong in a film festival that began 20 minutes late. I don’t know why that band continued to play until 8:15 p.m. even though the acoustics in the old Barnes & Noble bookstore rendered the band — and all music  and ambient sound at events held there — to a thudding could of loudness that sent most movie-goers out on to the patio until “Sleeping Nights Awake” began. Inside a bar was set up and snacks were available but more movie-goers were outside than in the warm cavernous hall.  The festival doesn’t need to be run like Cannes. But organizers need to tighten some of the bolts.
The next film on May15 is “Remembering Playland,” resurrecting the memory of the long-gone amusement park that stood near Ocean Beach in San Francisco. I would go if only because of the weird side effects manufactured by the set up of the screen in the Barnes & Noble. Images of Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore’ at the guitar from the neck down reflected onto the lower half of the window next to the screen. The American flags waving outside the upper half of the windows merged with the reflection to make it look like Moore was playing the guitar but a U.S. flag was waving in the place where his head should have been.  It was the perfect 80s Reagan-era emblem!

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