Open Access

Far East of Eden

with Karen Finley and Bruce Yonemoto

Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 7PM

TICKET PRICES : Screening only (with panel discussion): $10
7pm VIP Reception + Screening: $40

VENUE: Carriage House Theatre

Service fees may apply and are non-refundable.
Montalvo donor discounts are offered on select events; donors, please Log In to access special ticket prices.


This event is presented as part of Montalvo Arts Center’s program series, Open Access—your opportunity to connect with Artists Fellows and Guest Artists at the Lucas Artists Program. This program is designed to offer audiences a behind the scenes view into how artists generate ideas, as well as showcase works in process and fully realized new work. Open Access offerings include conversations, performances, screenings, and culinary events. It also has a virtual presence as an online blog and archive. Find out more at

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Montalvo is pleased to present the world premiere of an experimental film short by internationally recognized artists Karen Finley and Bruce Yonemoto: Far East of Eden. The work, which was developed by Finley and Yonemoto during their tenure as visiting artists at the Lucas Artists Residency earlier this year, was commissioned by Montalvo. It uses a dark chapter of California history as a lens through which to explore the disturbing prevalence of hate speech in contemporary politics and its potential dangerous consequences. 

The screening will take place at 8pm in the Carriage House Theatre and will include a panel discussion with the artists (tickets: $10). A special VIP Reception featuring wine, hors d'oeuvres, and a chance to mingle with film actors and project sponsors will preceed the screening at 7pm (tickets: $40). 


Far East of Eden draws on the story of Senator James Duval Phelan, three-time mayor of San Francisco and the first popularly elected California Senator. In 1912, Phelan built Villa Montalvo as his country estate in Saratoga, California. Villa Montalvo was Senator Phelan's favorite home and a center of artistic, political and social life in Northern California. Upon his death in 1930, he bequeathed the Villa and surrounding property as a public park, asking that they be used “as far as possible for the development of art, literature, music, and architecture by promising students.” Decades later, this would become Montalvo Arts Center.

During his political career, Phelan was an outspoken supporter of various anti-immigrant policies, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Immigration Act of 1924. While researching Montalvo as the site for a new project, Finley and Yonemoto were struck by Phelan’s anti-Asian sentiments, especially as expressed in his essay The Japanese Evil in California. Noting a disturbing parallel between Senator Phelan’s nativist views and the ethnic and religious intolerance that has gained currency in our contemporary political discourse—including calls for walled borders, forced removals of minorities, and military assisted deportation—the artists were inspired to utilize the events of yesterday to examine the policies of today and affect change for tomorrow.

View the trailer (via Dropbox).