Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Guy Maddin - My Favorite Living Filmaker

First the man


some of the work

Monday, November 06, 2006

Kiki Smith

At first I was drawn to her darker materials. The fearful primal quality of their biology, especially the sculptural stuff was like a punch to the gut. But some of her work has this more airy quality lately, almost as if she has exorcised a few demons.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

1980's MTV

OK, while trying to fill the time surfing I came across the VH1 top 100 songs of the eighties. It should have been obvious to me that all those videos I watched back in the eighties could have such an influence on me. I should have been able to realize that the art direction, the actual sound of the music, all of those elements would have been guided by artisans who had the same sort of contextual background as any one I had met in the NY or Chicago theatre scene decades later. Why did it take this accidental reexamination to bring all of that to the foreground of my conscious? Maybe, it's because I hold a significant distain for what the advertisers are pushing as pop today.

I look at the following videos and think to myself, what the fuck happened to MTV. I want my MTV used to mean something, now it's just a bunch of 14 year olds trying to cop a feel or tell knock knock jokes. Maybe, I've become the stereotypical aging spectator, but without a hint of humility I can say that the 80s were better than the Oughts(sp?) when it comes to the art of music video (end rant).


Before I knew who salvador dali, andre breton, or rene magritte was, I got my first jolt of surrealism thanks to these two. Damn that's phantasmagoria.

The Police

Noir influence, the black and white, the shadows

Creepy, Gothic

Billy Idol

You'll notice that Billy Idol has quite a presence here. Which surprised me. I am enamored of the dark, gothic quality of these videos. Either Billy had some amazing taste or he had someone making all the right decisions for him. Before I could watch horror movies (very protective mother) I was able to watch these little horror strips.

If Samuel Beckett were a pop star and made music videos. They might mov slower, but they could very well look like this.
The Isolated body parts. Even the title of the song "Eyes with out a Face" puts me mind of NOT I or PLAY or some of the shorter works. There is a visual affinity (at least for the first two and half minutes.)

Zombies, Dystopia, Revolution. Visually this is as arresting as Brazil, Metropolis, George Romero. I'm taken the most by all the different people we get to spy upon as he goes up in the elevator.

Phil Collins

OK, I cant think of this sound without thinking about Miami Vice, but if you can divorce that association from it and it is quite a frightening prospect. Those close ups of Phil are like slow motion Exorcist.


The first Metallica video or song I ever heard or saw.



Kafkaesque, David Lynchian. For me personally, this video sort of has this shelf space in my mind as the most relevant, the most jarring, and menacing video of my early MTV viewing. I remember thinking about this video. Thinking about the narrative, being compelled by the plight of the protagonist.

Talking heads

I forgot that the eighties were so cool so crisp so introspective

Peter Gabriel

Forget Sledgehammer


This guys should get there own post. But this counts as eighties music video.

The Cure

Simple Minds

Tom Petty

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rick Cluchey

This is the best performance I have every seen live. It was during my first year at Chicago. He was a guest at the old Goodman by the lake, the one that was housed in the same architectual structure as the Art Institute.

I was overwhelmed by all the humor he had found in the text. The emotional landscape was vast in it's facets. Not something you often find in Beckett intrepretation. Most the time it's just clowning jesters or stoic psuedo-suicidial golems.

Of course when you think about Cluchey doing any Beckett text how could it not be overflowing with relevance and meaning and emotion. This man was released from prison due to Beckett. The man was given a second chance becuase of the relationship he formed with Beckett's words.

I would pay a pretty penny o see this work again. i only hope that those with the knowledge and influence in Chicago Theatre scene see it fit to bring back this artist and others like him.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Friday, July 28, 2006

Studs Terkel

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Terry Gilliam

For the past decade, my favorite film of Gilliam's has been this one. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" undoubtable owes no small debt to its author either. But, to have brought Thompson's novel to life is no small feat. Whether you credit Gilliam or his D.O.P. the way the camera moves in this scene, it actually made me feel like I was tripping when I saw it in the movie theater. This film has the ability to both make want to never drop acid, but at the same time I'm capitivated to the narrative, covetious, envious of these two articluate orangutans. The way they hurl themselves head first towards adventure towards danger even against their own better judgement. Yes, its self destructive, but at the same time it is so capitvating, liberating.

Dsytopian visions are becoming pretty hum drum. Especially all the stuff that comes out of the hollywood system as of late. Here we have the requiste elements of the dystopian vision but recombined and approached in such a novel method that this film quite literally can not be duplicated. Comparisons to Brave New World or 1984 fail to convay the value and scope of this story. No one else in any artistic form could make this sort of dystopian tale. Despite the desolation and dread in this world the characters live in there is a hope and a whimsy that survives in full sincerity through most of the picture. The razor's edge of satire and characature are walked with such confidence and quality.

I first saw this film on UHF tv (remember UHF?). It was the "Hollywood" ending. I was a pre-teen and was of course mesmerized by the story telling and in my own way so satisfied, so fulfilled by the Hollywood ending. To have seen Sam triumphant in the endgave me such a lift. Of course living on the edge of the Florida everglades in the eighties on dirt roads, I had no idea about Gilliam's struggles with Hollywood and that I had not seen the actual film as it was intented. Years later while in either my last year of middle school or my first year of high school, isaw brazil again (probably on VHS) I knew that there were 2 different cuts of the picture, but I had no idea how different. I was devastated when I saw Gilliam's intented ending. Strangely enough, I wouldn't trade my approach to this film for any other way of seeing it. The only thing more powerful than Gilliam's vision was being able to compare it to the candy coated Hollywood ending I intitally expected. Sitting here at the computer, remembering this now, I'm starting to comprehend how much power these episodes with this picture my have had on the direction of my artistic expression and my conception of obstacles I have faced. My attraction to darker subject matter, toward tragedy...All of these had to have been shaped in some significant way by Gilliam and by my precieved metamorphosis of Brazil. I wonder how many others have seen the film this same way at that same time in their lives.

Richard Foreman