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Episode 52: Archives, Memory and Ephemera: Quarantime’s Holiday Spectacular

December 11 @ 4:00 pm 5:30 pm PDT

You’re invited to Quarantime’s Holiday Party: an evening of Urban Ephemera and Lost Landscapes. Our holiday show explores the hidden richness in forgotten films w/guests Rick Prelinger of the Prelinger Archives @footage & Lisa Hurwitz, producer of @AUTOMATmovie!

Rick is the nation’s leading collector and curator of ephemeral films: home movies, corporate visions of the future, industrial propaganda, snapshots all of our daily lives and aspirations. The Prelinger archives has over 60,000 such films, many online at the Internet Archive. Tonight we’ll look back at some of the most engaging, revealing and strangest footage on Americana and urban memories: past futures from World’s Fairs, our passion for suburbia, menacing films of industrial safety, and populuxe capitalism. And we’ll preview this years “Lost Landscapes of San Francisco,” Rick’s annual sell-out evening of San Francisco ephemera and history in collaboration with the Long Now. (This year’s Lost Landscapes will stream on line on December 16th.) On our show we’ll ask Rick about the over 25 editions of Lost Landscapes he has produced— and get a curated tour of what these short films they tell us about ourselves, our cities and our dreams . T


– Why are home movies special and important? A century before the iPhone they captured the life-stream American life; today we’ll open our nations shoe box!

– How did America persuade itself to invest in the New Deal? We’ll see how film maker Pare Lorentz & composer Aaron Copeland set the standard. We’ll ask: what might America 2021 learn from our past tomorrow’s?

– The future! One of the most enduring themes of corporate and industrial films was selling us the future, imaging utopia, motivating change. Sometimes prescient, occasionally goofy, and a bit too often frightening. Well mine the festival of predictions.

– The Automat gave us a living glimpse into the future of automation & a taste of robots made of people. Lisa will share the journey & wonder of telling the story of an iconic establishment.

– Bad Ideas. Ephemeral films sold, sold, sold. Rick figures he’s spent a lifetime looking at the attic of ameicas not-so-great ideas. So what can we learn from bad idea theater? 

– Why are home movies so important? A century before the iPhone they the process of informal video self-documentation began. We’ll open our nation’s shoe box!

– San Francisco: each and all of the above applies to Quarantime’s home town of San Francisco! Boy, are we gonna have some fun.


December 11, 2020
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm PDT