Sunday, September 30, 2007


Sat 29 Sep 07

Hoo, boy. The tired day, the hump day. Absolutely wild winds, but still no rain... OK, not much rain. It would've been going sideways, I swear.

Up til 5:30 am, trying to get my chapbook out, and went to Star Copy to do so, but just couldn't get it finished. The mock copy looks great though, and showed it around. So slept in till nearly 10, so missed first screenings, meaning August the 1st, which had a filmmaker (first-timer) to talk about it. Oh well.

So first one was JELLYFISH. Oh my god. Wonderful, amazing. Magical, tragical. Intentionally didn't read the descriptions beyond ascertaining the genre and the first lines. Thus had no idea that there was a character in this so much like one in my first-ever play. So this film spoke my language. Wow. Beautiful. Crying.

Saw premier FoF (Friend of FrendL) outside the Rose & Rosebud Theatres, and didn't they both just want to pose for a quick and windy portrait?

Took a tumble, thank G not going up the Haller steps but as I stepped off the bunkerish sidewalk down onto Washington Street by my car. I cleared the sharp decline, but then caught the asphalt change up to the street proper. People from all directions called out to be sure I was OK, and I was. Relieved it was my right knee this time, as the left is only just recovered from a trip-&-fall in June involving FrendL's tether, my bass, and the dobro. Bifocals can really be trouble sometimes too, try to remember to look under them, not through them, when stepping.

Anyway, next was Billy Collins presenting DR STRANGELOVE, OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB. After I get my traditional front-row seat, next to Caroline, who I met a coupla Film Fests back as we kept sitting up front together; she sits off to the left side usually, whereas I like center.

When I showed C the mockup of my EKPHRASTIKINO chapbook, she surprises me by taking the time to read the first poem or two, and tells me I got it just right about why we like to sit there ("Find my seat, always near the front: don't want to watch people watching, want as little as possible between me and the screen.") I tell her that in a segment before the Oscars a few years ago, they had a short about why people love the movies, and some of the interviewees were famous people. Lou Reed was like us, he has to sit up close, and for much the same reasons.

That led talking about Lou Reed, as C's son is a punk rocker who was a little surprised to learn his mom liked someone whose music (albeit from a whole nother decade) was a favorite of his. I told C that back in spring I'd met Billy the C down at Frank Buxton & Cynthia Sears "Yonder" and he'd told us Lou Reed was his neighbor in NYC, apartment next door. Described Reed as a grumpy old Jewish guy. Then I remember we're about to see Billy Collins. Strange how the mind and time and place work.

Great to see DR S on the big-screen at last, not broken up by ads. Great. Q&A good, Frank interviewing friend Billy, who knew a lot about the film. Then 2 folks who didn't have questions but did have comments took a left turn, the first about how the movie – and the 50's-60's culture – portrayed women and how Billy and Frank responded like boys as well to her comment, next someone young who said she'd never experienced the fear, never witnessed anything like the Bomb, so she has much more hope. I actually called out "9/11?" twice, but not loudly, so that went unheeded.

Felt bad for Billy, had to duck out anyway to make it down to ONE NIGHT. (Missed CALIFORNIA SPLIT to do so, Altman flick – but not a fave – with Elliott Gould there, wished again I could've been in 2 places.) The screening sold out, with people turned away. It wasn't full yet, and I was allowed in by those sweet young women in their twin rhinestone tiaras who so well and cheerfully manage the Rosebud Theatre queues and Q's. I told them I'd interviewed the filmmaker for THE LEADER and had to speak with him. Inside I saw venue manager Kurt and asked if I could sit in the projection booth, before I remembered this is not the set-up of the Rose next door where that might work. But when he saw my blue pass, all my troubles seemed so far away.....

So got to see this M. Knowles film on big screen in a packed house, much better than my "review viewing" on my 12" laptop alone in my cabin. Good, if small, Q&A. Meeting Melissa Leo after? Over the moon. We both went out for a cigarette, American Spirits I'm happy to say. She was really touched I'd been a fan of HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET. More another time on talking to her.

Suddenly realize don't have my hat, which is a great black "Penney's Towncraft" number but maybe 2 sizes to big unless I tuck my hair up into it. I'd put it down on the bench outside the Rosebud while talking to Melissa, and now it was gone. Suddenly I hear Tiara Girl from up on her step to call out Q announcements: "Do I have a DD?" Seems friends totally recognized the hat as mine, as it was blowing and rolling up the street no doubt, as next day at least 3 people asked if I'd gotten my hat back! Thanks, you guys!

Then what... oh, HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS. Sorry to say I nodded off a bit, but no comment on the film; got sleepy as Hannah's last lover (in the movie only, cannot imagine how many she'd have had since!) was showing her all his meds. Titles actually as good as rest of movie. Dueling grade-school-style trumpets on the William Tell Overture a hoot.

Great to see the divine Greta Gerwig again. Realized I was wearing her pass from last year; I'd picked it up off the Upstage floor when I closed the place after the "It's a wrap" party. I've been wearing all my PTFF passes, but couldn't find mine at the last minute (it's been hanging from my VW mirror, so not put away in same place), so a bit of live HANNAH in the house. I guess the joke would be, "my name is Greta Gerwigley." Ha.

Here's a photo of Greta, at right, from last year's "Wrap Party" at the Upstage, with Tipper (in both LOL and HANNAH as well) at left, doing that total "lol" thang with director Joe Swanberg's digital cam.

No outdoor movie tonight; I remember watching last year the struggling of the giant inflatable Taylor Street screen in the high wind of Day 3, so I knew there'd be no DICK TRACY. When I meet Jim Ewing after HANNAH, we both hope that if the movie does come off tonight, that SPIDERMAN 2 will be axed and DICK TRACY shown; Jim told me some about the cinematographer, who also did Warren Beatty's BULWORTH.

Get to see the last minute of the 2nd place winner of 2880, then GAME OVER, the winner. Had just met the editor from Bainbridge before that screening, standing in a cluster of folks by the theatre windows with his teenage son. I just asked if they were some of the filmmakers, and they were, so I asked what he edited on, etc. I'd asked the boy if he helped, but he smiled and said no. Moral support then, his fan? He nodded as his grin got bigger. Wished them luck. Now they were winning the FinalCut Pro Suite!

I'm happy to say I was only a little sad that I wasn't seeing my 9½ minute FORSAKEN OR ONLY ALONE? up there on the big screen, with people I'd never met seeing it. Someday this will happen, and I think it'll be sooner than later now.

Last is DR JECKYLL AND MR HYDE (1931) with short JACK THE VOMITER, wow. Both B/W, both over the top, though 75 years separate the films in time. Jack the Ripper leaving his signature, puke. Projectile vomit goes "cum shot", oy. DR J very good; as always I'm surprised by people's laughter at stuff that's only funny to our "sophisticated, modern" eye, but it didn't distract me this time.

Tonight my favorite film of the fest is easily JELLYFISH. What a gift that was. We are really lucky folks. G'night.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Fri 28 Sep 07

OK... I've now seen 4 films total... a goat skinned, ducks plucked, sheep slaughtered, open heart surgery, and grown men dancing around onstage with giant rubber penises hanging out of their flies.

And in all honesty, well, I've loved every minute.

Those films would be EDEN, KILLER OF SHEEP, EL CORAZON, and DIRTY COUNTRY, in that order. There is SO no time for reviews, but as usual I'm taking notes. There were filmmakers at each showing except the last one, too bad, cuz I bet they would have some even dirtier stories.

I saw a side of LA I actually never could've imagined, learned much about Colombia (and how many landmines there are there), and got to see the legendary Blowfly perform. Now that's a range.

KILLER OF SHEEP is a stunner. In this first film of Charles Burnett's from the early 70's you can see this is someone who already has a vision and a way. The black and white is beautiful, the choices for sounds and music and of moments to render or capture, are quietly brilliant. Wow, I see why people didn't like it then did.

And I'm surprised by how much of this is so familiar to me, but then I find this is often the case with getting to be in black American culture, whether it's a club, a concert, a film – and I so wish it was in real life with friends, but that isn't easy in such a white place as this town in the Pacific Northwest, nor was it in Albuquerque. Is this feeling so at home from childhood in Texas?

EL CORAZON took awhile for me to get into, maybe because it was televisionish? And very broad in its scope of considering "the heart"? But at last I did, and it is moving. Director Diego Garcia Moreno mostly understood the questions in English, but answered in Spanish, assisted by his wife and music director Ricky (?). Afterwards I tell them that like the backwards images of Jesus with the Sacred Heart in his film, there is the same situation with Ganesh and his trunk going to one side or the other: one side is auspicious and the other not so, and ships loaded with cargo of inauspicious Ganesh images have mysteriously been sunk, though maybe more for reasons of insurance than luck.

DIRTY COUNTRY was insanely dirty, and the audience mostly just loved it. I was surprised to find finally I thought "I want to sleep by your pussy tonight" was indeed a love song to his wife, and realized that of all those songwriting boyfriends I'd had who never did write one for me, such a song would've been welcome! Cool to see Doug Clark and His Hot Nuts, too, as yep, I did indeed see them at a frat party back at Emory in the early 70's! (As I recall, that was where my Kappa "big sister" Ellen Christian, aka "Connie Carpe Diem", wanted to quick-teach me how to chug beer for an onstage contest. I declined.) The song I remembered wasn't in this doc, though there is a dad about my age who recounts some of their songs and lyrics, and so I did get to hear, "'To hell with the dance and off with your pants!' said Barnacle Bill the Sailor" after all.

This afternoon dropped my minidisc recorder off next to LEADER arts editor Kathie Meyer at the Upstage for the Bruce Hattendorf "class" on the history and present heyday of documentaries. I'm still trying to get EKPHRASTIKINO: POEMS INSPIRED BY FILMS done! So pick up the recorder right at the end, 2 hours later.

Didn't get "Sicilian Feast" from Silverwater either, but I heard it was meatballs. Bet there was some without, but I was busy still trying to get my chapbook of poems inspired by films out!

Odd note: coming down the long Haller steps, I heard all this sound of helicopters, and wondered what in the world – some publicity stunt? some awful airlift emergency situation? Oh, no, it's SUPERMAN on the big outdoor screen. Kinda made me sad to see Christopher Reeve all young and healthy up there.

AND THE WEATHER WAS BEAUTIFUL! After pouring rain last night, blue skies and fluffy clouds all day!

It will be interesting to see what I'll dream of tonight?

Friday, September 28, 2007


Thu 27 Sep 07


Well, the PTFF begins!

Officially tomorrow? Not as far as the volunteers are concerned. As Nancy Sendler, Toby Jordan, and Peter Simpson made clear at the first party of this year's fest – tonight at the Uptown Theatre, where the volunteers get 1st payback in advance, a screening of EDEN – we are the "superheroes" of the PTFF.

Nancy (operations manager) welcomed us, mentioning the "superhero" theme of the Outdoor Movies this year (SUPERMAN, DICK TRACY, SPIDERMAN 2) and wondering if Peter chose these at this time when we could all use some new – or old – hero role models. She then introduced board chair Toby, who brought up the members of the board of directors.

Next Peter (artistic manager/director) spoke a bit, and gave us the current weather forecast. We are all keeping fingers crossed.

Peter also told us that our beloved Sherry Grover won't be attending, much less working, this weekend at the Fest. We are all so looking forward to her return!
(Here's a photo of Sherry the G, the "publicity still" she, husband artist Max, Nancy Sendler, and I all collaborated on for the "Oscar" Night Fundraising Gala back in February; in flannel jammies with popcorn with the small screen – that's just where and how we hope she's spending her recuperation!)

Director MICHAEL HOFMANN of Berlin introduced his 2006 film briefly, saying, "Unlike so many films these days, animals HAVE been killed in the making of this film!" And even though I'm a vegetarian (at first exactly because I couldn't stand that animals died for my food) nothing in this film bothered me. I think because I keep working to accept what is, and in this case, because the chef so clearly revered everything about cooking, start to finish, and it was all about love.

So yes, EDEN is great, getting a standing ovation from the nearly full house. As he took the stage for the Q&A after, Hofmann said "i've never been up in front of so many superheroes before!"

Later there's a party down at Water Street Brewing Company, where Elliott Gould made a brief, most friendly appearance. I spied Michael Knowles at the screening and at Water Street, at a table in the back where already filmmakers from around the country, and the world, are talking and exchanging e'mail addresses.

Frank & Kelli Ross and I "close the joint" around midnight. Must get some rest before the big weekend.


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