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Alee Peoples: Something Pretending To Be Something Else

Alee Peoples: Something Pretending To Be Something Else

The Root That Ate Roger Williams (2011), by Alee Peoples

Sunday June 23, 2024, 7:30pm

At 2220 Arts + Archives, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90057

In person: Alee Peoples

Tickets: $15 general, $10 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members


Please join us for a program celebrating the weirdly transformative power of analog film as we attempt to elevate the mystical ordinary and conjure the ineffable through the work of the one and only Alee Peoples.  Although her wide-ranging art practice spans numerous mediums, Los Angeles-based Peoples’ filmmaking perhaps crystallizes her various interests and esoteric notions the most vividly.  Working predominantly in 16mm, Peoples’ films are full of mystery, confusion, surprise, and revelation, weaving an uncanny emotional collage from deceptively simple or seemingly offhand materials that blur the lines between the wilfully formal and the radically informal.

Filled with gloriously strange and surprising humanity (and humans), Peoples’ films almost play out like conceptual rebuses, employing a deeply familiar yet totally unpredictable language of social, ritual, and quotidian observation.  On the surface, her work is funny, unexpected, seductive, and unabashedly and engagingly odd, but the cumulative effect of each film as it unfolds is to materialize a revelatory present tense embodying complex social, political, and philosophical inquiries.

Program and note by Mark Toscano. 

Alee Peoples maintains a varied artistic practice that involves screen-printing, sewing, sculpture and film. Currently living in Los Angeles, she has taught youth classes at Echo Park Film Center and shown her sculpture and film work at GAIT, elephant and Insert Press. Peoples has shown her films at numerous festivals including Edinburgh, Images (Toronto) and New York Film Festival, and at museums and spaces including SFMoMA, Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Pompidou Center, Dirt Palace (Providence) and The Nightingale (Chicago). Started in 2022, Arroyo Seco Cine Club is a thematically programmed film series she co-curates with Mike Stoltz. She is inspired by pedestrian histories, pop song lyrics and invested in the hand-made.


AleePeoples ThemOracles copy

Them Oracles

Them Oracles

2012, 16mm, color with sound, 7:26

A skeptic investigation of what an oracle can be and what it would sound like. Human desire and

blind faith allow, and maybe even will, these mystic soothsayers to exist.

BoysofSummer mikeswing small

Boys of Summer

Boys of Summer

2009, super 8 to video, color and black and white with sound, 12:22

A pop music essay that is both sweet and serious about stereotypical male and juvenile fun.

Tongue-in-cheek objectifying is mixed with cryptic symbols of longing and desire along with a brief history of a fraternal order.

AleePeoples NonStop riverside copy

Non-Stop Beautiful Ladies

Non-Stop Beautiful Ladies

2015, 16mm, color with sound, 9 min.

Non-Stop Beautiful Ladies is a Los Angeles street film starring empty signs, radio from

passing cars and human sign spinners, some with a pulse and some without.

RootThatAteRogerWilliams silouettes copy

The Root That Ate Roger Williams

The Root That Ate Roger Williams

2011, 16mm to video, color w/ sound, 18:16

A documentary of what happened to the remains of Providence, Rhode Island’s champion of free religion and a club based on the actual folklore of the root.

Crowning Glory Maureen Liberty

Crowning Glory

Crowning Glory

2008, dual super 8 to video, color and sound, 5 min.

Parallel feelings of pride and rebellion. Attempting to resuscitate political icons by remaking themwith my own psychic-punk aesthetic to regain personal ownership.

decoy plane lrg



2017, 16mm, black and white with sound, 10:37 

Decoy sees bridges and walls as binary opposites and relates them to impostors in this world.

Humans strive for accuracy. You don't always get what you wish for.

HeySweetPea still SouthernOracle copy

Hey Sweet Pea

Hey Sweet Pea

2023, 16mm, color with sound, 11:11,

Parental aging and an existential wave collide together in funny ways. Hey Sweet Pea borrows

scenes from the 1984 children’s sci-fi movie The Neverending Story to process our collective grief.

APeoples StandingForwardFull small

Standing Forward Full

Standing Forward Full

2020, 16mm, color with sound, 5:26

A helter skelter is an amusement ride with a spiral slide built around a tower. Like this film, an

exorcism attempt of an unrequited desire, itʼs either moving too fast or at a complete standstill.

Disorienting but exciting.