Thursday, May 25, 2006

The seeping cold. At least, it's going away (i hope), but today i didn't go to the Guggenheim for the Jackson Pollock press preview... i'll have to catch the show another time, as i did with the David Smith. However, i finished the first batch of IFP shorts, and e.mailed my votes.

On Tuesday, wound up watching "The World, the Flesh and the Devil" on TCM (part of their "Race" programming done with Donald Bogle). Larry had never seen that movie, and wound up fascinated with it. I remember seeing it as a child, and the eeriness of the empty New York City locations (actually shot on location, and very difficult; the crew had to figure out when certain places would be deserted, and then had to rush to film in a short amount of time) was startling. Times Square, the Wall Street area, places i knew growing up, and utterly recognizable.... here seen empty and deserted. The movies on Tuesday were: "Bright Road" (Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge), "The World, the Flesh and the Devil" (Belafonte, Inger Stevens and Mel Ferrer) and "A Patch of Blue" (Sidney Poitier, Elizabeth Hartman, Shelley Winters). I told Larry: quick, what's the connection? Movies in which the female lead (Dandridge, Stevens, Hartman) killed themselves in real life.

But though that's a sick joke, it points to one of my problems. The other day, i got a call from Lillian Cho. Two weeks ago, i got a letter from the Asian American Arts Alliance: they're doing their annual fundraising benefit. Now, i don't have the kind of money that's required. But the phone call was to ask for suggestions, etc. Maybe i'm not explaining this too clearly. Look: i can say that, right now, it's Asian Art Week, and a number of high-end galleries (like a number in the Fuller Building on 57th Street), and suggest that the Asian American Arts Alliance try to find a way to connect to the moneyed interests now at work in Asian art. But i don't know those interests. I've observed them, but if i knew them, that would be different.

It's like watching "Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis" and people in that doc remarking on the "rivalry" of Jack Smith and Warhol. Of coures, the person i knew was Jack Smith. Where does that get me? You wind up in the same place, with the same people (cf. the Bill Rice memorial evening at the Millennium). I don't mind that, but i can't be a different person. And i can't help any of these organizations anymore.

That's (finally) my realization. I was always doing things like using my (meager) contacts for these organizations, and what do i ever get in return? Not that i ever expected anything (i didn't), but the idea that i'm a person that's supposed to keep on giving and giving and giving... Or that i can actually do anything.

It's like the AIVF crisis. They had a massive fundraising drive. They failed. The organization may have to fold. And that's it. Quite frankly: there are actually people in Hollywood who could sneeze and $60,000 would appear. And some of those people used to work at AIVF 15 years ago. But if they are going to ignore the pleas from AIVF, that's it.

And yet no one dares to say, isn't that terrible? But if i don't help something like the Asian American Arts Alliance... what? I'm suddenly a villain? What is this f*cking double standard?

I can't keep diverting my attention.

A few weeks ago, when i ran into Carey Lovelace, she asked me about blogging. Where do i get an audience? And i finally told her, i don't know if i have an audience, and i don't care. It's an outlet, it gives me a place to write. I used to write letters. I don't keep a journal. The letters were my form of a journal. And those letters were always addressed to one person. And now i have a blog instead of letters. (One freak thing: i never checked the archive on my blog until this weekend, and i found out that some people have mad comments! People i don't know. Dave Kehr is right: there are nuts who troll the net, looking for items about their favorites. So, because i dared to suggest that, no matter what his talent, Robert Altman might not be the nicest person in the world, i got a bunch of angry comments. Plus one spam from someone advertising something. It's making me think that blogging is stupid: there's no intelligent conversation, just these crazies trolling for information/opinions about their favorites. Dave Kehr noted that, when he wrote about his opinion on Malick's "The New World", he had to step in and moderate the comments, because people wrote in to be abusive, just because he didn't share their love for the movie.)

One thing is that i never really pursue jobs as a critic. If something comes my way, fine, if not, not. The reason is that... unfortunately, i don't want to get stuck in a rut. I still harbor the (moronic) fantasy that something else will happen, that the opportunity to do something (make a movie, in particular) will materialize. Or that i will figure how to make that materialize.

And i guess i feel really imposed upon by all these people who think that i should "help". Why? Who's going to help me? Does it matter to me if AIVF has to fold? Or the Asian American Arts Alliance?

It's like years ago, when Cindy Carr wrote about the "crisis" at the NEA, and she ended her article in The Village Voiec with the question, can we imagine the avant-garde without funding? And so many people i knew (like Carolee Schneemann, Jonas Mekas, Name June Paik) just laughed at that article, because they had imagined their art in an era where there was no funding!

If we have to imagine it, we will!


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