In honor of Valentine's Day, a series of parochial films called "Love, Sex, and Venereal Disease," presented by Oddball Film and Video, will premiere at 275 Capp Street on Saturday/13. Local filmmaker Stephen Parr runs the enterprise, and Oddball's public showings are compiled from Parr's enormous archive of offbeat film stock footage.
"Love, Sex, and Venereal Disease" is a motley repertoire. Included are films like "VD Attack Plan," a Disney animation about syphilis and gonorrhea, and the judicious "Social-sex Attitudes in Adolescence," which assures viewers that, being merely a phase, teenage gayness is not to be feared. There is also "Lot in Sodom," a 1933 avant-garde interpretation of the well-known Biblical story, and "The Innocent Party," about a lascivious teen whose past is checkered by venereal disease.
"Dater," "Lovemaking," "Chew Chew Baby," "How to Date," and a "Candygram" from Peter Lawford round out the selection. What the instructional program lacks in relevance, surefire entertainment makes up for. These desultory artifacts cannot said to be wholly irrelevant, however, even for an audience of San Franciscan been-there-done-thats boasting lifetime Tetracycline refills.
Freed from the polyester girdle of the 1950s, these films concede some unintentional revelations, like that cone-shaped brassieres look good on no one. Never very cohesive, my attention span has become a fragmented mess thanks to, among other things, 24/7 access to the Internet. Perhaps this is why I derive great pleasure from short films. For a time, Wholphin was the single greatest source of my procrastination (a title since supplanted by Jersey Shore).
Attending a showing at Oddball Films is like discovering a clip on YouTube that none of your friends have seen. It is found art for people who don't necessarily want to do the legwork behind actually finding art. This lassitude is forgivable in our age of mechanical reproduction. Context-deprived weirdness is a potent antidote for cinematic ennui care of mainstream Hollywood soullessness. A lazy spectator myself, I'm am glad there are those, like Parr, driven to amass, catalog, and share the best specimens on others' behalf.
"Love, Sex, and Venereal Disease"
Sat/13, 8pm, $10
RSVP at (415) 558-8117, firstname.lastname@example.org
275 Capp St.