Wonder Woman is the subject of a documentary screening in Santa Monica exploring the contradictions of comics’ first female superhero, which was created by a male. Courtesy of DC Comics.

Wonder Woman is the subject of a documentary screening in Santa Monica exploring the contradictions of comics’ first female superhero, which was created by a male. Courtesy of DC Comics.

By Michael Aushenker
From the absurd to the super-empowered, from Dada to DC Comics, the Main Library in Santa Monica will offer a pair of programs examining a pair of pioneers from two different art forms: Hans Richter and Wonder Woman.
Timothy Benson, curator of the Hans Richter: Encounters exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will introduce a program about the famed avant-garde filmmaker and Dada artist in Santa Monica at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18.
The program will include films by and about the Berlin-born, Cubist-influenced Richter: three short films by Richter, “Rhythmus 23” (1923), “Ghosts Before Breakfast” (1927), and “Everything Turns Everything Revolves” (1929); as well as an excerpt from the documentary feature “Hans Richter: Everything Turns-Everything Revolves” (2013).
Screening at the library at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21 is Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s 2012 documentary “Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines,” an examination of female empowerment in pop culture, tracing the evolution and legacy of America’s first superheroine, Wonder Woman.
Created by William Moulton Marston, the man who also invented the lie detector, Wonder Woman burst onto the scene in 1942, cracking the male-centric sphere of superhero comics and inspiring popular representations of powerful women reflecting society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.
In the documentary interviewees grapple with Wonder Woman’s mixed messages of female empowerment and bondage imagery, topped off by the fact that not only was Diana Prince and her alter ego created by a man, but that Marston famously partook in polygamous relationships. Among those interviewed: feminism icon Gloria Steinem, star of TV’s “Wonder Woman” Lynda Carter, “Bionic Woman”’s Lindsay Wagner, cartoonist Trina Robbins and Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna.
Admission is free to both events. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium at the Main Library is at 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica. Information, smpl.org; (310) 458-8600.
Michael@argonautnews.com

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