Program Type: 
Bros Before Hos

Masculinity and Its Discontents

February 04, 2012 - February 26, 2012
Screening Room


Bros Before Hos: Masculinity and Its Discontents
Feb 4-26, 2012  •  Screening Room
$8 Regular/ $6 YBCA member

From the sublime to the ridiculous, this seven-part series surveys representations and ideas of masculinity in film. We look beyond the trendy Hollywood bromance, and instead embrace and detonate clichés of tough guys, nude dudes, bad-asses and bi-hustlers, in a quest to answer the impossible: What makes a man?

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  • The Golden Age of the American Male: Films From Bob Mizer’s Legendary Athletic Model Guild
    Feb 4, 2012 7:30pm
    Screening Room

    Introduced by Billy Miller
    Bob Mizer (1922 - 1992) was an American photographer, publisher and filmmaker who was known for pushing societal boundaries in his work. He would go on to build a veritable empire from his photographs and films with the Athletic Model Guild (AMG) studio, producing over 3,000 film titles and over 7,500 hours of video tape. Artists as varied as Robert Mapplethorpe, David Hockney, Bruce Weber, and Gore Vidal have been influenced by his work. With the idea of "deconstructing masculinity" in mind, NYC-based curator and writer Billy Miller (Straight to Hell) presents and contextualizes this survey of clips from Mizer's groundbreaking films, compiled in conjunction with Dennis Bell of the Bob Mizer Foundation.

  • The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
    Feb 9, 2012 7:30pm
    Screening Room

    By John Cassavetes
    Ben Gazzara brilliantly portrays gentlemen’s club owner Cosmo Vitelli, a man dedicated to composure and self-possession. When he runs afoul of a group of gangsters, Cosmo is forced to commit a horrible crime in a last-ditch effort to save his beloved club and his way of life. Suspenseful and idiosyncratic, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is a riveting examination of desperation and masculine identity. (1976, 135 min, 35mm)

  • Female Trouble
    Feb 12, 2012 2:00pm
    Screening Room

    Presented by Bradford Nordeen
    This afternoon, we investigate the flipside of masculinity, with a program of short experimental film and video that explores and explodes normative roles of femininity and gender. With work that spans five decades, these artists queer female subject space via drag tactics, narrative juxtaposition and overt performativity, with styles ranging from masquerade to mythic, performance document to exposé video zine. Based in Brooklyn, Bradford Nordeen is a writer and curator who presents “Dirty Looks,” a roaming monthly platform for queer experimental film and video. Program includes:

    • Mario Montez Screen Test by Conrad Ventur (2010)

    • Stepping by Patti Podesta (1980)

    • Messages, Messages by Steven Arnold (1968)
    • Every Woman by Narcissister (2010)

    • Home Stories by Matthias Müller (1991)
    • Fish by Zackary Drucker (2008) 

    • Barbi Twins (excerpt) by Vaginal Davis (1993)
    • Plus a surprise premiere

  • Meat Rack
    Feb 16, 2012 7:30pm
    Screening Room

    By Michael Thomas
    Director in person
    One of the highlights of our summer “Smut Capital of America” series returns, this time with the director in person presenting his own uncut, pristine Kodachrome print. It’s a gritty tale of a bisexual hustler who’ll go to bed with any man or woman who offers him enough money and sexual kicks. Using both sexploitation and art-film aesthetics, Meat Rack is an essential and compelling artifact of pre-hardcore adult cinema. Director Thomas is a major figure in San Francisco film history. He owned and operated the legendary Strand Theater on Market Street, and co-founded indie film distributor Strand Releasing. (1968, 70 min, 16mm)

  • Steam of Life
    Feb 19, 2012 2:00pm
    Screening Room

    By Joonas Berghall & Mika Hotakainen
    In the warmth of the sauna, naked Finnish men cleanse themselves both physically and mentally. We meet men of all walks of life in many different saunas, and hear their touching stories about love, death, birth and friendship. Steam of Life reveals the men's naked souls in an exceptionally personal and poetic way. We’re pleased to present the full and uncut version of this remarkable documentary. (2010, 84 min, digital)

  • Sex in the Shadows
    Feb 23, 2012 7:30pm
    Screening Room

    Presented by Albert Steg
    Before VHS players and then the internet rendered hardcore pornography ubiquitous and banal, American stag films, often produced and exhibited illegally and viewed almost exclusively by men, held considerable power to shock, entertain, arouse and educate. Tonight's program, a series of short subjects from the 1920s through the 1960s, will show that they still retain this power. At times drolly amusing, at others appallingly misogynistic, the films are always 100% American and can be usefully viewed as transgressive cinematic monologues suppressed by the moral standards of their day.

    A film collector from Cambridge, Mass., Albert Steg left a career teaching English literature in order to pursue work in film preservation and archiving. He is a member of the Board of Directors of The Center for Home Movies. Steg runs “Zampano’s Playhouse,” a traveling film series drawn from his growing 16mm and 8mm collection of educational, industrial, ephemeral and “blue” movies.

  • Strongman
    Feb 26, 2012 2:00pm
    Screening Room

    By Zachary Levy
    One of the most poignant American documentaries in years, Strongman tells the intimate story of Stanley "Stanless Steel" Pleskun, who can lift dump trucks and bend pennies with his bare hands, but who struggles to transcend his chaotic New Jersey home life and the toll of his advancing age. The film strips back the layers of muscle to reveal something universally human and quietly dignified about the vulnerabilities in all our lives. (2009, 113 min, digital)

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Curator Statement

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YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
Abundance Foundation
Koret Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Novellus Systems