PRINT November 2010


“Radical Light”

In 1968, the New York–based critic P. Adams Sitney—already a preeminent advocate for American avant-garde cinema but not yet the author of the canonical study Visionary Film—published a five-column article in the Village Voice titled “Underground Movies Are Alive Along the Pacific,” detailing a recent trip with Stan Brakhage to see new work in San Francisco. “There we discovered at least half a dozen good and relatively new film-makers and two old masters, both of whom seldom, if ever, show their work in New York,” Sitney reported.

Lenny Lipton was one of those mentioned; he was also a board member of Canyon Cinema, an organization that had long served as the hub of experimental film in the Bay Area. Shortly after the Voice piece ran, Lipton typed a vicious letter in response, excoriating Sitney for both his commentary and the visit he and Brakhage had made to Canyon while in the city. “

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