Saturday, September 16, 2006

For some reason, when i published my last blog, it appeared twice. Oh, well. The wonders of technology. Was glad i checked: had planned to go in to the Puck Building for the first day of the IFP Market/Filmmakers Conference, but the first day is Sunday, September 17. Thank goodness i checked.

Anyway, i spent the day and read a few blogs, such as James Wolcott's. He certainly does do a thorough job when he looks into something: his blog always has links to other blogs and other online sources, especially when he's discussing the current policies of the Bush administration. I have to say i thought his blog about Ann Coulter was very funny, and i liked the link to the Adam Carolla radio show. That was hilarious!

I also read some of Polly Frost's blog. Haven't looked at that recently; in July, Polly wrote a little piece about Pauline (on Pauline's birthday).

Also watched Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke: Requiem" on HBO this afternoon. A few weeks ago, when it premiered, there was so much on television about the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, i just wasn't in the mood to watch it, but i'm glad i did get another chance. It really is quite moving and sometimes just mortifying.... the section where there is footage of dead bodies floating was more horrifying than anything in any horror movie.

Just finished watching "Rembrandt"; remember seeing it years ago. Then, Gertrude Lawrence's performance seemed strident and "theatrical" (in contrast to the simplicity of Elsa Lanchester's performance), but now that theatricality has a period patina; the conscientiousness of the design in the film, the careful costuming and sets, these remain very charming. And Charles Laughton is pretty amazing.

But the death of the cat reminded me that, at the beginning of August, we got a phone call from Tom A. The reason was that it was the eighth anniversary of the death of Kenny. Before Larry put it away, the little white notebook that i gave Kenny was in the hallway. That was after i had read some of the little stories that Kenny had written for Donald, and after the letters he sent us when he was in prison. He really did have talent, and he kept trying to start writing a story, but he got frustrated and never finished it. (It was about his childhood memories of arguments between his father and mother.) Kenny would have these sudden turns-of-phrases... he'd notice something, or describe something, and it would just be so... startling. I remember the time we were watching a program on computers and the "information superhighway" (which was how the WorldWideWeb/Internet used to be characterized)... this was on PBS about 1993 or so. (Amazing to think how things have changed just in a decade!) And Kenny asked if we thought computers would replace books. And we couldn't answer that. But he said he couldn't see how, because "A book is something you hold in your hand, and you cherish."

Well, tomorrow's the first day of the IFP, and i'm curious to see what's happening in terms of the idea of "independent" film. Dennis wrote that he saw Christine Vachon's new book in the bookstores in Washington, DC. I guess i haven't been to a bookstore in a while... that's not true, it's just that i've only been to the secondhand (Strand) and discount (Unoppressive) bookstores in the last few months. I must admit that i did like Peter Carey's "Theft"; it's clever and really delightful, it would (i think) make an excellent movie. And David Mitchell's "Ghostwritten" was utterly ingenious, a real "stunt" but also moving. One book i found recently was Linsey Abrams's "Our History in New York", which was published in 1995. I remember thinking that was a book i should read, since i knew Linsey, but... well, i never did but now i have. It's strange, because the "casualness" of the prose, the diaristic style, must have seemed a little... i don't know how to say it. I don't want to say "avant-garde" but i do mean that the style in 1995 would have seemed "unusual" whereas in 2006, it seems very logical, because it's the style that so many people use to write their blogs in, and so "Our History in New York" now seems normative, whereas in 1995 it must have seemed slightly nontraditional.

And, of course, i met Linsey because of Ann Eugenia Volkes, and the last time i saw Ann was at the funeral for Nam June Paik. It's also interesting because "Our History in New York" is about that period of gay and lesbian politics, the period of ACT UP and the activism that led to things like the founding of the Harvey Milk School.... a period that was also celebrated in Jim Hubbard's films, and in his work-in-progress documentary "United in Anger" which is going to be a history of ACT UP.

In thinking about style, i'm reminded that it's often difficult for me to write, because i have this idea of "style" derived from early readings of James Joyce and Djuna Barnes and Henry James... when i thought about "style", those writers seemed to have exemplify "style".

Right now, i'm watching the DVD (region 2) of "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her". I remember talking about the film with Pauline (it was one of her favorite Godard films; she once said that she was disappointed that "California Split" had been released when she wasn't on duty at the New Yorker, so she didn't get to review it; she felt the same way about "2 or 3 Things"), and the fact that, if you listen to the film, especially to a lot of the commentary by Godard and the "asides" by Marina Vlady, the film seems highly "theoretical", but if you look at the film, at the often boldly stylized primary-color pallette, and the incredibly sensual and fleshy close-ups of Marina Vlady, it's a passionate and highly sensual and erotic film.

Actually, "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" was one of those movies i used to drag my friends to see: for me, it was the quintessential "date" movie. We'll have to see what hapepns when it's revived at Film Forum soon!


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