As a filmmaker, a public artist, I think a lot about Lou Reed - he is a master entertainer. He can get dark dark, and disquieting, and proudly emotionally desperate, AND he brings a piece of the showman along in his tunes and lyrics and his whole presence. Sometimes it seems to me that the more unseemly was his story, the shinier the box he made to put that unseemliness in. Like some kind of counter-cultural downtown vaudeville performer, his darkness wasn’t complete until he pulled you in with entertainment; his message wasn’t to his shoes, it was to you and he wanted you to have a cathartic experience with him – very much like filmmaking.
DENVER, SARASOTA, MIAMI, PHOENIX
Here are some of the dreams, animals, and people I met on tour so far. Every day I do press and every night I have a screening, and I sneak some Manatee time in between. Dear people from Denver, Sarasota, Miami, and Phoenix, yes you, the people I did Q and As with every night – If you saw me, you'll perhaps remember that I was carrying my camera, always intending to somehow video the audience, you all, really the most important part for me, the part that keeps me happy, but somehow I was always too excited and cranked up and involved with talking to you all to turn the camera on and do something with it! The screenings I do every night are really a filmmaker’s dream. For years and years you hope you'll get to show your film to some strangers in a dark room - it's a very strange and hard-to-describe honor to get to do that - and then to actually see you and talk with you all afterwards... it's the best.
One Week In The Mountains
OK, if you like boring shots of nature, you're going to love this.
I have to admit I kind of made this for myself. As I begin the real tour which starts here tonight in Denver (which was awesome, such a thoughtful and dear audience, makes this filmmaker's dreams come true) I wanted to have a reminder of my life before worrying if I said the right thing in that interview, or how the movie is doing, or if I did enough?? I love sauntering around in a real unkept forest, at an Erik Satie kinda pace, just checking out how amazingly complicated, busy, and layered the forest is. So here's my last dash into the woods before I visit a new city every day for a while. I would like to say to the Geese, I didn't mean to scare you off! I apologize, you must have flown for so long.
CHARLES BUKOWSKI, 1972
I read this a lot while writing BEGINNERS. I’m not into alcoholics or macho-depressives, and yet I find these poems magical. Like a loud-talking and dirtier compatriot of William Carlos Williams; both practicing such an individual and kind of religious attention to the domestic. Both of them so patient at turning what might seem like life’s debris into the transcendental. And at least for me, the graphic design Oscar goes to this book cover.
From Everybody’s Protest Novel 1955
This one goes out to Shannon, who makes this blog possible!
“Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel; the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty”
Oh, I think that quote would keep any writer up at night – worrying about how unconsciously cruel they may be.
Very proud graphic designer over here, I just did the new Beastie Boys record cover. And the B-Boys have had a huge influence on me over the years, one of the mountains by which I have orientated myself. I can remember listening to Paul’s Boutique way way too loud at my first graphic design job. It was kind of world-changing: culturally high and low, deeply funny and seriously attempting to break past what we thought was possible with music. And the lyrics? Such great writing - if I was teaching English I’d make my students read the descriptions in Johnny Ryall, articulate the humor of The Sounds of Science, and note the attention to detail in some of the sections of B-Boy Bouillabaisse. This record is full of the most inexplicable, I’m just gonna call them “charismatic,” combinations of beats, samples, cultural references - things that shouldn’t be together, featuring every kind of switch-up and surprising musical combination. To me, the Beasties’ music is part of the tradition of collage that I’ve always gravitated to; from Kurt Schwitters to Robert Rauschenberg, some of Ginsberg, The White Album, The Clash’s Sandinista, Fellini’s 8 1/2 (which leads us back to Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories). All of these are hybrids where the whole is built upon the impossibility of its parts going side by side. This way of putting things together has always excited me the most, felt the most alive and “real” – and I tried to trust this way with BEGINNERS. I’m remembering the Beasties’ Check Your Head - when I first heard the song Pass The Mic, it has so much air in it, it’s so loose, it sounded so strange with the distorted guitar and the raps, the loops, the big room sound on the drums, Ad Rock’s crazy sense of rhythm. For me, it was one of those times when you bump into something new, a new shape, a new color. They did what they wanted the way they wanted, with increasing social consciousness, and they were not afraid to be popular, to play in the big ring. I crossed paths with them in the 90s doing some posters and single covers for them, and I was in a little band that was on their label. So this was a great honor, and mental health-inducing continuity with my own past to get to work with them again. And inside the package, a surprise which I can’t show you yet, a bunch of drawings much like the ones the character Oliver does in BEGINNERS.
FALL 1 LOS ANGELES 1970
Another miniaturist in scale, but so small it’s huge. In writing the character Oliver (played by Ewan McGregor), I wrote down one day on a 5x7 card “He’s watched those Ader films and thought they were funny” – that really helped me figure out who Oliver was. And, I’ll add, if you liked Fall 1, you’ll LOVE Fall 2
If you LOVED Fall 2, you’ll want to get married to Broken Fall (geometric & organic).
Personally, Broken Fall (organic) had me at hello, for you all without patience, it starts at 2:03 - wait for it...