TWO MILLION freaking viewers of this silly vid I wrote & shot in 3 minutes. I know the provocative title is the reason for this thing's amazing endurance, but the comments kill me: people are outraged at this true story about Mick Jagger's deflowering of a friend of mine, but every 20th comment "gets it" and says something cautiously encouraging. Create & show, even if the mob spits venom!
It's been years and we're wearing different skins. In the dark hallway between sets we talk about our molted selves, those discarded skins we've left behind on paths we never knew why we traveled, and I remark how funny it is to look at our past and think we were never that person except it is so obvious we wouldn't be here without them; I wouldn't be here says Lisa if I hadn't been there. We laugh, because 'there' means so much in music-speak: heartbreak and hope, perjury and injury, envy and sushi. And then we are talking about how you write songs based on what other people tell you, that being a writer means being able to listen and not simply blurt out your feelings to any witness standing by; your self is shaped by the toils and troubles of others, by the broken dreams people give you and ask to have fixed but then never return to collect. The language in the dark between sets plays like this between us, a surfing of metaphors and hardcore physics, those stiff rules of life that will not let us bend the truth to suit our sights. And then I tell her to go, that people are waiting to speak to her, they've come from far away to wire into her bottomless sparkle, and that I will catch her energy later, Monday morning, as we drive with Sandra to New York, and the mention of the word 'Sandra' sparks new admissions and admirations but we break it up and head out into the light where the first thing we see is Sandra hawking Lisa's brilliant new CD, growling at everyone that they better get and pay for their copy right now. The rest of the night is utter thrill, and Lisa Engelken, the former dashing Lisa E., spirals into new coils of drama and delight as we bathe in her energies like blooms in a meadow, tilting happily in her direction, even our veins throbbing perfectly to the beat. You make up every song as you sing it or listen to it, since there is no room in your brain to remember that much, so it's always a surprise when we or she gets it right and we remember that note or that feeling or that moment when she made us smile years ago, or was it seconds go, or now? She makes you feel good, and it makes Lisa Engelken feel good to do it. How many times in the second set does she almost apologise for feeling so good, perhaps at your expense? But she bites her tongue and figures you're free to stand up and go, so she flings another torpedo of a tune at those of us who stay to watch her sing. And we all stay, of course, we always will. Music kissed from her lips into your heart and memory will always keep you right where you are, listening.
Just an ordinary photoshoot while we've got Maya Nelson Wolfsdottir in town and since it's Andy's birthday. But a friend pops in, and then another, and another, and before you know it cameras are bristling and the atmosphere is brewing. That's when Sandra, our very own social vampire, breaks herself out and decides to do an Arctic dance with Maya; one thing leads to another and this video is the result. Andy's birthday is coming up soon, so we'll be sure to get you an invite!
Andy's birthday is not an event to sneeze at. Or to sniff or sneer or snooze at. Andy's birthday is about the confluence of wind and rain, traffic lights and Boursin, widows and woolly bison. He gets dolled up in the facepaint, a reflection of his native tides, and Sandra and Maya pose with gusto. A friend drops by, and then another, and before you know it creativity has been sparked and off we got. Sean kept the shutters firing, as did Andres and Mr. Hooker, and Saturday turned out just fine. Elsewhere, here, there is a hilarious video of Sean singing 'Generation Zero' as part of the old Black Hole Buddha show, while everyone gallops along to their own inner impulse. Must see Tv except it's on the net!
Robert Hughes is a genius. His book debunking Australia's history is a masterpiece, and this similarly witty trashing of Klimt and the rich twits who buy him is fantastic! If they didn't overpay for the pieces, most of these "collectors" wouldn't know art from a travel poster. Great line from Hughes: "Art has always been associated with money, but it wasn't just an investment; now, it's the bottom line." And trashing Damien Hirst like that! Wow! The Mugrabis are a joke. Thanks for this fab post, cutting through the garbage on FB! "I met Andy Warhol and he was one of the stupidest people I ever met."
He gives Warhol his due as a master of media, but can't help pointing out how vapid he finds the person behind the graphic art. Comparing Klimt with Leonardo is asinine, as Hughes notes, but that is what these "ridiculous rich dudes" do. They pay the money, and then need to assure themselves they've done something wise. The beauty of this particular encounter between collector and critic is the devilish laugh Hughes gives when Mugrabi admits he overpays for artworks to achieve a sort of immortality. That's where Hughes is much, much more than critic. He's exposing a shallow stooge for being a shallow stooge, judging art and artist by price tag. What give Hughes his heft as a critic who laughs at Mugrabi are his towering books on the history of Barcelona and on the history of the British transportation which formed the modern Australian character. He is not a critic in these works, but a keen observer of psychology and a student of society's structures; you could say Hughes has made a new kind of history to supplement Braudel, who simply laughs at the historians who write history as a never-ending tussle between generals: the price of Barley is more important to Braudel and Hughes than whether or not Wellington took advantage of Napoleon's hemorrhoids in that Belgian field. Hughes has weight far beyond criticism. He is a creator of his own perspective and his own history, and I'll be every penny I have that Mugrabi junior has never read Fatal Shores or Barcelona and has simply taken the path of ordinary rich people, the same jerks who buy "the best" because they can and not because they have a sliver of knowledge or instinct about what the artworks represent or how the artist saw the world around him. Van Gogh or Goya would vomit upon meeting Mugrabi; it is exactly this sort of jackal on the outskirts of creativity that every artist loathes. That laugh of Hughes, a chortle of pure contempt, at Mugrabi's idea that he is buying immortality, is a trap set for an idiot, effortlessly, intended with utmost malevolence, and Mugrabi steps into it with both feet. This is a fantastic video, required viewing for any artist who speculates on her or his own assets.
Mysterious character Valentina sparks expressions of concern from photo master Donna Ferrato in a short scene puntuated by the song "The Fool" from the Moonlight Project by Blue, Peter Fox & Steve McCormick, sung by Kristen Mooney. Video produced by Seanie Blue & David Snider for the Bubble Lounge.
Valentine's Day at the Bubble Lounge, Produced by Seanie Blue
Audacious camera king Donna Ferrato previews a map of memes in the form of a 10-minute short movie at Tribeca's Bubble Lounge on Sunday evening. Two showings of the movie, at 8:30 and at 10:30, free entry, and you'll be pixelated if you attend. Ferrato explores several of her book and photo ideas in a series of sketches and impulses about her life in the triangle below Canal. Produced by Blue & David Snider in crystal-clear blu-ray quality.
++++++++++++++ Poster design is by Jyl Freeman for Trophy Design & the Mechanical Swan
It's celebrity time, or my version of it at least, as I put the opening touches onto the new photo movie coming from the Photography Channel. The working title is "Anxious Moments," and the movie details my existential worries despite the beauties and opportunities of my life. Time ticks to pieces, and I drip as a useless counterweight from the hands of my expiring clock. No comedy, unfortunately, just an onrushing end. Drives me crazy, so I will say so. This gallery is a series of shots of Danny Bikko (Brendan Sheelagh Bikko, to be concise) used in a segment of the movie that is now almost completely edited. More links to come when there is video to watch.
Back from Mexico in two pieces.
The me I am and the me I will become, already opposed.
A TV show called "My Own Private America" produced by Sandie Black and me and Ingo Juliusson is ready to edit. Veronica, where are you? And my pictures of the aurora borealis are the lead feature in Dave Snider's TV pilot "Time Frame" produced by the Photography Channel. And Will Rokos and I slowly come to agreement on a script and strategy to make a movie for Cannes which might, unbelievably, be about vampires.
But now is now, and coming back wounded and scarred from Mexico after tripping there with Maya Nelson is the primary story I have to speak. Almost as if it's the only language I know. The words and poetry are hung up in negotiations, held hostage to ambition and greed and youth. I would shoot myself except there is too much to do. And I am smiling widely as I write this, eating sushi on 9th Avenue, with the Sun brilliant outside. For more Maya, visit her website preview at Wolf's Daughter, here.
Just back from Malibu and a great visit with old pals in a gorgeous movie location hacienda above the Pacific, and in tow is a panther without a leash, Maya Nelson, arctic model. We drove the 101 over the hills to the ocean, she at at the wheel, and me feeding her intensely complicated lines that I want her to do in English and Icelandic. She's feverish, coming down with something, and I think I should give her a break and let her rest, but this sort grueling ordeal is part of becoming an actor or a performer: You simply do not have the choice of when to accept a break when it knocks on your door. And this is definitely Maya's break, on a small Seanie Blue scale, since the images and scenes have evolved enormously since we met three months ago, and her confidence has a nuclear bloom to it. She is not scared of the lines or ideas and the work involved, and punishes herself for the slightest mistake or mispronounciation. Fine with me, since I no longer bother to give her much instruction when we shoot pictures, since she has become so adept at anticipating what movements I need. We have shot 7200 pictures in one week, not enough video, and discussed the performance impulse until we were ready to kill one another. We leave Hollywood tomorrow for New York, and have critical questions on our horizons. What are we actually making? The birth of a model or actor? A movie? A book? And why?
There is no applause as we kill a possibility on the phone, me among buildings, and she in the Arctic. I wanted to travel the world capturing the chrysallis of a girl transforming herself into a woman, from sensual thrill into a sexual weapon built to kill. But to kill who? Me, of course, as I watched her change, from the streets of Katmandu to the alleyways of Hollywood. Because how could I convey the joy of watching this animal change without falling in thrall myself? I hoped she would break my heart, shatter me to pieces, when the last day of this effort arrived, and she walked away from me and my cameras without a glance backward, into a future I predicted she would have, and instead . . . I am disappointed. Angry at her casual and lazy indifference to my grand schemes. Why did I bother? She never could put her head into this game of mine, because she's not interested in being anything but a girl, even if she liked the idea of the travel and the pictures and acting and glamour. It would be better, this sense of gloom I am under now, if there was pain I could admit instead of my annoyance. I'm just pissed off, my time wasted, and the movies and art I hoped would result seem like nothing more than silly shadows thrown by a young girl over the blueprints of a silly old fool, less the architect of beauty and drama than he thinks. And this is the worst pain of all, to know I have fooled myself, making silk out of leather, even if this is a common drama for men who would be artists. Early fools day.
She is listening intently to what I have to say about how we will shoot and how she will move. She doesn't blink, and she sits on the edge of the chair, trying to remember everything because there is to much to do and too little time, but she knows me well enough not to hope for anything different. Her cellphone rings, and she holds up a finger, hang on, Sean. Sure, says me. She reaches for the phone and does not check to see who is calling before she turns it off. She is looking at me again, eyebrow arched. This is why everyone loves to work with her. Hollywood is full of shooters and producers who complain about their models and actors staying in touch or conducting business on the set. I shake her hand. She asks what for, and I tell her it's to balance all the times I was urged to kick models or actors in the butt when they checked their phones to see who called. The interruptions kill momentum, but the actors hardly care. It's all about them. The Raindancer laughs. No, Blue, it's always about you, that's why I'm here. It is so easy to work, suddenly, and we smile like puppies through the first 300 shots.
Dave Snider from the Photography Channel calls and wants to put togther a piece on my aurora borealis photography. I laugh out loud, thinking this is a joke. PC has vids of Steve McCurry and David Alan Harvey and that ilk discussing their work, and I'm going to be hung with them? This is a serious proposition, I soon realise, since there are only three dozen vids up on PC at any one time, and mine might be the featured video for a month. Head reeling, I track down the pictures David needs. Here's a short preview.
My plans change for a third time in two weeks, and I take advantage of a strange confluence of activities to remain in Reykjavik. There is too much going on to relate, but the movies or the possibility of a movie crops up again, in many ways. The country is about to plunge into a very anxious period, of several years, perhaps, and I can just sense that creativity is a terrible gamble at the moment. Art that is not practical, in general, attracts a sturdy Scandinavian scorn, in my biased opinion, and I am hopelessly invested in the artistic impulse. So I wander around the city and visit my friends with an open desire to express what I see as a piece of art. No problem. Except I wander into a piece of art in the form of a young model named Maya Nelson Wolfsdottir, who was born on a farm and has "the architecture of dreams in her face, and the athletics of escape in her limbs," as I have just written her. I start to channel all sorts of expressions through her, with photographs and then video, but let me just relate one small sequence that has left me in the role of both James Mason and Peter Sellers in Kubrick's luminous 'Lolita': There is an accountant in one small office on an abandoned floor in my building, and he listens to Beethoven or to his menopausal wife sobbing on his cellphone, nurses his badly swollen prostrate, and comes to his door whenever he hears us galloping through the hall. He is alone, but unable to admit to being lonely. And Maya Nelson is trying to translate some lines of mine into Icelandic when she runs into a problem with:
" . . . pheromones are leaking from my eyebrows . . ."
In a flash she is out the door with the script and knocking on the accountant's office, where she asks him for the proper words for 'leaking' or 'sweating,' and of course reads him the entire line. She sees him looking at her magenta bra in open-mouthed astonishment, thinks for a moment, and then devastates him by saying, "I don't need help translating pheromones or eyebrow, just want to know what you think about the word 'sweating' versus 'leaking,' since Blue wrote 'leaking' but I think 'sweating' is better." He has not recovered since this encounter, and nor have I, and the architect and I stand in the hallway together linked by this private humor of sexual semantics. He is shaken by the bra and her long neck, I am sure, but for me the shock is more sentimental than sensual, since I am realising that she has outgrown 'Lolita' -- she is more woman than girl, I must admit -- while I have not.
There is a movie here. Could be made in a week. And this is just one of many possibilities. But I have better things to do and so does she, we remind each other, like parrots. Is the idea good enough to transport beyond her presence? This is the test for me.
I am in the Zocalo, sitting at a table at one of the cafes lining the square. I am unbelievably pissed off about being in Oaxaca. I hadn't wanted to come, but a friend badgered me into the trip to take pictures during Oaxaca's famous celebrations of El Dia de los Muertos. The trip will cost me two thousand bucks, and I am doubting that I will be able to sink as I wish to into local society; I am simply part of a touristy maelstrom taking the images and memories out of Mexico without caring a whit about the context and complexes of the country's troubles and distinctions. Everyone wants a picture of the costumes and masks on Halloween night, or of the candles flickering in the cemeteries as families gather overnight to welcome back the spirits of the dead, and I am gritting my tteth at the prospects of eight days in the wrong place, surrounded by tourists and accosted by locals who wish to sell me junk for whatever cash I can spare. Worse, the novel I've been working on every day for two months comes to a shuddering stop: the only thing I can add is a flourish I write on the airplane flying down. I cannot believe I am here. Agreeing to come and unable to tell a friend "No" when I needed to will cost me dearly, I am thinking, as I sit at my table in the zocalo.
And then the waiter is there, wondering what I would like. It's not his fault. So I smile and order a juice and fruit. And I ask him his name. He asks if I am in town for the celebration, and I groan. No, man, I say, I've come to mexico for the only reason I would ever come to Mexico, for the magic. The waiter smiles and says: "If you've come for magic, you've come at the right time." He leaves to fetch my order. I am suffused with hope, suddenly, that something magical is bound to happen. I am in Mexico. Magic cannot be very far away.
My mother dies with grace and haste, surprising everyone who thought they knew her. We'd quarreled, as families do, and she became the second parent of mine who I rejected on the way to becoming the zombie I am. I got to my parents' bedsides just before they died, but hardly in any way to say "Sorry I am such an asshole, but I have better things to do," for which I am terribly sorry to admit neither would have felt much pride. They weren't wired to understand that art is a hook you keep swallowing and keep hunting, regardless of the menu the world insists on putting in front of you. I have always known what I wanted, and my parents never had a clue about what they wanted except to say it wasn't what they had; like lobsters they kept looking for the next comfy cranny; like a shark I cannot stop swimming, eating even my family and friends if it means I can keep my dreams alive. There will be a way of marking me as this kind of animal in the future, just as the scientists have announced they've found the Beta male gene, the DNA that makes men willing to sit in one place and grow a brood as their exit strategy. I am a mutant, I am afraid to say, unwilling to accept responsibility or care for property, and hopelessly addicted to the next idea that flirts with my imagination. I want to obey every impulse to create, every instinct to cheat death by saying, "Look at what I made," so I can keep making my own little world, so I can keep living the life I choose.
Thanks for the condolences and concerns about my sudden marooning in the present. I suppose my mother was like a spaceship crashed by the lake or on top of the hill, and represented some sort of escape or rewinding of my history, but to tell the truth I've never itched to go back, and if obliteration and heartbreak lie ahead as well as adventure and creativity, well, that's the price I'm willing to pay, even if it means I have to steal from the people who love me most.
Again, thanks for the condolences, but I don't speak that language: Tell me what you're up to, what you're doing, where you're going, and what it means to you if you don't get there. These are the stories I need to hear.
Been scratching at literary pebbles, and got the urge to roll a rock of images onto the screen. This video took a few hours to put together, initially as an offshoot of something similar I was working on for the photo collective 15x100. This video would probably hasten my separation from that cool group, too. But the video would get me going in a very interesting (and necessary) direction . . .
Start this month with a bang. Start where?
You do stuff and it comes back to haunt you or vaunt you, and it feels nice to get a note from designer Jyl Freeman in Hollywood with news that her short movie is being considered by the Getty Museum to be part of their new frontiers video-makers, and what do you know but that I have a small role as the meat worshipper in scenes with the ravishing Rebecca Davis on the beach at Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Movie shot two years ago. Chek the vid, and give it your vote!