Monday, December 24, 2012

Best wishes this Christmas Eve. Love and Light ♥

Monday, November 12, 2012

Michael Kaplan, the stylized stylist - Moods

Brainstorming the wardrobe for films can be fun. One of my favorite costume designers is Michael Kaplan. He designed the costumes for Blade Runner, Fight Club and Flash Dance. He's done many, many other big movies but I love the costuming in the aforementioned films. I love the moods they create, the accents they give to the iconic women characters.

Blade Runner tapped into the Film Noir genre and 1940s influenced tailoring. Kaplan infused everything with a 1980s, dystopian, science fiction aesthetic. The final product works wonderfully. The character of Rachael, with her tightly buttoned up suits and exaggerated shoulder pads, conveyed a woman with the appearance of control but was fragile and secretive.

Daryl Hanna's Pris utilized a wardrobe for a woman that is part punk and street urchin, who's ultimately not human. She uses both her childlike demeanor and sexuality to seduce. She's like an adolescent robot who's lost and vulnerable. Her costumes are expressive and pieced together. Garter belts reveal her (literally) killer thighs.

The women in Blade Runner initially have much to hide. They are felons and created to be laborers on off-planet colonies. They aren't suppose to be living on earth, indulging in human pursuits. Yet they are inclined and yearn to live like the people they were replicated to be like. Their clothing is directly part of their disguises and reflection of their character's story. Rachael, who is unaware that she's a replicant, is fully clothed and lives quietly and works for the company that created her. Pris is confused and on the run, she's aware that her time is running out and her clothes hang seductively in tatters as she lives on the streets. Zhora (the snake woman), is desperate. Enraged and finding herself caught, literally has nothing to hide. It was their bodies that belied their secret and as Zhora runs from Harrison Ford's Deckard she wears only a see-through raincoat.
(*love that Schlitz sign in the Zhora scene)

If I had a tumor I'd name it Marla. I've always liked the Marla character in Fight Club. Caustic and damaged, she was a very present and assertive character. Plucky and ultimately ready for a real relationship, she had a muddy sweetness about her. Michael Kaplan wanted her to appear "alone and birdlike". She's a thrift store princess, her clothes always cut to accent her delicate frame. Unsteady, she teeters on her heels as she runs to attach and involve herself with Edward Norton. Helena Bonham Carter probably wanted to rid herself of the corsets and bonnets of the stuffy English period pieces that she was known for. I love that pink $1 dollar dress that she wanders around in at one point.

Has cotton ever looked sexier?* Michael Kaplan's wardrobe for Flashdance is pretty memorable. During the day Jennifer Beals worked as a steel worker in jeans and flannels but outside of work she changed into her dance wardrobe. She arched and twirled in awesome leotards, leg warmers and the legendary ripped sweatshirt. The costumes for the dancers at the night club she worked at were awesome. Aerobics inspired and swim-suit like they had to be ready for water splashing out of the ceiling : ) When she goes to auditions she seems so rough compared to all the prissy ballerinas. But when she strips down to that black leotard, she is so beautiful and powerful (as was the dancer and body double Marine Jahan). That last audition scene has always stayed with me. I've thought about it before my own auditions.

Blade Runner,  Ridley Scott 1982
Fight Club, David Fincher  1999
Flashdance, Adrian Lyne  1983

Friday, November 2, 2012

Nighttime Thinking

There's daytime thinking and nighttime thinking, and both can be good. But mostly I do like nighttime thinking. When the sun goes down, it just pushes us all more inward. It makes kind of a dream come over you. There are certain things that you start thinking about, that you don't think about in the daytime.

-David Lynch

Thursday, November 1, 2012


When I get into a new project, I really like to go in deep, immerse. I hunker down at the library, watch hours of footage, endless google searches... Understand that objects and media that are directly influential can be sacred, cherished.

Mélodie Mousset made an organic flowing sculpture that was inspired by the tiled pattern of Frank Lloyd Write's Ennis House. Untitled, 2012 (Downward Dog)

The Ennis house is in LA, in Los Feliz. It sits atop a big hill and just sort of appears as you drive up a winding road. I went there once and poked around on my birthday. Mélodie Mousset did me one better by taking a dip in the pool. : )
Awesome. Connecting with one's work. Architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright. Yes.

there's a cute video about it on NOWNESS

Mélodie Mousset: Downward Dog

Mélodie Mousset  -

Friday, October 19, 2012


from Poem F (V) W      Frank O'Hara

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Butterfly Chariot

The Fairy Queen in Fairyland, a series of pictures from the Elf World by Richard Doyle 
info about the Fairyland book

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


image- The Creation of Light   Gustave Dore

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing

Evidently there were many "Trials of the Century". In 1906, this was possibly the first. A tawdry series of events that circled around a dancer named Evelyn Nesbit..."A Woman Whose Beauty Spelled Death and Ruin." Florence Evelyn Nesbit was a much photographed actress and model in the early Twentieth Century and an inspiration for the Gibson Girl. Her beauty and magnetism bewitched men and women alike, her picture was in the paper everyday, especially when she was the star witness at the trial of her husband. Her husband had shot her former lover, her lover was the architect Stanford White. Her crazed husband, Harry Kendall Thaw, shot Stanford White on the roof of Madison Square Garden, a building which White had designed. William Randolph Hearst's papers had a field day. Evelyn Nesbit had come from a poor family in Pittsburgh. She earned money as an artist's model and she knew she could be especially successful in the medium of photography. Nesbit moved with her family to New York to find better work. Only sixteen, she could not protect herself from older wealthy men like Stanford White, whom she began an affair with after he had drugged her champagne. Stanford White kept a red velvet swing in his apartment for his mistresses, a detail that Nesbit recounted on the witness stand. In the interest of security and support she entered into a bad marriage with Thaw that ended after he was committed for the murder of White. The details of the trial were so "unseemly" that they supposedly "ruined" Evelyn Nesbit. But after the trial she continued to work and she went on to work in Hollywood in Silent films. She died at 82, spending her later years teaching pottery in California.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My LA List

My good friend Ron Ruanphae (and cinematographer for Reds and Blues), followed the filmmaker's siren's call and moved to LA.

I Love LA

When I say to people that I love LA, they go, "Really?" It's true there can be a sort of an artificiality, an air of stale egos. But I can't think of another city where people have so many expectations, so many specific allusions. It's just a city in Southern California.  I studied and work in film, so I've needed to live there for some stints. LA's an interesting place to live and place to be. I've found my "spots" in the city that I like to visit, that make me happy, relax or encourage me. I ADORE movies and have found the places in LA that truly reflect and communicate an appreciation for cinema. And there are areas that are unique with character and atmosphere. I love Hollywood, Hollywood proper, East Hollywood. It's dirty and awesome and I just keep going East and land in one of my favorite adopted neighborhoods, Echo Park.
I've made a list of places that I like for my friends who visit LA, and for new transplants.
~ I spent a lot of time in LA in college and as a thrifty artist and I think this list reflects those sensibilities ; )


Griffith Park
Hike up to the top of a mountain, see the Observatory, look at the Hollywood sign and when you get to the bottom there is a really cute coffee shop and pie stand-with really good pie!
The Trails Cafe

Flea Market at Fairfax High School in Hollywood
-not always the best prices but it's good to check out and the people watching is always interesting

Paramount Studios Tour
If you want to see a classic movie studio tour, this is my favorite.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery
A cemetery directly behind the Paramount lot. Cinesepia screenings are projected there in the summers and there's an awesome Día de los Muertos celebration held on the grounds.

Hollywood Boulevard
Take a picture with your favorite star and put your hands in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater. I like to go to the stripper stores on Hollywood Blvd to buy stockings, they have every color and great prices.

Downtown LA
I heart downtown LA. Love the old buildings, old movie theaters. It looks and feels like Blade Runner, which is not a coincidence because it's where Blade Runner was shot. & check out the Downtown Library and the rooftop bar at the Standard.
*Story. One afternoon my friend and I were going to get a drink at the Downtown Standard (because we had been at the library), but the bar was closed for a private party and there was this huge line. We watched Paris Hilton sashay up to the front of the line (she seriously had "a walk"). : )

Echo Park
My favorite neighborhood in LA, Echo Park is pedestrian and bike riding friendly. I love the lake and the noir feeling of the neighborhood, many film noirs were shot there. Early silents were produced in the neighborhood too, as Mack Sennett's studio was in Echo Park. Allison Anders' Mi Vida Loca was shot there.

Echo Park Lake
The park and lake itself are one of my favorite places to go. There's lotuses in the lake and this scene from Chinatown was shot there.

Echo Park Film Center
I've mentioned EPFC on this blog before, I've had 2 awesome screenings at the EPFC. They have great classes that teach different mediums and techniques (including S8), and it's generally a great community and film center. Check out their Film Mobile!

Echo Park Secret Stairway Tour
There are "secret stairways" all around Los Angeles. They were built to allow access from the hills down to the streets where the buses and streetcars were. Now they are overgrown and disappearing into the hills. The tours are awesome, you learn some history and walk through people's yards. The Echo Park tour is fun and when I went we ended up at the Stories Bookstore for wine and cheese.

Walgreen's taco truck
So food trucks are a "thing" in LA. The most popular possibly being the Kogi Korean taco truck. I like the regular taco trucks too, especially the one near the Walgreen's parking lot in Echo Park. You can sit on an upside down bucket and enjoy your tasty food and a Mexican Coke.

If you are a cinephile LA delivers- from being a first run city to the American Cinemateque and microcinemas. & there's film festivals like the Los Angeles Film Festival, AFI Fest and multiple Noir festivals...

-American Cinemateque
-Echo Park Film Center
-Channel 101
-Noir City

LA has a healthy Art Scene. I think some of the places I would frequent, the emerging art galleries and converted spaces have closed since I've moved, but there are little pockets of galleries around LA. Some areas to check out would be Hollywood- specifically on Fairfax and then some great spaces Downtown and in Chinatown. The Hammer, MOCA and LACMA are big museums to check out.

Some Restaurants (besides taco trucks)
Cafe Tropical in Silver Lake on Sunset-Great coffee and guava pastries
Casbah Cafe in Silver Lake (mint tea!)
HMS Bounty in Koreatown
Canters Deli in Hollywood
Dough Boys Hollywood
IN&OUT Burger

Echo Park

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

A dramatic turn of events~


The 39 Steps, Alfred Hitchcock 1935

source Maudit
I heart Maudit

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'll see you in the Future Past

It's sad to hear about one of your favorite filmmaker's passing, but 92 years is a good run. Plus I doubt Chris Marker is one for sentiment, especially when it's directed at his person. Marker is the kind of filmmaker in whom I never stopped learning from, he puzzles and intrigues me. Truly a media artist, his fingerprints were in many interesting places. The film as essay is what I look to achieve in my own work and I enjoyed screening filmmaker's short personal essays in the programs I've curated. A playful leftist, I feel that Marker's films were all the more powerful conveyed with his light, impersonal touch.  And he made my favorite science fiction movie- ever. A piece that reflects on love and memory that takes place in the future's past. Made years before I was born, La jetée, a movie about time travel, will continue to screen and haunt viewers for years. A film as theme that plays on itself. Good one Chris Marker.

and he loved Cats! x

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Everybody loves photo booths

Truman Capote, Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer.
East Coker
(No. 2 of 'Four Quartets')

T.S. Eliot

In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.
In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls
Across the open field,, leaving the deep lane
Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon,
Where you lean against a bank while a van passes,
And the deep lane insists on the direction
Into the village, in the elctric heat
Hypnotised. In a warm haze the sultry light
Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.
The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.

In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
the association of man and woman
In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie˜
A dignified and commodious sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction,
Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
Mirth of those long since under earth
Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
Keeping the rhythm in their dancing
As in their living in the living seasons
The time of the seasons and the constellations
The time of milking and the time of harvest
The time of the coupling of man and woman
And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking. Dung and death.
Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.

What is the late November doing
With the disturbance of the spring
And creatures of the summer heat,
And snowdrops writhing under feet
And hollyhocks that aim too high
Red into grey and tumble down
Late roses filled with early snow?
Thunder rolled by the rolling stars
Simulates triumphal cars
Deployed in constellated wars
Scorpion fights against the Sun
Until the Sun and Moon go down
Comets weep and Leonids fly
Hunt the heavens and the plains
Whirled in a vortex that shall bring
The world to that destructive fire
Which burns before the ice-cap reigns.
 That was a way of putting it - not very satisfactory:
A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
With words and meanings. The poetry does not matter.
It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
What was to be the value of the long looked forward to,
Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity
And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us,
Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders,
Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?
The serenity only a deliberate hebetude,
The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets
Useless in the darkness into which they peered
Or from which they turned their eyes. There is, it seems to us,
At best, only a limited value
In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge inposes a pattern, and falsifies,
For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been. We are only undeceived
Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.
In the middle, not only in the middle of the way
but all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble,
On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold,
And menaced by monsters, fancy lights,
Risking enchantment. Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rahter of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
The houses are all gone under the sea.
The dancers are all gone under the hill.

O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,
Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark,
And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha
And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors,
And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,
Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away-
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing-
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.
You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstacy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That quesions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.
Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind us of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.
The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.
The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.
The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood-
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres-
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate - but there is no competition -
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
the world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Raise the Red Lantern

Zhang Yimou's Raise the Red Lantern is another film where the color Red is very prevalent. Gong Li (a contemporary Garbo), plays a young wife of a wealthy landowner. She is one of 4 wives and her husband decides daily which wife he will spend the night with. Servants place red lanterns outside of the favored wife's room. Li slowly looses touch with herself in the stifling environment, where she feels she must win favor to trust her own self worth.
It's commonly viewed that the film is a metaphor for living and working in China, with red being the obvious signifier. I have become a little frustrated as a viewer and reader when a woman's story is used to convey living under the constraints of society. I think it's a tired analogy and I've come to think that a woman's story is her own and is best told by a woman. Frustrations aside, this is a very, very good film and Yimou did live under the strain of his government. His films were often censored or banned from being shown in China, including Raise the Red Lantern. Raise the Red Lantern was probably his most striking statement. His recent films, like Hero, have more of a nationalistic feel and he doesn't experience censorship as much anymore. He may have tired of struggling with the government censors or he may have become more valued in his country. He directed the Opening Ceremonies at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Either way his films are not as combative now. Kieślowski had trouble with censors and his later films were also less directly political and more emotive (and partially shot outside out Poland)
Before working as a director, Zhang Yimou was a cinematographer and his symmetry and mise en scene is breathtaking, seriously. (for the record I rarely, rarely use the term mise en scene, not after film school, but the frames in Yimou's films are gorgeous).
Raise the Red Lantern is vivid, dark, angry, passionate & the gem in the frame is Gong Li.

Raise the Red Lantern, Zhang Yimou  1991

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Red Desert, Michelangelo Antonioni  1964

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red, Krzysztof Kieślowski  1994

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Red Alert

Some notable filmmakers have used red as a visual facet in their films. Krzysztof Kieślowski's Red, Michaelangelo Antonioni's Red Desert, Zhang Yimou's Raise the Red Lantern and Igmar Berman's Cries and Whispers to name a few.
In Cries and Whispers red is prominent throughout, from the titles cards at the beginning and the slow fades to an opaque red. The story takes place primarily in a villa with red walls and red carpeting. There's red in Liv Ullman's hair and in the blood of an unhappy sister who cuts herself in acts of self-harm. The red contrasts against the women's stark white costumes and against the rigidity and decorum under which they feel they must conduct themselves. There is a death at the center of the movie. The theme of death, of quiet and hidden feelings hangs with a heavy hush over the film. But the red is always there as a visual reminder that very real and living blood is coursing just under the skin.
The film focuses on three sisters. Agnes is dying of cancer and her two other sisters, Maria and Karin, came back to stay at their family's house to sit with her and be with her until the end. The film opens to quiet, just a ticking clock can be heard. Agnes lays alone in her room and her sisters are just outside in a formal sitting room. They wear high collared white Victorian nightgowns. Liv Ullman lays like a Bodecelli, her red hair flowing down her shoulders.
The sisters, although in mourning, are also addressing the distance in their relationships and the result of living lives closed off from expressing their feelings. The only one who is more open is Agnes who is dying. After she dies she "wakes up" and she calls for her sisters to come and be with her because she is so scared. This surreal and unnerving sequence made me sit up while watching it. Although it may be a dream in the story, the naturalism in the way the sequence is staged is freighting. I love it. It reminds me of the scene in Cocteau's Orpheus where Death's Chauffeur tells Orpheus's wife that he hates the smell of burning because he had been cremated.
Agnes's reanimation forces all three sisters, for a time, to address their lives and express their feelings. And to address the relationships between themselves and the experiences they had as children with a distant mother. Bergman movies can be chilly but there is some warmth when the sisters come together.

There is a lot of feminine energy in my family, there's a lot of sisters, cousins and aunts. A Southern family, we come back together to support each other during trauma and illness. We sit together, read, clean and cook. The support and relationship between women is one of the themes that comes up in my short film Reds and Blues. The idea that women can be supportive of each other rather than competitive. To attempt to reach out rather than let things go.

 from Reds and Blues

Premiere of Cries and Whispers
I like the press and set photos from Bergman movies. I see those stoic faces looking so happy. And maybe everything is going to be alright.

Cries and Whispers, Ingmar Bergman  1972

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

  • I am currently reading Annette Insdorf's book on Krzysztof Kieślowski- Double Lives, Second Chances. In the chapter on White, she discusses the vision of Julie Delpy's character in a bridal veil. It's never explicit over who's vision it is and the sequence pops up throughout the film without explanation. The film opens with a divorce but ends with a possible reconciliation. The viewer is haunted by the brief visions of the beautiful wife with the white veil. Is it the jilted husband's memory? Is it the frustrated wife's (Delpy), who may still harbor some feelings or at least some happy memories? Is it a foreshadowing of what may happen? A fantasy? A false hope?
    Maybe it was an excuse for a close-up on Ms. Delpy...

    WhiteKrzysztof Kieślowski  1994