LVII. Lethe< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >

Lethe (II) 

Shower in thunder
Push into the night
Where everything breathes
Down the lane
Tracing the shadows
Between the flashes
Between breaths
Between footsteps
Between your fingers
Running for something—

That single lamppost
That arc of light
That break in night
The true mark of flight…
Breech the circle of orange glow

Past the wood
Past the deer
Past the rocks
The river flows—

Down where the swamps grow
Down where time slows
Until you stop
And the bog rolls around you
Thick like molasses
A rocky island in the night
A spit of land in the night
A limb of land in the night—

Amuse yourself if you must
Spend your time here, aye, if you will
Building in circles
Moving in circles
Forgetting in circles…
Wood and star and
Rock and hush and
Staring and starring
Drawing you in
Lapping the silent thick
Mudding your knees—

And the silences inbetween—

Just, don’t disturb the water
Don’t get the river upon ye—

How long have I been here?
Slip away the years…

That night you cannot get at
Those damp molasses swirls
That lapping, dark hole
Eye of dark water
Haunting marshmallow and cream
Mudded chocolate, stale dream
Don’t disturb the river
Don’t get the water upon yea—

Down where the swamps grow
Land of the cool slow
Full stop
And the bog rolls around you.

…Until your fingers slip
Slick, grasp for a stone
A piece of rock—No, wood—
The desire to know…
To throw, shatter the Eye
And remember—

What is it?

The dark water
Your stale dreams
The fading memory of being clean…

And a desire to know.
To remember—

Leads a throw, splash—

The molasses parts
The navy eye grows…
The thick regroups.

…But, there’s a sudden breeze…

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I sat in the car for over two hours yesterday, only to get to a meeting and have it be 10 minutes long.

Which can happen (I’ve learned) when people are busy and have to go out of town last minute, and thus I was in the car a lot and in the meeting very little, which lead me to be all, “Dag, yo; I am tired. I will go home, lay down and have a think.” ...But then I was like, “f-that, Jessica Stover; only sissies hang up their boots because of traffic and important-short meetings,” so then I went to gymnastics in my street clothes and was like, “What? I am so here” and, “Fine I will try a double back-handspring for the first time. See if I care. I don’t even! BAM!”

If you listen closely, you can hear me crack up at the end before the video cuts out. Mostly because of how much Coach had to spot me. That would crack anyone up mid-handspring, really.

Or maybe I'm laughing because I'm so good that I feel bad for all those other fools everywhere who are trying to tumble.

You don't know.

This amazing still photo will reveal the truth.

Anyway, I am very tired. But I have learned to hide it.

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Are you ever watching a film, or anything, really; and in the picture they cut about so much so fast and in such a way that it's like they don’t want you to really see anything?

That particular "technique" makes me think the photography was terrible and they are hiding said terribleness as well as they can. MTV reality shows have to do it because they don’t have the kind of assets that make for longer scenes and less cutting, which is part of why they suck. But what the heck was Domino’s excuse?

Also, all I see when I watch anything that’s not great is the lighting and how everyone’s top of head is constantly super lit up in anything genre.

I might be going insane from it, actually.

Anyway, I figure Entourage is a decent layman's crash course in film business.

…Although, they did have The Macarana in the season finale. I don’t get that: Is Entourage set in the '90s or something? I had no idea it was a period piece.

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I was looking at a photo of one of my friends, and the single frame in question could not have captured him more perfectly. Accidentally it became everything that a portrait should be. I said as much. He agreed. Then, he asked me if I had a photo of myself like that.

“I really don’t,” I said.

“But you have so many photos,” he prompted.

I thought about them all. None were right. I suppose for now (because I was forced to), I’d pick this one. The linked version is a poor scan of a Polaroid taken by my friend Fab between setups at one of my shoots.

It is challenging to get at the heart of a person.

It is more challenging to let someone get at the heart of you.

It is most challenging for both to align effortlessly, along with the skill required to take a clear photo.

Now try this in a sequence, a quick sequence, in the context of a story and specific environment.

For this reason we do love film, do we not?

It is where so many intimate and impossible truths happen at once, if only for a moment.

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Portrait of the Artist 

. . .

Dear person who e-mailed me about amateur photography and who prefers to remain anonymous,

I did a case study for you with poor light and marginal digital cameras today and will show you what I meant by “be creative” and “yes, to an extent you can teach yourself to model/be on camera.” If everyone is nice to me, then I will put it up over the weekend.

In the meantime, look up three-point lighting. Mostly so that you can watch me ignore the technique.

Update: On second thought, I'm not updating this entry. The comments make the point nicely.

Go play.

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Ride, Just Enjoy the Ride 

I was searching for a dance video that was mentioned by the instructor who subbed for Phi (who is never there when I go, btw) at Millennium today and I randomly found this.

What I find enjoyably challenging about Millennium is that it is serious dance world there; like some sort of fully tricked-out dance movie: The hip-hop instructors are sick and dancing there is like jumping into an urban-punky-theatrical fashion show.

This is obviously a later rehearsal where they are repeating, polishing and making it look easy. And obviously the dancers here are getting paid as opposed to a class. If you had told me back when I was watching this ad play in theaters prior to previews that I would one day get to dance where they rehearsed for the production, well, I probably would have believed you because I'm a go getter like that (even when I can't see the "how" yet,) and I would have been hella, hella excited about the idea. I wouldn't have slept for a week. I feel that way about a lot of the opportunities available in Los Angeles and remind myself not to take them for granted.

I mean, I'm not even a dancer really. I simply like to dance.

There’s a lot of personality and talent hanging around that studio. I wish that acting in itself had the group and community energy that the more active performance styles and sports breed. The drop-in atmosphere is rad: It’s like a focused, professional community center.

All of that rehearsal and choreography, and look how much of the actual dancing/dancers made it to final cut.

Incidentally, months ago when I was watching a load of DP reels I noticed how much more, exactly how much more (a lot), production money commercials have compared to actual films. Music videos for major artists have some loaded budgets as well (some videos are arguably commercials themselves).

It's likely that the future of artistic, narrative film is dependent on individuals who are independently wealthy. Companies only pay for crap or adverts, and filmmaking is incredibly expensive. This commercial is a minute and a half long. Excluding the multi-million dollar deal that the company paid out for Brit, care to take a guess at what the budget was?

And I still haven't found that video I was searching for. Probably because I can't remember dude's name.

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Wes Anderson. He’s a terrific filmmaker with a unique point of view. From his dialogue to blocking to the way he choreographs the camera and envisions the production design... I’m a fan.

This afternoon I screened his latest, The Darjeeling Limited.

The film has style and control, and its clever bits, but character and story are lacking and some ideas are recycled from Wes' previous films. It was the related short film that played beforehand (a prologue) with Schwartzman and Nat Portman that had more tangible emotion and character; something you could feel and react to. Unlike a great lot of films, I'm not sorry that I saw Darjeeling. Then again, I was with friends and it was a free screening, and it was a Wes film, so there are worst ways to spend an afternoon. Another case of good ideas that needed better organization and development. I find it difficult to say anything poor about the filmmaker, however; his work is skilled and charming and the actor in me is always thrilled by his style.

Yesx2, there is indeed a short that plays beforehand, which is really a part of the movie, but dramatically (levels wise) doesn't fit. I never read the studio production notes (useless) or do much research on films beforehand because I like to go in clean and react to what happens in the theater. What does the story behind the making of the film matter? If it's not on the screen, it's not on the screen. When you screen films early, you have the ability to go in really, really clean. I hadn’t even seen a trailer for this film. Thus, I had no idea what to expect and hadn't heard anything about there being a short film involved.

This short I mentioned, with Nat and Schwartzman, it’s not going to be played in theaters. Guess where you get to watch it for free? Yep. When I learned that, I couldn’t help but immediately say, “…So Natalie Portman just did a nude scene for an Internet film?”

You have to watch the short online, which is some sort of new, new media blunder, I guess.

Online video is playschool. Drama doesn’t transfer to the 'Net well and the audience won’t be able to appreciate the filmmaking. The short is an intimate sequence. It does not belong on the Internet for free.

Taste wise, I have a huge issue with the choice, is all.

I don’t understand the point. Is the online vid intended to help sales? (I assume.) Why not make it part of the film in the first place? Why can it not be released along with the film and play beforehand as it is being screened both here and at festivals?

Oh, and guess what? If you haven’t seen the short prior to the film, then there are a few points where you will be confused. Not that I’m sending you to the film. The short is actually better than the film (which is part of what I meant by "levels"). If they're going to put something online, they should put the feature up and release the short theatrically. They have some problem solving to do.

Update: PaulyD was there, too.

Updatex2: I found out that they are going iTunes free download with the short, which is the classiest way to do it, but still. Wish you could see it like I did.

Now I will shift to another subject, semi-related, that launches me into a rant that ends in the same question I am constantly asking:

Andwtfisthis? A radio spot?

What, what, what are people thinking? So much talent, so much!—I’m surrounded by it—I’m swimming in it—I see it every day here, and not just on the lots or in studio… I’m not only speaking about artist talent, I’m speaking of business and marketing talent, too.

What the hell is going on.

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Nerds, Rejoice! 


Woo! TSL is so famous on production illustrator Greg Martin’s website in a magazine and now in a picture of his website in a magazine on my website. It is a circle of so famous, you see. Some sort of so famous wormhole… Idon’tknowyoudothemathandtellmeyourspacelogicfindings.

PS: I’m pretty sure the circulation of that magazine is one billion.

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Other People's Money 

Thank you for having me. Oh no I’m fine, I don’t need a glass of water. Yes, thank you, I would love to sit. I would love to sit across from you, entertainment industry businessman, as you proceed to assume that I know nothing about how things are in reality versus the illusion that studios create in terms of Box Office and Success and Profit. Will you please shut up now so that we can get down to brass--What an odd pause. Oh I see, I’m supposed to ask you a question so that you can continue expounding upon Movie Making 101. Best think quickly--What are your ideas on where distribution is heading? And don’t forget to tell me what the future of the theaters is! And if you don’t wax on about new media, I think I’ll just die! And by "OPM" you mean…? Ah. I'm with you. Yes, yes, because I asked you to clarify a slang acronym that you said so fast it might have been a Naughty By Nature song, I must be a juvenile idiot: Thank you for not using big words from this point forward.

I’m far from genius when it comes to economics and business, but let’s say I have a working knowledge that I keep to myself, even when the person talking at me is wrong about what they are talking at me about. Should I stop the conversation then and force them to allow me to demonstrate via Google why, in all their infinite knowledge, they are barely scraping the surface of the beast they so willingly serve?

I would of course be referring the person to experts on the matter, which is always better than attempting to regurgitate what I’ve internalized from those sources. But what good would that do? Either they know the reality and are keeping it to themselves, which makes them a particular brand of deceiver, or they don’t know and therefore are uninformed and a tool, or they don’t think it is worth discussing with me, which means there’s no point in continuing in the first place. Certainly I don’t mind demonstrating that I am not dim or that I have no desire to blissfully avoid knowing where the money comes from and what unwise evils I might be perpetuating simply by participation, but this is a new level of insult that occurs post demonstration of proficiency. So it is an insult: The only other explanation is that quite a number of important men in media who think a whole lot of themselves also happen to be literally deaf in addition to the metaphorical deafness they practice in the arena of right and wrong as they go about presenting themselves as model citizens.

Dear Sir, if you think I don’t understand hedge funds, tax shelters or other ways, past and present, studios finance films, or how the six companies controlling movies actually make profit, or you think I don’t know what vertical integration is or the history of Rupert Murdoch’s media tyranny or how distribution costs break down, then to you I say, “Child, please.” I learned the vertical integration that is media conglomerates first hand, and, also, I know how to read. Plus, I have access to the Internet. And did I mention that I know how to read?

Didn’t you see that movie Erin Brockovich? It’s kind of like that, except less boob-tastic. It’s amazing how anyone can learn anything real quick nowadays. Even “just another starving artist”s. What’s more remarkable, however, is the ability for us to unlearn just as much, no matter the amount of time and money you put into training us up via billboards and TV spots.

Anyway, I don’t know why you think I’m the inferior asshole between the two of us: I’m not the one who gave Uwe Boll a career.

Audience, I have a fear of saying things that are limited in view or not researched enough: Mostly because I don’t want to be spewing out falsities and thus become that which I greatly dislike. I cannot research everything in the world in great depth however (although I break myself trying), nor can I be an expert on everything in the human constructed realm. I endeavor to be responsible and do admit when I’ve made a mistake, and always am game to explore the possibilities of truth and viable theories. There is always more to learn and unlearn. Yet once you see the big picture and as much of the crannies and specificities and know quite a bit, you may as well think aloud when fitting. Thus, I may begin to run my mouth more often. I do hope you’re as curious as I am, or else we are all in great trouble. Please do not allow your having read this or applauded the satire on The Daily Show or complained to your friends about product placement placate you into doing nothing.


Yes, I posted an entry.

But don’t get used to anything.

Well, no one will accuse me of not being timely: "Plan Would Ease Limits on Media Owners" (NY Times)

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