Much ink has been spilled over the fate of so-called "lost films," those silent and early talkie-era classics whose deteriorating film stock has caused their reels to turn to dust. But sad as it is to see the works of golden oldies like Louise Brooks, Theda Bara, and Cecil B. DeMille crumble, these decaying relics hardly seem endangered when compared to the thousands and thousands of industrial, advertising, and educational movies San Francisco archivist Rick Prelinger calls "ephemeral" films.
Since he began collecting cans of these odd cinematic artifacts in 1982, Prelinger has created a vast, publicly accessible library of footage (The Internet Moving Pictures Archive); seen his holdings used in other movies (Natural Born Killers, True Stories) and television (Mystery Science Theater 3000); and finally sold his collection to the Library of Congress in 2002. Coolest of all, Prelinger's using his stash to create brand-new features. His latest, Panorama Ephemera, screens this week.
I once spent an enchanting afternoon with Prelinger during which he gleefully showed me various bits of industrial media (including Pfizer's 1957 corker "The Relaxed Wife," a paean to the tranquilizer Atarax). Panorama Ephemera has the same vibe of a passionate, dotty collector crying, "Ooh! Ooh! You gotta see this one!" Ephemera's clips are sometimes funny, sometimes disturbing, and sometimes just plain freaky, but taken together, this footage from our past -- which comments ironically and wistfully on our present -- is positively stunning. See Prelinger's collage tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth St. (at Irwin), S.F. Admission is $4-7; call 552-1990 or visit www.sfcinematheque.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Although we love marauding seamen as much as the next guy, we're excited about a theme show that isn't pirate-focused. "Get Your Truck On" stars the wacky and talented Carolyn Mark, last seen around these parts opening for her pal Neko Case. Touring musicians like Mark have plenty in common with long haulers, from road dirt to mini-mart cuisine, but today's lineup also features plenty of local talent, like the Widows, six gals who've written special truckin' songs just for today. Other acts urging you to truck yourself over are the Plain High Drifters, the Pickin' Trix, and Stiff Dead Cat, starting at noon at Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St. (at Wisconsin), S.F. Admission is $10; call 503-0393 or visit www.theeparkside.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Spin the Bottle
An advanced course for kissing bandits
If your last lip-locking session felt like going to a clothing outlet sample sale two hours too late -- you take what you can get, and hope it will be better next time -- it's time to give kissing an extra kick. Sure, most of us have been sucking face since the seventh grade, but even the most skilled make-out mavens and maestros can learn erotic new mouth-to-mouth techniques. Sex educator Tracy Bartlett's workshop, "Lip Service," teaches its participants how to spoon like gold-medal champions.
C'mon, don't be shy -- enlist the services of the cutest (and most fearless) person you'd like to swap spit with and sign up for a night of educational smooching, starting at 8 p.m. at Good Vibrations, 1620 Polk (at Sacramento), S.F. Admission is $45 per couple, and preregistration is recommended; call 345-0400 or visit www.goodvibes.com.
-- Charyn Pfeuffer
Los Amigos get way down
Armed with an inspired mix of sleazy disco, house-flavored Latin funk, and explicit Spanish lyrics, Venezuelan sextet Los Amigos Invisibles has been dropping eminently danceable odes to spanking the monkey ("Masterbation Session") [sic] and doin' it doggy style ("Ponerte en Cuatro") for the better part of the last decade.
While the band was a fixture on local stages a few years ago while recording its sophomore effort, Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey Into Space, in San Francisco, Los Amigos then relocated to New York for a chance to work with dance-music mavens Masters at Work on a follow-up album. The group serves up tunes from the recently released The Venezuelan Zinga Son, Vol. 1 along with a host of thumping, filthy favorites when it returns at 9 p.m. to Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Colombus (at Chestnut), S.F. Admission is $18; call 474-0365 or visit www.bimbos365club.com.
-- Dave Pehling
It's Just So Wrong
Now that Bill Shatner is a puffy antique it's tough to picture him in his full '60s-and-'70s pimped-out, super-cool mode, when he recorded a rock album (1968's The Transformed Man), squeezed into the Kirk suit for Star Trek conventions, and let those sideburns grow oh-so-wild and free. Everyone's favorite captain is showcased in Impulse, the 1975 howler in which a disco-dud-clad Shatner plays a gigolo on a murderous rampage. Word on the street says Billy's rugs, grimaces, and verbal ejaculations are unmissable. Beam yourself up to Thrillville's Annual Tribute to William Shatner at 9:15 p.m. at the Parkway Theatre, 1834 Park (at East 18th St.), Oakland. Admission is $6; call (510) 814-2400 or visit www.thrillville.net.
-- Joyce Slaton