Off the Screen: Robert Nelson’s Suite California Stops & Passes

Parts 1 & 2

Saturday, December 21, 2013 • 4:00 p.m.

Exploratorium, Pier 15, Kanbar Forum

Free with museum admission

All Ages

Co-presented by Canyon Falls Observatory and Canyon Cinema Foundation.

Robert Nelson’s legendary Suite California films have not been seen together in the Bay Area in perhaps more than thirty years. (After experiencing a somewhat indifferent public reaction, Nelson only showed them periodically before retiring them in the 1980s.)

Perhaps now we’ve finally caught up to Nelson’s remarkable vision: Suite California is a work of deep feeling, insight, humor, and intelligence which finds Nelson working at the height of his formal innovation, and at the same time, at his most personally revealing and emotionally generous.

Originally intended as a much longer, multi-part travelogue traversing the wide cultural and geographical diversity of all of California, Nelson completed only these two parts and the results trace the vast and unpredictable area between a rich personal reading of a place and the place itself. Although both works feature Nelson’s characteristic brilliant humor throughout, they are also deeply reflective and filled with unexpected, revelatory insight about the subjective experience of his home state, and his own place in it.

Introduction by Jonathan Marlow and Mark Toscano. Join us after the screening for a reception featuring live music from Mike Henderson, William T. Wiley, and friends.

Suite California Stops & Passes Part 1: Tijuana to Hollywood via Death Valley (1976, 16mm, b/w & color, sound, 46min.)

Suite California Stops & Passes Part 2: San Francisco to the Sierra Nevadas & Back Again (1978, 16mm, b/w & color, sound, 48min.)