Wednesday, February 13, 2008

a clown looking for ms. valentine

hmm, never wanted to be a hero? or let's say, i've always seen myself as a clown tumbling through the universe, responding to forces flipping me this way and that, always hoping to land on my feet (so far so good).

the hero seems to me stiff and rigid, resisting the dictates of fate. he/she doesn't bend, therefore risks being broken (tragedy). in the film 'el topo' the central character gets shot through the feet and hands (it's a western) in imitation of christ. even at 20 i knew i didn't want to be a martyr.

now the clown position does have it's disadvantages. for one thing, you might make people laugh but they don't really respect you. that can be tough to take. and you don't have control over the universe. you bounce like a ball thrown by the gods to genuflect whichever way they will. for example, being at the whim of chance, i either find interesting things to photograph, walking around, or i find nothing. arranging things seems like a big bore.

true, i like directing plays. and there i do have to take charge. but it's a fine line. mostly i try to elicit the genius in other people. and as anyone knows who's done theater, the chips fall where they may. so, i like working with givens, doing without doing, as a zen master might have it.

therefore, i've no career. o i suppose i could have joined the circus. i've always loved them and performers. alas, every circus story seems to end in tragedy. the clown ends up being cuckholded and shooting his favorite bear. (ingmar bergmann). or the beauty loved falls to her death from the high wire. (some film seen as a child.) more often than not, it's the audience who experiences tragedy turned into comedy while the roustabouts are left holding the bag.

yes, there's a lot of passivity in this position. the best i can say is it's often the drunk who survives a crash cause he/she is so relaxed. maybe he'll sober up behind bars, yet that is the most helpless position of all. (unless you're the birdman of alcatraz.)

and you can enjoy never knowing what's coming!

here are a few circus pictures seen through the lens of memory: