San Francisco Silent Autumn 2014


Oh my lord, I’m so exhausted. I thank my baby kinsman for waking me up so early in the morn because I’m such a light sleeper! I haven’t been able to slumber very well in the past nights…..This is all resulting from my excitement for the San Francisco Silent Autumn festival that I went to. Oh, what a trip. Five silents in one day. I found myself smiling the whole time without even trying. I had a great deal of fun. Also because I went to Castro. It was leather week. Tom of Finland influence was on overdrive.

Ah, to remember such events. Let’s see, before we went to Frisco, I had to wake up early as hell (for me) at about….six am. I had not been able to sleep possibly the whole night due to my elation. I was going to San Francisco to see silent movies. It was all so very new to me because I only watch films in my dwelling. I knew my heaven was worth the waiting. Valentino, Keaton and Veidt were waiting for me. I could hear their calls. My sister and I dressed rapidly and off we went to the Bart Station. It took an eternity to arrive in San Francisco since the train made brief stops every ten minutes. We arrived and I was at once awed with the scenery of the buildings of the city. I was constantly staring at the sky when I was supposed to be finding what bus or streetcar would take us to Castro. We wandered around some more, asked some questions as some man reprimanded me for having a clean shirt on. I like San Francisco dearly but I realized living there would make an indelible effect on my mental state. Too many humans. Too many crowds. I need to live somewhere where I’m not waiting for something else. This trouble! I feel neither Peruvian nor American. In Peru, I dreamed of coming to America. Now I dream of getting the hell out of here. Ah this damned nationality crisis!

Anyway, we finally arrived to the Castro Theater and got our laminated passes! Conrad Veidt’s handsome face looks so pretty in it.

These pictures were taken with my sister’s phone.

We arrived in the middle of the Laurel and Hardy shorts. Oh well. They were hilarious; especially in the parts when they were selling Christmas trees and vandalizing this man’s house! Oh, how I laughed when the cop just kept glaring at them! I clapped like a little girl pleased with her happiness. We had a one-hour break until The Son of the Sheik started so went off to consume some food.

Our food was ready in probably ten thousand centuries. I devoured my meal with nervous haste. I kept blabbering and blabbering because I had grave anxiety of missing just even a bit of the Valentino film. I hate being late to films; especially if I want to see them. We eventually got there on time, got some great seats and didn’t even miss the introduction. I had an incident with my Coca-Cola can. It was placed on the cup holder and it just landed on the ground because it was small. It went right through it. Luckily no one noticed the spill.


Alas, Valentino beautified the screen. This was my first time seeing him on the screen. I had only seen his home movies and until then I had not understood the adulation. I understood completely when his fine muscular self kissed Vilma Banky. He had such a sensual grace about him, his very presence robbed my breath and the manner of how his hands caressed Vilma’s face was a rare work of art. I understood why Pola behaved that way in his funeral. My God, who wouldn’t fall for that unimaginable beauty? He was such a hunk! He was much, I mean, much better than Brando and Gable. God, yes. I can’t think further than that because Pola wouldn’t like me swooning at her man. Aside of my primary experience of seeing Valentino in film, I was enamored of the film! It was so intense with the score! When they are running with the horses! When they are sword-fighting! Such great humor it had, too. I loved Vilma’s dancing! I still can’t get over that scene where he forces Vilma to bed him. Those eyes….I liked the film so much that I bought a sheik Valentino poster and a pin. I got a discount on the latter because I was much younger than everybody.


We then saw A Night at the Cinema in 1914. So it was really a compilation of excerpts from British films in that era. The movies they watched a century ago. One of my preferred ones was the lady who got arrested for making so many faces! But my favorite was Chaplin….Charlie Chaplin. Before in my life, I had heard so much about him but never really gave him a chance. When I was little I thought he was a mime. I always believed he was a bit odd, even as Pola’s boyfriend. On this day, I saw his artistic gifts to the world. I was chuckling without even trying. I just wanted to kiss him on the cheek because of his cuteness. His little butt. He was my favorite in the whole compilation. I’m happy I kept my Chaplin fan. Aha….Pola was so right. He really was childish.

Then we had another two hours of break until The General. My sister and I wandered around the streets as we decided to go to the bookstore so I could buy my biker Tom of Finland book. I checked and checked. None of the books were there. There was the massive big one, of course, but it is around two hundred bucks. I intensely blushed after asking a lady for the book so I walked away. I was in one of my tense nervous states again. Where was TOF? My sister asked a more attentive man about it and he said they were sold out. WHAT. I thought Tom of Finland wasn’t even well-known! I always bitch of how he needs more recognition! The man couldn’t believe we didn’t know of his widespread popularity. It was leather week! No wonder I kept seeing so many half-naked lads with leather attire! I thought it was Tom of Finland day without my knowing so. I was so bummed out. The store had books on the supposed lesbianism of Judy Garland and Garbo.

We spent the rest of our break silently eating. My mood lowered when I couldn’t find my TOF and because the meat in my burger was pink. Poor, poor cows. Over the years, I’ve lost my taste for it not knowing why. Even chicken tastes like plastic these days. I am repulsed at the taste of pork. I had to apologize to my sister because I was so moody. We saw The General at last. My moodiness had made me tired….until Buster got on the train. I loved him. He was so comedic in everything he did. Especially in moments of hurry, when he stood there for a few seconds putting his hands on his hips. He reminded me of a young Johnny Depp. This is a film that entertained me all the way through. Buster made me burst from laughter.


My eyes were burning with exhaustion when we got to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. I easily get tired at night. I’m not a big fan of horror films because I can’t really find any that scare me. This one was all right. It was groovy, in a darker way. When the lad is telling his story, the backgrounds and the surroundings are so twisted. They reminded me of a Dr. Seuss book. I was missing Pola a lot. This is a German movie. She did a bunch of German films. I was also thankful because I could read the dialogue instead of hearing it. That’s what I love about silents. I have problems with listening to dialogue and looking at expressions at the same time. With silents, I focus on these one at time. I loved Conrad Veidt’s legs. I fell in love with them. I wanted to dance with him. I had so many thoughts when I watched this film. The doctor/director was so evilly funny. I just wanted to pat his head. I loved the part where Caligari names appeared on the screen. Such obsessive madness. OH! The restoration was so finely made! The quality of the film looked so modern! I hope they do the same with The Hands of Orlac and Gypsy Blood. The film was a little slow and my eyes were shutting. I wanted to sleep. The ending of the film warped the whole story! It gave me some chills. I love endings like that. I love getting fooled. The angles, the sets and the shots stole my heart. Bless this artistry. I was also chuckling my way through this one.

This day was one of the funnest days I had in so many months. I did what I loved doing: watch films. I no longer had that abominable feeling that I did not fit in or was bored or just was plain uneasy. I didn’t even think about those things. I attended a gathering I liked. That’s all. I do hope they screen some Pola Negri next year. I’d love to see her. Finally I had fun someplace. I don’t even complain. Now, I have to finish my schoolwork and face the tyrannical authorities tomorrow. I’ll be lunching alone. If I am struck with another emotional attack and they force me to talk to a goddamn counselor, I won’t cooperate. I have my own personal therapist. I don’t need anyone else to know of my affairs. I’m looking forward to obtaining the vinyls of my favorite band. And my Tom of Finland book! The man said they always had his books in stock!


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