DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

George Kuchar Day

 

‘George Kuchar (1942–2011) was one of the most creative, original, and influential filmmakers of our time, straddling two generations of North American iconoclasts, from Stan Brakhage, Ken Jacobs, Rudy Burckhardt, Kenneth Anger, and Michael Snow to Warren Sonbert, Ernie Gehr, Abigail Child, and Henry Hills. Often collaborating with his twin brother, Mike, George Kuchar started making films as a Bronx teenager, and the brothers’ early films already show the ingenuity, exuberance, and do-it-yourself charm that would pervade scores of their subsequent films.

‘Every year Kuchar made a large-scale scripted film with his students at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he taught for nearly 40 years. His students were deliriously incorporated into his queerly epic visions, shaped by his uncanny approach to lighting and color filtering, scripts, costumes, overlaying of images and effects, and soundtrack, which are comparable to the greatest Hollywood films, but all done on shoe-string budgets. Rather than being constraining, Kuchar’s production budget enriched the aesthetic power of his films. It helped that he was a genius when it came to lighting, editing, make-up, cinematography, directing, musical soundtrack, and script writing; but his commitment to film as something that can be done idiosyncratically and without huge expense has been an inspiration to generations of independent filmmakers after him. Indeed, Kuchar’s films anticipate the work of younger video artists for whom cheap digital cameras and the Web are the tools at hand.

‘In his films, Kuchar is always poking fun and always having a good time, in an apparently sweet and charmingly self-deprecating way. Yet this court jester of avant-garde cinema had a sardonic edge that was as sharp as an editor’s blade. His vision bubbled out of the cauldron of his gay, Catholic, working-class childhood. This led to his lifelong tango with the high, and often dry, seriousness of the art world.

‘Kuchar stayed true to his American vernacular instincts throughout his life. The body of work he produced, now archived at Harvard, is a testimony to the power, and importance, of film done without the hindrance of large-scale production.

‘As a writer, Kuchar combined his genre-obsessed irony and self-reflective bathos into scripts of scintillating wit. The opening monologue in Thundercrack! (he wrote the screenplay for Curt McDowell) rivals and extends the best of Tennessee Williams’s plays.  Kuchar’s soundtracks, collages from his extensive LP collection, are exemplary for using already existing music in new contexts so seamlessly that you would have thought the music was composed especially for each scene. Kuchar’s films offer object lessons in how a splash of sound totally colors a scene; his quick sound segues contribute to the dynamism of his work and give it that wonderful, much sought-after, B-movie aura. But make no mistake: his editing is as diacritically perspicacious as any sound/image juxtaposition in Godard (even if his ingratiating style would not usually give rise to such terminology).

‘Kuchar made the switch from film to digital relatively early, fully embracing the dominant technology, and as he had done with film, making it completely his own. Much of his later work consists of an ongoing diary—a sprawling, picaresque series in which he documents, in addition to the weather, his meals, his friends, his trips. These funny, endearing works, in which he is the principal character and which he shot entirely by himself, are films that revel in the sublimity of the ordinary.

‘Kuchar created a small but notable body of work outside of his films: drawings and paintings in oil, watercolor, and tempera. George Kuchar: Pagan Rhapsodies, organized by Peter Eleey, including films, videos, and works on paper, is currently on display at MoMA PS1 (through January 15, 2012). He was trained as a commercial artist and after graduating from the School of Industrial Art he drew weather maps for a local news show. Speaking of his paintings, he told Eileen Myles, “I make ’em cause I like painting and I don’t like to paint my apartment. These cover the walls, they cover a lot.” Kuchar researched his paintings, looking for stories that he wanted to paint. Indeed, his paintings look a lot like his movies. “I pick characters, and I’m used to working in a box.” They are studies in light and color and are chock-full of Kuchar’s personality. He became involved in comix through his neighbor in San Francisco in the 1980s, Art Spiegelman; he went on to do many comix storyboards as well as underground comix.

‘Weirdos, kooks, outcasts: these are not the people in Kuchar’s films but the ones on national TV, paraded as normal. In Thundercrack!, Kuchar plays a circus truck driver who has fallen in love with the female gorilla in his charge. In the final, touching scene, we see the driver in bed with someone in a very campy gorilla costume.

‘From Baudelaire’s “À une Mendiante rousse” onward, artists have tried to find a way to portray society’s “others” without voyeurism, pity, condescension, or romanticizing. Kuchar in bed with an actor in gorilla suit is the perfect realization of the possibility of the pataque(e)rical as a quest for “otherworldly humanity” (to borrow a term Kuchar uses in one of his last class films, Lingo of the Lost).

‘A man with a movie camera: nobody’s done it better.’ — Charles Bernstein and Susan Bee, The Brooklyn Rail

 

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Stills





























































 

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Further

George Kuchar @ IMDb
George Kuchar @ Video Data Bank
Book: ‘The George Kuchar Reader’
The George Kuchar Collection @ Harvard Film Archive
George Kuchar obituary @ The Guardian
‘George Kuchar, Filmmaker and Provocateur Who Inspired John Waters, Dead’
Ed Halter on George Kuchar
‘Storm Squatting at El Reno’
‘George Kuchar’s Voice’
George and Mike Kuchar Appreciation Page
‘George Kuchar 1942–2011’ @ Frieze
George Kuchar @ Underground Film Journal
‘The Day the Bronx Invaded Earth: The Life and Cinema of the Brothers Kuchar’
‘Hold Me While I’m Naked: Notes on a Camp Classic’
‘Reflections on George Kuchar’
‘Color Him Lurid: Deceased Artiste George Kuchar’

 

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It Came from Kuchar
It Came from Kuchar is the definitive, feature documentary about the legendary, underground filmmaking twins, the Kuchar brothers. George and Mike Kuchar have inspired two generations of filmmakers, actors, musicians, and artists with their zany, “no budget” films and with their uniquely enchanting spirits. George and Mike Kuchar grew up in the Bronx in the 1950’s making “no-budget” films, compulsively copying Hollywood melodramas with their aunt’s 8mm, home-movie camera. In the 1960’s the New York underground film scene embraced them as the “8mm Mozarts”. Their early films deeply inspired many filmmakers, including John Waters, Buck Henry, Atom Egoyan, Todd Haynes, Cory McAbee and Wayne Wang. IT CAME FROM KUCHAR includes numerous clips from the Kuchar brother’s early films including HOLD ME WHILE I’M NAKED, SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS, and many others. IT CAME FROM KUCHAR features interviews of many of the filmmakers, artists and writers who’ve been inspired by the Kuchars.’ — Jennifer Smoot

 

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Underground comix
‘Although mainly into making movies, George Kuchar has also done some notable underground comix work. Kuchar was trained as a commercial artist and upon graduation drew weather maps for a local news show. He became involved in underground comix through his neighbor, Art Spiegelman. He drew for the comics revue Arcade in the 1970s, for which he created among others his comics biography of HP Lovecraft.’ — Lambiek

 

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Stuff


George Kuchar Interview 2010


George Kuchar visits with Nicolas Cage & Christopher Coppola 1989


George Kuchar & Guy Maddin in Conversation


Behind the Scenes with George Kuchar


George Kuchar’s Parting Message to the People of the Future

 

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Interview
by Steve Lafreniere @ VICE

 

Were there a lot of big movie palaces in the Bronx when you were teenagers in the 50s?
George Kuchar: There were a lot of theaters, and a lot of people in the Bronx went to the movies. The big one was the Paradise. It was on the Grand Concourse near Fordham Road, and that was quite a spectacular theater. It looked Roman. They had stars twinkling on the ceiling and clouds moving by. There was another theater around Southern Boulevard that played foreign pictures, Antonioni movies. I remember going there and the place was packed to see L’Avventura. And they always had a sign that said “Air-Conditioned.” You’d walk by in the summer and, man, the blast of cold air that came out of that place.

How often did you go?
Three times a week. Sometimes we’d see the same movie three times.

Do you remember the ones that made you want to make movies?
I went to see a lot of Douglas Sirk. That was like going to see work by adults. You felt like it was grown-ups making those pictures, and they really looked good. But then there were the Roger Corman pictures. They were done cheap and we thought, “Gee, it could be fun making those.” They would be double bills. Sometimes there would be pictures about Indians with Marla English, and then one of the low-budget horror movies. I used to love seeing those.

Marla English is criminally forgotten. Did you follow certain stars?
Yeah. And it didn’t have to be the big ones, sometimes it was the stars of the B movies. Or a lot of times I went to a movie because they had listed who did the music. If Bernard Herrmann’s name was on the ad, I went to the movie. I loved the sound of the score in the movie theater.

You and Mike started making movies when you got a camera for your 12th birthday. Was it expensive to process the film?
The film was $2.65, and the developing couldn’t have been more than that. You’d bring it into a drugstore, and they would process it at a place locally. But it wasn’t very good. After a few years it would crack, the emulsion would come out, and it would look like a fresco. So we would send it to Kodak. They did a much better job. A projector didn’t cost that much money in those days. They were kind of tin-looking things, with little plastic reels. If you got a better projector it could take bigger reels, so you could make longer movies.

How did two teenagers from the Bronx connect with the underground-film crowd in Manhattan?
We had friends, like bohemians or whatever they were called. A friend of mine, Donna Kerness, she was very pretty. We went to high school together, and then I started putting her in pictures. She made friends with this man, Bob Cowan, who was about ten years older, an artist. He came down from Canada with two other Canadian artists, Mike Snow and Joyce Wieland, to get into the culture scene. He was infatuated with Donna, and she introduced me to them, and they introduced my brother and me to that whole art world in New York that was going on.

Ken Jacobs helped you guys out, right?
We went to Ken Jacobs’s loft because Bob Cowan, I think, was acting in his 8-mm movies. At that time it was like a little theater there, and every Friday or Saturday night he would play underground movies. So my brother and I came with our pictures, people liked them, and we were asked to come back. Ken Jacobs told Jonas Mekas about us, and that’s how the whole ball started rolling.

Even though you were teenagers and didn’t have an art background like those other people, you were accepted?
Yeah! That place used to be full of painters and other artists making movies. We sort of became part of that crowd and began showing at the same venues, and an audience developed. But we had never known anyone like this. These were crazy people. They didn’t behave like the people we were working with at our jobs. A lot of them had never grown up. They were sort of fun, wild, and free.

Where was Warhol in all of this?
I would see him on the street with his entourage, and then he would come to our shows. I remember him coming once with a whole group of people five minutes into the screening. At that time I was also friends with Red Grooms, who was making some 8-mm movies. He asked me if wanted to go to a luncheon that Harry Abrams was holding for pop artists. Since I’d just finished Hold Me While I’m Naked in 16 mm, he asked me if I’d like to bring a projector. Warhol was there, and Rauschenberg, and Oldenburg. We showed the movie, and afterward Warhol said, “It’s good, George. It’s too good. Go back to your old style with the 8 mm.”

He got a lot of his ideas from you and Jack Smith.
Actually, at that time there was a big crosscurrent of people looking at Jack’s work. But he was an odd character, Jack Smith. He was way off in left field or something. He was very talented and all, but he had no stability. The rug was pulled. I put him into a movie because he was living next door to the guy that I was using as the star. Jack was going to the Factory one afternoon and he took me along. Warhol was doing a silk screen when we got there. Jack Smith had acted in a Warhol picture and he was mad because he had been off-camera during his biggest scenes and Warhol never told him, “You’re out of the frame.” Warhol didn’t seem to get too disturbed. He just kept silk-screening.

It’s funny that right after the macho Beat era, here come all these queeny guys like Smith and Warhol.
It was just what was happening. Around the Beat time they all wore ties and shirts and jackets. They’re kind of dressed up, you know what I mean? But then this other thing, this strange exotica, came in. It just happened.

Do you prefer editing to shooting?
I like it all. I like shooting because it’s like one big party. You get a chance to do compositions, lighting, and your wardrobe and makeup. It’s excitement. But it can be hell too, especially if you’re doing a scene and the question arises, “What do we do?” I don’t know what the hell to do.

You improvise that much?
Yeah. So you have to say, “Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom,” and then you can get your thoughts together. When the cameras were bigger and I didn’t know what to do to progress a scene, I’d just hide behind the camera. It was big enough to hide your face and you’d make believe you were adjusting the framing.

Maybe it’s because the plots are so much about your own, uh…
Probably obsessions. They always peek out. Sometimes there’s a seam of something that’s on your mind or bothering you. Or else you find somebody interesting and you wind up putting them in a plot, and somehow the plot unravels in the picture. But it’s other people playing them, so it’s all sort of dressed up. And 15 years later you realize what this picture was about, or that it was a pre-shadow of something. Pictures are kind of spooky. Especially when you handle the film yourself, and you got yourself in there. I compare them to little voodoo dolls.

Kenneth Anger believes that film collects more than just light and shadow. He said it made it hard to tell when they were finished.
Sometimes I finish a picture I’m working on and I think, “What a monstrosity.” Then I play it for a group of people and they sit there like, what just happened? And I think, “Uh-oh, what have I unleashed?” But if there’s something wrong with the picture, I fix it. The thing never gets finished unless it gets my complete seal of approval. Otherwise I’m haunted by it.

 

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14 of George Kuchar’s 217 films & videos

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Hold Me While I’m Naked (1966)
‘In a time long before YouTube, the Kuchar Brothers borrowed their aunt’s Super-8mm camera at the age of 12 and began making their films: poorly-acted, cheapo productions as much parodies as homages to the Technicolor movies they grew up watching in the 1950’s. The sweetly oddball Kuchar sensibility was also informed by the SF underground comix scene (via friends Art Spiegelman and Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith) when George ended up teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute. George, the more prolific of the twins, has made over 200 films, mostly with the help of his SFAI students, with memorable titles such as I Was A Teenage Rumpot, Pussy On A Hot Tin Roof, Corruption Of The Damned, Hold Me While I’m Naked, Color Me Shameless and House Of The White People. His best known film is probably the short, Hold Me While I’m Naked.’ — Dangerous Minds


the entire film

 

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Eclipse of the Sun Virgin (1967)
‘Eclipse of the Sun Virgin is a 1967, 16mm, 17minute film; directed by George Kuchar. The film is based on dealing with a poignant self-identity and the feeling of void between pornography. The short film was filmed in the late 1960’s, in this era a lot was going on with politics, social surroundings and economics. The short film is set in a small apartment. There is little speaking between the characters and a variety of music and sound in the background of the film. There are a lot of visual aspects of the characters mainly focusing on George Kuchar. Observing the way the film was shot there are a lot of shots and cuts in all the scenes. I think this film is based around maturity physically and emotionally in some ways, for example in the beginning of the film the camera is focused on a slightly attractive guy and then the camera cuts to George who is not so much attractive looking.’ — gwenn k johnson


the entire film

 

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Pagan Rhapsody (1970)
‘Since this was Jane and Lloyd’s first big acting roles, I made the music very loud so it would sweep them to stardom. She once hurt Bob Cowan’s back by sitting on it so this time I had her laying on his stomach. Donna Kerness was pregnant during her scenes but her stomach was kept pretty much in shadow and it’s not noticeable. My stomach was the same as always except it contained more mocha cake than usual since that type of cake was usually around when I filmed in Brooklyn Heights. Being that the picture was made in the winter, there are no outdoor scenes because it’s too cold and when the characters have to suddenly flee a tense situation, it’s too time consuming to have them put on a coat and gloves. Originally not scheduled as a tragedy, things swiftly changed as the months made me more and more sour as I plummet down that incinerator shaft I call my life.’ — George Kuchar


the entire film

 

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The Devil’s Cleavage (1975)
‘Restless nurses! Lovesick sheriffs! Sexed-up Girl Scout leaders! Lonely motel managers! And other degenerates populate George Kuchar‘s early ’70s mock-Hollywood soap opera, The Devil’s Cleavage. Ainslie Pryor stars as Nurse Ginger, who is stuck married to a total slob, so she takes to cheating on her hubby with anybody she cans. Eventually, she leaves home and becomes the object of obsession of a seedy Oklahoma motel manager played by Kuchar compatriot Curt McDowell. The Devil’s Cleavage is one of Kuchar’s rare feature-length outings. The film is credited by its distributor, Canyon Cinema, as having been completed in 1973. While the film may have had screenings in that year and in 1974, it gained a wider release in 1975, perhaps to capitalize on the success of Thundercrack! the semi-pornographic cult comedy directed by McDowell and written and starring Kuchar.’ — Underground Film Journal


Excerpt

 

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I, An Actress (1977)
‘One of the most enduring factors of Kuchar’s films is just how endearing his passion and peculiar personality was, especially when he was yelling things like “I’m on my knees, Harold, haven’t you seen women on their knees before or is it only on their backs?” He said that one while on his back during the screen test, kicking up at a dummy wearing a coat and a curly wig. The whole ordeal was supposed to be Barbara’s gateway into Hollywood, but George made it his own, tagging a title on the film when it was done. He called it I, an Actress, a George Kuchar picture © 1977. The clip blends his styles together great, maintaining both the exaggerated script reads and camp, while documenting an event in real time and showing the artifice from behind the camera. Watching I, an Actress makes me realize I had boring fucking teachers.’ — Vice


the entire film

 

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Wild Night in El Reno (1977)
‘While the 1977 film Wild Night in El Reno is not the first of Kuchar’s films to have been shot in Oklahoma (A Reason to Live [1976] prefigures it with scenes filmed there as well as in California), it is the earliest in which weather is the principal character. The only human beings seen in the six-minute piece are a woman briefly shown trying to use a payphone during a downpour, and the filmmaker himself, posed enigmatically beside graffiti proclaiming that “Jimmy Rush is a Pussy”. The majority of the film’s frames draw the viewer’s attention to the wind, clouds, rain and lightning strikes that accompany an El Reno storm. Many of the initial shots especially recall an Eric Sloane painting in composition and subject; his renderings of cloud formations in pastoral settings were an influence on the young Kuchar and it’s no surprise that a film bringing out the nature observer in the director would resemble one of Sloane’s landscapes put into motion by the camera shutter and the churning winds.’ — Senses of Cinema


the entire film

 

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The Mongreloid (1978)
The Mongreloid runs for about nine minutes. It opens with images of a city. Then, with Kuchar having a heartwarmingly one sided conversation with his dog, Bocko. He recants stories of their travels and all the people they’ve met together. He asks Bocko if he remembers salami and pooping all over San Francisco, “America’s favorite city”. He remembers their trip to lakes and to see a horse, one who didn’t take kindly to Bocko. He relates between them what his dog likes, like curling up with Kuchar as he has dinner, and how his dog’s aged since taking some of those trips.’ — smfafilm


the entire film

 

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Ascension of the Demonoids (1985)
‘One of the most insanely confusing longer creations by George Kuchar during the 80s, just before he switched to video. This was made after a collection of movies on UFOs and George was looking to “make a spectacle” and “wanted to get off the subject”. So the film wanders between scenes of cheap effects, insanely colorful and pyschedelic montages, discussions between UFO nuts and a woman who shares her recipes, angelic visitors from outer space, religious hallucinations, bigfoot and a couple playing a flute, an Arab massaging a woman, a woman beating up a walking blonde doll in her bathroom, and scenery of Hawaii. I’m lost.’ — The Last Exit


the entire film

 

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The Cage of Nicholas (1992)
‘A 10 minute short by George Kuchar which documents a visit with producer Christopher Coppola (nephew of Francis Ford Coppola and brother of Nicolas Cage), during which Coppola rambles on about cooking, film tricks, and his shaved head.’ — letterboxd.com


the entire film

 

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Andy’s House of Gary (1993)
‘A youth and a geezer or two chew the fat about cosmic mysteries beyond the realm of scientific digestion.’ — George Kuchar


the entire film

 

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Society Slut (1995)
‘The story of a matron and a midget in the heat of an unbridled passion. The colors run thick and heavy for paint and prurient pleasures as the electronic canvas unscrolls to reveal a bevy of beasties and beauties of nature and the unnatural. A non-stop melodrama of a patron of the arts shot by real art students in a real art school! A collaborative project I worked on with my class at the San Francisco Art Institute.’ — George Kuchar


the entire film

 

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Secrets of the Shadow World (1989 – 1999)
‘With a new millennium almost upon us, images of space aliens invading the marketplace and sleeping habits of consumers worldwide, this miniseries abducts the viewers into the universe of John A. Keel (via a video time-warp supplied by me with Rockefeller Foundation funding). It’s a leisurely expedition through a maze of kitchens and cerebral convolutions in search of the mysteries behind the mundane (or vice versa!). Mr. Keel, an author and stage magician, has made a profound impact on the pop-culture we swim in. His research and books on the UFO enigma have ignited an explosive wild-fire of imaginative invocations such as the X-FILES TV show and the Men in Black blockbuster movie. Yet you never hear about him and he never hears from the movie and television companies. In this video you see and hear him. You also see and hear a whole lot of other people and some animals. The whole show runs almost 2 hours and 20 minutes, but be sure to stay for part 3 as the UFO/Horror author, Whitley Streiber, teams up with my old star, Donna Kerness to reveal exclusive revelations on the ‘visitor’ experience. See this video… then read their books — and pray it’s not true!”‘ — George Kuchar


the entire film

 

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Butter Balls (2003)
‘To counteract the talkie I had done with graduate student the day before, this undergrad project has no dialogue but just a steady stream of images we dreamed up on the spot. A psychodrama that’s heavy on the beefcake, our picture deals with the sexual dementia of a sex addict undergoing hypnotherapy. It’s a mixture of fantasy and desire with some animals thrown in and lots of strange angles of the leading actor’s attributes.’ — George Kuchar


the entire film

 

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Dynasty of Depravity (2005)
‘This European flavored melodrama depicts a fictional country of refined manners and debased desires that explode into chaos, sending its prodigal son into the pit of 20th Century technology. That technology externalizes his hidden beauty just as he tries to hide the heritage of horror which was the curse of his lineage. That curse now threatens the already damned.’ — George Kuchar


the entire film

 

 

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p.s. Hey. Just so you know, tomorrow I have a big morning meeting with the people handling ‘Permanent Green Light’s’ festival submissions and distribution, so I won’t be able to do the p.s. tomorrow. But I’ll be back to catch up with everyone on Saturday. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. I’ll check out the masculinity essay thanks! ** Steve Erickson, Hey. Oh, good, I’ll definitely watch the Grace Jones doc when the chance comes. Everyone, Here you can read Mr. Erickson’s review of rappers SOB X RBE’s album GANGIN. I think, if pressed, I could make a case for Robin Zander as the greatest rock singer of all time. Well, that Broadway show sounds kind of awful, but if they want to give it a chance at being not awful, they hired the right guy. I want to read that ‘Astral Weeks’ book. I’ve been eyeing it. What a sublime album that is. I have both the Earth Opera albums back in LA on vinyl. I haven’t listened to them in decades, but I remember thinking they were interesting but not amazingly so. Let me know what you think if you try them. ** Bernard, Thank you for the glorious waxing on our topic du jour. You can kind of get that converter belt effect with gif fiction. Zac and I actually planned to go to Sushiro the last time we were in Japan, but the day we hit the mark, it was closed because of mechanical difficulties. Oh, shit, drat at missing your Moullet response. I don’t think ‘Weekend’ is my fave Godard, but I think it’s awfully good. I want to rewatch it, and what’s stopping me. Everything you say about what’s going on makes absolute sense to me. I don’t know if distance helps make the mind more overview-y. Yeah, it does seem like we’re over the cliff and praying for cartoon-like abilities now. Over here, they just finally arrested and charged Sarkozy with serious corruption charges after, like, eight years of case building. I hope the snow pleasured you. We’re into spring, and I think the refrigerator door is closing behind it. ** Misanthrope, Me too! Oh, wait, ha ha. I have been to a Krispy Kreme at the ‘hot’ moment. Good god, I’m sorry, but there are few things in this world as divinely gifted as a brand new, hot Krispy Kreme donut. Wow, 8 to 12 inches. We got actual snow over here in Paris for the first time in years, but I don’t think it added up to even an inch or even a half-inch maybe. Today’s the day? I mean for LPS’s hearing? Man, really hoping for a miracle for you guys. Give me the word, dark or bright. I never watch anything on flights except Blockbusters unless the selection is so tiny that I have an airborne hour or two where I have no Blockbusters left to choose. The last time ‘Jerk’ was performed in Paris, not only did an audience member pass out but the people with him freaked completely out and thought he was dead, and we had to stop the show and call the medics, and he came around after about an hour, but, yeah, that show is intense, I guess. ** Bill, Gray here too. Mega-gray. In my least surprising piece of advice to you ever, take a day off! I would do the same, if I could. ** Sypha, Yeah, it was a very rare early side-scroller and even current side-scroller that doesn’t install conveyer belts all over the place. That’s what I’d remembered and, in the course of making that post, had confirmed. You can take a tour of the Paris sewers, but I never have, and I hear it’s not worth the stink. Wes Anderson is increasingly one of my very favorite directors. Sorry about all the snow. Even a snow-craver like me is sober enough in my love of it to remember how old that gets. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about your bad mood of yesterday. Did you figure out why? It’s cool to know that one of my tomes is on sale in Budapest. I never have any idea where and how far my books reach. That’s very cool. My yesterday … The big meeting with Gisele and Zac. It went well. She likes most of what we’ve done, and the changes she wanted were easy enough that we managed to make all of them yesterday afternoon. Fingers crossed, we’re on track. So far. All right, we supposedly now have an absolutely firm date to sign the mysterious project’s contracts next Thursday. So firm that I might even be able to go ahead and finally demystify that project publicly this weekend. But yesterday was just working in one way or another really. And today will be too, I think. But I’ll try to sneak away and do something interesting. How was your day? Is your mood vastly improved, I hope? ** Jamie, Day of days, Jamie! Glad to hear you’re a nerd after my own nerdiness. That game show sounds familiar. I wonder if there was an American spin-off version or something. I was just talking with Zac yesterday about this old TV game show called Supermarket Sweep that I used to love in my youth. Basically, the show would take over a different supermarket — one of those giant American kinds — every day. Two (or three?) contestants would be given shopping carts. Then they would have, I don’t know, a half-hour, maybe less, to run madly through the supermarket filling their carts with whatever they wanted. The contestant whose cart’s goodies cost the most at checkout got a big prize, but even the losers got to keep everything in their shopping carts. Pretty cool. I don’t know why they don’t bring that show back. My scripting seems to be going well, it seems. I’m just trying to stay in the zone and keep burning myself out by scripting every day. So far, so okay. Cool about the gifs, thanks! Awesome that you’re getting away to Dublin. Never been there, but I hear good things almost always. The only place I’ve ever been in Ireland is Cork. Your feeling less bad is good news, at least as a start. Do get-away trips tend to help? Really glad to hear you like the Profligate album, Yeah, right? Oh, _Black_Acrylic wrote something to you yesterday in case you didn’t see it. May your day put you in a time machine that delivers you to the front door of Arthur Rimbaud who will treat you with uncharacteristic friendliness. First gear, second gear, third gear love, Dennis. ** Okay. I’m pretty certain that I made a George Kuchar Day on my murdered blog, but there’s no trace of it in my code/archives, so I made a new version that’s probably even better than the missing or non-existent first version. Probably. The blog will see you tomorrow sans my usual p.s., and both the blog and it will see you on Saturday.


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15 Comments

  1. David Ehrenstein

    March 22, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Great to see this George Kuchar Day. Not only a superb filmmaker, George was a fabulous guy. Curt McDowell who directed “Thundercrack!” was George’s love for many years, but they remained friends after they broke up. The 8mm films George made with his twin brother Mike are very special — particularly “The Naked and the Nude,” and “Pussy On a Hot Tin Roof.” George was a “Weather Buff” tracking all manner of hurricanes and such, and making videos about them. They’re quite beautiful and scary.

  2. Kuchar needs a comprehensive DVD/Blu set compiling his ’60s and ’70s shorts. They’re more accessible than most avant-garde films of the period, and to his credit, John Waters has constantly cited the Kuchars as an influence.

    Here’s my Nashville Scene review of the Israeli film FOXTROT: https://www.nashvillescene.com/arts-culture/film/article/20997123/israeli-drama-foxtrot-manages-to-combine-intimacy-and-distance

  3. Dennis, the snow storm was a total bust: we didn’t even get an inch, it was just flurries. Any almost every school in the area shut down in anticipation for it yesterday! Ah, but New England weather is so fickle.

  4. Dennis, Yeah, we’re leaving here in about 20 minutes. I’ll fill you in. Thank you for the well wishes and support.

    Hahaha, I would’ve loved to have been at that Paris “Jerk.” That would’ve been great. Well, not so great for Jonathan but still…

    It is intense. I’ve seen it three times. It’s usually a small theater, almost a small room, a tight little audience all sitting together, and then Jonathan and his greatness. Very quiet. The intensity builds. I can see people passing out just from the atmosphere.

    I’m sure I told you about the Seattle performance I saw. Only eight walkouts, four of which were this family seated right next to me. Mother, father, two cute teenage boys. The father and boys were really into it. They got the humor, laughing at the right parts. Sitting up and forward in their seats. The mother wasn’t having it. At the first “break,” she gave them all a look and they left. I could see obvious disappointment on the faces of the father and boys. I think they would’ve liked to have stayed. I’m sure they were probably patrons who just go to every show. The mother wasn’t expecting “Jerk” to be….”Jerk”! But the father and boys were really enjoying it, I could tell.

    I think we ended up with 5 or 6 inches of snow. It started melting before it even stopped. It’ll be gone by this weekend. Or tomorrow. It was quite pretty there for a while, though.

    Yeah, nothing like a hot Krispy Kreme donut. I’m salivating.

  5. Hi Dennis,

    I just wanted to leave a quick note letting you know that I emailed you all the stuff about my movie for the future post we discussed. I even created some GIFs to get in the spirit of this blog. 😉 Let me know if you need/want anything else. Thanks!

  6. Here’s my review of Steven Soderbergh’s UNSANE, which includes spoilers. Given that I don’t think the film really comes into its own till its final third, it was impossible to write a review without giving away certain elements of the plot. If that bothers you, you’ve been warned and should wait to read this till you’ve seen the film. http://gaycitynews.nyc/soderbergh-bets-movie-house/

    Misa, best luck at the hearing. I know how nerve-wracking that must be, given that your nephew’s future is on the line and you might wind up having to pay thousands in lawyer fees if he ends up in court.

  7. Hey Dennis,
    This is like the post I need right now or something. Perfectly inspiring to one who wants to make movies but has no cash. Thanks for all the whole movies too. I’m going to watch a couple of these when I get home tonight.
    I hope the PGL meeting goes/went very well.
    We had a Supermarket Sweep here, which I seem to recall being a bit low budget. I also remember watching it whilst tripping on acid once and crying with laughter.
    I’ve been to Dublin a couple of times on tour, but I remember nothing about it, so I feel like I’m going for the first time. I’ve developed a horrible habit of being the guy who gets sick on trips away, so this is going to be the trip that bucks the trend.
    Hope you have a lovely Friday and weekend. Any plans above and beyond working?
    May those days be a three way tie for best. See you Monday.
    Scrambled tofu love,
    Jamie

  8. Thank you, D.C., for George Kuchar Day! Anyone who contributes to the dissemination of the Kuchar legend is a hero in my books. I learned of the Kuchars during my undergrad years. I convinced my professors to buy a copy of George’s ‘The Craven Sluck’ for the campus film archive which I administrated in the mid-’70s. Eventually, through glorious fate, there would be two Kuchar stars in my immediate family. My wife, Ilka, acted in ‘The Devil’s Cleavage’ (she sang in pitch-challenged fashion about growing up in Iowa) and our daughter Nell starred in George’s final feature, ‘The Curse Of Frankenstein’s Castle.’ (At least I think that was the title, though that may have changed by the final edit.) Both women were his students at SFAI, a generation’s time apart. Near the end of his life we encountered George at a Pacific Film Archive screening of the brothers’ films. George introduced my wife to his brother: “Mike, this is Ilka. She’s SO glamorous, she should still be makin’ movies!” What wonderful, evergreen treasures are contained in the Kuchar filmography. So glad you included examples of George’s cartoon art, previously appearing only in R. Crumb’s ’70s era ‘Weirdo’ magazine or the Canyon Cinema catalog. Thank you again for today’s post, Dennis, a beautifully shaped tribute.

  9. I’d never seen any Kuchar films and there’s nothing on DVD so this Day is a great resource.

    Got the inside scoop on some upcoming DCA things. From June there’ll be a show of the LA artist Eve Fowler that includes her Hustlers photos of 90s New York male prostitutes, then sometime in the future there’s a showing of the Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead project so I’m very much looking forward to seeing that.

  10. Dennis, It’s me again. Okay, so I’m thinking your good vibes and energy made their way across the pond, as well as those of my other friends. The intake officer decided to give LPS another chance. He said this is the last time. Frankly, I think it’s because of me and mom again. LPS said later, “I think he likes me.” I said, “No, he likes me and Nana.” He must have a horseshoe up his ass or something. I was so sure this was going to court. Nope. It stops here…

    Technically, the victims have 30 days to appeal the intake officer’s decision. We’ll see what happens there.

    This boy, he needs to get his shit together and stop getting into trouble.

    I was thinking I might bring him and Kayla to NYC in June to see THEM. I don’t know. We’ll see how things go. If he earns it or not. (He might be in summer school then, getting two more courses he needs. He won’t be able to go if that’s the case. You can’t miss one day during that schooling.) I think it’d be good for him.

    Anyway, thanks again for your obviously very effective good vibes and energy. I’m sure they helped.

  11. Oh, and speaking of horseshoes in asses, Kayla helped me shovel snow yesterday and lost her phone. We scoured this fucking house. And outside, digging through all the little piles of snow. She found it this afternoon after the snow had melted, out on the ground. Fucking thing was under snow and slush for 20+ hours and works like a charm. Lucky girl.

    (Btw, we were the only people at the hearing. Nobody else was there. That was odd.)

  12. moonfleece closes tomorrow. vincent gallo wrote a great open letter today. the brown bunny is one of the best films ever made. http://www.anothermanmag.com/life-culture/10236/an-open-letter-from-vincent-gallo-unfiltered-and-unedited

    anything energetic and frenetic that i should read and-or watch soon? i’m looking for a very specific type of thing and the people you talk-write-speak about on this blog often fit that type?

    what’s been going on lately? i haven’t had time to read any of the posts in the last few weeks (including this one) but have this comment anyway. 🙂

    J

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