Thursday, May 29, 2008

Richard Linklater on what Docs and Narratives share

From the Austin Chronicle article today, "Zen and the Art of Winning Championships" heralding Richard Linklater's new doc on college baseball's winningest coach, Augie Garrido:

For Linklater, documentary and feature films do share one characteristic: point of view. To differing degrees, they both represent the point of view of the filmmaker. In this way, Linklater challenges the notion that documentaries ever tell the truth but rather serve as a "subjective experience" in their own right. Linklater finds this aspect, "getting to know someone through someone else's eyes," fascinating. He states, "You have a person with an image of himself. And then you have other people's images of him. And then you have your our prejudices and things you bring in from your autobiography. So who knows what the truth is? This is how I formed the material and how it works for me."

Yes. I so agree with this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ok, our wedding mixtape circa 1983

Everyone knows we got married in a movie theatre (Film Forum when it was on Watts Street to be exact - it's where we'd met working there the year before). We showed the second half of Buster Keaton's "Seven Chances." But the pre and ceremony soundtrack? Keep in mind John's parents were very religious...


Never Grow Old - Aretha Franklin
Wholy Holy - Marvin Gaye
Precious Memories - Aretha
Climbing Higher - Aretha
Let's Get Married - Al Green


You're all I need to get by - Aretha
Forever Young - Bob Dylan
Family Affair - James Blood Ulmer

I really love that Blood Ulmer song!

The full-on reception mix is lost to us. We left it at the newly open (then) Capsouto Freres where we had the reception because they loved it so much. I'm sure along with R&B it included a wide range including punk and Sinatra.

25 Years!!!!

I love this guy


Aries Horoscope for week of May 22, 2008
Verticle Oracle card Aries (March 21-April 19)
After working for years in various jobs at San Francisco TV station KTVU, Frank Sommerville was promoted to the top of the heap -- lead anchorman of the 10 o'clock news program. He promised that his new power wouldn't make him lazy or complacent. "Nobody will out-curious me," he bragged. I hope you will adopt the same motto for the foreseeable future, Aries. Your world needs you to be intensely inquisitive about what's transpiring. Uncoincidentally, asking lots of smart questions (and even some dumb ones) will also be the best possible thing you can do for your mental health.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bat Boy "Comfort and Joy" Mash up

Years ago we stepped out on a limb and invested a sizable amount of personal money into our friends (and frequent Split Screen collaborators) - Brian Flemming and Keythe Farley's Bat Boy: The Musical as it moved from its triumphant LA run in to Off-Broadway. We lost every penny. Although apparently it's a popular community and school performance choice.

I loved the show. I haven't seen it since it's NYC premiere @ 2001 - but this mash up of "Comfort and Joy" totally brought back the delight.

From Brian's blog:

Great fan mashup of "Comfort and Joy" from Bat Boy: The Musical with some obscure animated film...

Another great NYT column by Errol Morris

Another very strong NYTimes column by Errol Morris:

The following essay shows how a photograph aided and abetted a terrible miscarriage of justice. I invite readers to offer their own interpretation of the considerable amount of material contained in the footnotes.

“Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,” thought Alice; “but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!”
– Lewis Carroll, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

“How can you say she’s a good person?” I am sitting in an editing-room in Cambridge, Mass. arguing with one of my editors. I reply, “Well, exactly what is it that she did that is bad?” We are arguing about Sabrina Harman, one of the notorious “seven bad apples” convicted of abuse in the notorious Abu Ghraib scandal. My editor becomes increasingly irritable. (I have that effect on people.) He looks at me as you would a child. “What did she do that is bad? Are you joking?” And then he brings up the trump card, the photograph with the smile. “How do you get past that? The smile? Just look at it. Come on.”

The question kept coming up. How do you explain the smile? What does it mean? Not only is she smiling, she is smiling with her thumbs-up – over a dead body. The photograph suggests that she may have killed the guy, and she looks proud of it. She looks happy.

I should back up a moment.


I haven't had a chance to see his newest doc yet here in Austin but I can't wait.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Routines shift, now night walks

The routines shift. Now I walk at night. Need to more than ever so it's easier to remember and do. There's something about finding that joy from movement that's essential. Especially when hormones are working against you, or change is in the anxiety stage. The other night John said, "go, get out before it gets dark." But no, I prefer the dark to walk. I love the twilight and the light fading. The glow of the florescent or artificial light, the deepening of the night blue sky. I love the anonymity and the freedom that brings. My optician says I prefer the world through my sunglasses because it's less "confusing." The sunglasses cut down the percentage of information needing to be absorbed. Maybe it's that way with the night as well. It's soothing. It's gorgeous. It's certainly a simple pleasure.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Skitch - cool tool for capture and notation

Talking over lunch about new technologies, Rodney Gibbs promised to send me an interview with a Frontline producer he found interesting. The video panel (titled: Crisis in News Investigative Reporting on the Web) was terrific, but what I really enjoyed was the little program showing the screen capture and his highlighted notes. Turns out the program is called Skitch. Check it out:

Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fourth Hail Storm this Spring UPDATED w/ cooler photos

In the east coast we have "snow days" where school and work shut down. In Texas, I guess there are "hail days." Our fourth hail storm this spring, this is what I found when I drove up to the sxsw office. Notice how conveniently the tree fell to the right.

UPDATE: Check out these GREAT reader hail photos from the Statesman!

IFC Cannes Cam!!!!!

My favorite guilty pleasure during this time of the Cannes Film Festival is the IFC Cannes Cam.

It's the coolest thing in the world. You can sit at home and enjoy this 24/7 little 4.5" x 3" window onto the red carpet. You can see watch people milling about, see the fashions, hear the wind, and even watch their formal gala pre-shows with Matt Singer and various guest hosts. I just caught the tail end of Austin's own Tim League doing a bang up job for Kung Fu Panda.

Check out the live feed here. It's addictive and lots of fun!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Austin electronics recycling this Saturday!

From Wyatt's blog: He's really looking for a big turnout!! Please tell your friends. They'll take ANY electronics though computers and computer parts are preferred.

Just as Much A Holiday as Columbus Day

There have been no blogs for a while, but I'll do what I can in the future. More importantly, big electronics recycling drive on May 17th. It is at McCallum High School (5600 Sunshine Dr) from 9-2. Bring anything, computers, cell phones, cd players, televisions. Let us relieve you of the shit that has just been sitting around your house for years.

Taco Journalism Austin Taco Tour

My new compadre at sxsw Jarod Neece, has a side project that's tons of fun - it's his Taco Journalism blog. Here's a recent little coverage of Fox7

My Winnipeg - Highly Recommended

My Winnipeg was one of the mega delight surprises at True/False this year where it secretly screened before its official U.S. premiere at Tribeca Fest, after it's earlier North American premiere at Toronto. Just totally fabulous and highly entertaining from start to finish. I highly recommend it.

See the trailer here:

Here's Aaron Hillis' interview with Guy Maddin in the Village Voice.

Talking With Winnipeg's Remarkably Well-Adjusted Guy Maddin
by Aaron Hillis
April 22nd, 2008 12:00 AM

Winnipeg: More than a frozen hellhole.  IFC Films

Mother's Day for me 2008

Mother's Day 2008. No sentimental ponderings this year. My daughter was away, and my son mostly out, although he made some chocolate chip cookies to celebrate as John and I headed out to the 10pm screening of Ironman. (Man I love Robert Downey, Jr.!) We basically spent the weekend watching the semester end screenings from RTF. Hours of screenings. Two hours on Friday night, three separate programs varying from 240 minutes to 90 minutes yesterday, and another 90 minutes tonight. I've done this before. I always like to see the emerging talent...but this year I took notes. It's a nice quick way to get the lay of the land. We'll do the dinner thing tomorrow.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What I'm Not Writing About

The adjustments to a job working for others, with others. Getting up to speed and grieving for the luxurious freedom of movement I had for so long. Managing time (as always.) The questions of focus in an endlessly distracting environment, which is different from the questions of focus in a solitary environment. The evolution of personal authority. Creative ideas. Exciting partnerships. Pride. My son, so damned handsome, dressing for the prom. The three hours of prom picture different life is with/for go-getter high achieving daughters. The kids were spectacular, but, no it's not appropriate for me to post their pictures here. Trust me, they were awesome. Life changes in the blink of an eye.

More about those Buffalos, Lions and the Crocodile on YouTube

This is a great follow up to that amazing safari YouTubevideo I posted back in June 2007.

You’ve Seen the YouTube Video; Now Try the Documentary

Jason Schlosberg/Negative Space Media

Published: May 10, 2008

There is a moment of foreshadowing at the end of “Battle at Kruger,” the eight-minute African safari video that has drawn more than 30 million views on YouTube.

David Budzinski, a tourist from Texas, has just recorded a stunning scene straight out of a wildlife documentary. A small pride of lions and a crocodile have pinned down a cape buffalo calf, prompting an angry herd of buffalo to fight off the predators and save the babe. A fellow traveler remarks, “You could sell that video!”

After returning home, Mr. Budzinski tried, but National Geographic and Animal Planet were not interested. Only after the battle — alternately terrifying and heart-warming — became one of the most popular videos in YouTube’s history did the buyers come calling. Last summer the National Geographic Channel purchased the television rights to the video, and on Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern time, it will devote an hour to a documentary deconstructing the drama.

(full article)

Ben Chaplin, great company

I had the surprise good fortune of meeting the actor Ben Chaplin this week. I don't actually know that many actors. Directors, yes. But actors? Not so much. And some are exhausting - commanding all the attention you have, all the time. But some are the best company imaginable. And in our short time together, Chaplin was just that. Super bright, super articulate, funny as hell, and great company. He had a way of making each conversation come alive. Illustrating what he meant by a Liverpudlian accent twinged with German or the beauty of sports. He explained how much he loved sports. How in the moment each game seems like the most important thing in the world, the only thing! But in the bigger scheme, is totally meaningless. Life life? But picture it better told, funnier, smarter. It was a real privilege to meet his acquaintance.

I can't wait to catch him in a couple of our finest Texas directors newest work.

More Austin

I guess it's just about Austin Kleon all the time now :)

Excited about his good fortune this morning! Way to go Austin K - you're an inspiration!!



Friday, May 9th, 2008

newspaper blackout poem

Today the poems were featured on NPR’s Morning Edition:

Read Between the Lines to Find Texas Poet’s Verse
Morning Edition, May 9, 2008

Instead of starting with a blank page, poet Austin Kleon grabs the New York Times and a permanent marker — and eliminates the words he doesn’t need. He recently transformed an article about a piano concert into a poem that begins: “Forget about trying to speak … the image is the travelogue.” The newspaper ends up more black than white, and shows another way to read between the lines.

My wife and I are huge NPR junkies, so this was quite a Friday treat. Welcome to new visitors, and thanks again to everyone who’s spread the word about them! You guys are awesome.

PS. Did this one on the bus this morning.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Austin Kleon on Matt Stone's visit to John Pierson's UT Master Class

Great fun to invite Austin Kleon again to John's UT Master Class with Matt Stone, because he just creates such cool artifacts. I'm such a fan of Matt's and South Park. The show is still kick-ass funny and dead-on essential. And the guy in person is so super smart and funny and very real. I've treasured the few times I've gotten to hang around him. Amazing too, to consider his meteoric rise (although that's not what he calls it.) Even with my faulty memory, I'll never forget the day in our old Grainy Cold Spring office that I started watching "Alferd Packer: The Musical" - later re-titled: "Cannibal! the Musical". I'd never seen anything like it - and I couldn't stop watching. It was hilarious and way over the top and just so damned committed.

If you haven't been paying attention - you can catch up with all of South Park now streaming!

From Austin's Blog:

Went to see John Pierson interview Matt Stone, co-creator of South Park last night at the Austin City Limits studio on campus here at the University of Texas. Here’s a little write-up. I took some crummy sketchbook notes—could not for the life of me figure out how to draw him, so I just drew him as Kyle.

Matt Stone at the University of Texas


Friday, May 02, 2008

Ah Smoking....

Another wonderful piece by David Sedaris in the May 5, 2008 issue of The New Yorker. Man I loved smoking. From age 12 to 28.


Letting Go

Smoking and non-smoking.

by David Sedaris

When I was in fourth grade, my class took a field trip to the American Tobacco plant in nearby Durham, North Carolina. There we witnessed the making of cigarettes and were given free packs to take home to our parents. I tell people this and they ask me how old I am, thinking, I guess, that I went to the world’s first elementary school, one where we wrote on cave walls and hunted our lunch with clubs. Then I mention the smoking lounge at my high school. It was outdoors, but, still, you’d never find anything like that now, not even if the school was in a prison.

I recall seeing ashtrays in movie theatres and grocery stores, but they didn’t make me want to smoke. In fact, it was just the opposite. Once, I drove an embroidery needle into my mother’s carton of Winstons, over and over, as if it were a voodoo doll. She then beat me for twenty seconds, at which point she ran out of breath and stood there panting, “That’s . . . not . . . funny.”


Facebook quandary

My new gig really has put a crimp in my blogging style. I just don't feel comfortable talking about some of the more personal feelings, and I never intended this to be a professional film booster blog. So I'm left quieter. But that's not the only modern day quandary. I'm also not sure what to do about Facebook. I had fun opening an account back in September. Within minutes I'd set up a lunch date with a peer for the first time in a couple of years. Sure we had each other's phone and emails, and we're even in the same neighborhood, but it was something about the photos on facebook that caught our attention and encouraged us to commit. Similarly, I reacquainted with a previous best friend from over 15 years ago. A best friend shifted into silence because of changing lives. I'd noticed her page on Myspace, but it wasn't until I was on Facebook, that she opened the door. And there's more stories like that. It's been fun!

But now that I've started a more public job, I'm getting "friend" offers from people I don't already know. And while maybe they're great, and maybe I'll come to really like them, I don't feel like being indiscriminate. Even while I put the most personal things in this blog, I still want some zones of privacy. So what to do? How much is necessary in my new position? My work and personal life has always been blurred, but now, how far do I have to take it?

Any thoughts? Advice?