Oct 102016
 

like sirens calling into an empty night, the bells ring and autumn brings a fresh candor to the skies of shelter.

the view is so subtle, yet so inflected with meaning:  the vision of a hand, a pure white flower just furling beneath the soil, not quite ready to blossom into splendor.

as the sight remains seared into memory, time marches.  and the soil begins to crack, and life begins to grow, and love, love is the reward.  love is the horizon.

so goes onward, forward into the chaos of today.  hate spewed in place of helplessness.  irony in place of progress.  beauty in place of truth.

but, alas, in great beauty, often lies truth.  some find truth quite beautiful, even necessary.  any smudge on its mirror is impossible.  any chance of its splendor compromised is unbearable.  words are true.  sound is true.  light is true.  thus, as it has been said, perception is power.  therein lies a life.

time tells that in fear the truth lies, sleeping soundly, but with the promise of day.  in fear, chaos is still.  in fear, we feel oppressed by a sudden sense of humility.  in fear, we feel a desire for mercy.  in fear, the delicate boundary between external and internal is clear.  and there lies the power of fear.  and love.

in a time of great trembling, the capacity to reach out, beyond the prison of self, is precious.  to accept and ultimately transcend the profound loneliness of fear is to discover strength enough to know where our hands end and the sky begins.  and maybe, when our fingers touch the same sky, we can truly feel the immensity of each other.  and love.

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Nov 262012
 

hey charlie, you keep playing songs.  you keep playing songs like you play them well man.  you keep on playing them and i just keep on listening to them, you know, just like yesterday, just like the would have been and almost never was you know, charlie you keep sitting on top of me, you keep playing those songs, you keep reminding me what the point was to begin with, you keep on sending the message you should have sent yesterday, you just keep on digging, you keep on wondering how much longer, how much more, how much more, how much more.  these days i get tired man.  i get so tired i start to fall asleep, you keep on grinding away, you keep on grinding, you just keep playing away and you keep wondering indeed you keep on, you just keep on man, like a bird, like a pajaro, like an angel bird flapping your wings charlie, you keep on keeping on, like an angel man, watching you fly man, watching you coast away to the sunset, like falcon man, no man, not like a falcon, like a heavenly bird man, you are bird man you are bird.

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Nov 072012
 

alas, the time has come for all of us to take heed of the circumstance.  there is not favor or passivity in these walls, just a vague awareness of the love that endures, the endurable obligation that renders us all towards the worlds beneath us.  we are indeed the promised ones, the ones with entitlements, the ones with hopes and dreams.  we are the children of the oppressed.  we are the ones who got away clean, and now we are presented with a world that is not pure or clean, but condensed into factions that are at war.  a war of ideas, of values, of judgments and needs.

i cannot being to assert my own understanding.  to assert as much would be to admit my own ignorance which i am too proud to admit.  in fact, admitting in itself just reeks of cowardice.  i would much rather proclaim or state or announce, admitting has such a demeaning tone.

i love what we are capable of.  there are moments when all is well, when the world seems at peace and just the common humanity of us all is enough to save the day.

other times, our competitiveness renders my attitude complacent and dull.  i see the delusional conceptions of power that grip the minds of my fellow citizens and feel sick.  i want to hide.  i feel as if my home is in my self and that this land is filled with the misguided pronouncements of some despicable other.

i hate to be that other.  in fact, i want to be the not other.  i want to be the majority.  but even that makes me uncomfortable, because i have sat on the other side so many times.  observing, wondering what my place could possibly be in this madness.

and then of course, comes laughter.  what comfort.  what sense of purpose i feel.  thanks to the other.  thanks to you.

 

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Jul 202011
 

of all the narrow losses and the aggravated burdens endured softly and quietly by the quick judgment and the necessary followers, we maintain the sobriety of our peers with the inescapable desperation of the lack that follows us from idea to idea.

the grossness of our individuality stains the very produce of our inner constellations.  the galaxies of misery that maintain our thoughts as we persevere and confront the neglect and chaos that burdens our fellow citizens.

i stink in the most basic sense of the word.  i get sick and i borrow money and sometimes i am rude.  occasionally i make bad decisions and i often bury myself in the promise of an unattainable dream, material or otherwise.  that sense of internal progress defines my ability to smile and engage again with the battles of this or any time.

with the pathetic outcry of support for political agendas made meaningless by the lack of insight brought in them by the trusted advisers and truth-tellers that surround our leaders, i am left with the quiet sense of loss and and abject failure in our shared duty to simply help the common cause.

the action is directed and fought for, and we must correct ourselves in our ambitions toward the future relevance of ourselves, or lack thereof.

our opinion is not often solicited and we are often reluctant to express ourselves for fear of mockery and deviance from imposed norms and lackluster sensations of humility.

we so easily forget that those that govern, those that lead, that tell us what to think and feel, that dominate the discussion and set boundaries for our interactions are simply humans elevated by our own self-doubt.  they contain no superior combination of nature and nurture, simply the will to accept what they are given by us.

our fanaticism and impossible desires make us weak and easily deceived.  we mask our prejudice in rationalization and question those that lie outside the arranged boundaries of opinion.

the deficit faced by us all is not real.  in actuality, we have no genuine understanding of the meaning of a deficit.  those that devote their lives to studying the impact of such economic realities are left to burn in effigy, chastising their students and colleagues and drowning their sorrows in a false sense of mysterious superiority.

do we dare engage ourselves, or do we simply continue the specialization of labor that has given us the great prosperity which we now enjoy.  we seem not to allow ourselves to obey the very principles that dominate the national discussion of free enterprise and competition.

the human element dictates the sensations of survival that carry us all through the lunch hour and beyond.  unfortunately, those that govern and choose our lives for us most often do not transcend such fears.  like us, they want to keep working too.  like us, they want to maintain their sense of power and worth by holding dearly to the perception of civic enlightenment we endow them with.

in our democracy, we believe that the majority rules.  unfortunately, such is not the case.  our democracy dictates that a minority decides for us all.  that minority, under intense pressure, relishes their importance and continues to the sell the myth of populist empowerment that grants them such social prominence.

they even wear suits.

the humble man accepts what he does not know.  the best leaders are listeners and the best businesses operate through specialization.

the majority is silent because the majority is an illusion.

 

 

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Jan 132011
 

the man with his pipe and his dreams and the rock formations sitting aside the landscape he scowls into the face of his workers saying that this belongs there and that belongs here. the american flag draped over the side of the building, with his own words bellowing through the megaphone he holds closely to his lips, staining the device with his poisonous breath. the day is called and the actors shuffle off towards their trailers. the director is not finished. he retires to his office and plans the next day. more horses, more flags, more indians, more fonda, more wayne, more more more.
he is not overwhelming. in fact, he is humble. the landscape is a character, perhaps the lead. the stars bicker and fight helplessly against the impeccable beauty of the wyoming skyline. clouds and dirt are featured players.
john ford takes the complexity of war and the manic order of the army and allows us all to sit idly while we casually observe the madness of war. yes, cowboys and indian. absolutely shirley temple and a happy ending in matrimony. but, where is the hero? john wayne of course. he stood up for his men. he did not want to see them slaughtered, but overstepped his boundaries in the chain of command. he saved lives and allowed hope to continue through the matrimony of our destined lovers.
in fact, henry fonda is the mad man. he kills and is killed for personal insult. obsessed with his ego and the chain of command, he is a true army man. uniforms must be perfect. hair styled and dances observed precisely. he collides with the more basic family law of his men where his chain of command is no longer relevant.
just as he collides with the helpless nomads of the apaches, willing to settle for peace if fonda can keep his corrupt underling, meachem, from entering their reservation. instead, seated as a japanese emperor on the battlefield, he is threatened and insulted and brings death to his own men and the apaches, more so his own men.
a remarkable achievement. ford captures the complexity of war and the humanity of violence on a grand scale, always careful to put the landscape above all else. the characters kills each other and fight and spit and cheat, but long after they are gone, the wondrous stays, laughing at the pithy madness of the animals that fought and died for no good reason.
fort apache.

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Dec 072010
 

alas, the fortunate and brave souls conducting their mannerisms and their kindly gaits cannot mesmerize the screen anymore.  as the brave directors and producers cast the lovely and the photogenic, the depth and range of expression continues to fall flat.

many people forget that in theater, many productions of the same text are produced.  any junior high school can produce the odd couple or hamlet following precisely the same script, production notes, and stage directions as another.  however, obviously, certain productions overwhelm others.

as scripts are developed and cast, jack lemmon is very unavailable.  his expressive face, his impeccable timing, and his sincerity all remain ingrained in the minds of those of us who know what cinema can do.

i do not doubt that capable actors are out there.  fortunately, i know many brilliant performers who can sit and watch the apartment, or the great race, or the odd couple, or missing, and watch in wonder at what comic acting can achieve.

although jim carrey can carry a film, his punishment lies on the development side.  his desire to expand his horizons and challenge himself is met with scorn by his industry and his fans.  zach galifinakis is only beginning to mature, but, like will ferrell before him, is bombarded by the demand to be the guy he was back whenever.  those of us who were lucky enough to see zach when he had to settle for being the most brilliant standup comedian alive, can count our blessings that he has been able to achieve such broad acclaim.

as jack lemmon marches towards immortality, and netflix gives us permission to look into windows in the past greatness of cinema, we are reminded of the raw power of film.  not from explosions or recycled plots or impossible scenarios, but by playing the scene and the dialogue for itself.  i do not doubt that jack knew how lucky he was to have the loyalty of billy wilder, but alas, a billy wilder script would not get made today.

a movie that takes place in an office and an apartment with a suicide attempt, adulterous executives, and the rest would probably be considered experimental in our current time.  ironically, wilder was critized for being too bland in his pursuit of human comedy, not allowing for the real badness of his characters to shine through.  in 1960, now 50 years ago, jack lemmon and shirley maclaine devastated us all by showing us what we were capable of.  the jokes and the humanity of the apartment still hold us captive.  in fact, mad men, a progressive television show, sticks to a similar world.  however, jack and shirley do not need the set decoration, the costumes, or the sex to show us what relationships are really about.

jack lemmon is an icon.  and, as we plug forward, exasperated by our stars who want a reward for their suffering through open mics, ambivalent crowds, and cartoonish casting directors, we should remember that hiding a story is not the same as telling a story.

maybe jack lemmon could be a character actor today.  maybe he and sam worthington and brad pitt would have a lot to talk about.  but, i doubt that.  as a wise man said, “just because you are a character doesn’t mean you have character.”

maybe good movies come from good stories, good actors, good directors, good producers, good lighting, good photography, etc.  maybe we dont need to spend so much money showing our new digital toys.  maybe we need spend more money developing and nurturing those of us that are in this business of show to tell great stories and reward ourselves with the credibility and resources to make more.

thank you jack lemmon for reminding me why i do what i do.  thank you from the bottom of my heart.

ving rhames did the right thing.  his humility in giving jack his award should serve as a lesson for the entitled generation.

ironically enough, i remember watching an interview with shirley maclaine on the making of in her shoes with toni collette and cameron diaz.  i will never forget shirley’s surprise at how apathetic her costars were towards her.  they never asked her questions about her career or her method.  this woman, 50 years after the apartment, still works.  i would hope, like in any other profession, a young newbie with every opportunity in the world would absorb as much knowledge as possible from the crafty, legendary veteran.

alas, surrounded by publicists, marketers, and star-struck sociopaths, these “actors” do not care to improve.  they simply want to be noticed.  anyone who understands scene work, story telling, or the performing arts at all, knows that the best are contributors and serve the project.  they want to help the story get told.  they may disagree, but the director has a story to tell, and the actor is paid to help, not to grin and mug at the camera so that the audience in pitch black staring at a giant screen may notice them.

jack and shirley worked to make each other better.  their intonations and physicality were timed and rehearsed to enhance the needed beats of the story.  i doubt shirley’s publicist told her not to do a suicide attempt because nobody wants to see a movie star with problems.

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Nov 172010
 

The lightest air is here and we all can sip ourselves and wonder to the worlds beneath and above as to how or when or with whom and what we arrive.  Lightly the patient ones admit the futility of such conceit.

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