March 29, 2011

I wanna see the movies of my dreams

Howard Hodgkin, After Ellsworth Kelly, 2001

* Fuses, by Carolee Schneemann.

Wiki: Fuses portrayed Schneemann and her then-boyfriend James Tenney having sex as recorded by a 16 mm Bolex camera. Schneemann then altered the film by staining, burning, and directly drawing on the celluloid itself, mixing the concepts of painting and collage. The segments were edited together at varying speeds and superimposed with photographs of nature, which she juxtaposed against her and Tenney's bodies and sexual actions. Fuses was motivated by Schneemann's desire to know if a woman's depiction of her own sexual acts was different from pornography and classical art as well as a reaction to Stan Brakhage's Window Water Baby Moving.

She showed the film to her contemporaries as she worked on it in 1965 and 1966, receiving mostly positive feedback from her peers. Many critics though described it as "narcissistic exhibitionism" and described it as self-indulgent. She received an especially strong reaction regarding the cunnilingus scene of the film. While Fuses is viewed as a "proto-feminist" film, Schneemann feels that it was largely neglected by feminist film historians. The film lacked the fetishism and objectification of the female body as seen in much male-oriented pornography. Two years after its completion, it won a Cannes Film Festival Special Jury Selection prize. Pop artist Andy Warhol, with whom Schneemann was acquainted, having spent time at The Factory, drolly remarked that Schneemann should have taken the film to Hollywood.

* April is James Salter Month at The Paris Review.

* "Like with ‘Say Yes,’ I wrote that song in five minutes. And I wrote ‘Between the Bars’ right after that. Both of those I made up during an episode of ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ with the sound off, which is a great way to write songs. Your eyes are busy, so they don’t get bored and they don’t watch what your hands are doing, so then you can surprise yourself. Your hands can surprise you with what they know and that you don’t.” -- Elliot Smith


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