Thursday, May 18, 2023

The Proverbial Quickie

Only have time for a quickie?  Today's headline: 

Join me for Bronx Magic live in Harlem

Sunday June 4 at 12:30 pm at 

the (esteemed but tiny) Maysles Documentary Center

as part of the People's Film Festival  

Want more? Read on.

Over the last year or so I've enjoyed a correspondence with post-modern legend Yvonne Rainer . If you happened to read the 4/29/22 post you'll remember that her "gender challenge" was part of the inspiration for A Day's Work, which has thus far been screened in 3 fests and just won Best Original Score at Bare Bones Music & Film Festival in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Yvonne recently saw my 2007 Bricktown, which I shared with her for a glimpse of the dancing of our mutual friend Elena TaJo, a creative spirit who departed this earth too young, just about a year ago. Since I never get reviews in newspapers, online or otherwise, I hope you'll forgive me for sharing Yvonne's encomium here: 

"Your inventiveness should not amaze me at this point, but Bricktown is one of the most beautiful dance videos I’ve ever seen !! — Gorgeous  reds, movements, bricks, walls, railings, feet, accumulations of eye-catching riffs, more red fleeting images, intimacies, endearments, changing architectural details — Your timing is impeccable —"

And as long as I'm boasting - which along with being self-deprecating and waxing philosophical, is what this blog is all about - read this from a email from CineVox in Portland, Oregon: 

Wait a Minute tied for best film in a program titled "The Human Condition". I opened that program with your film because it is such a fun, friendly film that welcomes everyone into the world it embodies. It's just delightful.

And that's not all! The pre-pandemic Through Mabel's Eyes won two prizes recently: Best Environmental film at the Tokyo International Short Film Festival, and Best Not-so-Short Dancefilm at Cinedanza Primavera.  Most festivals want work that has been made in the last 18 months - 2 years - so right now I'm more or less alternating between A Day's Work and Kata, a new one with Selina Shida Hack. But whenever possible I also submit earlier work - perhaps the oldest my 2017 Her Magnum Opus, which continues to be selected and screened, to my immense gratification.

So why, when someone congratulates me on all of the laurels she sees on Facebook, do I make that face that means don't take it seriously? 
For one thing, I'm rarely present at these events: fly to Muskogee, Oklahoma for my 8-minute film at Bare Bones? I don't think so.  

For another, even when it's a local event that's easier for me to  attend, it's likely to be a small venue like the above esteemed but tiny Maysles Center.  To be fair, when I saw Bronx Magic screened at a historic but relatively small venue - Cinema Village as part of Winter Film Awards - I was glad to be part of a diverse group of films and audience members, a a few of whom made a point of letting me know how joyous Magic was. (And better than average swag, by the way.)

And there's a weird notion that comes with this game of value: winning. What a ridiculous idea when it comes to any creative endeavor and I'll tell you a few reasons why. 

a. You can't compare apples and oranges. 
b.  If I win, is it despite or because of my visibly low-budget
c. If a certain work of mine is a loser in a dance film festival, but a
    winner in a regular one, what does that mean?
d. We're all gonna die someday, so what are we competing for?

Check out the video below which is actually a continuation of the above post. But something wonky made it impossible for me to append it smoothly. It's the trailer for something called 3 Windows we made in Cork last fall. As for where I'll submit it for The Big Win, talk about low-budget aspirations.  But its spirit is true to our experience, and the music by the Rose Ensemble remains an inspiration. As are the dancers of course: Selina Shida Hack, Anka Sedlackova and Tina Vasquez.

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