Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

This Woman's Work

This is one of my favorite Kate Bush songs. In recent years she rerecorded This Woman's Work and I actually like the new version better. As Ms. Bush has gotten older her voice has gotten lower, and I like her lower register. Kate Bush directed the original video and I like how the lights fade down in the waiting room and the coffee machine stays lit. This song reminds me of  some personal feelings and memories. Heavy. Even though it's a favorite, I don't listen to this song often.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I was born in a cloud, now I am falling, I want you to catch me

Kate Bush is coming out with a new album! It's called 50 Words for Snow, an album with snow and winter as a theme. Winter is probably my 2nd favorite season, after autumn. I know people have some issues with winter. A few of my long time Chicago friends up and left for warmer climbs because they've "had it with the winters".  I don't blame them.

I used to curate seasonal themed video shows at the Heaven Gallery. We would do a "Winter Screening" and serve hot chocolate. Prior to the actual shorts program there would be a group snow installation and different people would submit videos that involved snow. Anni Rossi would play too. I miss those screenings a little bit.

I love seasonal themed art projects and I love Kate Bush, so I'm excited about 50 Words for Snow. It's a little pared down from her last couple of albums, the songs employ sparse arrangements that involve her piano and her voice. In this song, Snowflake, she sings a duet with her drummer's son. His voice is the higher part. & speaking of kooky ethereal lady singers- Tori Amos also came out with a pared down album recently for the classical label Deutsche Grammophon. Night of the Hunters features acoustic instruments that also rely on her piano and voice. And she sings with her daughter.  They perform a song involving snow called Snowblind.

I looked through some of my old files and found one of the Winter Screening posters designed by Lilli Carre and Alexander Stewart. It's really cute, and reminds that I have talented friends :)

How to Be Invisible

Image z.t. (costa rica) 2005 by Elspeth Diederix


In 1978 Kate Bush performed a few of her songs in and around Efteling, a haunted castle amusement park in Sweden. There's some old videos of it up on youtube. Most of the songs are from the album The Kick Inside, one of my favorite albums ever. The song and the album The Kick Inside, were inspirations for my short film Kick. I even showed a portion of the Efteling performance of The Kick Inside during the premiere for Kick. I used it as a transition during Linda Feferman's Linda's Film on Menstruation. The song The Kick Inside comes up at about 15:09, she has powdered hair and she's doing sort of a Lady of Shalott performance in a boat. (& Wuthering Heights is at 3:10...)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

But every time it rains, You're here in my head

There are have been some "constants" in the music I've listened to and Kate Bush is a constant. I started listening to her when I was about 13 when I heard her on the college radio station (WMSE). She had come out with a new album which was evidently a BIG DEAL to some of the DJs over there. The album was The Red Shoes and I thought it was great but it wasn't until a few years later that I bought her other albums and they were a BIG DEAL to me, especially/obviously Hounds of Love. She's a beautiful and talented woman in her own world- where she works at her own time table, with her own agenda and her own musicality. I've just started listening to her all the time now for some reason, possibly because she just came out with a new album called 50 Words for Snow...I've been watching her youtube videos too, the Cloudbusting video was always interesting-

Kate Bush's song Cloudbusting was inspired by Peter Reich's Book of Dreams. Peter's father Wilhelm Reich was an eccentric therapist and an inventor who among other things made a Cloudbuster, or a rainmaker that evidently...worked.

I saw the Cloudbusting video when I was little and I was mystified. I remember Kate Bush's wide eyes and pixie cut and the weird machine she was operating. Like anything pertaining to Kate Bush, the details involved in the production of the Cloudbusting video are interesting. Some facets and people contributing to the enterprise were-Terry Gilliam, HR Geiger, a theatrical distribution and Kate Bush knocking on Donald Sutherland's hotel room door and asking him to be in the video.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Image Vogue Italia March 2008

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Both Ends Burning

Image Vogue Italia Septeber 2008 via veryverychic


I love Adult. A million years ago I spent a New Years with Vanessa Bucella, Dave Dobie, Douggpound and Eric Fensler. We just kept going to parties that Doug was DJing. And we said that he had to space out the Adult, he couldn't play just Adult, even though that's what we wanted to hear. Jeez that was a million years ago.
The music that plays over the credits for KICK is Mouth to Mouth by Adult (with permission).  The song is chilly & "upbeat" with electro elements. There's this whirring sound that plays throughout. Perfect way to end a science-fiction film about luddites. Plus it was sweet to use music that had influenced me way back when. Sometimes it's good to go back to the well, and sometimes the well is in the back of your CD drawer.

Adult have been doing some interesting music and film projects of late. Nicola Kuperus often exhibits her photography. I've always loved her photos.

Dragging 2008 Nicola Kuperus link

image at top of post Self Portraits #2 Gala Collette

Friday, November 11, 2011

Parties used to sound like this

image- "Annie Shaffus" collage by Tara Sinn via Jules+Nicho

11 11 11

Mono day

Arithmetic Composition, 1930 Theo van Doesburg

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lesser kind of love

Image: Catherine Deneuve-Helmut Newton

Sun on the Spree

I am an autumnal person. I look forward to the season all year. After spending time in Berlin I came to learn that the city feels like a perpetual autumn, sort of like how LA is a perpetual summer.  I grew up in Wisconsin and lived in Chicago,  I'm not adverse to grey weather; but while I was in Germany the cold and grey started to get to me. There's a wet chill that sort of sinks into your bones there.  A friend and I would meet by the Spree everyday around noon to get some sun. The sun only seemed to be shining for about an hour mid-day (sort of like that Ray Bradbury story). Our "sun meetings" were enough of a cheer-up before escaping back into the wet atmospheric city.
In my Autumns and in my nights, I can really trip myself up if I don't find my "suns". One of my brightest orbs, my friend Monika, recently moved to LA. I remember when I met her. I had grown frustrated with my surroundings and acquaintances. She was so different, so on, so forward thinking. I'd never met someone so positive, even though she at times readily admits that optimism isn't her first instinct. She's like my sun on the Spree. This year we swapped cities. She moved from my old apartment in Chicago to LA, and I moved from LA back to Chicago. I've been thinking about this as I settle into Chicago more permanently. I used to go, go, go, travel from city to city. It seemed that what I needed had to be immediate and present. But now as I pull into myself, I learn that I can be stilled and what I need doesn't always have to be right in front of me. I MISS HER SO BAD but I can feel her sun all the way from out West.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yann Serandour   2005

To explore its mystery is to venture towards the sublime.

Midnight Party, Joseph Cornell 1938

Beauty should be shared for it enhances our joys. To explore its mystery is to venture towards the sublime.  Joseph Cornell

It's just the facts of life, sweet dreams develop into ideas

image- Kristen McMenamy for Lanvin photographed my Steve Meisel

Monday, November 7, 2011

You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.

"A mysterious American love story."-N.Roeg

The Man Who Fell To Earth,  Nick Roeg  1976

You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. -C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Women and Green

Images: Luisa Casati by Augustus John, Evening Mood by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Jove decadent by Ramón Casas, Charlotte Rampling & Portrait of Frau Feez by Franz von Stuck

Friday, October 28, 2011

Brilliant Pebbles-Time Time

Yes! New video from Brilliant Pebbles. Shot in my old apartment on Division St.
Sheep Dogs! Polish Sandwiches! Sam Ng & Monika Bukowska!
So proud of xxx Monika xxx, a recent transplant to LA, she is going set that town on fire!

Anything is a symbol of Anything -Casares

Original dust jacket from the first edition of The Invention of Morel. Like the green.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Study In Green

Vogue Italia November, 2006

Streets of Fire

I was looking for films from the 1980s that were shot in Chicago. And I found this-

Saturday, October 22, 2011

80s Film Noir

So I've been doing some research on 1980s Film Noir and there's a few interesting titles and I was like, "Oh yeah, Bodyheat & Michael Mann movies." Neo-Noir basically.

-Johnny Handsome
-Jagged Edge
-Against All Odds (remake of Out of the Past)
-No Way Out (remake of The Big Clock)
-The Postman Always Rings Twice
-Still of the Night
-The Morning After
-Dressed to Kill
-Blow Out
-Body Double
-Coup de Torchon
-House of Games
-La Balance
-Sea of Love
-Mortal Passions
-Cat Chaser
-Best Seller
-To Live and Die in L.A.
-Call Me
-P.I. Private Investigations
-Kill Me Again
-Someone to Watch Over Me
-The Big Easy
-The Border
-The First Deadly Sin
-Black Widow
-Mike's Murder
-52 Pick-up
-At Close Range
-The Bedroom Window
-Shoot to Kill
-White of the Eye
-Atlantic City
-Union City
-Slam Dance
-Criminal Law
-True Believer
-Year of the Dragon
-Eight Million Ways to Die
-Tequila Sunrise
-I, The Jury
-The Rosary Murders
-Out of Bounds
-Bad Boys
-Gleaming the Cube
-The Killing Time
-Positive I.D.
-Blood Simple
-Wild at Heart
-No Mercy
-Hit List
-The Long Good Friday
-The Hit
-Stormy Monday
-Dead Calm
-Blue Velvet
-Body Heat
-Blade Runner
-Trouble in Mind
-Angel Heart
-Tough Guys Don't Dance
-The Kill Off
-Repo Man
-Dead Winter
-Veronika Voss
-The Moon in the Gutter
-The Fourth Man
-Confidentially Yours
-The Element of Crime
-Mona Lisa
-As Tears Go By
-Monsieur Hire

Image-Blade Runner, Ridley Scott  1982

Film Noir :An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style -Alain Silver & Elizabeth Ward

Friday, October 21, 2011

Greens & Blues

It's turning into a chilly autumn, and a Midwestern filmmaker turns to the research stage of filmmaking. Jose and I are pouring over stills and photos to come up with the color and lighting scheme for our science fiction noir. We've decided to shoot in color for various reasons. We want to shoot at a higher speed and most of those stocks are in color. Plus something about shooting in B&W might feel restrictive. But we may try to limit the palate that we use.
One thing we're looking into are some films from the 1980s. Aesthetically you can notice a lot of blues and cooler colors in some of those films. Greens and blues, & especially greens are what we've been focusing on. I want to watch some noirs from the 1980s. There doesn't seem to be too many, even though one of the initial and continuing influences on my script is an 80s noir- Blade Runner.

Images- flickr,flickr, Blade Runner

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I made a list of my favorite actresses. I wanted to put it on here but it was too long so I made a tumblr.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A restless man, taller than expected...

Billy Wilder playing Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot

Billy Wilder, The Art of Screenwriting No. 1
The Paris Review, Spring 1996

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle

What's interesting about Film Noir is the adherence to the style, the formula. In many noirs the tone, characters and settings stay fairly consistent. Raymond Chandler has said he wrote his stories as a succession of "scenes". Fans of his fiction were familiar with the direction of the story, but it was the strength and imaginative use of the formula that proves to be enthralling. It's hard to craft a good noir; nuance and mood are essential elements.
Lately I've been watching and rewatching a lot of film noir. Some have been very good. And some have been very, very good. Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity is an almost perfect movie about imperfect people. He co-wrote the script with Raymond Chandler (Billy Wilder usually worked with a writing partner), and the dialogue is sharp and at times whimsical-"Murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle..."
The cinematography by John Seitz is hazy with dark long shadows. There's plenty of the classic horizontal and canted shadows from venetian blinds. Motivated lighting with inventive use of shadows were trademarks of early German cinema. There are references to German Expressionism in film noir, if only because many German filmmakers immigrated to Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s. Billy Wilder began his film career in Berlin in the 1920s. One of my favorite expressionist techniques is as the drama picks up in a scene, as emotions heighten, the shadows deepen.
Even though there is a lot of expressive methods used in noir, the genre still has a naturalistic feel. I suppose the naturalism comes from the use of familiar settings and characters that are seemingly plain people. Viewers naturally connect to the characters, in that they are not heroes, they are imperfect and human. The protagonists are often seen engaging in a series of poor decisions and "stuck" in a situation which may not change. I believe the mix of stylization and the ordinary is what I find so compelling about Film Noir.
One of the plot devices that I remember vividly in Double Indemnity was Barbary Stanwyck's ankle. We see her first in a towel, and then her delicate ankle descending the staircase. I remember the ankle playing against the ornate iron rungs of the Spanish style staircase in her shadowed house. Fred MacMurray makes repeated references to the ankle, and her ankle bracelet. Like Claire's Knee, it draws the male protagonists into their fate, towards the direction the story will take.

I love the house in this movie, with all the dust and shadows. It's like a precursor to Sunset Boulevard, John Seitz shot that too. & Barbara Stanwyck is sooo good. A Femme Fatale is probably too tame to reference for her character. Although seductive, she is blunt when she describes her desire for her husband to be killed early in the film. Stanwyck is probably my second favorite actress (she's not The Queen), I do have favorites...

Friday, August 26, 2011


Helmut Newton shot a series of stories for Vogue in the 90s with Nadja Auermann set in Berlin. They were Fassbinder in feeling. Very transporting. I wondered if Berlin was dark and chic, like what I saw in pictures and heard in music.
It is.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shooting in an asphalt jungle

Developing a feature film is like climbing an invisible mountain. The uncertainties far outweigh what is known. The only thing that an independent filmmaker initially has on their hands is time. And then if any kind of financing comes through and a production is viable, there will begin the process of working in the most difficult schedule. & then if creative decisions have not been made, there is no time to dwell on them and things can be lost. So I am trying to concentrate on decisions now, like the look and locations of the film. I really want to make the city almost a character and strong backdrop for the actors. Chicago is hard, dark, concrete and steely. Shooting in an asphalt jungle it would seem. (A jungle is a metaphor applied to Chicago from time to time...) The film noir Asphalt Jungle, was a good place to go for inspiration-

The opening shots of Asphalt Jungle are shot on location. The film does not specify where the story takes place except that it's a city in the Midwest. The opening was filmed in Cincinnati. The author of the novel, W. R. Burnett, was from Ohio before moving to Chicago. The photography is great. Arthur Rosson, the Director of Photography, was adept at shooting a nice tight, B&W noir (he wasn't a slouch when it came to color either, he shot Wizard of Oz and Singing in the Rain). The exteriors at the beginning are open and vast before the film goes inside to the low angles and tight shots that fit the claustrophobic feel of the story. Sterling Hayden is running from the police and the architecture of the city works with him as he ducts behind buildings and into shadows.

The Asphalt Jungle is a nice, dark noir. Directed by John Huston, it has a silent jewel heist that is referenced in later films. Plus there's an early appearance by a young, cute MM.