You can probably tell from my last post that I had too much coffee and was having trouble sleeping last night. To fall asleep I decided to watch this educational video from the 80's that my girlfriend had recorded from "god knows where" called "Film Genres: Romance". It was very cheesy but had an interesting moment of insight when the unknown "experts" discussed the impact of the movie Annie Hall on the baby boomer's. Annie Hall was the most flawed heroine that they had ever seen on screen. She gave an entire generation (especially women) permission to be totally screwed up. It reminded me of art critic Dave Hickey's response to Jackson Pollock when he saw his work in a mainstream magazine for the first time as a kid. His instant reaction was "anything goes." He was suddenly liberated. He never stressed out about his Mother complaining about his messy bedroom again.
This got me thinking about my "best of the decade" lists I was working on. I looked at them and realized many of my "best of's" were stuff I knew were great but didn't necessarily remember much detail from. I started to think about a list of my Annie Hall and Jackson Pollock moments. I realized that my world hasn't been "rocked" too often... but I have had a few tremors.
As I started to list them, I started to notice a scary theme among my hero's: a general lack of focus, goals and ambition. Fat, broke and tired is starting to look more like a final destination than a stop along the way.
Growing up in what was once hippie Boulder, in the late 70's and 80's, I was exposed to a lot of drugs, concerns about the environment, corporations, government, organic food, etc. Things that are just now starting to work their way into mainstream consciousness. I remember a quote by Malcolm X when I was really young that became my secret motto: "Assimilation into an unworthy society is an unworthy goal." Interestingly, I Googled that quote and nothing came up. Either that quote has been censored or Macolm X (or anybody else) never said it. If it is unclaimed, I claim it now, thank you.
Movie wise, I remember working as a projectionist for the self-proclaimed longest running film series in the history of the World (at the University of Colorado) when Richard Linklater's "Slacker" came out. The biggest star proffessor on campus at the time was the expirimental film pioneer Stan Brakhage. I abmired him mostly because of a chance interation I had with him while tagging along with my girlfriend to his studio. He held a private screening (for just the two of us) of a film that was a long thread of white Japanese characters on a solid black background. It was beautiful to look at but gave me a very sad feeling. When he told us the actual story, I was a little shocked to find out it was a very tragic folktale . I felt that I had somehow known the story even though it was in Japanese (which I don't read) and went by at lightning speed.
The first night I projected "Slacker" I felt that I finally understood what I was meant to do with my life... as little as possible. There was a quote from a homeless guy in the movie that I still think of today: "I may not live well but at least I don't have to work to do it." I mention Brakhage because half way through the movie he stormed out of the theatre and screamed at the top of his lungs that it was the worst movie he had ever seen.
Below are a few of the moments that defined my life. When I told my girlfriend she said I should be ashamed and keep this to myself. Luckily not too many people are likely to read this. Hi Mark. Happy Valentines day.