Category Archives: memory

the wheel turns, the blog continues

Back in late 2006 I wrote a blog post describing what it was like to watch movies with my family. At that time there was my wife, our six year old daughter, a dog, and me. It’s been a few years since then. Now we have three kids. Our eldest is thirteen. The next is turning seven, and the youngest turning four. We also have two dogs now, one a Labrador puppy. Our house is no bigger either.

Back then I was excited to start this blog (it used to be on Blogger), connect with other bloggers, and document my life a bit. More importantly, at that time I also was eager to write about films and connect with others cinephiles. I had always loved the movies, studied cinema in college while an undergrad and a grad student. I had had dreams of becoming both and filmmaker and a college professor teaching film studies. Neither happened. Starting this blog back in 2006 was a small way to recapture something I felt I had lost.

Then life happened. One of our children (not listed above) died in my arms. Not long after that an SUV driven by a drunk hit my wife and daughter. They nearly died and my wife had a long and painful healing process. Plus three kids, two dogs, homeschooling, work and more work, all contributed to course changes and new goals. My writing began to turn more toward my search for God, my Christian faith, and inner struggles.

Watching the kinds of films I love became harder and harder. I’m not a night owl. I get distracted easily. I find myself watching more kids films than otherwise. Writing about film seemed less and less important. Connecting with other bloggers was fine for a while, but not the same as true friendships and great discussions – but I still miss those distant folks. Oscar nominations are lists of films I have not seen. Other films bloggers have come and gone. Those that remain are excellent. I’m happy to let others do the interesting writing.

Writing, as the old saying goes is easy: just stare at the blank page until drops of blood form on your forehead. It’s hard work to write. It’s really, really hard to write well.

Well anyway… this blog continues. Perhaps I will re-enter the film writing mode of life. I love films. I am truly haunted by great films. I swoon over tracking shots. I genuinely cry at deeply moving moments. I go back and back again to films I love. It’s the way I am wired. There has never been an artform more powerful than cinema. Maybe I’ll start writing about it again.

We’ll see. Thanks for reading.

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Filed under blogging, family, memory, movies

Eleanor Coppola reads and discusses Notes on a Life

Click on the “Watch full program” to see the entire 65 minute interview.

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Filed under family, filmmaking, Life, memory, writing

>A conversation with Fritz Lang

>William Friedkin interviewed Fritz Lang in 1975 (according to the closing credits of the video below*). Lang died in 1976. This is a wide ranging, reminiscing kind of interview. Lang was an interesting guy. Sometimes I think the last person one should talk to regarding works of art is the artist; as Lang himself says in the end of the interview a film should speak for itself. On the other hand, as I encounter works of art that I love I can’t help but wonder at who the artist is or was, not merely as an artist, but as a person. I am interested in the artist’s character. I believe character is far more important than any specific ways of thinking artistically, though I also believe they are linked. I am curious what this interview says/shows of Lang’s character. Do we think about character all that much these days?

The opening titles misspell Friedkin’s name, but oh well.

* Maybe the interview was in 1974, like the Vimeo title says. “VOSTFR” stands for “Version Originale – Sous-Titre Français,” which is French for “Original Version – French Sub Titles.”

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Filed under filmmaking, memory, movies

>"We’re cavemen"

>I found this ancient piece of history the other day.

In 1986 the 7-Eleven sponsored cycling team rode in the Tour de France. They suffered a lot. The 7-Eleven team was the first ever U.S. team to race in the tour. (Riding for a French team, American Greg LeMond became the first American to win the tour that year.) I had begun my tour fanship the previous year, but 1986 was the big year. Every weekend John Tesh and his team (and Tesh’s new-age style music) would bring us coverage of this great race. It was the first time that most Americans had a chance to be introduced to the sport of bicycle racing, let alone the Tour de France. In my life it was somewhat monumental, but most Americans couldn’t care less, until the Lance Armstrong phenom.

Here is a “get-to-know-them” video of the 7-Eleven team back in 1986. You will see some of the greats of American cycling from that era, including Bob Roll, Chris Carmichael (trainer of Lance Armstrong), Davis Phinney, Alexi Grewal, and Eric Heiden.

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Filed under bicycling, memory, sports

>The ultimate family vacation super-8 movie

>Disneyland Dream (1956)
http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf

In July 1956, the five-member Barstow family of Wethersfield, Connecticut, won a free trip to newly-opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in a nationwide contest. This 30-minute amateur documentary film tells the fabulous story of their fun-filled, dream-come-true, family travel adventure, filmed on the scene at Walt Disney’s “Magic Kingdom” by Robbins Barstow.

In December 2008, “Disneyland Dream” was named to the National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress.

Note: The first uncredited screen appearance by Steve Martin occurs in the film at around the 20:20 mark – very brief, in the lower right corner. He is the 11 year old in pink shirt, black vest and top hat, hawking guidebooks.

Found at the Internet Archive.

Robbins Barstow, the creator of (and the dad in) the film died in November of this year. His obit is here.

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Filed under American history, family, filmmaking, memory, movies, travel

>SX-70 (1972)

>

One of the greatest inventions of the 20th century in a promotional film by two of the most important designers.
Directed by
Charles Eames
Ray Eames
Writing credits
Charles Eames
Ray Eames
Produced by
Charles Eames
Ray Eames
Original Music by
Elmer Bernstein

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Filed under Art, artmaking, memory

>40 years ago today

>Quoted from Democracy Now:

[F]orty years ago today, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the transmitter of Pacifica station KPFT in Houston, Texas. The bombing came just months after KPFT went on the air. The bombing forced the station off the air for several weeks. The station’s transmitter was bombed again on October 6, 1970. At the time, George H.W. Bush was a congressman representing Houston. He condemned the October bombing, saying, “It’s outrageous. It’s against everything this country stands for.” In 1981, the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan admitted that his greatest feat “was engineering the bombing of a left-wing radio station.” The KKK understood how dangerous Pacifica was, as it allowed people to speak for themselves.

Pacifica was playing Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant at the time of the bombing. If you ever needed some visuals to get you through the 20 minute song…

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Filed under American history, memory