August 27, 2012

It's A Mozingo Thing

My great great grandmother had an awesome name: Mary Argent Mozingo. She was married to the equally well-named Ruffin Sullivan. They were country people, farmers, I suppose, in Wayne County, North Carolina. I knew their daughter, my great grandmother, who...
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Posted by greg at 1:22 PM

October 31, 2011

TV Power To The We, The People

A piece I left out of my Rirkrit's blingy objects post yesterday may be more important than I originally thought, and for more reasons than its shininess. Untitled 2005 (the air between the chain-link fence and the broken bicycle...
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Posted by greg at 6:27 PM

October 7, 2011

Defendant's Request #2

While doing some family history research, I discovered that one of my grandmother's cousins, Charles Burr, a farmer in Burrville, Utah, had been killed by W.A. "Boss" Lipsey, a neighbor, in March 1943. The Burr family version of the story...
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Posted by greg at 4:41 PM

May 15, 2011

On Looking Into Tarkovsky's Mirror

I just watched Tarkovsky's 1975 film The Mirror for the first time as an adult, basically; when I saw it in college, I had no clue and was bored out of my gourd by it. In fact, for a...
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Posted by greg at 10:16 PM

March 16, 2011

On Remembering The Great Kanto Earthquake

NYT Mag staffer Aaron Retica posted some childhood recollections from Akira Kurosawa of the horrible aftermath of the 1923 Kanto Earthquake, and the xenophobic hysteria that followed. It makes me wonder, though, if Kurosawa ever spoke about his decision not...
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Posted by greg at 1:26 PM

May 7, 2010

Some Pointers, Or What To Do With Neutra's Gettysburg Cyclorama Center?

The Park Service's stated goal for Gettysburg is the "rehabilitation" of the battlefield to its 1863 condition by removing modern structures like Richard Neutra's Cyclorama Center [designed, it should have been noted a long time ago, with Robert Alexander]...
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Posted by greg at 7:36 AM

May 4, 2010

The Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Battlefield

So a quick recap: the National Park Service is determined to demolish the Richard Neutra's Cyclorama Center, built at the Gettysburg National Military Park in 1961. It was designed to house Paul Philippoteaux's massive panoramic painting, made in 1884,...
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Posted by greg at 10:30 PM

May 3, 2010

'The Largest Collection Of Outdoor Sculpture In The World'

The significance of the battle at Gettysburg was seized upon almost immediately, both for the vast scale of the casualties, but also because of the strategic and symbolic importance in the North of repelling the Confederate incursion. Dealing with...
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Posted by greg at 8:03 AM

May 2, 2010

On Richard Neutra's Cyclorama Center, Or Gettysburg Memorial: The Making Of

We just got back from a weekend trip to Gettysburg, PA, and I was not quite prepared to be so fascinated by it. Gettysburg the town was attacked the Confederate Army in the Civil War partly because of its...
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Posted by greg at 9:37 PM

April 25, 2010

'It's An Inducement To Memory'

Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, interviewed by Christopher Knight in 1985 for the Archives of American Art:DR. PANZA: Well, the connection between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art was made through Rauschenberg, because if you look at Rauschenberg, you see also the...
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Posted by greg at 9:04 PM

December 29, 2009

The Battle of Hürtgen Forest

For the Allied forces, The Battle of Hürtgen Forest was the longest and one of the bloodiest, most pointless battles of World War II. Between October 1944 through February 1945, over 33,000 US soldiers were killed in the dense...
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Posted by greg at 1:51 PM

November 6, 2009

From The Richfield Reaper

Greg Knauss's mention of the ancient web and an obituary spurred me to back up a little piece of my own hard drive that is the web. From Rootsweb/'s republished obituaries from Piute County, UT, is by great uncle's obituary,...
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Posted by greg at 12:54 PM

September 8, 2009

Still In Saigon

"I don't know if you can escape what you are," said Philip Van Cott, a retired US Marine and Vietnam War veteran who began treatment for PTSD ten years ago. Generation B | The Damage of Vietnam, Four Decades Later...
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Posted by greg at 11:29 AM

July 27, 2009

Dance, Memory

I'm surprising myself by how much I feel the loss of Merce Cunningham, or more precisely, how much more acutely I'm feeling an appreciation for his work right now. From the LA Times' obituary by Lewis Segal:"When you work on...
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Posted by greg at 8:43 PM

April 28, 2009

Prayer Flag Abstraction, Also Darren Almond's Grandmother, Also

This gorgeous Darren Almond photograph, Infinite Betweens: Becoming Between, Phase 3, of an impossible-to-map landscape covered with Tibetan prayer flags is coming up at Philips in a couple of weeks. It reminded me how quietly strong his work is,...
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Posted by greg at 11:47 PM

April 5, 2009

Amar Kanwar's The Torn First Pages

Last September was the first anniversary of what's now called the Saffron Rebellion, where Burmese monks took to the streets to protest the military government. As a commemoration of that movement, the Stedelijk Museum showed the first of three...
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Posted by greg at 1:47 PM

March 22, 2009

On A More Conceptual Approach To Hair Loss

I'm not interested in the so-called PC aspects of discussing hair loss. The parody of an apologetically sensitive term like "follicularly challenged" is still of a piece with the negative connotation baked into the term, "hair loss" itself. Same with...
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Posted by greg at 10:16 PM

March 2, 2009

Civilian Conservation Corps, AKA The Earthworks Progress Administration

Over the holidays, I taped an interview with my great uncle Wayne. He is my paternal grandfather Champ's older brother. [Yes, I did ask him about my grandfather's name. His recollection was that my great grandfather Chester Jehiel Allen hated...
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Posted by greg at 3:29 PM

January 11, 2009

"Topaz Carpenter"

I'd had the idea all worked out, and the script outline--or a draft of it, anyway--all ready for a couple of years, but my paternal grandfather Champ passed away before I was able to make the original documentary about him...
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Posted by greg at 9:29 PM

September 7, 2008

Well, I Remember The First Time I Visited The Spiral Jetty

Former NGA curator and Dia director Jeffrey Weiss writes about the state of Land Art in the latest issue of Artforum. His focus: T.S.O.Y.W., a 3-hour Earthworks road trip movie/installation by Amy Granat and Drew Heitzler shown in this year's...
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Posted by greg at 10:33 PM

August 13, 2007

Love And Music

I've been working with a recent episode of WNYC's Radiolab on in the background. The subject is memory, which also happens to be the subject of my series of short films, The Souvenir Series. There was a typical brainy [sic]...
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Posted by greg at 11:40 PM

October 4, 2006

Alberto Burri's Cretto

Like Pompeii in reverse, Gibellina has been remembered by its ghost-like burial instead of an unearthing. In 1968, an earthquake devastated villages throughout the Belice Valley of western Sicily. The Italian government's incompetent response to the disaster and the...
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Posted by greg at 12:38 AM

November 28, 2005

This Thanksgiving Dinner Was Brought To You By...

Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish was what finally woke us up. Attributions are a vital ingredient to that get added after a recipe is passed along, often without the original chef's knowledge. We've been eating Val's rolls at family gatherings for...
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Posted by greg at 9:27 AM

August 20, 2005

"Films, like memories, seem to re-shoot themselves over the years"

J.G. Ballard takes a new look at the films of Michael Powell on the centenary of his birth. I think of Powell as a prophet whose films offer important lessons to both film-makers and novelists, especially the latter, who are...
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Posted by greg at 12:43 PM

July 17, 2005

Going To Japan. Stay Tuned

I'm heading to Japan for a month with the family. Tokyo this time, so there's a lot to do and see. I've got a couple of projects I'm working on in and around Tokyo, and I'm going to shoot another...
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Posted by greg at 11:34 AM

March 30, 2005

"Memories are strange creatures..."

...they appear uninvited, grab you by the throat, flood your senses and then shoot away in a microsecond, leaving few traces. Mr. Lelyveld explores some intriguing themes: How much do we really remember? Why do we forget? What would happen...
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Posted by greg at 10:02 AM

January 28, 2005

Noah Baumbach on 'The Squid and the Whale'

The writer-director Noah Baumbach, 35, based the film on his own experience of his parents' divorce. He said that he had struggled for years to find his voice as a filmmaker after making Kicking and Screaming in 1995 but...
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Posted by greg at 12:49 PM

June 10, 2004

On Remembering

I started this weblog to document a documentary I was going to make, a remembrance of sorts of my grandfathers. That film has been subsumed into the souvenir series. This week, even though he was never the subject of that...
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Posted by greg at 7:49 AM

May 31, 2004

Geezers, Screenwriters & Directors

It's my guess that we cling to the harsher bits of the past not just as a warning system to remind us that the next Indian raid or suddenly veering, tower-bound 757 is always waiting but as a passport to...
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Posted by greg at 11:08 AM

March 30, 2004

Souvenir Series, Sofia, and me

In the last couple of weeks, I've decided to shoot a fourth short film, which may be part of the Souvenir Series, or may not. We'll see. It was not in the original outline of the series, and it's out...
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Posted by greg at 12:09 PM

July 23, 2003

High on my Souvenir Series

"In 1960 I began to experiment with the idea of constructing stories whose subject matter would consist of disparate elements and unrelated characters taken directly from life and fitted together as in a mosaic." That's Paul Bowles, in the preface...
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Posted by greg at 3:11 AM

January 10, 2003

A: Yes, Reviews of Chekhov Have Been A Great Influence On My Work

"I had a professor once who said that as Chekhov got older he lopped off the eventful beginnings and twist endings of his early works and that quivering middle was the mature short story." -David Edelstein, SlateHere's to you, David...
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Posted by greg at 10:28 AM

December 2, 2002

New Script, and the Souvenir Series

Early in the editing of Souvenir November 2001, I decided to eventually expand the short film into a related series of shorts, all ultimately interconnected a la Kieslowski's Dekalog (See the movie index for more references). A couple of weeks...
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Posted by greg at 3:00 AM

June 5, 2002

Watching Mike Mills for 90 min

When I saw an hour and a half on Sundance Channel blocked out for Meet Mike Mills, I couldn't figure out how interesting he could possibly be. 90 minutes with Scorsese, sure. But 90 minutes with Mike Mills? Naturally,...
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Posted by greg at 12:26 PM

October 23, 2001

Logging tapes after slacking

Still too distracted in the aftermath? Project in turnaround? The terrorist subplot deemed inappropriate for our new entertainment environment? No, no, and no. Just the rest of life--including work-related stuff, shuttling between NYC and DC, planning to build one house...
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Posted by greg at 10:59 AM