Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Department of Corrections.

Tuesday, March 28, and the day after the sinkhole stopped subway service in my neighborhood. Right on 74th Street and 4th Avenue, a sinkhole opened up and swallowed up a car (the driver is in the hospital, but she's alive), and caused pipes and wiring to burst. Luckily, we're enough out of the immediate area that our water and electricity weren't affected.

Anyway, just talked to Debbie, and she corrected me: Eileen Newman was with Film/Video Arts for more than a decade; it's Beni Matias who's at AIVF. But that's one of the problems: at this point, what is the difference between AIVF and Film/Video Arts? Can these organizations really define themselves in terms of a "mission" so that they can actually provide a distinct "service"?

But i'm tired of all these filmmakers whining about how these organizations are supposed to be their conduit to "the industry": if you want to work in the industry, don't try to be an independent filmmaker. Because there are too many independent filmmakers (genuinely independent filmmakers) out there, and you're just taking up oxygen!

But the resources for independent filmmakers keep contracting, as the field gets swamped by so many "independnet" wannabes.

When i was helping with this past year's IFFM, i was telling Wendy Sax that it's been YEARS since i've met anybody at the Market, or at ND/NF, or anywhere. People don't want to know me. If they know anything about me, it's usually the fact that i'm one of the people from Apparatus (Barry Ellsworth is the other) who DIDN'T go to Hollywood. But the point is: i didn't want to go to Hollywood. Everything i've ever done has been to be an alternative to the standard systems. I wanted to be an independent artist in New York City, and that's what i am. But suddenly, other standards apply, i.e., the idea that being "independent" actually means being a smaller version of Hollywood.

But Larry and i went to the Asian Week receptions at the Fuller Building: five floors of galleries, many showing Asian art or Asian artists. It was fun, with a lot of wealthy people roaming around looking at art. It was very different from the usual gallery crowd: not many young people, mostly middle-aged, and mostly with money. (Once, when we were in the elevator, Larry had to remark that there was over a million dollars worth of furs in the elevator.)

Then we went to the New Directors/New Films Directors Party. For some reason, i was feeling very anti-social, or, rather, it was mostly the same people that we'd seen last week at the Opening Night Party, and i didn't feel like i had anything to say to anyone. Especially since, over the weekend, i'd been e.mailing Kent Larson and Jake Andrews, and... ok, so they happen to be gorgeous men. But they're also so much more interesting than anyone i could meet at ND/NF: i've been around filmmakers and film critics and film curators my whole life. And most of the people there... at one point, William Wolf walked by. You know, William Wolf was the film critic for Cue when i was a child (and my parents subscribed to it). Kent and Jake are people who... it's like Jake decided nine years ago to up and move to Australia, because his boyfriend got a job there. And now he's decided to go back to school. Jake's always open to his life changing, and he's not stagnant. Neither is Kent.

Two notes. At the beginning of "The Shop Around the Corner", William Tracy and Felix Bressart are the first two people to arrive at work. So William Tracy says, "Always the first one, huh?" And Felix Bressart says, none of your business, it doesn't hurt to be too early. And William Tracy responds: "What for? Who sees you? Me. And who sees me? you. Where does it get us? Can we give each other a raise? No." And i was looking at the same old people, and they had nothing to say to me, and i had nothing to say to them, so why bother? So i spoke to no one.

And John Ford, when he was interviewed by Peter Bogdanovich, explained his conception for "Young Cassidy", how at the end, the only person who understood Cassidy's play (which causes a riot, and makes the Maggie Smith character shrink from him) is the Julie Christie character, who's now become a prostitute. She's the only one who appreciates him.

But anyway we got home, and watched "77 Sunset Strip" (a very noir-ish early episode, with Bea Benedaret guest-starring) and "Bourbon Street Beat" (a "remake" of - of all things - "White Heat"!) and then "The Vice" on BBC America. I'm grateful to George Robinson for alerting me to the new season of "The Vice" and this was one of the scuzziest, most unsettling, truly disturbing episodes ever! It involved a pedophilia ring. Ugh! I was practically shakking by the end of the episode! That was more exciting than anything at the ND/NF party.

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