Soon after the start of “Paris, Texas,” Harry Dean Stanton appears in an astonishing gorge called the Devil’s Graveyard. He’s playing a lost soul, Travis, who will spend the rest of the film getting found. Right now, though, surrounded by rock formations that evoke the westerns of John Ford, Travis is an enigma. On foot and wholly alone save for a watchful eagle, wearing a red cap and an inexplicable double-breasted suit, Travis looks like a former cowboy or maybe a businessman who took a wrong turn. He looks like someone Dorothea Lange might have photographed during the Great Depression. He looks like the American West, all sinew, dust and resolve. [Read more…]
Excerpted from “The Poetic Work of Trailer Recutters,” in the September 4 issue of The New Yorker
. . . On YouTube, viewable on my laptop when I should be writing or answering e-mails, there’s another spike for my cinema-addict veins: the work of the Trailer Recutters. These are would-be film editors and directors who make new trailers for classic movies. Modern (or archaic) music choices, quicker (or slower) cutting, iconic scenes and images scrambled out of sequence.
I’m not talking about the Recontextualizers, those prankish scamps who will create a trailer for “The Shining” as if it were a light comedy or for “West Side Story” as if it were a pandemic thriller. Those are delightful, but they serve a setup and a punch line outside the meaning of the film.
1950 | 2017
In remembrance of Walter Becker, a live version of “Do It Again,” from The Midnight Special, 1973. David Palmer (vocal, percussion); Donald Fagen (keyboards, vocal); Denny Dias (guitar); Walter Becker (1950-2017 bass); Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (congas); and Jim Hodder (1947-1990 drums).
Kitchen Talk. A Long Smoke. A Story (of course!).
“It was dark. I mean, a moonless night, barren landscape. And suddenly the train slows, and stops. And somehow the message went out that we could disembark, go off the train, because there was an opportunity to buy some drinks. But there was no station. You come off the metal stairs on the train, and go across, dust, dust was blowing, dust was filling the air, and it was somehow warmly lilt from the interior lights on the train that was spilling out from this barren, dust-filled landscape. And there, through the dust, we saw this little stand, canvas and wood, with some small lamps around it. And as we got closer we saw bottles: yellow bottles, green bottles. The bottles were clear, but the fluid inside was green or yellow or red or violet. And it was sugar water. It wasn’t, you know, chilled. It was just absolutely the temperature of the outdoors. And for the smallest amount of money you could get a bottle of this sugar water. So I gave the man there in this small tent — moths were flipping and flying like frogs, frog moths were pulling themselves out of the earth and flying up in front of the stand, dust was blowing, it was like a mysterious strange-wind sound, and out came the tiniest little copper coin that I got somewhere, and I gave it to this man. I gave the man the coin. He gave me a bottle of, I don’t know if I got violet sugar water or what. I got this bottle. And, in addition, I got a paper, a piece of paper money — four inches by three inches — the most beautiful, intricately designed gold and green and blue, red, a piece of paper money, and the bottle, for just giving him this small copper coin. Back I went into the train . . .”
Excerpts from an ABC News Special Report that aired at 11:00-11:29 a.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 26, 1979 as the last total solar eclipse for North America until August 21, 2017 swept across the Pacific Northwest.
The legendary Glen Campbell died today at age 81 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He will be missed.
Here he is on an old TNN special with a room full of country music legends, including Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Roy Clarke, Chet Aikins, Ray Stevens, Tammy Wynette and Crystal Gayle:
In a somewhat combative 1957 interview, a flinty and surprisingly conventional Mike Wallace interrogates an unwavering yet ever-thoughtful Frank Lloyd Wright.
1973. David Lynch had been shooting Eraserhead for roughly one year when he ran out of cash. The film was suddenly and indefinitely on hold. It was, he says, “a depressing time.” It was also this time that the American Film Institute asked a friend of his, Fred, to shoot a test using two different black and white video stocks to determine which stock was best, because, as Lynch tells it, “they were going to buy a bunch.” Lynch says when he heard AFI was buying video tapes, “it gave me a sadness, and I worried they were going to have to change the name of the place” (from American Film Institute to American Video Institute). “So I looked at Fred, and I got an idea, and I said, um, ‘Fred, does it matter what you shoot?’ And he said, ‘Well, what are you talking about?” And I said ‘Could you shoot anything you want? Twice. One with one stock and one with the other, and go like that, for the test?’ And he said, ‘Well, I don’t see why not.’ So I said, ‘Could I write something and make something for tomorrow?’ And he said, ‘Okay.’”
That evening Lynch wrote The Amputee. The next day he shot this video:
Interviews with Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Common, Chris Rock, Mahershala Ali and others as they discuss issues such as systemic racism, troubles with honesty in relationships, the readiness to love, mentorship and much more.
Directed By: Phuong-Cac Nguyen
Produced By: Alfredo Ritta
South American Cho-Low is a short documentary that examines the meeting point between cholo style and lowrider culture in Sao Paulo. The film features interviews with major personalities and icons from the movement such as photographer Estevan Oriol, Christopher “Duel” Hall, Antonio Carlos Batista “Alemão” Filho, Luiz “Gordo” Teixeira, Mariana de Paula Martins and Leandro Vinicius Pimenta Cabellos, who take viewers through the world of lowriders, tattoos, religion and cholo style as they recount why they’re so passionate about Chicano and lowrider culture, and why they relate so much to those living the life in East Los Angeles. South American Cho-Low shows that despite the violence associated with gang culture, the Brazilian interpretation — where violence is noticeably absent — provokes the deeper question of what it means to truly be a lowrider and maintain a Brazilian identity.
from the LA Times
Though his name was largely known only within the industry, Loren Janes appeared in “Spartacus,” the “Magnificent Seven,” “The Ten Commandments,” “How the West Was Won,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” “The Dirty Dozen,” “The Graduate,” “Planet of the Apes,” “The Poseidon Adventure,” “Back to the Future,” “To Live and Die in L.A.,” “Spider Man,” hundreds of movies and television shows in all.
He doubled for Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Frank Sinatra, Charles Bronson, John Wayne, Debbie Reynolds, Yul Brenner and McQueen over and over again.
The car chase scene in “Bullitt” — a jarring 10-minute adrenaline rush across the streets of San Francisco — became such a classic that it spawned its own subculture, websites, Google forums on where the scenes were shot, and an overlay for Google Maps that lets motorists retrace the chase route. In 2011, the Wall Street Journal even rented a Ford Mustang — albeit not the 1968 Ford Mustang GT used in the film — and took Janes on a slow-speed reenactment of the chase.
“Steve was a great driver, but he was only behind the wheel for about 10% of what you see on screen,” Janes confided during the reenactment. “He drove in scenes that required close-ups — but not in the ones that could kill him.”
–excerpted from Steve Marble’s LA Times obit
Cracked Actor (Live, Los Angeles ’74)
Sweet Thing/Candidate (Live, Los Angeles ’74)
In honor and in celebration of Cracked Actor, the new live release from David Bowie’s infamously depraved yet musically stellar ’74 tour (the new album narrows in on one evening, his September 5th show at Los Angeles’ Universal Amphitheater, which I had the blearied pleasure of attending!), Riot Material scratched up a BBC documentary from that same tour, titled Cracked Actor: A Film About David Bowie. The 1975 film, viewable below, is directed by Alan Yentob.
Though New York for years has had an inspiringly lively and progressive jazz scene, Kamasi Washington, approaching the American cultural front, is singlehandedly making the form relevant once more. His forthcoming EP, Harmony of Difference, currently (and exclusively heard) in its own room at the Whitney, will surely set the stage for the long in coming Jazz Renaissance.
Hands down the best collaborative work at this year’s Biennial, and in fact the single best piece in the exhibition (no diss on an otherwise excellent affair, particularly floor 6), is Washington’s stellar “Truth” and the equally affecting film in accompaniment, Harmony of Difference, written and directed by AG Rojas. [Read More…]
Kerry James Marshall on the idea of representation, contemporary vision, and the elevation of Black imagination. [Read more…]
Chicano artist Harry Gamboa Jr. talks about the creation of No Movies with ASCO [Read more…]