Archivists @ Home Movies
This was a great game. It took ten innings, one more than the standard, to decide on a winner. In a contest between humanoids (the Archivists) and Non-Humanoids (the Home Movies), the humanoids prevailed thanks to a top-of-the-tenth inning solo homerun by film archivist and centerfielder Dwight Swanson.
ARCHIVISTS WIN, 5-3
The job of a film archivist is highly specialized and is relatively new to the world of archiving. Like a librarian, the film archivist collects, preserves and makes films accessible for research and for use by others. The team of archivists collected here all specializes in the art of film archiving. Seven of the Archivists are involved in the "home movie" preservation movement and were instrumental in the founding of Home Movie Day. One Archivist player was the director of the Filmmakers Cooperative, which was founded in New York City by members of the vortex known as The New American Cinema. Three of the Archivist members were directly responsible for archiving the home movies in the Stephen Phillips Trust House Film Collection.
The Home Movies team is drawn from the 199 reels of film gathered in The Stephen Phillips Trust House Film Collection. The Phillips' archivists collected the reels of 16mm film and divided them into three groups: Fifty reels comprised the Stephen Phillips home movies, 125 reels became part of the James Duncan Phillips home movie collection, and 18 reels were collected under the title, Professional Film Collection. This latter group comprised 16mm films made by professional movie production houses and marketed to the Home movie audience, that is, to those that had 16mm projectors to watch films. After the reels were divided, they were sorted in chronological order and then assigned an "Archive Film" (AF) number. It is that imposed AF number that has been used to identify the players representing the Home Movies team.
The origins of the "home movie" are rooted in the technical chemical development of the so-called "safety film" produced and marketed by the Eastman Kodak company in 1923. Prior to the availability of the non-flammable "safety film" the less safe nitrate-based film stock known to spontaneously catch on fire especially as the film stock aged, was problematic for amateur filmmaking enthusiasts. With the release of the safer type of film, the 16mm gauge became the standard in the non-professional filmmaking world. In 1932, Kodak released the "regular" 8mm format that competed for the home moviemaker market. The Super 8mm format was released in 1965. It improved on the earlier "regular" 8mm format by providing smaller perforation and therefore a larger frame size with less graininess. Ten years later the video field emerged as the Beta VCR and VHS formats arrived on at the consumer's market.
Home movies are motion pictures made by amateurs, usually for viewing by family and friends. Andrew Lampert, archivist at Anthology Film Archives points out some of the complexities of the home movie genre:"There are certain aesthetic elements common to most home movies: shooting with a hand-held camera, for example; use of available light, lack of sound. However, this brings up the question of what exactly is a home movie. At the last Home Movie Day, we showed a film by an artist of his trip to Paris. He used gels and various other filmmaking techniques that made it clear he was a trained filmmaker. Some members of the audience objected to it, and a heated discussion started over what exactly constitutes a home movie ...Actually, that's the most common criticism of experimental films: that they are just amateur movies or just home movies"Stan Brakhage, one of the great experimental filmmakers of the 20th century, eloquently defined the not so nuanced difference between the amateur and the professional in our culture. The home movies made by the amateur Phillips's (James Duncan Phillips was Stephen Phillips' uncle) do not apparently conflate artistic endeavor with their filmic aesthetic. (It should be pointed out that the author of these notes has not viewed any of the films on the Home Movies team.) Based on the holographic titles found on the film reel containers, the content of the films in the Phillips collections are typical home movie material. Typical for the time and place, which means that we would be looking at home movies made by an affluent aspect of the culture? Indeed, the Phillips family of Salem, Massachusetts was affluent and not representative of the working class. The Phillips' lived a formal way of life, with a resident staff of three servants in addition to a chauffeur and coachman.
The Phillips family home movie collection is part of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust House Museum which opened in 1973. Stephen Phillips bought the house at 34 Chestnut Street, Salem, Massachusetts in 1911. The history of the house is interesting, albeit, mostly irrelevant to this cosmic baseball game.
12-26-2006 16:13:02 Lineup: Archivists Katie Trainor LF Snowden Becker 3B Andrew Lampert SS Dwight Swanson CF Diana Little 2B Chad Hunter 1B Brian Graney RF Leslie Trumball C Laurie Austen P Lineup: Home Movies AF46 SS AF36 2B AF199 RF AF41 LF AF196 C AF187 3B AF193 1B AF188 CF AF189 P Inn. 1: Archivists [Starter] AF189 Katie Trainor 3 (Foul) . . . Snowden Becker 5-3 . . . Andrew Lampert 6-3 . . . Inn. 1: Home Movies [Starter] Laurie Austen AF46 7 . . . AF36 5-3 . . . AF199 1B . . X AF41 E-5 . X X AF196 3-1 X X . Inn. 2: Archivists Dwight Swanson 7 . . . Diana Little 6-3 . . . Chad Hunter E-6 . . X Brian Graney 6-3 . X . Inn. 2: Home Movies AF187 8 . . . AF193 3-1 . . . AF188 5 . . . Inn. 3: Archivists Leslie Trumball 7 . . . Laurie Austen 4-3 . . . Katie Trainor 1-3 . . . Inn. 3: Home Movies AF189 5-3 . . . AF46 5-3 . . . AF36 5-3 . . . Inn. 4: Archivists Snowden Becker 6-3 . . . Andrew Lampert 1B . . X Dwight Swanson 1B . X X Diana Little 4 . X X Chad Hunter 5-3 X X . Inn. 4: Home Movies AF199 1B . . X AF41 6 . . X AF196 6-4-3 DP . . . Inn. 5: Archivists Brian Graney 2B . X . Leslie Trumball 1B . . X X@4:Brian Graney 8-2 . . X Laurie Austen 3-1 SAC . X . Katie Trainor 4-3 X . . Inn. 5: Home Movies AF187 1B . . X AF193 E-2 . X X AF188 K . X X AF189 2-3 SAC X X . AF46 HBP X X X AF36 2B . X . 3 AF199 4 . X . Inn. 6: Archivists Snowden Becker 4-3 . . . Andrew Lampert 7 . . . Dwight Swanson E-4 . . X Diana Little BB . X X Chad Hunter 7 . X X Inn. 6: Home Movies AF41 7 . . . AF196 BB . . X AF187 K . . X AF193 8 . . X Inn. 7: Archivists Brian Graney HBP . . X Leslie Trumball 1B . X X Laurie Austen 3-1 SAC X X . Katie Trainor 1B . . X 2 Snowden Becker 1B X . X Andrew Lampert 3-4 FO X . X Dwight Swanson 5-3 . X . Inn. 7: Home Movies AF188 7 . . . AF189 7 . . . AF46 6-3 . . . Inn. 8: Archivists Diana Little 7 . . . Chad Hunter 5-3 . . . Brian Graney 9 . . . Inn. 8: Home Movies AF36 5-3 . . . AF199 3 . . . AF41 K . . . Inn. 9: Archivists Leslie Trumball 1B . . X *EX:Laurie Austen (for PH) *PH:bench17 5-4-3 DP . . . Katie Trainor 1B . . X Snowden Becker 2B . X . 1 Andrew Lampert 6-3 . X . Inn. 9: Home Movies [Relief] Megan MacNeil AF196 6-3 . . . AF187 BB . . X *EX:AF193 (for PH) *PH:AF156 4UN-3 DP . . . Inn. 10: Archivists Dwight Swanson HR . . . 1 Diana Little 5-3 . . . Chad Hunter 6 . . . Brian Graney 1B . . X Leslie Trumball 1B . X X Megan MacNeil 1B . X X 1 Katie Trainor 6-3 X X . Inn. 10: Home Movies AF188 5-3 . . . *EX:AF189 (for PH) *PH:AF144 7 . . . AF46 1B . . X AF36 8 . . XArchivists Win, 5-3
Personal Cosmic Baseball Game
Published: December 30, 2006
COSMIC BASEBALL ASSOCIATION/3043-57
The game's linescore indicates no runs were scored during the game's first phase (innings 1,2 & 3). The home team Home Movies scored three runs during the second third of the game (innings 4, 5, & 6; all Home Movie runs were scored in the 5th inning). The visiting Archivists scored three runs in the third phase of the game (2 in the 7th and 1 in the 9th). Because the game was tied after the standard nine innings the contest moved to extra innings. In the 10th inning, the visitors scored two runs and the home team was unable to rally in the bottom of the tenth.
The Home Movies were more efficient in their run production scoring three runs on five hits and stranding five base runners while it took the Archivists 14 hits to score five runs and they left eleven potential runs on the bases. Only one home run was hit and that was a decisive event occurring in the extra tenth inning. Both teams were somewhat clumsy in the defensive realm, committing a combined four errors, although three double plays were also completed. All three runs by the Home Movies were unearned.
The Archivists pitchers won this game as much as the appropriately timed offensive work. Starter Laurie Austen pitched a strong eight innings, walked one Home Movie batter and struck out three. Laurie did hit one Home Movie (AF46), which played a role in the Home Movies scoring their three unearned runs in the fifth inning (and so did Leslie Trumbull's (Laurie's battery-mate) error earlier in the inning.) Home Movie starter AF189 went the full distance pitching all ten innings. Remarkably not one Archivist was struck out by AF189 and only one got to first base via a base-on-balls.
AF36's ("Dog Races" [Dog races Lake Placid-Lake Placid, NY] c.1935-1936 Total running time: 04:41) double in the fifth inning accounted for all three of the Home Movies' runs. AF36 is apparently home movie footage of "dog races" shot in Lake Placid, New York. Since we have not seen any of the footage represented by game players we assume the home movie depicts dog sled races which were popular in the region. In the 1932, Winter Olympics held at Lake Placid, the 25-mile dog sled race was an exhibition event. New York's Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt made a speech: "It is an evidence of the age of our modern civilization that the Olympics date back nearly 2,800 years. ... I hereby proclaim open the third Olympic winter games celebrating the tenth Olympiad of the modern era." AF36 had a chance to ties the game up in the bottom of the tenth inning. There were two outs and AF46 ("Picnic" [Picnicking and Boating-Saranac Lake, NY] c.1935-1938, Total running time: 04:35) was on first base having just launched a single into left field. AF36 comes to the plate representing the tying run. The count is worked full and Megan MacNeil delivers a fastball that AF36 connects with...and it sails into the glove of Dwight Swanson in dead center field...game over. The Dog Race home movie flied out to center and left the home movie of a Phillips family Picnic stranded on first base.
There is enough in this game to warrant a review by the Committee on Metaphors and Meanings but the chance of that happening during the off-season is slim. On one level, it is a simple game between humanoids and non-humanoids. On another level, it is about history, artifacts and the disingenuous attempt to find relevance where none exists. Home movies by an entitled family living in a maritime town known for its attachment to material objects may not be for everyone. Was Salem, Massachusetts in its prime a place of festering greed and corruption...characteristics that contributed to its brief but worldly success? Who wants to watch home movies of a family of privilege at Harriet Adams' wedding (AH144)?
Salem, like other towns has made a business out of preserving historical structures, in particular houses. A number of historic houses attract a number of visitors to the town making tourism one of Salem's economic products. The House of the Seven Gables and the house of the man who wrote about the House of the Seven Gables are popular tourist spots.
The real people who archived these home movies of the rich and the real people who are promoting the sanctity of the home move genre are to be congratulated for briefly coalescing and winning this cosmic baseball game.
The Phillips House in Salem (Apollo Magazine, Oct. 2006)