Short Films

Energy and How to Get It

A Short Film by Robert Frank & Rudy Wurlitzer

Released by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (Anthropology Film Series), 1981

Starring William S. Burroughs, Robert Golka, Agnes Moon, Robert Downey Sr., John Giorno, Lynne Adams, Alan Moyle, Dr. John, Libby Titus, Rudy Wurlitzer

Filmed in Wendover, Nevada, in early 1981, Energy and How to Get It combines documentary and fictional ideas. What began as a documentary film about Robert Golka, an engineer experimenting with ball lightening and fusion as an energy force, was turned into a spoof on the documentary form, inserting fictional characters into the story such as the Energy Czar (Burroughs) and a Hollywood agent (Downey Sr.).

b/w, 28 min., Color
VHS Edition — 1981

Keep Busy

A Short Film by Robert Frank & Rudy Wurlitzer

Canada Council Independent film, 1975
Starring June Leaf, JoAnne Akalaitis, Richard Serra, Joan Jonas
Keep Busy is a spontaneous, improvised story about a group of people living on an island off Nova Scotia, obsessed with daily aspects of their lives and the cycles of nature, are subjugated by a lighthouse keeper and his messenger, who have access to the only radio and therefore control the news.
VHS b/w, 75 min., Color

Birth of the Flag I and II

A Short Film by Rudy Wurlitzer of a Claes Oldenburg Performance

Performed in Upstate New York, June 1965

Performers: Richard Artschwager, Sarah Dalton, Martha Edelheit, Lette Eisenhauer, Jackie Ferrara, Nancy Fish, Henry Geldzahler, Gloria Graves, Al Hansen, Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, Michael Kirby, Barbara Lloyd, Yvonne Mulder, Annina Nosei, Pat Muschinski Oldenburg, Richard Oldenburg, Barbara Rose, Lucas Samaras, Marjorie Strider, Elaine Sturtevant, David Whitney and Rudy Wurlitzer.

"The performances used music and sound but not words. Casts of nonprofessional volunteers joined Oldenburg in developing the incidents, which were then set down in scripts and cues. Each performance was presented three or four times in front of a live audience.

From 1960 to 1966, the nature of these performances went through several stages. In the first, unrelated fragments of actions, real or imaginary, were presented sequentially or simultaneously, as in Ironworks/Fotodeath. In the next stage, which Oldenburg named Ray Gun Theater, the fragments — among them Injun (NYC) I and II and World's Fair I and II were set, more by association than logic, into plots sharing a certain theme. These were the most intimate of the artist's performances. In the third stage, the emphasis was on the setting, from which the actions were derived. For example, Birth of the Flag I and II transplant the cast of the earlier performance Washes from a swimming pool in New York City to a stream upstate. Birth of the Flag I and II, unlike the others, were enacted specifically for film, without a live audience. The film is more fragmentary than intended because parts of it were lost in a burglary." — Excerpt from

"Theater is the most powerful art form there is because it is the most involving . . . . I no longer see the distinction between theater and visual arts very clearly . . . distinctions I suppose are a civilized disease." — Claes Oldenburg, 1962