Saturday, March 28, 2009


Today I spent the afternoon in a playground. Wondering, "what do I want to do next?" A nature film? Something simple? Something aesthetically stimulating. Something that would involve travel (as a means of reaching my joyful process stage).

But where? Lake Luise, Canada? Oregon? Some undiscovered ocean shore along Washington State coastline. Maybe all three?

I went to Aperture on 27th street to browse through there vast photography book library. I got my tax refund back, so why not treat myself to a gift. Treat myself to a book. See where my brain goes if stimulated properly.

I looked for something that would hit a nerve. I found something. A large and expensive book on the works of artist Beate Gutschow. Landscapes. The works were very green and rich. I saw places I wished I could be at that very moment. Actually every single moment.

Reading an interview I learned that, like Andreas Gursky, Gutschow takes analog photographs of places. She then creates montage by digitally superimposing elements of the photos she takes, finally creating a very special and personal place that essentially only exists by her creative hands. I like that. First of all, it saves me a lot of money. I DON'T HAVE TO BLOW A FEW THOUSAND DOLLARS ON SOME DIGITAL CAMERA THAT WILL BE OUTDATED IN 6 MONTHS TIME. I can use analog. Basically, I want to consider this option. A weekend trip to a special quiet non-touristy place that would allow me the freedom to explore via analog capture. Then, via digital toys, re-create something "other". I may want to include some form of narrative, but I'll see when the time comes. I know that I want GREEN. And I know that I want to layer location sounds.

OK, I blabbed.
You sure are lucky. You get to really dive into my thinking here. You meaning ME (when I re-read my BLOGS).

Thanks. Enjoy the still image from a GUTSCHOW shot. ta ta for now.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Did the Joker Kill Heath Ledger?

One of the more intriguing things bandied about in the days following Heath Ledger’s tragic death last month was that the Joker — the comic book character Ledger plays in the upcoming The Dark Knight — killed him.

By this people didn’t mean that the Joker, a fictional character, literally killed Ledger, but they didn’t exactly mean it in a wholly figurative sense either. Rather, people seemed to be suggesting that Ledger was haunted by the Joker, unable to get him out of his system after playing him, and that this might at least partially explain his untimely death. In the words of John Brackett, “So did the Joker take over his mind and eventually end his life in a horribly ironic twist worthy of his green haired alter-ego?”

As more of the facts surrounding Ledger’s death came to light, the less people suggested that the Joker killed him. Yet, after reading ">Rolling Stone’s recent obituary for/appreciation of Ledger, I’m not entirely convinced it’s frivolous to ask whether the Joker might in some weird way be responsible for Ledger’s death. And if that is indeed the case, what does it say about the psychic power of fictional characters?

The following lines in the Rolling Stone piece seem to reinforce, if only subtly at times, the idea that the Joker killed Ledger:
“He couldn’t seem to disengage; the inexactness bothered him.”
“Ledger had no formal training, and there’s this to be said for acting school: it teaches you to approach a role as foreign, as a language you’ll temporarily speak. Ledger didn’t appear to have that. He needed to dig for (and inhabit) the part of himself that was the character. ‘Performance comes from absolutely believing what you’re doing,’ he said. ‘You convince yourself, and believe in the story with all your heart.’ It didn’t always shut off when a production did, and I think it ground him.”
“As The Joker in next summer’s The Dark Knight, he will appear as a man severed from all connection. A ‘psychopathic, mass-murdering clown with zero empathy,’ is how he described it to the New York Times. On set, Michael Caine said the performance sometimes turned so frightening he forgot his own lines.”
I find these three quotes really provocative.

Interestingly, the article begins by mentioning Daniel Day-Lewis’s heartfelt reaction to the news of Ledger’s death on Oprah.
Most people probably thought that Day-Lewis was simply being classy and emotional, and that he deserved kudos for saying what was really on his mind, for acknowledging something Oprah probably wouldn’t have mentioned otherwise. But maybe Day-Lewis’s reaction had more to do with the fact that both he and Ledger approached acting in the same way, i.e., they both sought to become the characters they played. Maybe Day-Lewis expression of grief had something to do with the kinship he felt with Ledger, not just as a fellow actor, but as someone who knows how hard it is to detach after inhabiting a character body and soul.

Consider, for instance, a recent profile of Day-Lewis in The Guardian which tries halfheartedly to debunk “the popular image of him, namely that, for all his extraordinary talent, he is a tortured genius, living the life of a recluse, reluctantly breaking cover once every few years to inhabit body and soul hugely demanding screen roles,” but in the end simply reinforces this view.
The article notes that for The Last of the Mohicans (1992), “Day-Lewis underwent rigorous weight training during which he added 20lb of muscle to his body. Not content with that, he also learnt to live off the land and forest, as his character would have done, by spending six months learning how to camp, fish and skin animals. By the end of his training he had built himself a canoe. He also carried a Kentucky rifle at all times during filming and learnt how to load and fire it while running.”

Likewise, for In the Name of the Father (1993), “Day-Lewis lived on prison rations to lose 30 lb and spent extended periods in the jail cell on set, while crew hurled abuse and cold water at him.”
For The Crucible (1996), “Day-Lewis went back in time. He stayed on a Massachusetts island in the film set’s replica village — without electricity or running water — planted fields with 17th- century tools, and built his character’s house.”
For The Boxer (1997), Day-Lewis “trained with former world champion Barry McGuigan, who said he could have been a professional: ‘He was in the gym twice a day, seven days a week for nearly three years.’ Injuries included a broken nose and a herniated disc in his lower back.”
For Gangs of New York (2002), “Day-Lewis hired circus performers to teach him how to throw daggers and trained as a butcher. He got pneumonia during shooting, initially refusing to have treatment or trade his coat for a warmer one.”

Stories like these make me think that maybe Ledger couldn’t leave the Joker behind as well as Day-Lewis seems to be able to leave the characters he plays behind. Callous as it may sound, if the Joker really did have something to do with Ledger’s death, it actually makes me even more interested in seeing The Dark Knight.

Monday, March 9, 2009


After a brief and expensive grocery shopping session at FAIRWAY by the Hudson, I was taken for a peaceful stroll by the dirty river to look for a tree. After visiting the tree, and seeing an assortment of floating garbage and soda bottles, I was directed to observe a makeshift blue-colored plastic milk crate hotel. Inside the crate was a feral orange cat, YES a wild and homeless cat. Bright orange, I could not believe my eyes. It was kinda sad, but also kinda true social commentary right before my eyes. What kind of “character” did this cat have? What kind of “personality” I wondered. I was told that the milk crate houses 3 cats in total, and that they are fed and taken care of by a homeless man. Wow. I wanted to make sure I Blogged something about this, and to show a cellphone pic for you all to see (“you all” meaning Myself, when I go back and re-read my Blogs weekly).

I don’t want to make any profound statements about this cat or this milkcrate, or this entire situation by the Hudson river. I really just wanted to let you see this image, and allow you the liberty to ponder. I will actually let YOU make your own decision on how you want to think about this cat thing entirely. Even if you are not a “cat person”, think about this cat’s potential life, in general.


p.s. the orange cat is on the bottom LEFT corner of the image, sitting on top of its blue crate. Hidden behind the dry river bushes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


It was Saturday (yesterday). I forced myself to toss on a classy scarf around my neck and go out to take pictures, and look for inspiring things on the "OUTSIDE". I went to view an afternoon Art Opening of a photo show at APERTURE concerning Rwanda Children Born Of Rape. Images were nice in saturated color, but very close to the BORN INTO BROTHELS aesthetic.

I snatched some postcards and their calendar and then joined forces with an old film classmate to go a small town in N.J. called BLAIRSTOWN. The purpose of BLAIRSTOWN was to go with a film school pal to check out the Campsite where the original Friday the 13th film was filmed back in the 1980's. Well, it was Private Property, he chickened out. I was trapped in his car and had to abide. I encouraged him to at least let me explore the historic town. I did. I got great shots (see attached). I was dropped off at home.

I will return to the Blairstown campsite again. BUT NEXT TIME ALONE. You see my Blogger friends, I have learned, over and over again, that in life you can rely on only one single person to get things done correctly. and that is YOURSELF. I will explore the Sand Pond Campsite where they shot that classic nature film, and I WILL NOT "get pinched".
enjoy some pics I took JUST FOR YOU...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cries and Whispers and how to survive.

I watched an interview with the late INGMAR BERGMAN that was included on the CRIES AND WHISPERS recent DVD release last nite on my bed. Relaxing, and alone, I heard my own experiences being expressed on the screen by this ageing hero of mine. In this rare interview, INGMAR is questioned about how he has handled the losses of loves and relationships in his life at the late age of 81. He said that WORKING, committing himself fully to living his life as an ARTIST, and committing himself fully to a deep sense of Professionalism in the quest to making the best possible films as honest and pure ART, is what has provided to him "healing".

God Bless Him for sharing.
Even now with his death, his work and FILMS breathe on, and continue to inspire the living.
And those, like myself, can relate to these feelings that he had about ART and the power it has to heal our deepest wounds.