Visit to a Sad Planet

Finally got around to compressing and putting online the first (and so far only) actual DV movie I’ve made (as opposed to travelogues and personal mini-documentary things).

This 4-minute mock “sci-fi opus” is a video accompaniment to Leonard Nimoy’s 1969 monologue “Visit to a Sad Planet,” which is but one in a long series of monologues, poems, and spoken-word pieces recorded by Nimoy and Shatner in the late 60s.

If you’ve got the bandwidth, definitely go for the 30MB Sorenson version. It looks and sounds much better than the 10MB version. Of course, both of them suck compared to the uncompressed 720×480 original, but you can’t just go putting 1 GB movies on the net… dammit.

Waking Life

I have no words for this movie. I only know I feel restored, and that it does something good for my faith in the union of art and technology, which so often fails to actually accomplish anything.

Ditto the 10-minute Bjork video (Pagan Poetry) before the movie.

Coming out of the theater, encountered some drunk teens in shoddy, half-baked halloween costumes and spiked goth hair walking down Shattuck, one (probably faking it) in a wheelchair. A girl among them asked me for two dollars. No. A dollar. No. A cigarette. No. “PUSSY!” she yelled at me. Then she spun around in a circle and fell on her ass.

No bin Ladens for halloween. But there were some cute little fire fighters and fairy princesses. Even a queen (Queen Esther, she called herself).

Panna Cotta

Amy and I celebrated my bday last night with dinner at Mazzini – wonderful restaurant near our house where we sometimes go for special occassions. Discovered the miracle of Panna Cotta — basically cooked cream with a bit of gelatin sitting in a berry sauce. The mouthfeel is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted – I didn’t know the meaning of creamy until last night.

Came home and took digital pictures of things in and around the house, getting jiggy with the look of things. Reminded us of something we used to do years ago when we were first going out — the Otis Panic (now called Sito). Back in the 94 / 95 time frame, some of us were getting really excited about the collaborative aesthetic possibilities of the internet. On Friday nights we’d drop source images into an FTP dir. Others would grab them down, manipulate them in Photoshop or whatever, then re-upload them. It was fast and loose, weird, great fun. Amy and I used to do these Panics for some of our early dates. Hadn’t thought aboout that for a while.

Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

– William Carlos Williams

Three Movies

Three great movies in three days. On Friday we rented “Bridge on the River Kwai”, a 1957 war movie with almost no bullets – a very psychological, unusual plot. We expected it to be good but weren’t prepared for just how good it would be. Alec Guinness as the corporal of a group of British POWs in a Japanese-run internment camp in Ceylon, who turn their defeat into psychological victory by building this amazing bridge. Won’t spoil the ending, but it’s pretty gripping. Beautifully shot.

Last night went out with Amy, Chris T, and Mike to see Terry Zwigoff (Crumb)’s “Ghost World”, which is quite easily the best movie to come out this summer. One of the only movies about teen angst and disconnection that’s really worth watching. Intensely sardonic. Anyone who spent much of their lives so steeped in hip, ironic detachment that they lost contact with the real world (like Amy and me) will relate to this. Very witty, but also poignant. And fun. The “Zen Guerilla” is a hoot.

I was really excited about this movie because I used to read a lot of Daniel Clowe’s comics when I lived in Boston – Eightball and Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, and they used to have brief Ghost World segments in them. What was amazing was how true this movie was to the comic. I mean, little details that got carried across with total accuracy, like her batgirl mask, and the stuffed weasel enwrapped by snake at Buscemi’s garage sale. We came home and dug out all those comics and read all the old Ghost World episodes together and were just amazed at how perfectly the movie captured the comic.

After Mike and Chris left, we watched Ang Lee’s “The Ice Storm”, about the swirling lostness and discontent of families in the 70s. A very unusual vantage point on family life. What was nice was how most movies set in the 70s play up all kinds of 70s retro stereotypes about decor and fashion; this one didn’t at all. Instead it focused on how weird that decade was in terms of coming down from the revolutionary zeal of the 60s into something that was trying to be normal but was actually pretty f*cked up. Somehow the director managed to make insignificant details really portend larger things. Got kind of boring towards the end though, or at least I thought so (Amy didn’t).. kind of spiralled down into tedium.

Refreshing to take in some quality movies in the midst of the summer void.

Talking about Ghost World later, I realized something about myself: How I’m perfectly prepared to consume trash movies and trash TV on a fairly regular basis. As long as I know I’m sitting down to consume trash, I don’t mind. It’s just a relax and enjoy kind of thing. But I don’t feel the same way at all about music. I have no patience for bad music, feel that world is overflowing with the stuff, get annoyed and frustrated that 90% of the world seems content to consume bad music, and sometimes want to cry that there seems no way out. “Give ’em a Big Mac and a pair of Nikes and they’re happy” said Steve Buscemi’s character. Exactly. Anyway, I wonder what it is that makes me able to swallow bad movies and just shrug my shoulders, but to get so wound up and angry/sad about the state of music these days. Seems kind of paradoxical.

Anticipating Sad Planet

Finished shooting footage for “Visit To A Sad Planet” last weekend, and intended to start editing this weekend. But there won’t be time for that, and personalStudio for Windows isn’t quite ready for a full editing job yet. Very close though. Simon and Paul are in CA now, and the development cycle is really picking up. Betcha I’ll be able to do most of my editing next weekend.

Got a stack of “Short” DVDs from Amazon, and it was a wakeup call — just like web publishing — put the means to make films into the hands of the masses, and the world will be filled with bad films. Maybe Adamations’ motto should be “Enabling bad film making for the masses.” That’s a joke. Sarcasm. I’m totally into enabling people to make whatever kinds of movies they want, even if it’s clear that most of them will suck. The point is, it’s a creative tool, and people creating is better than people not creating.

Eating inordinate amounts of junk food for some reason lately.