Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Space Oddity 

Wednesday, Jun 11 2008
Half a century on, it’s impossible to grasp the full impact of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik launch in the fall of 1957. Sure, the Cold War between the USSR and the U.S. was a source of concern to citizens of both countries, but congressmen and columnists raced to portray the satellite’s orbital path over the southwestern U.S. as a potential threat to our national security. The blatant way in which the politicians and the papers stampeded millions of Americans over the next six months, igniting a billion-dollar arms race, is downright shocking today. Shocking! Well, if you’re too young to remember 9/11 and the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, that is. David Hoffman’s fascinating documentary Sputnik Mania doesn’t spell out the contemporary parallels, however, focusing instead on such odd bedfellows as President Dwight D. Eisenhower and German rocket scientist Werner von Braun (who switched his allegiance from the swastika to the stars-and-bars with nary a hiccup). A treasure chest of stunning archival footage, Sputnik Mania isn’t a history lesson so much as a psychological evaluation of a nation suffering from temporary insanity. It’s the perfect companion piece to Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
Fri., Sept. 26, 7 & 9:30 p.m.; Sat., Sept. 27, 2, 4:30, 7 & 9:30 p.m., 2008

About The Author

Michael Fox


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"