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THURSDAY

In the late-’60s New York avant-garde film scene, consummate name-dropper Gordon Ball shot with a handheld camera and surrounded himself with turned-on luminaries like Andy Warhol, Timothy Leary, and Allen Ginsberg. Just up from North Carolina’s Davidson College, Ball sought solace in city life and earned some Brownie points working as an assistant to director Jonas Mekas while observing and partaking in the times’ free love and casual drug use. But early in ’66 Frames, Ball admits that he mostly played the (relatively) straight man in the psychedelic circus, and his memoir comes off as a deadpan anecdotal history owing more to hindsight than to flashback. While his memories of ’66 are set in Warhol’s Factory, the Filmmakers’ Cooperative, and the offices of Film Culture magazine, and are populated by filmmakers Stan Brakhage, Ken Jacobs, and Shirley Clarke, and countless other similarly minded artists, Ball portrays himself as simply the man behind the camera through it all and takes care to note that his hair was “merely down to my ears, not shoulder-length.” His impressions unfold, appropriately enough, in the manner of an experimental documentary, but they aren’t always particularly revealing about the long strange trip he began 33 years ago with the making of his film Georgia. Ball—now in the English department at, of all places, the Virginia Military Institute—plays his story a little too straight in ’66 Frames, but perhaps he’ll reveal more tonight at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 20, at Borders, 18th & L Sts. NW. Free. (202) 466-4999. (Colin Bane)