Friday, October 21, 2005

By the waters of the...

Donkay survived the apocalypse, obviously. One irony is that that those who made it up to the moon were the only ones who could keep recording observations in the old style, while ‘silent’ membership on the jungle earth undoubtedly swelled. How times change, as Dani himself laments. Donkay was never official, and any “Culture” team sent to earth would be lucky to contain more than a single member. Public Houses like 1430, it seems, became private again. In the moon’s tight quarters, one could no more post a blog and stay anonymous than shout a swearword in an auditorium and not be given away by the blush.
By the way for those of you who didn’t know that the earth will be swallowed up by plant, check yourself.
Now, if you would Dani (via your writings)?

This, in the short time post-plant where battery powered devices were still alive and human wailing flowed, no longer uninhibited by a false notion of an unending future, but now knowing that the red minute-counter on the top right of the LCD screen was the exact end of days. Of course for those who were wailing, days had already been ended by the roots that crushed the DD/MM/YR's flashing in the lower right side of their own laser crystals.

The only machines remaining at that time (and of course today) were those which had been cradled in the hands and backpacks of people who wanted them more than things like peanut butter. These people stayed on top of things, as was the emerging dynamic in a world where great roots roiled up, then pulled down and pulled under the whole concrete skein of human works.

Thus, standards for ethics change in apocalypse, by which I mean that we are unsure as to whether the wailer here wailing was an academie member, but the young woman with her crotch wrapped around a branch of a giant tree which had sprouted less than two weeks prior, this woman dangling a mike down over the swollen waters of the river to pick up this lamentation, she indeed was, and is donkay.

Little surprise then, that she, with such records and machinery, was able to parlay her way on up to the Moon, and to a position in the House of Culture. But here, where everything is equally sparse, to call her a colleague would be meaningless. She is a colleague of mine.

Here’s the context she gives to what she recorded.

"I was sitting on the bank of the river, looking at a father and his daughter. They were camping on a flat spot, resting against an embankment in the process of being swallowed. Suddenly a man's head appeared peering over the top of the embankment. To my surprise he threw a mattress over its edge and onto the flat spot where the man and the girl were sitting. This surprised me. It was one of the largest objects I had seen since the big turning over. He tossed a few other items down, then let himself down, dangling quite awkwardly for a while. After landing he exchanged some words with the father and daughter, remaining for a while in conversation with the two of them, then bid them a seemingly fond goodbye. When I saw he planned to launch himself and the mattress onto the river, I quickly climbed the nearest tree that overhung the waters. I wanted to record any sound he might be making as he passed under me, anything he might say. As it was, from what I could tell of his face as framed by the mattress, as he passed under me he was half-crazed, as most were in those days. My thought was that he had chosen this for the manner of his death. He didn’t even see me, his eyes were ecstatic, he was singing. This is his song."

(The actual soundclip for the song below exists somewhere as a link, we suppose, but on the moon, and in the future. We'd love to post the clip, but there are so many, let us say, technical difficulties. In this case the line breaks are Twofu's. He put them in to transcribe the rhythm of this poor wailer's song. Which we'll now provide without further ado from Twofu or ourselves)

thank you.

I didn’t twist my ankle on my drop,
thank you.
Little girl with her dad,

thank you
thank you so much for laughing at me.
thank you so much, for not stealing my backpack.
thank you so much for respecting my mattress,
thank you so much for laughing at me.

I know I dangled there,
I know I’m set to drop
Oh little girl
Oh kindly pops
Thank you so much for laughing at me

thank y…

Its in the jeans...

You know, sometimes we at 1430 get worried. What's the use of the annals of the Academie when everything under the sun can be found on the blogs of today? Its a little depressing after spending all day diving into the files, pages and pages of paper, parchment, napkins submitted to the Academie in the hopes of finding the one that seems to resonate perfectly, post it, and then hit the next blog button and find some non-academie member writing about how her ex husband's new wife stalks her by watching her leave her job at the Shell station every day. I mean, fuck, our annals can't beat that, only equal it, so why not leave the acadamie and go to stright cut and paste? But no. We cling to some notion. Anyway, Jayne here is indeed an academie member, so there. And so what if this arrived as a text message? We saved it in our phone. (and reinflated the spelling)

Okay, I love working at the Levi's store. Plus me and Katie can go at lunch and get a bubble tea across the street. I did not even know about bubble tea before katie showed me- you the dopest K-T!!!!!!! Anyway you know what I love? I love when them dorky german boys come in, or like from holland. Not the cool ones with blond hair across their forehead down to like, their chin, like rockstar cutiestyle, I am talking about the big potato ones who come in like on a family vacation. You can tell they think that they are going to get like instantly cool. I kinda like it that way because its like they think the Levi's store downtown in New York is like coolness central as if you can't get Levi's at Walmart.

So I love to set these guys up with some dorky jeans, just because they can’t tell. Katie thinks I'm evil, but I think its cute that they can't tell that they haven't changed their dorkiness at all.

My secret is to get their waistsize one too big. Then the jeans all bunch and sag, and it look like, instead of where their balls is, they got like a plastic bag with a t-shirt in it. I love that. They look like they 12 years old, or forty three. I don't know, they cute. I love to get on the mike, send Marco running back for a 34 when they need a 32- I know they going to be walking the streets of Bungsyburg or wherever they from looking like the fluffy sheep herder that they really is!!! So cute!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Of fits and tents...

Another journal sent in from Jim. We said, 'Jim, how is it that all these crazy things happen to you?' He said, 'man I don't know.' But Jim, we said, its always one thing or another.' 'Yea man, well I think the thing is to find the crazy moment in everyday, and cherish it, because thats how you know you are alive.'
Well said, Jim. Only that at 1430, that crazy moment usually comes from our files. And if not there, we look to our neighbors before we look to ourselves. Anyway here's the man.

When I started rubbing my hip against the tent pole, wanting it to shake, it was on purpose. When the tent came down on me, the whole system of tents, I felt bad for a moment, but soon realized that it was nothing to get too upset about. Well let me explian this a little, cuz I have the feeling this entry is going to be one of those that cease to be a jounral and become something I send out to all interested parties because I need the support of your listening to me. As many of you know, I scored a free trip to Tagore this week. We were filming a Beyonce video and I actually got to be in it. Well not exactly, it turns out that there was going to be so much CGI in the video that all they needed was body doubles to take the place of the faces that you'll see when it comes out. It was pretty great actually, the girl playing Beyonce was definatly no Beyonce, but she sang and made her gestures with total diva gusto.

Same goes for me I guess, cuz when we were on break I was hanging around the food table and the director comes up to me and I complemented her on her other Beyonce video, and she, in return, thanked me and said I had a "bright" face. I liked that.

Anyway I'll skip the afternoon where me and some of the other crew got to rolling down some huge dusty hill and then played almost naked basketball with some local kids. It was one of those perfect moments, though.

What I wanted to get to was this totally fucked up thing that happened to me. So I had gone with a friend to this temple they had there. You could walk all around these stone walkways- they were very beautiful. But the thing that this monastary is really known for is this network of three-foot high tents about the size of a football field (how american is that reference). Each tent is really just a little peak of cloth rising up between four poles, and the whole thing is multiplied, the edges of each tent sewn to the next to make the whole network. The tents are made of a kind of burlapy material that lets some light through, and the thing you do is find your square and sit under it and meditate.

Anyway, the fucked up thing. So while I was walking around the grounds suddenly I notice my sister's fucking ex-boyfriend. The hari-krisna muthafucker that totally screwed her over in San Diego! It was such a crazy coincidence to see him there that I was kind of following him, just marvelling in every moment that he was there. After a while he totally noticed me, but he never let on. It became so obvoius that everything he was saying was meant half for me, half for the girl he was with. It was like he was telling me he was a good person after all, just because he knew a lot about a religion. I wanted to puke so much that I kept following him. I wanted to out him. I wanted to get him to acknowlege me completely. Instead he just kept wafting wisdom over my way. I wanted to beat his ass.

We ended up where the garden meets the tents. They were standing there at the edge and I had gotten under a tent in the first row. My tent was the last before the whole thing ended in a fence. It was made of a hundreds of thin shoots of some bamboo-like plant. Suddenly I heard the dude talking again and he was talking about the fence itself! About how the monks curled the shoots up of those plants that are alongside the tents so that they don't grow any more. I looked at the fence right beside me and saw that it was true, and realized that he was purposely talking about the exact place where he knew I was sitting. This drove me nuts. I started convulsing with anger, and became conscious that my hip was touching a pole. I felt a little voice inside me say, 'yea, shake the pole, let the motherfucker know you are here, let your anger be known" and so I shook it and I shook it and suddenly I realized the tent was coming down. As it came down I put my chin on the earth and looked out under the vast plane of poles and cloth and saw that the whole thing was coming with it. And this thing had been standing for 750 years.

For the first few moments under the cloth I felt pretty fucking stupid. But then I thought, if these monks are really chill like they should be, they should take it in stride, no matter how dumb the cause of the end of their tent-streak should be. The more ridiculous, the better the test of their disattachment.

And the scene after the disentangling of all the cloth proved my point. It was only the tourists that had been under the tents that were hysterical, begging the monks to understand that it wasn't them. The true followers just sat in the garden staring straight ahead. I felt like I could even have admitted to one of them that it was me, but I didn’t think it was worth the attempt considering I didn’t speak their language. Then again I probably could have communicated myself with a look. Whatever, I fucked up big. I just hope that fucker understands that its all on him.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The buzzwords of the cosmos...

This kind of filming is what we at 1430 would do if we were the types who left our apartment. As it is, we are free from describing reality as a 'web'- or any other term that would then need to be quarantined in quotes lest its Ice-Nine crystalize the soft folds of our grey matter. In the same way I am sure 'FlyBoy' here (we imagine he is alluding to the 'on the wall, wouldn't I like to be' variety) is interesting in a face to face convo about as long as it takes you to realize that he actually does see in graphs and talk in angles.

Being Guerilla, and filming reality as it pretty much happens is getting harder every day. Sure, technocracy provides us with minuture mikes that we can place on trees just ahead of where we think our subjects might wander, and with cameras as small as the hand that wields them, but it has also cluttered up reality to such a degree that its almost impossible for even the most underground filmmaker to escape being commercial.

Take last night for example. We we out capturing a normal scene between two normal people- our daily bread. We'd zeroed in on this couple a few weeks prior after capturing a fantastic moment in the park (they had just left her sister's birthday party, blah blah, the web begins to catch the light) and now follow them whenever we have the chance. In time, as usual, they've grown even blinder to our presence and we've been 'sitting on their sofas' for a few weeks now.

Of course, when you work like we do, letting reality dictate the shape of the story, you never know what is going to make the final cut when the time comes to edit. We didn't know if what we were filming last night would be chaff or the heart of the matter itself. We work blind in the moment, and in the studio our hindsight is 20/20. So our only concern during filming is that the story grow naturally until we decide to harvest. But these days that growth keeps getting disturbed.

As you probably noticed this summer, the big image companies, the beers, the fast-foods, the super clearance warehouses, have been paying kids from the city to do "impromptu" live commercials. You've probably seen a group of them jump into some routine as you got off a bus or out of a train, some kind of choreographed chant and dance announcing the new price of some new thing to pile on the wagon you're dragging to hell with you. And of course, as with any minion, you can hardly blame the kids themselves, they are just the messenger. Thus the total robot voice created by the blend of their voices is made truly hideous only by the life that creeps in via their city accents, the indominatable spring of their teenage calf muscles.

Anyway I'm pretty sure these kids get paid extra if they can get themselves recorded by any outside source. I mean, when is the last time you saw a local news crew "reporting live from the scene?" There you go. So although my crew and me might be pretty much invisible to the average person walking down the street, these kids can spot what we are up to, and they're always jumping into our shots, like they did yesterday.

But yesterday was interesting because finally, after our serene street scene of the couple on a walk, our fine web of mikes, the three angles of our cameras, were disrupted by red-and-yellow-clad 'Mad Savings 'Til Thursday Crew,' the argument was (I suppose inevitably) made by some of our members that the kids themselves should be the subject of our efforts. Yea yea, obvious enough, they form a part of reality too. So anyway, I make the appropriate hand signals and we keep filming them after the Mad Crew finishes their step-inflected sales pitch.

This decision ended up paying off pretty well, but it brings me again to another way the world seems to have gotten commercial. I mean, why the fuck am I guerilla filmmaker anyway? I mean sure, some of the facial expressions and the actual word choice made by the people we began to film surprised me, as always, and then there is the constant thrill at the fact that its 'real,' but besides that, I mean, for chrissakes, I could have written the script of what we ended up filming. I could have done it typing with one hand and with my dick in the other- which is of course the exact opposite of my filmmaking ethos.

Anyway I'll just run through what happened quick, just to prove my point. So the girl we had singled out from the crew for 'some reason' decided to hitchhike home, and even accepted a ride from two scary looking truckers. Of course they don't take her home and instead drive out to the country where the co-pilot begins the requisite sexual pressuring. (When you see the short, you will see how disgustingly cliched every fucking word from his mouth was) Anyway, they pull over so the driver can try to help pin her down, and when he gets out the driver side she slips free of the co-pilot and gets out the door screaming. And of course, as you'd expect, there's an Amish farmer there with a pitchfork in his barnyard who comes running, and soon enough its a WWF battle between the Two Black Middle-Aged Truckers and the Amish Father and his 18-Year-Old-Son-Who-Hasn't-Even-Begun-Shaving, with all the women, Amish and Ad-Dancer alike, clutching together and soundtracking with screams.

It was all so cliched that as we rode the truck back into the city our crew fell once again into the old argument of whether the scientist inevitably changes his experiment by his mere presence. Some more sentimental members even brought up moments from their own lives, which hadn't been filmed and seemed to break the rote pattern of reality and blah blah blah, I am sick of it.