White Gloves

November 3rd, 2011 in Archive by 1 Comment

Tomorrow night, The Oakland Museum of Art will be screening the premiere of White Gloves, a new film by Courtney Stephens and Les Blank about the Oakland Museum Women’s Board and their annual White Elephant Sale.

Here’s more information from the Oakland Standard:

The Oakland Standard commissioned two filmmakers, Les Blank and Courtney Stevens, to make a short documentary about the Oakland Museum Women’s Board and their famous White Elephant Sale. The film, White Gloves, is now complete and will premiere November 4, 2011 at OMCA at 7pm in the James Moore Theater. A screening of the film (twenty-five minutes in length) will be followed by a conversation with members of the Women’s Board and a reception with live music by the Real Vocal String Quartet. Scroll down to read more about the subject of the film and the filmmakers’ approach.

The White Elephant Sale is an Oakland tradition. The sale began in 1958 on a pair of card tables, and has grown in scope and ambition every year since. In 2011, the White Elephant Sale raised an astonishing $1.6 million for programs and exhibitions at the Oakland Museum of California. Bay Area locals use the sale to stock up on antique silver, cowboy boots, or gardening tools, but few realize that the entire enterprise is run by a tightly-knit group of 100 women.

These 100 women comprise the Women’s Board of the Oakland Museum. They are an all-volunteer group, most of whom have been involved for decades, and many whose mothers ran the sale before them. In a stunning expression of charitable largesse, grace, and impeccable organization, members of the Women’s Board work year-round in an unheated warehouse the size of an airplane hangar—collecting, sorting, cleaning, and repairing thousands of items, and mobilizing upwards of a thousand additional volunteers. In woolen layers and over communal meals, they assemble what seems a whole world in miniature, and sell it off in three short days.

More info here.


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[...] and Found Sound, and now, The Hidden World of Girls. One particularly inspiring piece, the film “White Gloves,” by Courtney Stevens and Les Blank focuses on the Oakland Museum Women’s Board. The short [...]

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