San Francisco’s original DIY temple, Artists’ Television Access, was conceived in the early ’80s as a place for everyday folks to produce shows for a public-access cable program. That bit o’ history is largely forgotten, however, as the raw Mission District space soon morphed into a screening-and-performance venue for experimental, lo-fi, no-budget, radical filmmakers and like-minded artists. More than that, ATA became an important hub for the emerging community of young artists and Midwestern émigrés that gravitated to the affordable, rundown Mission.
Gentrification eventually hit the neighborhood, as everyone knows, and artists have been profoundly affected. Cyrus Tabar’s new short film, Masochism of the Margins, depicts the efforts of the great experimental documentary filmmaker Craig Baldwin (Spectres of the Spectrum) to stave off eviction after three decades of residency and to continue his weekly, long-running Other Cinema series at ATA.
Tabar appears with his film this Saturday, Sept. 16 at 8:30pm at Other Cinema at ATA in a program of works about local artists and spaces (such as the Richmond collective Burnt Ramen) whose existence is perpetually fragile and threatened. I suppose I could have given a spoiler alert before divulging the epilogue to Masochism of the Margins, but good news is too scarce these days to withhold it.