Tuesday, September 29, 2009

200 sticks of dynamite

or, 'is that what it takes to escape your comfort zone?'

my freshman year in college english class we read an essay on comfort, how it was the main enemy of the artist. and those few words determined much of my life. not that i seek pain and unrest. they just seem to come as a by-product of thought. and as richard carlsen so wisely said, 'our thoughts create emotions, and we're thinking all the time.'

of course, it's a fine-line between starvation and inspiration. the ravenous stranded in the desert dream of nothing but food, as the character in 'night' by elie weisel did at the end of his concentration camp stay. yet one must remain lean, both to live a long life and to fill it with creations.

ben shahn in 'the shape of content' said pretty much the same thing, describing how the teachers of art drift away from making it to analyzing the process. many have called divine discontent necessary. certainly, it's a pain in the ass, but it can keep you going at a remarkable pace!

the dynamite metaphor has a basis in today's reality. yesterday, on an isolated piece of private real estate in the middle of the forest, some wandering miners discovered 200 sticks in a mine-shaft, only thirty feet down. today the bomb squad from sacramento sought to burn the cache while a high wind blew at three in the afternoon, the humidity at eight percent. it took the forest fire bosses to call in a large crew, several engines, and a whole day of pleading to put it off until 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. i imagine the shaft having another exit half mile away, a huge blow-torch shooting out that end to ignite a major conflagration.

we'll have to see what this means for my dreams - and what i wake to in the morning.

meanwhile, my photo site is back up. i've posted pictures of the silver fire:

and last friday's cdt dance class:

and i've added a potpourri of photos to:

the temperature dropped twenty degrees last nite, and winter dances on the horizon. however, i expect i've a month to go. summer i love, winter's a disaster.

Friday, September 25, 2009

be glad you didn't marry me!

that's what the central character in neil la bute's play 'some girls (s)' could have said last nite at the rogue theater (http://www.chicorogue.com/) . or he could have said with shakespeare and my mother 'timing is all' but then there would have been no play. he visited old girlfriends to secretly record the conversations so he could use them in writing. this made him a cad, of course. would a woman playwrigt have let the girlfriends get away with murder?

in 'defense of the caveman' rob becker says he got the idea for the one-man show when everybody at a party, men included, said, 'all men are assholes.' he then brilliantly explains the difference between men and women - which i can't remember. broadway long ago.

yet after the show last night, i wondered if i'd have married any of these women. perhaps the anti-hero avoided a divorce. he inspired them all with visions of a beautiful future. could he have realized it with any of them? i have to really hand it to the director and the actors for being more even-handed than a local review gave them credit for.

obviously, this led me to examine myself. after all, i enjoyed twenty years with a wonderful variety of women and part of me really regrets nothing worked out over the long-haul. hopefully all found a profound and lasting relationship, which i know some have, my being merely a footnote to their history. as my mother told me at one of our last meetings, 'you played alone so much as a child, i didn't think you'd have anything to do with people!'

i did see one film, made in montreal, about an immigrant poet who put his wife and two kids through hell, cause he couldn't do more than write, day-dream, and play chess. i understood the situation completely. and three psychics have explained, 'you've had so much responsibility in past lives, you get to have fun in this one!'

okay, it's all self-justification. that said, i figure it takes two to tango and i was an adventure not all bad. 'timing is all - and be glad you didn't marry me.'

still, a partnership would have been a blessing.

latest photos: http://www.pbase.com/ scroll to the bottom.

best to all of you. and success in love, the only real accomplishment.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

one foot in reality

the other in fantasy. that's the way it's always been, fascinated first by picture books, then by the movies.

when i was very little, four or five, a member of my father's church owned a movie theater. he said i could watch whatever i wanted, whenever, free. and i'd wander in, sit down and absorb the mysteries of hopalong cassidy, the prince and the pauper, and inside the theater and outside all become one.

using the fancier term, i still love films. as a student in berkeley i visited studio a and b, the pics chosen by a local, pauline kael, who later became a famous critic ('i lost it at the movies', etc). she played every classic: 'children of paradise', 'the naked night', 'streetcar named desire'. european and american, they flooded my imagination. and even now as i talk about them, i'd rather be in a movie than sitting here on a mountain.

actually, i almost was, in a movie, here where i'm writing, as the fall weather rolls over me and the sky clouds up. a columbia crew came from hollywood, rented my clothes, painted the inside of the lookout, and for four days on two weekends in october i lived the life of a fellini character, hot lunches for all on the edge of the cliff. kevin bacon starred. we'd be talking and he'd be called. i'd never seen anyone focus so quickly.

they had a terrible time with the film. the producer a lawyer who knew nothing about the business. he'd sit in his chair like a lord mayor, making everybody nervous. and they complained about his cheapness, his willingness to spend only forty thousand dollars a day.

and in the end, they filmed the rest of it in new zealand and never released it into theaters, the lookout scene cut, after all that. maybe you can find it. 'whitewater summer' that's what it was called.

so at four and five i slipped into the darkness whenever i wanted, and at six i wanted to be an actor. alas, as soon as my mother wanted me to memorize the poems of winnie the pooh, i knew it to be too much work. besides, i wanted to repeat my own words, not the words of others, and i did monologue performances for the neighborhood instead.

of course, i wanted to rival my father's sermons, a habit i've never lost. and i keep learning lessons from the silver screen myself. after a viewing i absorb the energy of the principal actor and walk like him/her, talk like him/her, all the next day, one foot in reality, one foot in fantasy.

here are a few examples of dreaming a life away:

i can't recommend it too highly.