By Ashley MackinFor one night only, July 18, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will screen the rarely-seen 1972 Jimi Hendrix film, “Rainbow Bridge,” as part of its Shore Thing summer program at 700 Prospect St. in La Jolla.
Of the film, La Jollan Melinda Merryweather said, “It’s for people who love surfing, people who love Hawaii, people who love the ’60s and people who love Hendrix.”
Merryweather was in the film and helped with the art direction.
She called the music scenes, “the best Hendrix concert footage ever filmed” and compared the project to reality television in that none of the dialogue was scripted and people are shown talking about the hot topics of the day — psychedelics, vegetarianism, healing and spaceships.
As art director, Merryweather said she wanted to make a film combining the New Age discussions she was witnessing with a surf film set to Jimi Hendrix music. She said Hendrix’s manager loved the idea, and that Hendrix wanted to shoot it in Hawaii.
“He loved being in Hawaii and playing there,” Merryweather said, noting that the concert footage included a “color-vibratory-sound experiment,” where the notes Hendrix played are represented by different colors.
The concert was one of Hendrix’s last in America, and Merryweather said he knew that would be the case.
“He just knew he wasn’t going to be in his body anymore, he knew he was leaving,” she said, citing a scene in the movie where Hendrix says as much.
Three months after the Hawaii concert (on Sept. 18, 1970), Hendrix died in London.
Those interested can view the film for free during the Shore Thing event, said MCASD Chief Curator Kathryn Kanjo.
“‘Rainbow Bridge’ is a film that occupies a cultural history in our minds. Not many people have seen it because it doesn’t screen regularly, so (Shore Thing) provides a unique opportunity to see it,” Kanjo said, adding the film could not be a better fit for the current exhibition at the museum, “Approximately Infinite Universe,” on display through Sept. 1.
“Time and space travel is one of the themes of the exhibition,” she said, “so it’s a nice riff on what we already have happening in the gallery. The artists are using science fiction as a metaphor to imagine other worlds and this Jimi Hendrix film is about enlightenment, transcendence and going to other places ... through listening to music or being one with nature.”
MCASD’s Shore Thing events run 5-8 p.m. nearly every Thursday through Aug. 29. Guests may tour the galleries, enjoy cocktails with friends (cash bar), watch the sun set from the terrace, and picnic in the Sculpture Garden. Several food trucks will be parked at the museum, and some evenings will also include tours, music from a band or a DJ, films, artist talks, and hands-on creative workshops.
There is no additional cost for the program outside the $5 and $10 admission rates. The third Thursday evening of every month continues to feature free admission as part of the museum’s ongoing Free Third Thursday Evenings.
If you go■ What: ‘Rainbow Bridge,’ part of MCASD’s Shore Thing
■ When: 5 p.m. Thursday, July 18
■ Where: Sherwood Auditorium, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla
■ Cost: Free
■ Contact: (858) 454-3541