Zen and the Art of Concentrating on a Frame of Flickering Light

Just by chance I heard that SF MOMA was showing Thom Andersen’s documentary Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer today—it’s about, you know, this guy:

—so I took advantage of things being slow round here to sneak off for it. It was being screened in something called The Koret Center, a name which made me picture some kind of film auditorium, and what with Los Angeles Plays Itself being the popular thing it is, I half-imagined Muybridge might draw, you know, 25 or 30 people, some kind of a decent crowd, if only because it’s rarely shown anywhere. Noop! Well, not unless three people count as a decent crowd (and that’s including the elderly gent just behind me who either passed out or died five minutes into it). In fact, “The Koret Center” turned out to be nothing more than an alcove set off to one side of a large room whose lights remained undimmed after the picture started, and which was staffed by a couple of kids who went on chatting in normal conversational tones through the first half of the thing. They did finally settle down, but it was just about then that a conference emptied out down the hall and its attendees came strolling through the room laughing and talking, and once they had passed through, a little girl about six years old suddenly materialized at m’ knee, stood gaping at the screen for a few seconds with her hands on my leg, then looked up at me and screamed. To top things off the movie itself was a scratched and faded New Yorker Video print. Ah, what the hell. At least I can say I’ve seen the damn thing now—kind of.

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