What's up with Stream Slate?

The short story is: we're excited to figure it out! For our new non-NYC readers: Screen Slate has published 365 days a year for the last nine years as a daily aggregate of NYC alternative screening listings accompanied by a short essay about something showing that day.

Although virtually all the theaters in our wheelhouse have closed, we intend to keep publishing daily and paying writers. (You can support us here.) For the first week or two, we're going to experiment with format. Most likely we will continue to publish a single, 400-word essay on a film available to stream at home each day. But we're also open to switching it up (see below).

We hope you'll bear with us during this strange time, and look forward to seeing you at the movies on the other side.

Stream Slate #2: The Circle contestant Alex Lake's inspired streaming queue

by Alex Lake


Weekend Murders (Amazon Prime)
Night of the Cobra Woman (Amazon Prime)
The Metropolitan Opera
Kate Lain's Cabin Fever experimental film list + Nazlı Dinçel
Films & videos by Mary Helena Clark, Jodie Mack, Mike Stoltz, Bill Brown, Saul Levine, Ross Meckfessel
Danny Lyon's Little Boy (Lyon's Vimeo)
Joel DeMott & Jeff Kreines's Seventeen (see below)
Columbo (IMDb TV/Amazon Prime)

I'm a rabid consumer of media and I try to (impossibly) see everything. Instead of making recommendations, here are the things that are on my always expanding queues that I'm likely to watch in the coming weeks.

Weekend Murders (Amazon Prime) — I am going in completely blind, but from a very precursory glance, it appears to be a gaillo whodunnit starring operatic soprano, Anna Moffo. I love opera, but I'm especially interested in opera as films (like Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s Parsifal or Andrzej Żuławski's Boris Godunov), and also opera singers in movies without singing (like Maria Callas in Pasolini's Medea). This fits the latter bill, and I'm very excited to check it out. (If you're interested in hearing Moffo sing, there is also a movie version of Verdi's La Traviata on Prime that has also been on my watch list for a while.)

Night of the Cobra Woman (Amazon Prime) — Director Andrew Meyer was based in New York and involved with Andy Warhol's Factory, the New American Cinema Group, and was beloved by filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos. At some point, he moved to LA and ended up making this movie for Roger Corman. I have not seen any of Meyer's art films, which are held in pretty high regard, but they're not streaming, and this is. Perhaps this will inspire me to drop experimental film and start a Hollywood career making B-pictures. If Roger is a reader — I'm available!

The Metropolitan Opera has gone dark until further notice but they're offering free streams of some of their archived productions this week. I have only seen the Onegin they are presenting on Sunday (which is all-around excellent). These videos are typically behind a paywall on their Met Opera on Demand service, making this a great opportunity to sample some of what the Met has to offer!

Nazlı Dinçel, "Between Relating and Use"

Three days ago filmmaker Kate Lain posted to the FrameWorks listserv a collaborative Google Sheet titled "CABIN FEVER: Coping with COVID-19 playlist of online experimental films & videos," a place where people can drop links of films they've made and films of others that bring them joy. It has grown and expanded in the past few days and has become a sort of symbol of human sharing, care, and harmony in these days of social distancing.

In this sheet I am especially excited to catch up on the work of Nazlı Dinçel, whose works are privately listed behind password protected links because they do not meet Vimeo's community standards. I have only seen a few of her films, but the ones I have experienced navigate the relationship between language and image in a way that is intellectually rigorous and visually intricate. It’s works like Nazlı's that keep me coming back to artist-made film. These are works to get lost in and, if you let them, they can alter and expand the way you see the world.

Ross Meckfessel, "The Air of the Earth in Your Lungs"

I would also like to take a moment to say how grateful I am for all the filmmakers who make many of their works available on Vimeo (and other platforms) for free: Mary Helena Clark, Jodie Mack, Mike Stoltz, Bill Brown, Saul Levine, Ross Meckfessel and so, so many others. There is a wellspring of beautiful, complex, excellent work that can and should be seen and seen again, on-demand at everyone's fingertips. It's wonderful and should be taken advantage of!

There are also a lot of longer works on Vimeo that I have had bookmarked for a while like Danny Lyon’s Little Boy and Joel DeMott & Jeff Kreines' Seventeen. (Ed note: Kreines has shared a password-protected Vimeo link to an HD scan of Seventeen on his and James Benning's Facebook pages, but due to the unclear "public" nature of it we're unable to share it.)

Just one more thing: a few months ago my friend, Screen Slate contributor Karl McCool, told me he was watching episodes of Columbo (free with ads on IMDb TV). I had never seen a full episode, but the image of Peter Falk as the titular character has always somehow been embedded in my consciousness. They made 69 episodes (which are essentially 80-minute feature films) between 1971 and 2003. They're all easy, familiar, and fun. Eventually, I will see all of them. For now, when I'm overwhelmed with my options, this is my go-to.

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