san-francisco

Les Levine

Media artist Les Levine once described TV as “easy magic.” In his videotape Einstein: A Nuclear Comedy, 1983, he performs the conjurer’s trick of resurrecting the great scientist through the process of “deep television,” a technique enabling Levine to interview individuals dead up to a hundred years. (As the narrator relates, “Small details such as the noses may change.”) Played by the bulbous-nosed Eli Delauro, Levine’s Einstein is the quintessential Italian- or Eastern European–looking grandfather of socialist persuasion; we discover that his secret fantasy was to have been a music hall comedian. As the plaintive strains of the Walt Disney standard “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” swell on a single violin, Einstein appears and delivers his shtick: timeworn jokes of the cops-delivering-babies-in-cabs genre segue into a monologue about nuclear power and politics.

Meanwhile, Levine

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