New York: Film-Makers’ Cinematheque, 1966. Vintage original 11 x 8 1/2″ (28 x 22 cm.) film program, stiff front pictorial wrapper, nine loose leaves printed on recto only, with glassine protector binding (as issued), near fine.

Program for a 1966 screening of six of Kenneth Anger‘s films, including the premiere of a new version of his Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. With images from the films and instructions to “psychedelic researchers”.

“Kenneth Anger (February 3, 1927 – May 11, 2023) was an American underground experimental filmmaker, actor, and author. Working exclusively in short films, he produced almost 40 works beginning in 1937, nine of which have been grouped together as the ‘Magick Lantern Cycle’. Anger’s films variously merge surrealism with homoeroticism and the occult. He was clearly one of America’s first (if not, as is most likely, the very first) openly gay filmmakers.

“Anger also explored occult themes in many of his films; he was fascinated by the English occultist Aleister Crowley and an adherent of Thelema, the religion Crowley founded.

“His early short Fireworks (1947) was based on Anger’s own homosexual awakening and featured various navy officers flexing their muscles and a white fluid (often thought to symbolize semen) pouring over the protagonist’s body. There is similar homoerotic imagery in Scorpio Rising (1963), which stars a muscled, topless, leather-clad biker, and Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965), where a young man sensually polishes a car, with close-up shots of his tight-fitting jeans and crotch. Images of naked men also appear in Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), where they are eventually filmed wrestling, and Anger Sees Red (2004), in which a muscled, topless man performs press-ups.

“Another recurring theme in Anger’s films is the occult, particularly the symbolism of his own esoteric religion, Thelema. This is visible in Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Invocation of My Demon Brother, and Lucifer Rising, all of which are based on the Thelemite concept of the Aeon of Horus and feature actors portraying pagan gods. Anger linked the creation of film to the occult, particularly the practice of ceremonial magic, something of which Crowley had been a noted practitioner. Anger once said, “making a movie is casting a spell.” (Wikipedia)

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