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Archives for October 2011

Homies on the Range

Revisiting the World of EASY RIDER –  I vividly remember paying not a shred of attention to Easy Rider in 1969. Whatever it was about, it wasn't Ours, but was pretending to be. The idea of re-presenting the present out from under Us was still too new. It was a given that Hollywood wouldn't, couldn't ever "get it", that the portrayals of sixties youth culture would always fall flat. People from the Hollywood establishment were untrustworthy observers: too old, too embedded in cliché and conventionalism for even the best of intentions to salvage them. This went for movie stars too, even "hip" ones like Dennis Hopper, who was, at  34, trying to play a 20-something in this film. Nobody with the wherewithal to mass market, on … [Read more...]

I Was a Film Mule

Sara Driver’s You Are Not I and a Visit to Paul Bowles –  I first saw Sara Driver’s film You Are Not I, which is based on the story by Paul Bowles, over twenty-five years ago now. The film was shot quite beautifully in black and white by Jim Jarmusch and features the actress Suzanne Fletcher (who, as it happens, I work with today in LA). A few months after seeing the film, I made a trip to Tangier to meet Bowles, and packed in my luggage a bulky 16mm print of You Are Not I that Driver asked me to pass along. After Bowles screened it, this print disappeared from sight. It was discovered in 2008 by Francis Poole, head of the Film and Video Collection Department at the University of Delaware Library, on a shelf in a vacant apartment in … [Read more...]

Inside the Artist’s Studio – Maren Hassinger

Inside the Artist’s Studio is an-ongoing series exploring issues  on contemporary art through direct encounters with the artists themselves.  Now Dig Into This – There are opportunities for sculpture everywhere. In a field, in a room, on a stage, in the street, on the ceiling, in front of a camera, etc. Every place inspires a different response. Some responses locate us in space and time and link us to particular people in particular places. These last offerings might be political. There are reactions to given events…..There are sculptures acting like sculptures and people acting like people and sculptures acting like people and people acting like sculptures. There’s stillness and motion. There’s the … [Read more...]

Nesting Instinct – Behind the Scenes

The Nests of the Lindsey Wildlife Museum – This is the second installment of a three part series on the Nests of Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Part 1, "First Encounter" tells how the author-photographer first became a part of the museum's conservation efforts. Part 3, "Outreach" is an interview with the museum's Natural History Curator, Marty Buxton. Behind the Scenes The word curator comes from the Latin word cura, which means care. Also known as a keeper, the museum curator needs to be an authority on the subject of his/her collection to not only assure the collection's good condition, but to organize, and interpret it's contents for the public. By designing meaningful ways for others to interact with the subject matter the curator's … [Read more...]

Elevating the Ordinary

Gryphon: New and Selected Stories, Charles Baxter, Pantheon Books (2011) I have had the pleasure of hearing Charles Baxter read his work many times. He is very often introduced as a rock star of the short story. Another assertion is that he is regionalized. The stories are grounded in the Midwest and generally peopled with likable characters that lead small lives in which ordinary and yet poignant things happen. I often feel that I too am a Baxter character. Gryphon is a collection of twenty-three stories, new and selected. I have read these stories without hurry or care to reach the end; only to be astounded by the steady unveiling of character, spot on dialogue and the unembellished articulation of what it means to be human. The … [Read more...]

Three to Get Ready

New Original Works Festival, REDCAT, 22, 23, 24 September 2011 – An enthusiastic sold-out crowd saw a triple bill last week of two new dance works and an elaborate puppet/human operetta in the annual NOWFest at REDCAT, a three-week series that showcases new works by Los Angeles-based dance, theater, music, and multimedia performance artists. Michel Kouakou began the evening with his pseudo-solo Sack, in which he was the primary moving object. A large sack suspended from the ceiling functioned as the only prop — unless one also counts the several stationary dancers who also occupied the stage, all of whom had their shirts pulled over their faces for the duration of the 20-minute performance. Kouakou's movement cerainly contrasted … [Read more...]