Quote of the Day

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.-- George Orwell

“I would rather be a swineherd at Amagerbro and be understood by the swine than be a poet and be misunderstood by people.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

The opinions, rants and absurdities expressed herein belong solely to the founder of RBPD. Read with caution. Content may induce nausea, confusion, vertigo, tears, hallucinations, anger, pity, reflexive piety, boredom, convulsions, lightheadedness, a fit of ague, or an opposing view.

Books by RBP writers: Round Bend Press Books. For RBP's writing and editing services go here.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Coming in October

(Sketch Deemer)

Varmints, the libretto, will be C. Deemer's fourth Round Bend publication.

Happy to have this in the autumn.  It's a hoot, quite out of the mainstream.

I saw the premier of the play years ago.  Never saw it as a libretto in those days, but that's Deemer for you, always exploring the edge.

The author also recently informed me how to link in the new Blogger interface.  So you know this guy knows what's up.


TS

Sunday, April 29, 2012

An Ordinary Sunday

I don't like the new Blogger at all.

I prefer to use HTML in composition to post links in a paragraph's body.  Unless I'm doing something wrong (which I very well could be, but the point is I haven't grasped what it is yet), the new blogger is buggy.

When I switch to compose after writing my text in HTML and installing my links, which I like to do to see how things look before publishing, the post's paragraphs close.

Several times, I've had to open them again in what amounts to a tedious reformatting exercise.

New Blogger looks all space age to me, like a late-model car's dashboard with too many doodads and thingamajigs.

There's probably a way to revert to the old template, but I haven't figured that out yet either.  Sounds like another step that I'd rather not bother with.

Oh well, even I'm tired of hearing myself bitch.

I didn't manage to see the UO spring game on television yesterday, but it sounds like the Ducks may have a front runner in one of the PAC's best quarterback competitions headed into the new season.

Marcus Mariota had an 82 yard touchdown run, which is quite a feat for a quarterback.  Generally, quarterbacks are not among the fastest players on a college team, or even a pro team for that matter.

As effective and savvy as he was, Oregon's Darron Thomas certainly wasn't very fast last year, particularly after banging up a knee.

Oregon's two best running quarterbacks in my memory, both of whom could also throw it, were Akili Smith and Dennis Dixon.  Kellen Clemens had decent speed, but nothing like Smith and Dixon.

Older Duck fans remember one of the fastest in the storied history of good Oregon quarterbacks.  Reggie Ogburn couldn't pass, but he was an elusive and speedy option quarterback.

Sounds like Mariota has the speed and the arm to match Dixon, a Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB.

We'll see how it goes about 16 weeks from now when the college season starts.  I'm looking forward to that.

Finally, I was browsing through my traffic report at Feedjit a little earlier today.  There are sure a lot of people around the world interested in tattooed tits.

I don't particularly dig tattoos, though tits are nice.  But to each his own.

Dudes and others, if you want to see tatted ladies sans clothing this probably isn't the best site for that, but thanks for dropping by.


TS

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rough Cut #2/Roadside Narrative



This fragment has a little different feel than the one by Mr. Connery, who shot and cut the scene in the following post.

I shot this footage and cut it together.

Which begs the question.  Can a DP and producer/director get along aesthetically?  As in politics, compromise is in order.

This scene, or something similar to it, might make a decent opening.  But then again, it's very early in the shoot.  The two minutes combined in this clip and the one below don't make much of a dent in a 30 or 60 minute program.

Yet, I think we've made a fair start.  Both scenes have their strengths, which I hope to build upon.

I have a lot of material to work through, and I'll periodically post other scenes, partial or otherwise, to gauge how things are going.

The gathering is just beginning.

In short, game on.

The music is by my ex-neighbor Dan Faehnle from his Ohio Lunch CD.

If Dan sues me I'll be happy.  Oh, and Dan, in case you read this, I'd really like to use your music on the final cut.  Contact me if there is any chance of doing that.

I think Rush's commentary, a happy accident of the shoot, is perfected irony in this context.  But you'd have to see more of the movie or read the book to fully appreciate that.


TS

Rough Cut #1/Dreams of Journalism



This is a rough cut partial of the "Dreams of Journalism" chapter from my memoir. I'm not particularly happy with the script or my voice in this scene, but I think the images are quite good.

There's something to work with here, given a little rewriting and the right voice.

Terence Connery, my DP and editor for this segment of the shoot, put this clip together.   In case you're not aware of it, a lot of work goes into making a one and a half minute scene like this one.

The soundtrack is Oscar Peterson.  Attention heirs:  This is a short promo.  Mr. Peterson's music will not be on the final commercial version of this project, unless you want it to be.


 TS

Zen No Zen

After coming home yesterday afternoon and editing a short scene from the Sweet Home footage for A Marvelous Paranoia, I'm convinced the project has the potential to be what I imagine it to be--a docupersonal based on my memoir.

Yet something else is at play under the surface, and I'm not sure I know what that is.  Am I creating a self-indulgent prank, or a meditation on the past?  Could it possibly be both?

Why in the world would anyone but an understanding fellow narcissist care?

It is a perfect thing to be painted black.  I hate this project enough to make it complete.  The task is unavoidable, and I will spend hours honing it.

What is clear is that the project itself is an aspect of the struggle, another moment of not knowing.  It seems then that the entire point is to demonstrate that while one would like to know, the quest is often fool hearty.

I would do Zen rather than this if I could, believe me.  But then I do not think that would make me happy either.

So I do this instead, whatever it is.


TS

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day Two/Cascadia

SWEET HOME, OREGON--The second day of shooting for A Marvelous Paranoia was neither as intense nor as busy as day one.  Partly that was due to the awful weather that returned to Oregon yesterday.

I'm happy with what we were able to accomplish in a day and a half of concentrated work at any rate.

Some things weren't there for us yesterday, such as clear pictures of Three Sisters, and the soda springs at Cascadia.  The springs were capped, with pollution warnings posted prominently.

Ah, the will to despoil nature persists!

We did spend some time at the high school, where I had a nice chat with the principal and we grabbed some important video.

Also, I was interviewed by the local paper, the New Era.  Perhaps a piece will show up online that I can link to later.  If it happens, I will not forget you before accepting all the awards that are sure to follow.

Later, we edited a couple of scenes to get a feel for what we've accumulated.  Lots of good stuff.

Assembling it will be the trick as we build the piece into a whole.

This project has just started, but I feel like we've had a good start.  Naturally, a lot of work remains.


TS

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Into the Valley

Dateline--Sweet Home, Oregon.

I'm very pleased with today's shoot, as my DP Terence and I grabbed a lot of good imagery for the video-telling of A Marvelous Paranoia, my memoir of growing up in this town (9,000 pop.) at the eastern edge of the Willamette Valley.

In Millersburg, just off Interstate 5 north of Albany, we concentrated on the massive--what else--mills that dot the landscape and jut into the sky like great, grey concrete monuments to a fading, yet surviving industrial age.

A few minutes later, searching for the house where my mother lived for many years after I left the Valley for adventures in New England and California, we drove through a maze of impoverishment, effectively creating a drastic counterpoint to our earlier view.  The rundown neighborhood was dominated by a trashy, dilapidated mobile home park that looked like meth central for the entire region.

The contrast between Albany's industrial well-being and its hopelessness was a reminder of the resounding imbalance that rules today's America.

We drove on to Lebanon, which has a charming Main Street in spots.  Terence and I walked the length of the old retail section, rolled tape and revealed a community fighting off the influence of the big box stores situated at the edge of town.

We grabbed shots of the farm country between Lebanon and Sweet Home before checking into our motel for a brief respite.  Then we were off to the offices of the New Era, the weekly community newspaper where I worked  when I was a teenager.   Terence photographed me searching the newspaper's archives for the first published stories I wrote in the late sixties.

As we were wrapping up those scenes, Scott Swanson, the co-publisher and editor of the paper, asked Terence and I to return to his office tomorrow.

I guess he plans on interviewing us for a story in his newspaper.  I can't think of a pair of more deserving guys.

From there we visited my parents' graves at Gilliland Cemetery in the hills on the east side of town.  It was sad up there, but beautiful.

A good day.  Time to rest and plan for tomorrow's shoot in the Cascade Mountains.


TS

Monday, April 23, 2012

Into the Past

This graph shows the plunging median value of homes in Sweet Home, Oregon since the Great Recession of 2007 commenced.

I'll be in Sweet Home tomorrow to gather video footage for a documentary of my experiences growing up there. 

When I attended elementary and high school in Sweet Home the economy was better than it is these days. Logging and the wood products industry thrived there in the sixties.

In a addition, two large dams were built along the South Santiam River east of town.  Workers came from all over to secure the plentiful family-wage jobs that sustained the community.

By my graduation in 1969, those jobs were thinning rapidly. Today, Sweet Home is sustained by the remnants of its once huge logging industry, a few mills, and tourism.

The city is home to the yearly Oregon Jamboree, a country music festival featuring many of America's bestselling country acts.


TS

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Video Project Nears

I had a meeting yesterday afternoon with my video crew for the Sweet Home shoot. We're prepping for our initial gathering of footage for the video narrative of my memoir, A Marvelous Paranoia.

We were lamenting that by Tuesday, when we drive to our first locations, the beautiful weather we're briefly having in the Pacific Northwest will likely return to normal--that is buckets of rain will threaten to overwhelm us.

We were discussing the project in a beer garden exposed to the glorious, life-giving sun, on a rare gorgeous Portland day.

Then we reminded ourselves how important reality is to the project. That is, it rains here in Oregon nine months out of the year. While being what I consider a humorous look at growing up in Oregon, I'm also reminded that a certain pathos guides the book, and that is to a large degree a circumstance of the sadness that afflicts Oregonians susceptible to dismal skies.

Pictures of the very clouds roiling in the mid-Valley, hinting at the kind of darkness that sometimes consumes the unwary among us, are in fact apropos to the narrative.

Falling rain is necessary.

Rain is as elemental to an Oregon artist as big waves and sunny skies are to a California surfer.

Provided we can keep our gear dry, I welcome the rain, for rain is an underlying aspect of the story.


TS

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Blogger

Since my last post on Thursday things have changed at Blogger.

Now I am trying to figure out the new big ideas confronting me in an entirely revamped template.

The overriding question is WTF? Did I want this? Did I ask for something new to mess up my mind? Why can't people leave well-enough alone?

I was perfectly happy with the old template, the one I've used since 2010 when I started this site, the one I never completely mastered to begin with, but at least grew comfortable with.

All I know is the old Blogger did the job the way I wanted the job to be done. Now I feel like I'm starting over.

I have things to do today, and now I have to deal with this?

Well, here I go.  I'm pressing the Publish button.  I guess I'll know if I've figured the posting part of things out in a few seconds.

I know I'm destined to have trouble with the new design and gadgets functions, and the like.

Jeez...


TS

P.S.  Wonderful.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

RIP Levon Helm



One of the transcendent moments from The Last Waltz (1976).

Gifted musician and actor Levon Helm dead at age 71.

Late add-on; this from PBS's Quick Hits.


TS

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

At Oregon: Smoke Weed and Win

This is not big news. However, it is interesting that some of the players claim 40 to 60 percent of the team smokes.

There are more potheads in the sports world now then there were 40 years ago, when I played football for one season at Southern Oregon College. But even back then players smoked, just like their hippie classmates.

Talk about culturally induced lifestyles. Of the four black players on the SOC team that year three of them smoked. The other one didn't feel like putting his commercial piloting dreams at risk and abstained.

Irwin was a great guy, but the other three were funnier, particularly when I indulged with them.  Marvin was the funniest, a tall wide-receiver with pitch-fork hands who speared the ball out of the sky.

I prefer my pilots be tested and my football players be left alone.

I played baseball at an Oregon junior college the following year.   Amphetamine was the go-to drug of choice on that team. I always figured that was because baseball can be sleep-inducing; speed keeps you awake, and ready to field that liner flashing towards your forehead if you play third, as I did.

The chief difference between then and now, I'd guess, without having any evidence of it, is that speed has probably lost favor among athletes, while pot consumption has likely grown along with its general use throughout American society.

Amphetamine is still the drug of choice among violent criminals, however, along with booze.

Pot prohibition is one of those silly laws that rankles for its lack of common sense. Alcohol is far more damaging to the liver and the soul.

Believe me, I should know.

I would argue that driving under the influence of anything is bad, particularly NASCAR. There are enough naturally stoned, redneck drivers out there already, along with a vast segment of people whose licences should be revoked because they can't park.

In fact, I'm not much of a pot smoker now, nor have I ever been. I've socialized with it in ways that I haven't with booze, that is in a more earthy fashion. Drinking can easily become compulsive and addictive. Look around.

When I go on a drinking jag, bad things tend to happen. Nothing violent happens usually, but one's motor reflexes and good sense diminish rapidly, unless one is Irish.

Weed has never overwhelmed my good sense like booze has on many occasions.

I laughed reading this article; a player noted--and I've heard this many, many times--"I don't even like beer, so I don't drink it." He had those loathsome munchies when he confessed this.

In order of their wasteful effects on humans, I say booze is number one, television is number two, and consumerism is number three. Stupidity ranks fourth.  Or, arguably, number one-A.

Pot is way down the list of my concerns, believe me, but try telling that to a politician who seeks the Christian voting bloc in an upcoming election.

We're a nation of hypocrites, no doubt about it.


TS

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tom Clark Recovering from Accident

I'd noticed two weeks ago that poet Tom Clark wasn't making regular posts at his blog, Beyond the Pale.

I hoped he was simply on vacation or engaged with other projects, but the thought crossed my mind that something bad might have happened.

Indeed, Tom suffered serious injuries when a car struck him while he walked near his home in Berkeley on April 3. His wife Angelica writes that he is better now, but also faces an ongoing series of medical appointments on his way to a full recovery.

You never know, folks. You never know.

I'm a little out of the loop with this.  I've never met Mr. Clark in person, so I'm obviously reporting something that his close friends already know about.  We have on a few occasions written short e-mail notes to one another regarding literary matters.  His praise of the Deemer brothers' poetry was one of the best things to happen to RBP last year.

From those communiques and his work, I gather Tom has a great spirit and understanding of how things are--and just as importantly, how things could be--in the world.  He has a view I admire, in other words.

Luckily it wasn't Tom's turn this time. Here's hoping for the best and Tom's full-time return to masterminding one of the most thought-provoking blogs on the Internet.


TS

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mixed Bag

(Stott Field, PSU)

Running a publishing empire like this one can be a tad stressful at times, but I have to say that today has drifted past with great ease and a sense of calm.

A rare day in that regard (and I know this isn't an empire, but I thrive on my lame jokes). I feel relaxed.

Generally I'm grinding, bursting with insecurities and confusion, and a sense of not knowing.

Today? Just living the life and hoping for the best.

Saturday evening, I took a number of long strides in learning the new RBP editing system that I eventually plan to use to produce what I hope are videos a notch-step above what I've created in the past.

A broadcast television pro who, as he describes it, works in the "belly of the beast" helped me enormously. We'll see what transpires with my new-found understanding, or what I hope is understanding and not another dead end.

Additionally, I'm editing the third book in K.C. Bacon's trilogy of New Rotterdam tales, which should be ready for publication by late summer.

That's going well.  I think I'm a good editor, not of my stuff of course, but of other things that pass under my nose.  This part of the job always levels me out somewhat.  The nuts and bolts stuff that clears my head and makes me think I'm contributing something of value to the world.

I like to think RBP has published some quality books to date (do tell me otherwise if you want Buddy Dooley to smack you upside the head), and I believe Bacon's latest will fit comfortably into the oeuvre.

What else is a man to do, I ask you? This is a racket after all, not unlike attempting to sell small figurines to equestrian-loving damsels.

Or a stack of baseball cards to a Cardinals fan.

BTW, I went over to Stott Field on the Portland State campus the other day and took in a Viking spring football practice, as has been my habit since moving into a nearby neighborhood  a couple of years ago.

Maybe I'll post a little practice video here next week, like a football blogger.

I'm liking what I see from the Vikings in the third season of Nigel Burton's coaching tenure. Burton has his players and system in now. I look for PSU to make the playoffs next November.

Burton has the team playing fast and focused. I'm not a big fan of Chip Kelly at Oregon, but his influence on the college game is readily apparent. Kelly is a big-time practice coach and his methodology has spread throughout the college landscape.

His mantra is "play fast, hard, and finish."

That's what we say here at Round Bend as well.


TS

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tutorial

My DP on "the project," a video-telling of my memoir, A Marvelous Paranoia, came over yesterday and worked with me on RBP's new video editing program.

People pay good money to tech institutes to learn what I received for free yesterday (Note: I'm not claiming I retained all of it, but it was a fantastic opening).

After 30 minutes of familiarizing himself with the system's terrain, Terence turned into a magician in front of my eyes. That's what it was like, watching this pro go to work with the tools at hand, the first time he'd ever seen them.

To an editing pro, a concept is a concept. All editing systems are not equal, but editing is more than the available tech. The convergence of tools and artistry make the editor. A million dollar system won't help an editor who hasn't imagination and vision.

For me, the editing program is a maze of technical chicanery; in his hands it was notably simplistic. He was already off on jags of creativity while I sat gaping at the possibilities.

I've done some editing in my time, but not to the level I witnessed in Terence's smooth operation.

Terence and I are shooting the first video scenes for the memoir project later this month.

With this fellow as my DP and editor, I project a winner.


TS

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Progress

Playing with the new video editor this morning, I was able to make a very simple instant movie.

I shot two scenes of Buddy Dooley's crib, imported them, added a title over in two places, and opted for one of the installed closing credit clips to finish.

Haven't figured out how to use the effects functions or how to import music and narration yet; perhaps I'll learn something more later today when my tutor works with me.

Slowly but surely, this is progress.


TS

Friday, April 13, 2012

Baby Steps

I've been squirreling around all morning with a new video editing program.

Naturally, it has me flummoxed for the most part, but little things occasionally occur to me as I play with it.

This stuff, never mind computing in general, doesn't come easily to this old VHS and typewriter guy. I seem to be compelled to do this, though.

God knows why! A sensible man of my age and demeanor might rethink the entire proclivity for self-imposed headbanging.

I really need to stop hyperventilating at this time, and get on with other concerns.

Fortunately, I'll have some help with the new program tomorrow. My teacher is a much more intuitive video pro. If he can't help me, perhaps I'll bundle everything in a blanket, tie it off, and drop it in the river.

Wash my sins away.


TS

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Round Bend Tribute



I consider this to be somewhat of a tribute to the authors who have made Round Bend Press such an adventuresome and rewarding experience over this past year.

My friends, your words and pictures mean everything to me.


TS

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Good Read

As Carlton "CJ" Jones might say, I've been doing some "heavy reading" of late.

Well, heavy reading in my mind anyway.

I read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air when it first appeared in 1997. The story of the infamous May, 1996 Mt. Everest climbing disaster is one of the most riveting tales I've ever read. I was pleased to discover over the past two evenings that it has not lost any of the luster I remember from my first entranced encounter with the book.

Krakauer wrote in the book's introduction, "In March 1996, Outside magazine sent me to Nepal to participate in, and write about, a guided ascent of Mount Everest. I went as one of eight clients on an expedition led by a well-known guide from New Zealand named Rob Hall. On May 10 I arrived on top of the mountain, but the summit came at a terrible cost."

In May, 1996, a record-twelve people died on Everest, the worst stretch in history. Krakauer informs his readers that prior to the disaster he'd never seen a dead person before, or even been to a funeral.

Among the many sides to this book is a tale of innocence lost.

The book created a stir, to say the least, and became a bestseller. However, the author's painstaking reconstruction of what happened on the mountain that May is disputed in some quarters even today.

Krakauer and Russian guide Anatoli Boukreev, a friend, had a highly visible falling out over their differing interpretations of what happened on the mountain from May 10-13, during a sudden rogue storm that enveloped Everest with one-hundred mile an hour winds and whiteout conditions.

Boukreev's ghostwritten account of the disaster, The Climb, forced Krakauer into a protracted defense of his account. The two were still estranged by 1999, when the Russian suffered another climbing calamity and died on Annapurna.

If you are my age and interested in good adventure stories, you've no doubt read Into Thin Air, or you have wanted to but haven't gotten around to it yet.

If you are younger and haven't heard of this book much less read it, you owe yourself the favor.


TS

Monday, April 9, 2012

A New RBP Author?

I spent the afternoon reading a batch of essays by a Tacoma writer recently introduced to me by regular Round Bend contributor and fellow Puget Sound denizen, K.C. Bacon.

Michael Huffman is a chef, and a writing teacher at a community college in Tacoma.

I'll tell you, I am extremely impressed by his passion for cooking, his interpretation of the meaning of food in our lives--or in his life in this case--as well as his literary style.

He writes really, really well.

The essays are entertaining morsels, as savory-sounding as some of the food Huffman writes about. They are funny, learned and anecdotal.

Above all else they are deeply honest, unless Huffman is one hell of a good liar, which is never a bad thing for a writer.

The author will be a nice addition to the press if he chooses to publish with us.

Here's hoping he does.


TS

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dooley Reads "The Bright Ones Run Alone into the Night"




The Bright Ones Run Alone into the Night

the lights come on at
six-thirty every morning
but you don’t care because
you’re already gone in your mind

you were up at 4 a.m.
gulping the swill coffee

you’ve taken a piss and shaved
and counted your money

you haven’t slept
but getting out of this place
is more important than sleep
and you want fresh air

you knew what it would
be like here
before you arrived
your back stooped
all you own in a shoulder bag
your empty pages
stuffed in a single side-pocket

at check-in you
gave them a name
but you’re uncertain whether
you have spoken
your name or the name
of a dead man

they want to know who
sent you and where you’re from
but they don’t care
how you got here or why

looking around
you realize you’ve fallen
into a trap

the snoring is a coded message
a riddle you must solve
on your own—but your life
has become an unanswerable lie
as you walk out the door

tonight
returning to your bed
amid the stench and piles of
cheap crime novels
you will see the bright
ones run alone
into the night

from Cello Music & Other Poems


TS

Glory Days



With spring football practice in full swing at Oregon and Oregon State, it's time to relive the glory of the 2012 Rose Bowl, wherein Nike U. beat Wisconsin in a thriller.

OSU unfortunately did not play well enough last season to go bowling, but they'll bounce back soon, I believe.

Oregon has lost a few stars from the Rose Bowl champs, but of late they've been able to reload at key positions--so perhaps Darron Thomas and LaMichael James will not be missed too much.

The most interesting aspect of the competition battle in Eugene this spring is at quarterback, where two kids vie to become the next big thing: Soph. Bryan Bennett, who played a little last season, and R.S. Frosh Marcus Mariotta, a big kid with a big arm who hasn't been on the field yet as a Duck.

Edge to Bennett. A little experience helps.

Both of these guys can run as well as throw it, something Darron Thomas couldn't do last year. Thomas was a leader, a sharp kid who knew the intricacies of the spread Oregon thrives on, but he wasn't very fast and had an erratic arm at times.

In coachspeak, reps will bring the new QBs up to speed.

Oregon has a light opening schedule; I expect the the QB situation to settle nicely by the time the PAC schedule begins in week four.


TS

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Woody Allen & Barbara Hershey (Seagull)



Dianne Wiest chews up this scene as a struggling would-be actress/writer in Hannah and Her Sisters, the 1986 Woody Allen classic. As stunning as she is, it is the presence of the irritable and undernourished youngest sister, played by Barbara Hershey, who sends this scene over the top.

Hershey was the greatest of the "hippie" actresses of the 1970s.

Note the movement of the camera as it relentlessly circles the sisters' lunch table, capturing the hideous banality of their privileged, spoiled lives.

Lunch transformed as Hades.

In my estimation, Woody Allen has never made a bad movie. Even his early slapstick adventures, such as Take the Money and Run and Bananas have lasting and silly appeal.

Venturing finally into grownup movies, Allen revealed a mocking, clairvoyant sensitivity that defined the American social drama/comedy genre in his image, starting with Annie Hall (1977).


TS

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Horse's Mouth

There are books and movies that are so indelibly scratched into your brain that it is risky to try to establish the experience of meeting them anew.

I suffered this odd realization again last night when I tried to re-watch The Horse's Mouth, the movie (1958) based on the English writer Joyce Cary's novel (1944), directed by Ronald Neames, with a screenplay by the star of the film, Alec Guinness.

The story, in case you haven't seen or heard of this book or movie (you kids), concerns Gulley Jimson, a London painter who is so obsessed with his work that he'll stop at nothing in order to finish a canvass, including associating with a menage of swine and uncomprehending boobs who he thinks may be able to help him finish his vision.

When I saw this movie years ago, I thought it hilarious. Watching it last night, I was aggrieved to realize it hasn't held up very well.

I've changed. The times have changed. Art itself has changed, though the movie's major theme still rings true; the lone artist battling the odds, his critics, the very notion of a society that could give a damn what he or she is attempting to accomplish.

But none of that is wholly what bothered me about watching the movie again. In truth, and this is just one critic's opinion mind you, it is deadening. It is flat. It isn't nearly as funny as I remembered it.

I don't think Guinness' screenplay is very good. Much of the dialogue doesn't work, many scenes are actually quite boring, and overall it simply appears to have missed too many opportunities to, in reality, approach the reputation it has garnered as a masterpiece by Neames.

Like much else these days, it's overrated.  It was overrated in my mind.

Watching this movie was something of a research project for me (I stumbled across it at the library and felt a connection), for I am editing a comedic novella about a fixated artist right now. When I first learned of the subject involved in this book, I thought of The Horse's Mouth.

I wish I hadn't.


TS

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dooley Reads "I Know What You Went Through, Bukowski"



I think Buddy Dooley does a credible job reading this poem. Though I might have pepped it up a little. Had to find some suitable Dexter Gordon to match Dooley's forlorn delivery.

Not bad, Dooley. You should be commended.


TS

Trip Planning

I met yesterday with my DP for the Sweet Home video shoot. We mulled over a number of shots that we agree are necessary to capture the feel of the narrative. We also planned an itinerary and specific route through the portion of the state I'm concerned with in this segment of the shoot.

We'll stop in Albany first, where I attended a junior college for one year before transferring to the University of Oregon. There, we'll photograph a plywood mill where I worked coming out of high school and on two other summer occasions. I want to go inside to grab some shots of the machinery used in the plywood trade. I'll try to set that up for the morning of the first day.

From there, we'll drive over to Lebanon, where I lived in the summer of 1977 and briefly tried to sell cars before going to work in a mobile home factory. I see a few shots coming out of that environment as well.

Then it'll be on to my hometown, where we'll shoot some of the project's most crucial video.

I told Terence about the old, wooden-covered bridge on display in Sweet Home's city park, moved there when Foster Reservoir went in on the Santiam River. It is very iconic and odd-looking in a park without a river flowing through it.

A must image for this project. One of many.

We'll shoot as much as we can in Sweet Home and environs and spend the night there, camping if the weather suggests it.

The next day we head into the Cascades, which play an integral part in A Marvelous Paranoia. I lived, for the first year of my life, in tiny Cascadia, in a house adjacent to Cascadia State Park. The family moved to Sweet Home after my father's death, but in the ensuing years I spent a great deal of time in Cascadia among a throng of cousins and extended family.

A must stop for images.

The rivers, lakes and terrain after that are other important aspects of the story. We'll gather those images on the way to Sisters. It'll be an intense and grueling day-long shoot, so the itinerary calls for a second night of camping (or a motel) in Sisters before driving the following morning along the McKenzie River to Eugene.

In Eugene, we'll need to capture the university aspects of the story. Looking forward to that.

In fact, I'm looking forward to this entire project. I'd like to bring it out this time next year. That might seem like a long gestation period, but consider that the entire project will have to be taken piecemeal on select days that fit the schedules of those involved.

In addition, a lot of legwork and and gathering need be done.

Onward!


TS

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Production Meeting Today

The production wheels officially begin turning this afternoon as I meet with co-conspirators to discuss the RBP video project based on my memoir, A Marvelous Paranoia (click on the book at the sidebar).

Our first shoot is three weeks away in my hometown of Sweet Home, Oregon, but I like the advantage of pre-planning the shots, the efficiency of knowing what you want, what you can use, etc. With that in mind, grabbing improv scenes and brainstorming shots in the field feels less risky.

Video is half logic and half inspiration.  Inspired logic, in other words.

At least that is my method.


TS