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.


Tony Patti said...

I just don't understand why I never got to see any of these movies.

Doggie said...

I have bits and pieces but the finished stuff made the rounds and I lost them.I know you saw some of them. I was living with Margie when I made the first one. I think!!??

Doggie said...

Lora took film classes at Webster College. She did a really cool one in 16mm. I started one in 16mm with a wind-up camera I had. When Marge and I were robbed and rolled up in the carpets they took my camera. It had my only 16mm footage in it.

Tony Patti said...

It's a miracle that any of our movies made it this far. Now that I think about it, who salvaged Danny's movies after he abandoned everything when he left St. Louis? I'm thinking of the time he lived near the new cathedral, maybe with you, too, and everyone left and all his books were still there.

This might have been the apartment you were living in when I drunkenly pissed on your records. Or was that a dream?

Tony Patti said...

I forgot to mention that you are clearly visible in the Dog's Dream movie. As is Dominic and Lora Steffen.

Understudy For A Scream said...

"Nina- I think you need to let out a scream."

Doggie said...

I should have mentioned.... The play ran for 2 weeks I think. It was a long one act. At the front of the stage was a large box, A road case from our band Wax Theatricks. Near the end of the play someone told the main character, Nina, to let out a scream. She threw the box lid off and my brother Patrick jumped out and ran through the crowd screaming. Scared the Hell out of everyone. He must have sat in that box for 2 hours every night. There were a few nights in the middle of the run that Patrick couldn't be there. Dominic sat in, so to speak.

dominic said...

There were only two charachters in the play- she was called Nina and i think his name was Nick. (Cate?)

The box, that Patrick and I say curled up in for 45 minutes, was air-tight when properly closed. No ventilation whatsoever. When we climbed in there 5 minutes before curtain, the lid was placed only half an inch off-kilter so we could breathe and sorta hear. It wasn't hot and stuffy in there- it was FUCKING MISERABLE!!! So when we lept out of the box a-screamin' and a-hollerin', not only were we pouring out sweat from every pore, our hair and clothes were soaked. We then ran a quarter mile sprint trying not to be caught by the two principles (convincingly) and stuffed back into that box until final curtain!!!

But, y'know what? somehow it was all worth it.

Doggie said...

There were two others. They were all from Webster College and working for scale. I wish I could remember the male supporting actor. He was flamboyant and a lot of fun. He wore a tux with a top hat. I can't really remember the others very well. You say 45 minute- I got scared- seemed like you guys were in there forever.

Anonymous said...

Lora had just come back from filming with me. We did a scene for our "Tea for Two" movie, which I can't find anywhere either! I had her take our little rubber and wind up toy collection toys and paint to the playground and run around like a crazy women while I filmed her. It turned out great, I'd like to see it again. That was when Lora and I (and most of the time David too) lived on Laclede & Euclid next door to the bundaheads!!!


Doggie said...

Kay, I am so glad you read my blog. If we all did this we'd get to the truth. I've noticed my memory is getting a little fuzzy. Or at least people tell me that sometimes. I think maybe some are trying to rewrite a little history too.