Amateur Night: Home Movies from American Archives


Two-In-One[excerpt] by David H. Jarret

Courtesy of the Orgone Archive

8mm, color, silent, 1961

The home movies of the Jarret family are true “orphan films” that were found at a flea market in Pittsburgh, where they were rescued by the Orgone Archive. The collection, much of which was severely water-damaged, spans the years 1958 to 1967 and includes family events and scenes from David Jarret’s career as a firefighter. Though little is known about the excerpt included here, the title “Two-In-One” is taken from the handwritten description on the box and is a colorful description of the film’s double exposure. The family lived on Grove Street in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. The center of Pittsburgh’s jazz scene during its heyday from the 1930s to the 1950s, the Hill has been called the “center for music and night life between New York and Chicago.”

The Orgone Archive is a motion picture archive and screening outfit based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania specializing in inscrutable epiphanies, toilet trims, unknown what-have-yous, perfect industrial rolls, home movie printing tests, corporate comedies, Warholian strikebreaking screeds, the all-around beautiful and everything else. Originally founded in 1993 as Orgone Cinema by Jeff Armstrong, Michael Johnsen and Greg Pierce as a break-even motion picture exhibition group dedicated to a sincere film culture in Pittsburgh, it presented unique monthly shows of home movies, industrial, educational, experimental, and documentary films, light and sound performances, and visiting film and videomakers at a photo gallery on the city’s South Side. Orgone is also (and was) a travelling cinema band that screens and performs films at home and nationally. Greg Pierce is the current custodian of this proudly fringe collection. Orgone Not War.