3117 16th Street (at Valencia Street)
San Francisco, California

The legacy of New York underground filmmaker and performer Jack Smith has largely been forgotten. The hullabaloo over the raucous, unfettered sexuality of Flaming Creatures (1963), banned in 22 states, no longer echoes. His fabulous forays into costumed, theatrical exuberance relegate Smith in some circles to a camp figure.

It's the perfect time to (re)discover the Gospel According to Jack. Mary Jordan's invigorating documentary is as peripatetic, curious and obsessive as its subject, brimming with lush film clips and blunt interviews and held together by Smith's plaintive voice. This is the inspiring saga of a pure artist who would proceed with a scheduled seven-hour solo performance despite a completely empty house.

Atlantis, the name Smith gave to the world that sprang from his extraordinary imagination, ultimately suffered the fate of all utopias, but it represented a place beyond the reach of the forces of compromise. "It's really not normal to want to collect art," Smith believed, "because that's missing the point of art." This invaluable film doesn't just convey the breadth of Smith's remarkable talent but gives us a direct experience of art for art's sake. In an age of unrelenting commercialism, where everything and everyone is for sale, that's as rare as it gets.


Added by crackersalad on June 8, 2006