I can't decide which is more compelling: Hedi Slimane's slightly slick but nice diary of black and white photos, or Roger Ebert's blog. I wasn't aware of the latter's serious health issues. When a celebrity critic loses their voice, then chooses to communicate via blogging, it's very possible that we've entered into the realm of an interesting character. Or, at the very least, a portal into their mind.
Attempting to unravel the meaning of a spaghetti thread running through my mind, upon which hangs the possibility of a non-monetary economy, the extreme emotional, philosophical, and perspectival shifts associated with having and not having money, animal consciousness, documentary filmmaking, the meaning of work, my love/hate relationship with Wells Fargo, and a government sponsored war on greed - most of which stems from my inability to shake the ideas put forth in Zeitgeist Addendum which if you haven't seen by now, you should.
Saw gifted man-child Michel Gondry speak at the Hammer Museum last night. I could feel his head exploding. He had all my sympathies.
The interviewer was horrible. Gondry had things to say. He found a way to say them, but he had to fight the worst of LA's empty-headed vibes all the way. It was fascinating to watch him take over the room and convert the bland energy into something both shockingly real and vividly imaginary. He commented on how Americans are taught to perform 'professionally' at a young age. How we have to be supremely confident about our jobs, how there is no room for questioning or doubt. So, here is a man who never thought he'd be a filmmaker, who finds himself behind a camera, not knowing anything, but trusting his gut, his imagination, and his total lack of confidence to guide him through.
He also called attention to the power of the single take, the mounting tension and amazement that accumulates with each uninterrupted frame. He showed a couple examples. This one, Gary Jules' "Mad World," is a tad sappy, but on a big screen, coupled with the mood I was in, plus Gondry's note that the non-actor children only had to rehearse these moves twice to achieve a perfect take, really had old man Gazpachot as misty as a mountaintop.
I truly lament the passing of the music video as a viable outlet for visual experimentation.
What else... OK, I'll share some other things Gondry said. I'm always paraphrasing his words here. The memory ain't what it used to be...
0) I'm not going to talk until you fill all the seats. I heard backstage that they turned away over a thousand people, and I see (counts) eight empty seats. I'm feeling very guilty so let's find some people to fill those seats. This always happens. I go to a screening, I am so nervous. and the best seats in the house are empty, they have these papers stuck to them with names of people who are probably out at a bar somewhere.
1) I was always mystified by the difference between film and video. I remember on Monty Python when they would be shooting indoors on this sharp video, and then the minute they go outside it becomes this murky film world. It's almost like video pushes out at you and film is like a layer of velvet.
2) I never smoke pot. Pot makes you think you've accomplished things when really you never left your head. This is something Bjork and I agree on - pot is the worst. Look, I meet all of these people with ideas, and they are great, but they don't do them. You have to be strong and do. I hate this hippy idea of just being open to everything and letting it flow. No, sometimes you have to have a closed mind. You have to be prepared to fight. You have to declare your independence.
3) Sometimes you have to realize that everybodies advice is terrible. I work with crafts people and they are great. But craft is very conservative. It wants to do something a certain way, any other way is wrong. Why is it wrong? The usual answer is "don't you think they've tried it? Do you think you're so great that you're coming up with something new?" And that can shut down the conversation. But of course, we know that people can have new ideas, and I can show you a million examples where trying something that was "wrong" was "Right".
4) I would say that about 60% of what we call reality is only going on in our heads.
5) The Oscars teach us what are the most basic cinematic actions that many people are capable of responding to. It's a recipe book for what not to do. Typically an actor wins for a very controlled performance in which he or she plays someone the audience knows - "He was just like so and so..." I insist on chaos with my actors. I always hide their props or change something around on them because I think that when people are actually fumbling and awkward, this is the best.
6) Here's a good American fact that is totally true. An American can go to France, steal a french person's idea, come home and register the idea with the pattent people and then for the next six months he can sue the french person when they try to execute their idea.
7) I asked if I could use 90% of the budget to buy 32 Ludwig drum kits. I felt really good about that. And they let me!
Can any of the problems we face actually be solved in the current economic and political climate? Yes, the money can be shuffled around, the middle class can get some breaks, the environment can receive a band aid, the wars can be rethought, the educational system can be reconfigured, the economy can be bolstered. Action, yes... Solutions? No. Solutions are possible, but they will require deep change, a new system, a letting go of old ideas and arrangements, a quantum leap in human progress. A re-design of culture.
"Well that's not going to happen," you say. But why do you say it? Ask yourself, and for every "because" answer you give, ask yourself again, "But why?" It's an interesting game to play out - you will generally end up at some variant of "Because that's just the way it is..." Is this an astute observation, or a confession of powerlessness? Either way, you're screwed. So what's the way out? Instead of "Never gonna happen," try asking instead, "What might be a way forward?" or "How might our planet prime itself for the changes it truly needs?" These subtle changes in thought can have huge ramifications of course. Collectively, we think the future we get.
Governments are in the business of maintaining power. Politicians are not elected to make changes, they are indoctrinated into a machine of power so that they will continue the needs of the powerful - i.e. an established and well-protected cabal of companies, banks, and lawmakers. Every four years we the people are hoodwinked by the false glimmer of change and hope. It's the oldest trick in the book. Given our distance from and cluelessness regarding the actual mechanations of government, do you really think they'd let us tinker with their system? No. We the people live off the scraps thrown our way and our own desperate illusions.
So my friends, this November you can hope all you like, but once the horse race is over, the only change you will likely believe in is the change you may find in the deep folds of your couch. It comes in handy as you continue to serve the never-ending cycle of debt and economic slavery this system is based upon.
"Cynical realism - it's the best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation." - Aldous Huxley
The coming of Fall introduces a whole series of new challenges to us as we are torn away from our Summer bodies and minds. Leanring to accept, expect, and yes, love, these changes, can make all the difference in your annual evolution as a person.
Perhaps the most pronounced changes we begin to experience in the month of October (in the Northern Hemisphere) are the layers of tiredness we discover. These layers have been masked throughout the warm and sunny, Vitamin D soaked Summer months, eclipsed by a more playful and laid back attitude triggered by childhood memories of this magical season.
As Autumn arrives and the Earth shifts away from the sun, our physical space changes, gravity lines shift, and our little bodies are wrenched into new realms of physics. It's a shock! This manifests itself in waves of sleepiness that come and go. You are going subterranean. Get chthonic baby. Sometimes upon awaking from a deep sleep, you will pass through a strong moment of wakefulness and then be drawn immediately back to an even deeper sleep. It is part of the age old cycle our species has come to know as it adapts to life on a spinning orb, that orbits a flaming ball.
Psychologically, the deep sleep puts us back in touch with aspects of our unconscious that have been sleeping under shady trees through the supremely physical and extroverted Summer months. This too is a shock, of course. Did you forget how big and complex it can get as you shiver under your bedcovers?
I didn't want to let too much time slip by without mentioning that we saw Bonnie "Prince" Billy at the Henry Miller Library last week. The show was great. Equally great was driving down the Pacific Coast Highway and encountering 16, yes SIXTEEN, massive condors sitting at the edge of the road, so close you could touch them. Why were there sixteen condors sitting on the side of the road? I don't speak condor, but I would guess it had something to do with the large wildfire that was burning in the hills next to the PCH. Remarkable animals. Ugly as scrotum. Majestic as the area they inhabit.
1) In publishing, and other industries, the term FPO means "for placement only." It generally takes the form of a temporary image inserted on a page to indicate the size and placement of the actual image, when it arrives.
2) I woke with many images and half-dreamed metaphors meant to visualize the nature of a certain aspect of consciousness that was swirling in my morning mind. I was an steel aerodynamic sculpture vertically fixed on the tarmac of a windy municipal airport. I was the planet Jupiter with all of its magnificent turbulence. I was the support tower of a bridge over a river whose powerful current split around my unmoving base. And so on.
3) When I am in the presence of minds greater, or shall I say, more developed and nimbler than my own - when I find myself at a table, socially engaged with such a brain or brains, instead of listening and learning, I am prone to freeze up. I prefer to shrink up into my head and stand dumbfounded gawking (with pangs of shame) at the limits of my own intellect. It's one of life's more horrible feelings.
4) Whenever I find myself exposed to something new and exciting and/or terrifying that I determine to be, in some way, greater than my current self, I clear a space in my psyche. This zone, I declare, will one day be able to house this exciting new thing and fully incorporate it into my personal system. I would very much like that. Looking around my psyche, I am shocked to see so many empty placement holders, so many hollow bubbles, filled with stale enthusiasm, for placement only.
5) As we progress through time and space we willfully choose to deactivate certain areas of our consciousness, for whatever reason. We are generally not aware of these areas of deactivation, since they were handed over to the unconscious and remain shrouded from our active view. Interestingly, others can see these areas of deactivation quite clearly. Assessing these "holes," speculating upon their nature, is an important part of forming an opinion of, and relations with, other people.
6) Can any reality be asserted? Or are assertions, by nature, key fantasies that require expression to gain footing? I am very aware lately of the difference between assertions and articulations, the latter being more difficult in that they attempt to understand and correct the various warps of our psychic lenses.
You probably won't see this John McCain image shot by Jill "The Manipulator" Greenberg on any magazine covers anytime soon. She tricked him into taking this picture for the Atlantic Monthly by having a "normal" lighting rig set up, but in actuality, used a single strobe light firing from below to achieve this demonic effect. 'He had no idea he was being lit from below,' Greenberg says. And his handlers didn't seem to notice it either. 'I guess they're not very sophisticated,' she adds. Now listen, few are more against a McCain presidency than I am, but I'm not sure if this kind of tactic (strategy?) is the way to go.
Twistedly, I am drawn to Jill Greenberg, mostly because she (and her work) remind me of the sadistic pretty girl a few grades ahead of you who seemed to find humiliation and inflicting minor pain upon others to be screamingly funny, in an aesthetic, Edie Sedgwick sort of way, of course. Man am I screwed up.
More shocking news re: this developing story here...
Frankly my dears, I am astonished by all the invisible forces at play in life. Apparently, there are angels and djins who get up in our business and lay the pavement for certain events or encounters. There is simply too much narrative unfolding around us to suggest that we move freely and randomly through time and space.