Bergamot Station is a fantastic place full of free art shows and free parking and lovely people, but it doesn't exactly top the list of utopian social experiments and spiritual collectives in Southern California history. No, there are many more candidates for those top spots — among them, the 1970s-era Source Family and the Llano del Rio experiment, the subjects of tonight's documentary screenings. You probably know about the Source Family, but Llano del Rio, founded in the Antelope Valley in 1914, was a socialist colony that lasted just four years. Nearly 100 years later, it inspired a namesake art collective whose version of modern utopian living comes with more visual art, alt-culture guidebooks and philological snark than their socialist forebears ever dreamed of. As part of the Llano del Rio Collective's current Santa Monica Museum of Art residency, they've released a new book, built a treehouse in the Bergamot Station parking lot and hosted a series of interdisciplinary exercises, the latest of which is tonight's free, public dinner and documentary program, “Utopia, A Double Feature: Dear Comrade and The Source Family.” Dear Comrade (2013) uses a kind of interpretive, palimpsestic dream-logic to evoke the spirit of the original Llano del Rio in all its gritty glory, while The Source Family (2012) explores the true-life legend of Father Yod, with his fabulous wardrobe, nubile coterie, inevitable scandal and restaurant on Sunset — the one that gave Woody Allen mashed-yeast agita in Annie Hall. California, we love you forever. Santa Monica Museum of Art, Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., G1., Santa Monica; Wed., July 23, 7-10:30 p.m.; free. (310) 586-6488, smmoa.org.
Wed., July 23, 7-10:30 p.m., 2014
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