For those who think weblogging is now too mainstream, there are alternative outlets for creative expression. Some, like Amazon reviews (of Ping, for instance, or the been-around-the-web-and-back Family Circus) are persistent. Others, like ebay auctions, are perishable. Follow the money, of course. Since I’m more interested in clearing out space in our apartment, recouping the cost of the film, or just making a quick buck, I’ve mostly opted for the perishable.
Here is a sampling of my ebay auctions. Read them for their scintillating entertainment value; of course, bid only if you’re really interested. Believe me, some of the old ones were HI-larious:
The Visionaire Bible, a limited edition art/design/fashion magazine/objet. Very big in the 90’s
A rare Kozmo.com messenger bag prototype/sewing sample. Don’t worry, I bought the only two known to exist. I’m keeping the other one.
A limited edition album from Matthew Barney’s last movie, Cremaster 2. I have a couple of these, too. I’m much less into hoarding than I was in 2000-2001.
A USB PCMCIA adapter, purchased because I didn’t notice my laptop already had a USB port.
It’s hardly ever a pleasure to read Orwell, or Christopher Hitchens, for that matter, but after you do, you’re annoyed at how worthwhile you find it. (Unless, of course, you’re a huge Henry Kissinger fan. Or Henry Kissinger.) To wit, Hitchens’ writing on Orwell in the LA Weekly. Having just barely finished cleaning up the piles and bills and invites and life that accumulated during the editing of Souvenir, this excerpt from Orwell’s “Confessions of a Book Reviewer,” pulled me right in (just find and replace “cigarettes::red vines” and “tea::diet coke”):
In a cold but stuffy bed-sitting room littered with cigarette ends and half-empty cups of tea, a man in a moth-eaten dressing gown sits at a rickety table, trying to find room for his typewriter among the piles of dusty papers that surround it. He cannot throw the papers away because the wastepaper basket is already overflowing, and besides, somewhere among the unanswered letters and unpaid bills it is possible that there is a cheque for two guineas which he is nearly certain he forgot to pay into the bank. There are also letters with addresses which ought to be entered into his address book. He has lost his address book, and the thought of looking for it, or indeed of looking for anything, afflicts him with acute suicidal impulses.
(Oh, and find and replace “acute suicidal impulses::self-doubt and recurrent calculations of the income I’m forgoing by not working for The Man.)
Brought home a couple of video works to screen/consider by the artist Gabriel Orozco, and they’re amazing. It’s been about five minutes, and already I’m taken. The artist made five videos as part of Recordings and Drawings, a 1997 show at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. They are 40-60 minute streams of things Orozco sees through his video camera on the streets of New York and Amsterdam. The title for each video is comprised of the first and last images on the video. [I’m watching From Flat Tyre To Airplane right now. From Dog Shit to Irma Vep is next.] Here is an excellent discussion of Orozco’s use of video and the genesis of this project. The museum finally got around to publishing a book based on the work.
They’re quite rough, raw, really, edited solely in the camera. As such, though, they get pretty close to the “eye of the artist,” especially in the case of Orozco, who makes a specialty of working with the most mundane, unprecious materials possible (his last show at Marian Goodman Gallery included works made of dryer lint, plastic bags, and rubber balls with dried palm fronds). I’m not sure which way it works: 1) either Orozco points out the art/beauty we overlook everyday in objects and situations around us, in which case he’s extremely self-effacing and magnanimous, or 2) through his art made out of these commonplace objects and concepts (reflections, circles/spheres, leaves, etc.) he takes over the world, or at least our vision/viewing of it (now everything looks like an Orozco!), in which case he’s a megalomaniac. Do those options have to be mutually exclusive? I mean, I plan on stil being nice to people when I take over the world…
that said, look up “albert maysles rides the bus” on google. Jussec, i gotta search this bus for filmic moments.
(in any case, riding the crosstown bus just got less boring. For me, anyway… )
so now i can post to my web log from my cell phone. Can i be worth reading in < 140 char.?
So I finally got at least one production still off the Mac and onto the web. Here is the first of about 20 or so images from Souvenir November 2001, the one which accompanys all the press kits and festival applications (so far).
It’s a scene of the New Yorker and the caretaker of Lochnagar Crater, a site that the film’s protagonist stumbles across while searching for the Thiepval Memorial. (None of this makes the remotest sense to you? Welcome to my weblog. Check out the background links, script, and storyboard at the top of the lefthand column.) In this scene, the caretaker and his colleague explain the crater’s origin and history. Read about the crater at the Friends of Lochnagar site. And read an account of the 1998 discovery of Private George Nugent’s remains at the crater, an incident the caretaker discusses in the movie.
It was moving day, or moving around day, anyway. Traded weeks of keyboard-based work for overhauling the art in our little NYC house. Out with Roe Ethridge’s landscapes (his great show just opened at Andrew Kreps Gallery, so we’ll ALL be seeing more of his work for a while.), Anne Chu’s watercolor landscapes, and Stephen Hendee’s ink/gouache futuristic landscapes (see a theme here?) In with Vern Dawson and Olafur Eliasson (now that winter’s over, it’s safe to put up pictures of Iceland). And the kicker: a Wade Guyton sculpture that has a table-like object as its base. Looks so much like a table, I’m typing at it right now, in fact, until Wade comes to help set up the mirrored plexiglass column element that sits on top.
Since it’s only table-LIKE, I stacked some books and magazines under the leg-LIKE elements to bring it to table height. Here’s the list:
Godel, Escher, Bach; The Invisible Man; the last two issues of Vogue; Air Guitar by Dave Hickey; First They Killed My Father : A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers; Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama; Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell (french version, which is hilarious, btw); Collected Fictions: Jorge Luis Borges; Projects for Prada Part 1 by Rem Koolhaas’ publishing elves; an old Wallpaper*, a new Artforum, a Vanity Fair, Departures, an old art/text, and a beat-up New Yorker.
Then I looked at the finished piles, and I was reminded of the stylists at “shelter magazines” who artfully arrange erudite-seeming/trend-driven book spines for photoshoots (Remember that summer when everyone seemed to have Infinite Jest on his/her coffee table?). I couldn’t find any articles about it, meaning 1) such magazine machinations may be an urban myth (unlikely), 2) I’m not hip to the right stylist-related search terms, or 3)people in the shelter magazine world don’t use the internet for self-critique, just for hookin’ up. I did find this excerpt from Marjorie Garber’s Sex and Real Estate, which talks about the business of “propping” a for-sale house (using wood fires, apple pies, aromatherapy, flowers, etc.) to hit the prospective buyer’s “romantic soft spot.”
So what can we glean from our collection of titles? Is it the display window of my soul? I see two breakdowns:
Deliberately chosen books and “whatever’s left within reach; can I put this table down now?”
Very thick books (4), and shims (the rest).
Oh, before I forget:
Send an email if you’re interested in coming to a private evening screening of Souvenir November 2001 in NYC, to be scheduled within the next couple of weeks. If demand warrants, we’ll set one up in Washington, DC as well. I’m working on the date and location this week.
As if nothing had ever gone wrong… This morning, I managed to get the completed, subtitled, sound-level-relatively-balanced version of Souvenir outputted onto a DV master AND several VHS tapes. What this means:
pain-free festival submissions
local screenings for family, friends, the crew and any potential partners, backers or distributors
I can sell the overpriced, underpowered Powerbook Titanium to which I can attribute some of the output problems.
A hint to Final Cut Pro users with output problems: < geekspeak> After outputting the audio to a CD-file and the video (only!) to a Final Cut Movie file, I combined these two full-length (15 min) files into an entirely new project and sequence. It doesn’t require any render files, etc, so it’s entirely self contained in 3-4 files. Because these were sitting on a firewire external drive, they were inherently limited by the transfer speed of the firewire connection. I moved them off the ext. drive and placed the entire project on the laptop hard drive. Then I replayed the project via “Print to Video.” It worked fine. Of course, because the G4 only has 10Gb, I had to delete piles of stuff first to make space. And if you have a larger project, you’ll need a commensurately larger internal drive. < /geekspeak>
First the good news: I got my keyboard replaced, and now I have my beloved Trackpoint back. Things are looking up.
Bad news: Here is the list of picks for International Critics Week at Cannes. One short, The Day I Was Born, by Japanese director Manda Kunitoshi, features a “baby born on September 11 2001,” so that may have filled the thematic slot I was targetting. There were no US shorts among the seven selected, though. In fact, there are no US films at all.
Good news: I got the no-subtitles version dubbed and submitted to the Edinburgh Film Festival, which cut me a week’s slack while I tried to get the subtitled version outputted.
Bad news: I haven’t gotten the subtitled version outputted yet. There are memory problems with Final Cut Pro, which doesn’t seem to recognize the 30+ available gigabytes on my external drive. At this rate, though, I’ll be able to sit next to everyone who watches it and translate the French parts for them.
Sure enough. Here is the list of short films selected for Cannes. Two US films, including one by Bruce Terris, who was Pete Jones’ 1st Assistant Director on Stolen Summer/Project Greenlight. Watching Terris’ constant pushing/complaining about the importance of shot lists stuck in my head and proved to be very helpful advice for shooting Souvenir, btw.
“‘We wanted to break the rule which has it that the selection of the Cannes film festival should always be tragic and solemn,’ Thierry Fremaux, the festival’s artistic director, said on Wednesday as he presented the program.”
I haven’t been able to find the list of short films selected, but it sounds like Fremaux specifically ruled out my movie. I’d better reconsider my next project: a film about coming to terms with my strict Catholic upbringing.
The list of feature films in the competition at Cannes is here, and the Un Certain Regard selection is here. Alexander Payne’s film, About Schmidt got in after all; a couple of weeks ago at MoMA, he said he thought it had been rejected. TF1 reports that there were 2,281 films submitted this year. Whether that includes the 900 or so shorts isn’t clear.
Just when I imagine that this might be the most problem-plagued, nerve-wracking production ever, Sundance Channel comes through in the pinch, with a timely screening of Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams, the 1982 documentary on the making of Werner Herzog’s folly, Fitzcarraldo. It tells the ridiculous story of Herzog losing his two stars, Jason Robards and Mick Jagger, after 40% of the movie had been shot; of delays that mean shooting in the dry season, when the river is too low for his boats; of the border war that erupts, necessitating them to move the location 1,500 miles; and of course, of his hate-love-hate relationship with replacement lead Klaus Kinski. I got it easy.
Oh, by the way, they’re announcing the films selected for Cannes tomorrow (24 April).