Jeff Smith 2:55 p.m., July 25
The Laughing Alligator
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is featuring Juan Downey's The Laughing Alligator in the downtown building (1001 Kettner Blvd.). The 28-minute film uses black and white as well as color film. Downey's film is an autobiographical and ethnographic travelogue "playfully mocks the supposed objectivity of traditional anthropological films." The video was created when Downey and his family lived in Venezuela with the Yanomami.
Film review from Electronic Arts Intermix: "Challenging the anthropological view of the Yanomami as violent cannibals, Downey focuses on the tribe's myths, rituals and ceremonies, documenting funerary rites in which tribal members eat the pulverized ashes of their dead to insure their immortality. Subverting conventional modes of ethnographic documentary, Downey participates as an active presence, 'shooting' with his video camera as a means of creating an interactive dialogue between artist and subject and addressing his own 'yearning for a purer existence.'"  Admission is $5-10 and the museum is free every third Thursday from 5-7 p.m.