sfai news

February 18, 2011

“In Bed With James Broughton” Celebrates Experimental Filmmaker and Poet

The San Francisco Art Institute is pleased to announce “In Bed With James Broughton,” an evening of poetry, films, and performance on March 5 benefitting the work-in-progress documentary Big Joy. Using the life and work of James Broughton—filmmaker, poet, teacher, wildman—as inspiration, Big Joy explores the power of art to change lives. (Watch the trailer.) The event is part of SFAI’s 140th Anniversary celebration, which runs March 2011 through June 2012.

Broughton, who taught at SFAI from 1968-1982 and died in 1999, lived with an exuberance that earned him the nickname “Big Joy.” His mantra was "follow your own weird," and he did just that through 23 films and 23 books of poetry that often have the humor and cadence of nursery rhymes yet achieve powerful emotional and spiritual depth. Among his notable works are the 1968 film The Bed (now in MoMA’s collection, it raised eyebrows with its full-frontal nudity), poems such as “This Is It,” and books including Ecstasies, Androgyne Journal, and Graffiti for the Johns of Heaven.

“In Bed With James Broughton” will be a lively night featuring poetry readings and performances by Keith Hennessy, Kirk Read, Jack and Adelle Foley, Karl Cronin, William Stewart, and others; a screening of some of Broughton's films; and a sneak-peek of excerpts from Big Joy. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Eric Slade and produced by journalist Stephen Silha (who was mentored by Broughton for ten years), Big Joy situates Broughton in the context of the San Francisco Renaissance, and includes interviews with major cultural figures such as City Lights founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet Jack Foley, novelist Armistead Maupin, filmmaker George Kuchar, and dancer/choreographer Anna Halprin. As SFAI celebrates its 140th Anniversary, Big Joy is a reminder of the culture of innovation and experimentation that has long been a hallmark of both the school and city.

For more details on the film, contact producer Stephen Silha at info@bigjoy.org or visit www.bigjoy.org.