Only the truth disguised in a dream:

a retrospective program of experimental-underground films
curated from The Gate Theater program listings (1966-1968)
presented by The Chicago Underground Film Festival

CUFF at Logan Theater (Chicago, IL)
June 6, 2019
6:30pm, Theater #4

Between 1966 and 1968, The Gate Theater was one of the Lower East Side’s leading venues for independent and underground 16 mm films. Managed by Elsa Tambellini, this artist-run cinema was located below The Black Gate Theater—New York’s first electromedia-performance space, founded by Aldo Tambellini and Otto Piene.

"Only the truth…" features a selection of films from The Gate Theater’s historic program listings that have a direct link to Chicago’s underground-film culture.

Line of Apogee (Lloyd Michael Williams, 1967, 60")
Five years in the making, Line of Apogee is Lloyd Michael Williams’ first feature-length film, which premiered at EXPRMNTL in 1967 and then had a three-week run at the Gate Theater the following April. An outgrowth from his earlier shorts that recall psychologically horrifying stories, drenched in special effects and electronic soundtracks, Line of Apogee portrays an astronomer who looks through a telescope and peers through time and space into his dreams, childhood traumas, and the frictions of his sexual identities. The original score by Vladimir Ussachevsky is equally monumental.

The Kansas City Gork (Dennis Lo and Thomas Baum, c1967, 9”)
In the mid-60s, Dennis Lo and Thomas Baum made a series of films in New York City, working alongside other filmmakers of the underground, such as Maurice Amar. The Kansas City Gork features a delirious young man who has undergone an operation, is taken advantage of by a young nurse, and then wakes up to discover that one of his hands had been replaced with a hook. The Kansas City Gork was part of The Gate Theater’s opening New Vision Festival. This particular film print came from Chicago’s historic Center Cinema Co-op.

Uppe U Ess
(Ronald Nameth, 1966, 19”15”)
Filmed in and around the South Side of Chicago, where artist Stephen Auslender lived and worked, this short hallucinogenic film was created during Ronald Nameth’s career in Chicago, where he studied film at the Illinois Institute of Technology and co-founded Center Cinema Co-op. Rich with special effects used to explore the superimposed personae of the artist, Uppe U Ess was described in the Village Voice described as a " macabre statement on war, the bomb, and the evil doll-cutter."

Fragments (Mike Kuchar, 1967, 10")
Mike Kuchar’s early films are poetically sensuous and viscerally gorgeous. This diarist film focuses on the intimate moments of a young filmmaker indulging in the pleasures of his own existence—lying in bed, filming himself in the mirror, wiggling his toes, walking through a green meadow, standing by a window washed in orange sun rays, and dancing with abandon in the red scintillating light of a film projector. It is rich and erotic, precious and intimate. Fragments premiered at the Gate Theater in December 1967 and was shown for three weeks.