So, Mrs. Lauren Becall died today. I’m definetly going to revisit more of her films in the near future, for tonight I do plan on re-watching To have and have not which served as a great excuse to play with dolls at the age of 21 with my dear Kim Martin. Here’s a document of one of my fondest memories in Madrid; And dear Lauren - we love you Slim!
Jack Smith The Beautiful Book
I’m crazy in love with Jack Smith’s photographies.
Chumlum by Ron Rice, 1964
Chumlum was Ron Rice’s fourth and final film, which he made in the same year he died at the age of twenty nine. (He and his wife, Amy, were in Mexico City, where he caught bacterial pneumonia.) I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve seen frame enlargements from this film presented as being from Jack Smith’s Normal Love: an understandable mistake since this film was shot while the cast members of Smith’s movie were hanging out before and after the other’s filming. However, this is an altogether different experience. Though some double exposure occurs in Normal Love (most extensively in the long dance between Beverly Grant and the Boa Constrictor,) in Chumlum pretty much every frame involves either double or triple superimpositions. Though it uses the same cast as Normal Love, it includes a very important addition in front of the camera, namely Jack Smith himself; who acts not only as guiding spirit, but as resident clown and Mesmer. There is also the very important matter of the soundtrack, which here actually is composed and performed by Angus MacLise (with Tony Conrad’s assistance.) It all shows how someone with a very different sensibility than the one Jack possessed could take the materials, which clearly bear his stamp, and compose a film dramatically different in mood, texture, and form. Though one may feel a slow surging of the pace at times (especially in an early sequence shot from the stern of a boat) the overall rhythm is that of a trance. In this film, as a performer, Jack literally sets out to hypnotize the viewer.
I-Be AREA (2007) Ryan Trecartin
"…For queer artists of Mr. Trecartin’s generation, cross-dressing, cross-identifying and cross-thinking are part of a state of being, not statements of political position. Like the work of John Waters and Jack Smith, his art is about just saying no to life as we think we have seen it and saying yes to zanier, virtual-utopian possibilities."
Cotter, Holland. “Video Art Thinks Big: That’s Showbiz.” The New York Times. January 6, 2008. — Electronic Arts Intermix
"If we do not attempt to discover the magic sense of things, we will do no more than add new sources of degradations to those already offered to people today, which are beyond number… if the powers of backwardness continue to spread, if they push us any further into the dead end of cruelty and incomprehension, that will be the end of all human dignity,"
Joan Miró, state of affairs before the Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939)
Life is funny, eh?