Thursday, June 28, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
because my husband loves the comic and enjoys these big Marvel productions, i have recently seen both Spiderman 3 and The Fantastic 4. i want to talk about the latter. it was fine, i suppose, for what it was, but what of the horror show that was the besmirched beauty of Jessica Alba? What does it mean to pay a lead actress a large salary for her, um, skill (that "um" is about what we know . . . she may be a fine actress, but it's about her look) and then do everything possible to mask, hide or otherwise transmute that skill? i'm referring to the ridiculous, frightful blonde wig and blue contact lenses used to do everything possible to hide Alba's dark complexion and the attendant features (dark eyes, dark hair) and make of her a typical whitegirldream (i've found tons of web entries about this mistake). i concede that there is a possibility regarding moves to enhance her similarity to the (a) cartoon character, but this move failed. She looked alien, bizarre, not lovely, and, well, "invisible woman" indeed (how much more weight can she possibly lose and remain ambulatory? . . . this question from a crippled mind who thinks that no one is too thin -- i'm exaggerating but also admitting to my culpability w/r/t the ways in which i see and consider women's bodies, and yes, there is a history of "issues" . . . blah, blah). was the paycheck so high that she was able to look in the mirror after her round of transfigurements and say "i look good. let's shoot"? i can't imagine it. once, on a shoot i did for a local business (for an in-house training video/an "industrial" film), the makeup was so heavy -- the makeup woman *airbrushed* the foundation on, which felt and looked awful . . . the eye's so overdone, the lips shiny to distraction . . . i could barely focus upon my character. and yes, as an actor, you must transcend your look to be your character, and i suppose i did fine, but the discomfort was excrutiating. but so i thought, "this is no career-making or breaking material; a handful of people will see this, half of them distracted, and, forced to watch this will likely be texting friends, doodling, making a mental grocery list, or overdoing it on the free pastry and coffee." not so for Jessica (DARK Angel) Alba; certainly, she wants people to see her in the film, to see her like this . . . it's simply bizarre (the word i'll keep coming back to).
it's too easy to ask "what does it mean?" -- the answer, much harder to discern. i mean, they had monitors; they could see what we saw. perhaps they were so focused upon her incredibly lean physique (aka, her "sexiness") that they simply decided not to send her back to the trailer for alterations. it's simply bizarre.
i'm thinking more and more of not going out on auditons any longer. this is what we have, for women. so.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
for me, felt sense emerges in/on the body when you watch a great film that does something beyond providing pleasure or the fulfillment of expectations (and i'm not simply talking about "discomfort" in traditional terms because most great films or fabulous art generates discomfort that is also incredibly pleasurable -- think Andres Serrano). it's a connection to or experience of the "unassimilable" nature of affect that "vibrates with pleasure" ("the skin of a robot" -- beck, lazy flies), and it's why, when in the museum (any museum) , you stroll w/your partner/friend/whatever and occasionally stop to regroup, to chat about what you've seen and felt and all you can say is "did you SEE that?!" and there it is, that language that is subtractive . . . but sooooooooooooo gentle, so simple, so clear . . . and not at all assertive but inquisitive, if rhetorically so, not at all about MAKING A CLAIM and not at all about tarting up the experience of the image/expression-event by seeking to make sense of it. sometimes, listening in on other people's conversations at galleries/museums is fun, if a little tragic. i sort of love to hear "i don't get it." not because it makes me feel superior but because they *are* expressing that discomfort of the affective . . . and i want to gently ask, "but how does it make you feel?" to sort of direct them back to the event. or i want to suggest, "that's okay, . . . no need to worry about what it means" (even though, as i've argued before, meaning finds a way, if "only" in the "expression-event" itself, if only "meaning" arrives as intensity rather than emerging from language). clearly, the latter part of this comment (and much of this entry) owes much to Brian Massumi, who did find the language to express many of the intensities i could not.
* notes on this entry's title: also lyrics, which for me articulate a felt sense of something i can't articulate, from Beck's "lazy flies," a track for which i want to someday produce a video featuring scenes from Werner Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo" and also Aguirre, Wrath of God)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
just watched Wong Kar Wai 's 2046 on cable. wow. i had missed it in theaters, and despite last summer's catch up weekend w/ Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love, we had missed out, fell behind. except . . . not so much behind because of the resonsance of IMFL. still, a masterpiece. the close shots, sexy angles, color, lighting, music, the slow motion sequences that almost define the film. lovely. love WKW
now, i'm going to shoot some scenes in my master bathroom. all inspired.
Monday, June 18, 2007
he turned his face to mine, tears running down, furious and with that stony expression people get when they. can't. believe. it . . . saying "ARE YOU KIDDING?! She's the best one!"
Sunday, June 17, 2007
recently i was looking for old accounts of the event because i had been watching Open Water and because memories of this kind often emerge into consciousness, uninvited, and i'm pretty sure no one in our family has a file containing all the juicy clippings. i found one that stays with me because our little story is found on the same page as a lot of info about Nixon, his illness, watergate . . . one headline reads: ". . . has restless night." ha.
i'm not sure what to make of being marked (in time) in this way.
here is some of the text (unformatted; i had to purchase the papers from a newspaper archive and can't figure out how to/if i can post the formatted text, but i figure the story is mine, so):
IN LOS ANGELES
Story on Page A-2
PXESS-TELEGRAM HOME EDITION
LONG BEACH, CALIF., FRI., JULY 13, 1973
Classified HE 2-5959 Phone HE 5-1161 $4 PAGES 10 CENTS
Nixon in - pneumonia
KEY WEST, Fla. (UPI)
— A family of 10, including
six children, clung to
an overturned boat for
more than 24 hours in
rough seas and torrential
rains before being rescued
by a pleasure boat.
"It was a miracle, a
plain absolute miracle
that we all survived,"
Gerald Surfus, 38, a Sarasota
attorney said Thursday
from his hospital bed.
He said his family had
left Key West Tuesday
morning aboard the 26-
foot boat he had recently
purchased for $41,000.
They planned to return by
nightfall after a trip to the
Dry Tortugas Islands 70
miles to the west.
ON BOARD the boat
were Surfus; his father,
Clifton Surfus, 61; mother,
Frances, 59; wife,
Mary, 41; and the six
girls: Emily, 4; Daphne,
6; Amy, 8; Bonnie, 10;
Carrie, 12; and Dawn, 17.
Surfus said they ran
into rough weather on the
way back to Key West
"We hit maybe a three
or four foot wave and the
bow just broke right off,"
Surfus said. "In 90 seconds,
we were overturned
and in the water."
(Turn to Back Pg., Col. 4)
. . . it was a big deal. Dad was on To Tell the Truth and also on Tom Synder's late night show (was it called Tomorrow?). We were in The Enquirer (and the story was all true!)
anyhow. i've been thinking about it. it pops up now and then, like other past trauma.
my father's comments about a "miracle" are touching and ironically funny to me, as he has long struggles w/ concepts of God but won't go so far as to call himself an aetheist. John D. McDonald, a family friend, had attempted to write a book about the whole "ordeal," as everyone was calling it. Dad taped interviews w/ all of us. I remember listening to them a few years ago and hearing my 10 year-old voice tell my Dad -- when he asked if i had prayed -- "don't you remember?" and he said "no," and then i heard myself recreate the scene where we all sang "kumbaya" -- and, listening to the scratchy tapes, i heard myself singing it (a serious freak out). Mr. McDonald eventually returned to my father something like 9-11 pages, apologizing for his inability to write the book; he was too close. it was too much.
okay i'm over it. for now. again.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
oh, and there are no lines (not so fast, SAG wanabe . . . ).
whatever. i like to work. and i like to be on set.
wish me luck.
some day, i'll just hold a session in which i will play, very loudly, "bohemian like you" . . . and it will be worth it for how it shapes an affective disposition to new media work; not that it's not Serious Rhetorical Work, but . . .
. . . which sounds great, and is sometimes -- maybe even frequently -- for me, true. but more often than not, i both enjoy and obssess over mylittlefilms. will they get it? will they destroy me? does this matter? . . .
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
so the grad student i'm meeting today was there. she wants to talk w/ me about the session. i'm so glad to be able to speak of it beyond its moment. that's all.
i'll be talking about this at PSU, probably reliving that scene (so don't be too disappointed if you hear this again).
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
1.) i want to privilege a cinematic experience, something like a museum-effect
2.) i want to honor audiences w/ silence, respecting their capacities to make sense of it
3.) i want to focus on film, which is, it's said, a visual medium (and the visual suffices)
4.) i want a break from words
5.) i want non-sententious discourse (Bhabha)
6.) i'm a narcissist
7.) i want space
8.) i want affective confusion, delight, enchantment . . . and somehow, words don't do that for me any longer (to the extent that images do)
9.) i want, i want, i want . . . film is about desire. language is about fulfilling desire.
so i think it's about desire, which is multivalent, vs. fulfillment, which at least partially rejects desire's expansive range. funny, in trying to create a film text that communicates this, i am opening on a little card w/ some text on it. maybe that should make me sad. but it's also revealing a space of resistance in which to work (in film). that is, in my desire to resist wording it up, i struggle to find the most effective language (visual or otherwise, possibly a minimal use of text or none at all). and so seeking and working within and attempting to maintain that space is worth the frustration, worth the possibility of (audience) rejection or lack of clarity. and it's so much about affect. i begin to wonder if it's so much about affect that it's also about resisting necessary changes in my own disposition, in my own ways of working in the world (i want precious. i want minimal. i want clean). and this is problematic (in all sorts of race and class determined ways) but it's also okay.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
i'm thinking that film is important, and not simply because we can now "make films," because sure we can make films, but digital filmmaking is not filmmaking in a classical (which is not to say better except as a matter of taste) sense. i'm enjoying "Vanishing Point: The Last Days of Film," by Wheeler Winston Dixon because of the distinctions he articulates and because of how they seem to retrieve André Bazin . i'm finally reading Bazin's "What is Cinema?" (vol. 1) and identifying with his status as a cinephile who suffered constant illness and who saw photographic and a deeply personal realism as a cinematic ideal. Bazin is probably most well known for his work at Cahiers du Cinéma. Bazin was eventually critiqued by many of the filmmakers and theorists he had once promoted in the journal; he had not kept up with liberatory thinking regarding the political scope and purpose of filmic art (which doesn't seem right; i'm trying to understand this . . . ). in many ways, it seems to me (from my limited reading at this point) that Bazin resisted making of film a (particular kind of) rhetorical tool, despite his recognition that film could not, cannot transcend its rhetoricity. it seems so obvious. so why, then, do we (some of us in rhetoric and composition studies) now resist filmmaking as rhetoric, as a rhetorical and pedagogical tool for advancing work in the teaching of writing and rhetoric? or maybe the question is: why is it still so much about words? or maybe i want to ask why is it so much about words as the exclusive registers of meaning to which we must turn our attention in a classroom devoted to rhetoric and writing? to me, my questions sound clunky and obvious, even stuffy and not terrrifically postmodern. but it feels rhetorically sound (in a sad way), and i'm working with these concepts for the upcoming PSU conference.
i'm struggling to find a way of articulating these concepts in a short digital film; i wish i could film it on 35 mm film but don't have the tools. working with digital film does and will, however, enable me to say what i'm trying to say about filmmaking as rhetoric as art as writing as worthy of our efforts as teachers of rhetoric as a generative art. whereas we continue to talk about, explore, discuss, analyze, and generally use film in our writing and rhetoric courses, new digital technologies enable us also to make films, possibly the move we need to make in order best to think about film texts and their meaning, means of production, and cultural/political/rhetorical value. but see, the problem of what film is, what digital film is (if it does indeed register differently from filmic media) . . . maybe this is the problem. the problem of definition. can we move beyond it, beyond words in order to engage rhetorically?
as i write this, i see my moves shifting (a sensibility Bazin might appreciate; does our constant illness unite us? . . . i'm so corny). i see myself moving beyond the argument i've been making (at RSA 2006, WSRLC 2006, CCCC's 2007), which is that "we have the technology . . . ", but now I see that we have a technology, technologies that enable us to make digital filmtexts. we do not, however, have film technology, in a sense. film as a medium is escaping us, and maybe there is something here to help make distinctions in our work with film (digital or otherwise). maybe the distinctions are, for rhetoric, unecessary. regardless (or maybe because doing so is not crucial), i am moved to define my terms (in words because that's where such sententious discourse happens . . . so making the move will surface its superfluous nature). and i will do that. if i can. at PSU (because it's a conference, official, so i'll have to try, but it will be very hard to do). what i want to do is work rhetorically in film. but what i think i'm realizing is that if digital film is not exactly film, then words will be necessary. maybe we can't move beyond words. and that seems worth recognizing. and it seems sad.