October 7, 2002

Readin', Ritin'

Took a couple of short breaks from writing the as-yet unannounced animated musical (henceforth, AYUAM), just to read the paper:

  • David Kehr's profile of Paul Thomas Anderson. "[In Punch-Drunk Love, Emily] Watson plays one of the many guardian angel figures who populate Mr. Anderson's films: those caregivers who seem to appear out of nowhere and offer protection and redemption." Should all of one's movies be about similar things? Or have readily identifiable common themes or threads? Or is that just Mr Kehr's job to write about those things? [Other P-DL and PTA links: NYT's NYFF review; Cigarettes & Coffee, a gold standard for independent director fansites; greg.org posts from May on Magnolia and P-DL #1 and #2. After all, it is all about me...]

  • Stephen Holden writes inconclusively about the "latest" attempt to revive the movie musical. His thesis, that it's an "international salvage operation" (he cites Francois Ozon, Lars von Trier, and Baz Luhrman), forces him to ignore South Park, still the greatest modern musical for my movie (or DVD) dollar. I'll come back to this later.

  • An interesting account by John Rockwell on Tom Tykwer's new film Heaven, which was based on an unfinalized script from the late Krzysztof Kieslowski and his collaborator, Krzysztof Piesiewicz.

    K&K's process: "Mr. Piesiewicz would propose an idea, he said, and then he and Kieslowski would collaborate on a short-story-like prose version of the eventual script. Then Mr. Piesiewicz would write the screenplay, with ample input from Kieslowski." Heaven was in the short story stage. Kieslowski's films have topped my list of influences and inspirations for a loong time. (search the site for Kieslowski, or go to the complete movie index for references. And I met Tykwer in 1999 when he was in the US for the run of Run Lola Run. Nice guy. very low key, very smart, and pretty old for a new director, something I don't think anymore, obviously. Bonus: The article includes a handy pronunciation guide for all three men's names. Clip it and put it in your wallet for party talk.

  • Frank Rich proclaims New York the real capital of America and uneqivocally slams Washington, DC in every possible way. Setting aside whatever truth the article may contain, it strikes me (an adopted New Yorker who happens to be in our other home, Washington, DC as I type this) as pretty gratuitous, self-serving, and unnecessary. New York shouldn't need this kind of boosterish bluster, just like it shouldn't need those stupid Chicago-did-it-first-but-we'll-do-it-third-anyway painted cows or whatever. Washington, on the other hand, is exactly the kind of company town that would have painted elephants and donkeys, art whose lame name betrays precisely what's missing around here: Post) and museums' chronic ignoring of said art scene.

    I don't say "plucky" as a pejorative; they're all examples of people who do something about it rather than just bemoan the gap. It seems to me, an arriviste, no doubt, that there's a little bit of conflation going on. Whatever good happens art-wise, at the Hirshhorn or the Corcoran, there is still only one professional gallery of any real relevance to artists who care about emerging (Fusebox, if you don't know). I can't see (or don't know? Please. Prove me wrong.) any other place for a DC artist to emerge to. It's a long road from a good first/second gallery show (where stuff gets seen, written about, sold) to the Hirshhorn, and right now, that road doesn't run anywhere near DC.

  • Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

    Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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    first published: October 7, 2002.

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