Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pam and Family

Just thought everyone would like to see Pam, David, and Zoe's Christmas poster. They've moved to Woodstock.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Movies

During the middle to late 70s my friends Matt , Marge and Kay, my girlfriend Lora and I pooled our resources and bought a camera, editing equipment and a projector. We found a Fuji camera that was basically Super 8 but it had 2 reels so you could rewind it for double exposures.

Our company was called “The Deputies of the Archives for the Library of the Fountain of Inexhaustible Knowledge.” I think I stole most of that from an old Carl Barks Donald Duck comic book.

Matt was already a great photographer and his films were visually beautiful. He has a studio and gallery now in Maplewood.

I was very much into Surrealism at the time and my films were overblown with effects and subconscious double entendre.

I had figured out, if you turn the camera upside down to shoot your scene, when you turned the developed film back around and reversed the sprocket holes, you’d have backwards shots. I was very proud of myself for figuring this out before I took a single shot and it worked!

The first thing I did was pluck rose petals out of the air, build a rose, and present it to Lora.

When I was living with Pam she was able to get a relative to front her money for a play called Cages. She gave me a budget of $400.00 for a film that would be screened during the play. This was actually a lot of money for me. I was only working in 8mm.

I called it my pretentious art film. The art director of Webster College loved it. What was really great was that Matt liked it. I respected his opinion more than anyone’s. The film made the rounds at parties and I never got it back. If anyone has any idea, I’d love a copy.

It was pretty much Pam spewing one of my long winded rants. This was from several angles of course, including her reflection in the bell of a French horn. Another old girlfriend of mine named Josie did a ballet routine holding geometric shapes obscured by a smoke machine and strobe lights. It looked great if I do say so myself.

I worked off and on for several years on my only full length film, Beany and Cecil Demille’s “Birth of Frustration.” I couldn’t finish it because the film featured my buddy Dominic, played as a child by Lora’s little brother Paul. Paul died before the project was finished.

The point of the company was to share resources and bodies. I remember waking up one morning to find Lora stripping purple paint soaked clothing off at the foot of our bed. She had just done a shot for someone. She looked like a nude, painted Bond girl. I was very turned on of course. She said, “Don’t touch me, I feel disgusting!” Oh well.

By this time I’d met Tony Patti and Fojammi. They were also making films. I remember Lora and me running around a train yard with a bunch of other kids for one of Tony’s movies. I think I was there. Maybe it was just Lora. Age has definitely impaired my memory.

I wish I could find all the films and put ‘em on Youtube.

Photo from a contact strip I found is “Cages.” Other pic is Lora.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Obligatory Christmas Story

We always did our thing the night of Christmas Eve. It must have had something to do with my folks’ work schedule.

When I was 4 we lived in a 6 family flat off of DeBaliviere. We lived on the 3rd floor.

My parents had a cruel sense of humor. My dad would read stories to us in the bedroom. My mom would bust into the room yelling, “Quick, quick, Santa’s here, you’re going to miss him!” My brother and I would run out and find the front door open. “He just left, you can still catch him!” We’d run all the way downstairs but we’d just miss him.

This was the same year I learned about Christmas stockings. I’m not sure where I found out, probably TV. I took a pair of my dad’s black socks so my brother and I would each have one. I took my dad’s because he had the biggest feet, and nailed them to the wall. In retrospect I should have gotten in trouble, but instead we found a pair of real Christmas stockings hanging in their place the next day.

This was when toys were fun. I got a Winchester rifle. It was probably inspired by the television show “The Rifleman.” It shot real plastic bullets. These bullets also went in a six-shooter.

One of my favorite toys was a bazooka that shot an invisible ball of wind. We soon discovered you could fire rocks and dirt from it. It didn’t last very long on the market. I think it went the way of Jarts, those giant lawn darts with the steel tips.

There was a pattern to the way gifts were distributed around the tree every year. The smaller gifts would be opened and there’d be 2 left. My brother’s always came first. One year it was a train set. I was crushed. There was only a small box left under the tree and nothing could be better that a train set. I was wrong. Mine was a walkie-talkie set. This was the early 60s and we didn’t have high tech toys back then. For the next couple of weeks we were the Man From U.N.C.L.E..

Another year my brother opened his and it was a toy drum kit. I was convinced nothing could possibly beat this. I was wrong again. I got a chemistry set. I wanted desperately to become a scientist. This was where I got the ingredients for my gun powder.

That same year there was a present under the tree for me from my father’s best friend Bill Shear. It was totally unnerving because he had been dead more than a year. It was a really cool electronics project kit. I later found out his wife Georgia had it lying around the house and thought I would really like it. I did!

The Christmas before my dad died my girl friend Jill and I had my folks over for the holidays. I gave him a trumpet and I’ll never forget seeing tears well up in his eyes. I inherited it of course.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

On Being Vegetarian

For some reason my vegetarianism is a pain in the ass for some people. I’ve been one since 1979. I had visited factory farms and read a lot about corporate farming. I never tried to change anyone’s mind. I just didn’t want to be part of it.

People tried to convince me I wasn’t going to make a difference. I think the only power we really have is how we spend our money. I think there are others like me and together we might make a small difference.

My daughter became a vegetarian a couple of years ago and my ex is pissed at me about it.

She wanted to get her a guitar strap for Christmas. I told her I would find one that didn’t have any leather in it. I guess it hadn’t occurred to her there were animal products in things other than food. “Don’t you dare put those stupid ideas in her head!” she scolded. She already feels put out that she has to accommodate Chloe’s diet.

I think PETA has set the cause back years. You don’t change people’s opinions by polarizing their passions. It’s like people that bomb abortion clinics. What are you thinking?

We live in the land o’ plenty. There are cultures where eating animal is necessary for survival. I would too under those circumstances.  I don’t have to here so I don’t.

I remember a conversation I had at the Oyster Bar with a customer of mine. I said it wouldn’t be so bad if the animals could live a happy, healthy life instead of continuous suffering before they were harvested. She actually got mad at me about this. She said I wanted to lull them into a false sense of security before their lives were suddenly snatched away. The logic of the world we live in??!!

People are pretty set in their ways but if we could just stop eating cows the world would improve greatly. With several stomachs, cows produce methane from both ends. Methane is worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. The cows people eat now aren’t nutritious anyway. We’ve subsidized corporations like ADM to produce corn for feed. Cows need to graze on grass. It actually changes their chemical composition.

Something like %75 of the fertilizer produced for this corn runs into the Mississippi. This feeds massive amounts of algae in the delta. The decomposition of the algae robs the water of oxygen and nothing animal can live there. There is a dead zone in the gulf the size of New Jersey and it keeps growing. The gulf is probably our nation’s most important fishery by the way.

This entry would probably be more appropriate for my political blog but I’m 50 and I’ve been a vegetarian longer than not. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Every now and then when my mind wanders I remember things I did that I deeply regret. Things you carry with you your whole life that make you feel like a real asshole.

I was almost reduced to tears with a memory last week. I’m not sure why I feel like confessing my sins but here goes.

When I was 6 and living in Laclede Town there was a little boy who was deaf. His speech was almost unrecognizable but he was able to communicate. I don’t know if he was deaf from birth but he learned to talk. Of course we kids were merciless and made fun him.

He had a parka that had a funny smell. Everything about him was wrong to us. His mother did everything she could to get us to include him in our games. We were total angels around her.

He lost his hearing aid and she offered a reward for its return. Man we turned Laclede Town upside down looking for it. I don’t even know why he had one. He was totally deaf.

I don’t know why kids are so cruel. We were on a hill watching him walk across an empty lot. We threw rocks at him. I’ll never forget the look in his eyes, the terror and disbelief, the betrayal. I was one of the kids that was nicer to him.

When I think of him I remember a really sweet kid who seemed to love everyone. I hope he’s okay and happy.

I have to recognize a basic ugliness inside of us that we have to overcome. Maybe it’s just me.

Don't forget my political blog.