Sunday, September 19, 2010

Haven't blogged, haven't seen much, haven't gone anywhere. Basically, i've been stuck at home, trying to finish writing. It's taken me four weeks, going on five. I can't take it anymore. (This always happens: i spend too much time writing, i get cabin fever.)

But the "it's a small world" phenomenon: i decided i should start reading more. But just to start, i got some movie star autobiographies. Two were: "Thank Heaven" by Leslie Caron, and "Include Me Out" by Farley Granger with Robert Calhoun. Now: how is it a small world? Well: in her acknowledgements, Leslie Caron begins by thanking Bruce Benderson. Bruce Benderson? Now, how many writer-editors who've lived in Paris can there be with the name Bruce Benderson? I mean, Bruce Benderson is the writer who was working at CAPS in 1975; another small world coincidence: Bruce turned out to be a friend of Daile Kaplan, and Daile and i were both working for Jonas Mekas at the time (1975). In "Include Me Out", Farley Granger mentions a play that fell through, that was going to be directed by his friend Shirley Kaplan. Unless there's another Shirley Kaplan working in the theater as a director, she's the person who has been teaching at Sarah Lawrence, and was part of the faculty along with June Ekman and Remy Charlip. And June is the person who worked with Anna Halprin, and was a friend of Trisha Brown's and Yvonne Rainer's in the 1960s. June and Shirley were on the faculty at Sarah Lawrence and were among the teachers of Bob Harris when he went to Sarah Lawrence (as part of the first co-ed class in the early 1970s). Bob Harris (of course) was Shigeko Kubota's assistant for the video program at Anthology Film Archives in 1975.

And (of course) i've just been a hermit for five weeks, revising my essay on Jonas Mekas's film "In Between", which was the diary film Jonas made in 1978, during the time when i was working for him. It's one of those freak occurences: the other big essay i was finishing was the write-up of the lecture i gave at the Freie Universitat Berlin, about the Judson Dance Theater. And so in the last five weeks, i've been looking up stuff about Jonas, and about the Judson Dance Theater (where i came across the name of June Ekman). And even trying to relax, never in my wildest imagination would i think that there would ever be a connection with Leslie Caron. But it's like Facebook: we have Bruce Benderson as a friend in common.

And on Tuesday, i had gone to the memorial for Callie Angell. And that was another connection to Anthology Film Archives in the "old" days. One thing i have to say is that it wasn't a "sad" occasion, there were a lot of people from the old days, and the memorial accomplished what itw as supposed to: there was a feeling of comfort.

I felt sad that Callie's health had been deteriorating, and that she had reached the point where she couldn't see the possibility of a life without severe pain and disability. But i remember Callie as the person who was 21 years old and at her first job, which was as the librarian at Anthology Film Archives in 1969-70.

I remember the excitement we all felt when Anthology was set to open. Jonas asked me if i wanted to volunteer, and what i did was check out the prints of some films. But things were coming in. Callie was always getting new boxes which contained papers or books or other materials, and that meant a lot of filing and organizing. At the memorial, a lot of people were talking about how organized Callie was, and in the early days of Anthology, she had to be, or the library would never have been able to be functional.

It was nice to see people again: P. Adams Sitney, Nadia Sztendera... it's funny, because there were people who only knew Callie from the last decade or so, when she was the curator for the Andy Warhol Film Project. But i remember the old Anthology staff: Callie, Linda Patton, Ric Stanbery, Robert Polidori.

But i'm exhausted from the effort it took to write in the past five weeks.

I wish i could just have fun.


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