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Matinee: 'Save the Country' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

4 June 2022

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 452nd in our series of Saturday matinees today: Save the Country.

This 3:20 slide show is actually a collection of documentary images from last month by independent documentary filmmaker and photographer Kathy Drasky.

She has been documenting "a slice of something that's not what you typically think of when you think of San Francisco" since, well, early in this century, more or less. She only started thinking of herself as a photographer in 2008, though.

And not by accident. R. A. Schuetz tells the story:

That year, she woke up one day to the sound of honking in the street and grabbed her camera to check out who was going on. On Oak Street, she saw her neighbor Ruth Dewson of the former Dewson's Hats, known to some as the "Mayor of Fillmore Street," waving two big Obama signs and prompting passing motorists to lean on their horns.

Drasky snapped away and then made prints for Dewson of the photographs she took that day. Dewson called her back. "It turned out she as getting an award in Los Angeles and Halle Berry was going to give it to her. And she said, 'Can you come to Los Angeles to photograph me and Halle Berry?'"

Drasky laughed. "Well, I didn't know what I was doing, but that's how things happen sometimes. So I did that and that of course gave me a lot of confidence in my photography moving forward."

We have to confess that we made up the title of this clip. Drasky's slug was merely descriptive but her liner notes were pure poetry:

"Save the Country" was written by Laura Nyro in 1968. It is a rallying cry to Americans to band together and do something to stop the ever-present violence in this country. Numerous artists have recorded and sampled this song and I'm as surprised as you might be that I chose the over-the-top showbizzy Vegas version performed by Bobby Darin. But what I realized in putting together this month's selection is that in spite of a loud minority who idealize a type of America that never really existed, I am seeing the America that actually is. Colorful, vibrant and diverse in the face of many, many daily challenges.

And that describes what you'll see in this video. Colorful, vibrant and diverse people set in a challenging time. And rising to the occasion.

Saving the country, in short.

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