This is the one I want to see.
(Everyone’s already done this one, right? Sorry.)
The blog with the thoughts and the opinions. For the rest go to: www.davidavallonefreelance.com
This is the one I want to see.
(Everyone’s already done this one, right? Sorry.)
A quick note on images and memory and cultural signifers.
Last night, my wife’s show UNMENTIONABLES featured an amazing act by Greta Grenade, which was a tribute to The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Fans of that book or movie will recognize the bowler hat, as worn by Sabina/Lena Olin.
I took this picture with my bowler on, in tribute to Greta’s number, and posted it on Facebook.
Comments on the photo mostly mentioned two cultural touchstones. John Steed from The Avengers. Alex the Droog from A Clockwork Orange.
What struck me is that no one said “you look like a boring British businessman.” Both Steed and the Droogs wear the bowler satirically, an ironic placement of the most dull and conservative piece of clothing on a dashing secret agent and a psychotic criminal. In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the juxtaposition is likewise ironic and provocative.
The reactions fascinated me because the satire is sharply remembered while the object of satire fades in cultural memory.
Just a passing thought.
Sad to hear that Maximilian Schell died today.
If we’d ever met, the photo above would have been the first topic of conversation. The second would have been Hamlet.
My father wrote the novelization of KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA, seen above. After oing a little research, dad called the producers and said, “Hey, guys… Krakatoa seems to be West of Java…”
No one listens. But it might have been nice to have a laugh with Max about it. He goes through the movie with a grim set to his jaw and seems to be thinking, “English is my second language… this dialogue CAN’T be as awful as it sounds. Can it?”
Aside: one thing that no one remembers about the movie is that it is also a musical. Yes. A musical. Lovely music, really, and songs, by Frank DeVol. When you see it now, on TV or DVD, if at all, generally they’ve cut the songs out. Because… what? I think in 1969 the idea was “It’s THE SOUND OF MUSIC… with lava!”
The second thing I would have liked to talk to Schell about is Hamlet.
A few years back, BRAVO (before it became the minstrel show it is today) played a great special about Hamlet. It showed clips of every Hamlet ever filmed, in a variety of languages. All the familiar faces and fine performances were there. But the knockout was Maximilian Schell. In German. I don’t speak German (despite two tiresome years of it in Junior High), but even subtitled… Schell was the greatest Hamlet I’ve ever seen. He was mesmerizing and funny and sharp and emotional and controlled. He was also, not for nothing, ridiculously handsome, which works well for the part. It was only two scenes, but I’ve never forgotten it. I wonder if it’s on youtube…
Good night, sweet prince, and all that.
Forgive the navel-gazing ramble… this question is basic to anybody who works in the popular arts.
Do you want to be rich and famous, or do you want to do the work?
At the beginning of your career, many (myself included) answer this question the same way: obviously I’m in it for the work. I love making films whether it makes me rich and famous or not. “I’d be happy if they let me ______” fill in the blank with the humiliating entertainment industry job of your choice.
But then one day you wake up and you’re not in your twenties anymore, or not in your thirties anymore, and this starry-eyed bluff gets called.
Did you mean it? Did I mean it?
I still get asked the question “what is your dream job? What do you wish you were doing?” As you might imagine, it’s not great to be asked “what do you want to do when you grow up?” when you’re almost fifty.
And my answer, for years, has been “I have my dream job. My only wish is to get paid more for doing it.”
I am a freelance filmmaker who works in a variety of areas of production and post production. I wake up every morning and make movies, one way or another. Usually without what anyone could call a “boss”. Better still, I generally get to choose who I work with, and most often work with good friends and colleagues I respect.
The downside: as I work mostly on independent projects, none of this pays particularly well.
So… what is success? In 2013 I produced and edited a feature film. I directed a web series. I co-directed a couple of music videos. I shot a bunch of videos for a political media company, including an ad campaign that got a man elected to Mayor of Detroit. I sang and did some comedy in my wife’s burlesque variety show. I got elected to the Board of Directors of a charity organization that means a lot to me (A IS FOR.) I managed the roll-out of my father’s books on Amazon.com. Standing back, that sounds like a pretty good year.
On the other end of the scale: sometimes I paid the rent late, and sometimes I had to do math when I went grocery shopping. At forty-eight, that gets really, really, literally “old”.
And yet… “Success”, as a concept, doesn’t trouble me much. Should it? The bluff is called, and as long as the work keeps coming in, I’m satisfied.
Reblogged from allisontype
recent studies reveal that 100% of abortions are performed on people who do not wish to be pregnant and 0% of abortions are performed on conservative republican men
*reblogs so fast it almost breaks computer*
KENTISM: New Deal Day
The difference between Superman and Clark Kent is window dressing. Clark Kent is transparently good and kind, and — according to no less a judge than Perry White — a talented writer and reporter, and a valuable member of the community. A basic tenet of Kentism is not just to embody Superman, his values and his good works, but to see Superman in those around you.
Today is an important Kentist Holiday: New Deal Day. Today we celebrate the Kents’ well-intentioned defrauding of the Federal Government, and obtaining a Social Security number and card for illegal immigrant baby Kal-El. Today we celebrate the important, All-American values of Immigration, Reinvention, and Rebirth. Happy New Deal, everybody!
The amazing Lux LaCroix approached me last year about making a video to accompany an epic dance piece she was creating, called WHO WILL SURVIVE IN AMERICA. She provided me with some images and words and the musical score and this is what I came up with. It works best projected behind Lux, performing her choreography, but since the wretched verdict of George Zimmerman I’ve been wanting to post it on its own. Lux kindly granted me that permission, and here it is.
In 1905, my maternal Great Grandfather, Eduard Prelutzsky, fled Odessa (and service in the Russian Army, which was at the time losing a war with Japan.) He tried settling in Vienna, and London, but found neither particularly hospitable to Ukranian Jews.
Brooklyn, on the other hand…
A few years later, my paternal Grandfather, Michaelangelo Avallone (sr.) was having some trouble. He had fallen in love with a married girl, Marie Antoinette Antonelli Iacovetti. She already had three children with Iacovetti, but in spite of that, risking the displeasure of the Pope and Jesus Christ himself, Michaelangelo spirited his beloved Marie away to the United States, and New York City. My father was born and raised in the Bronx.
I don’t know if it’s obvious, but the reason I write about politics is that I am, in fact, very patriotic. America means a lot to me. Not just as a place, and my home, but as a collection of ideas, and ideals. America is at her worst when she doesn’t honor those ideals (cf Dick Cheney) and at her best when she strives to live up to her promise.
Last night we saw the birth of a new American hero: Wendy Davis of Texas. A strong, necessary reminder to us smug coastal Liberals that every state in the Union is worth fighting for. Empty suits like Rick Perry will come and go (he was going to be a serious threat to Obama, remember?), but a woman like Wendy Davis shines like a beacon.
“Lighthouses, John. Lighthouses in a foggy world.” That’s Frank Capra and Robert Riskind’s screenplay for MEET JOHN DOE. I’ve attached the clip to the bottom of this essay, and I recommend it highly. It sums up my feelings about America as well as anything I’ve ever seen or read.
Today, I woke to the news about DOMA and Prop 8. Our Supreme Court, still dragging a couple of psychotic dinosaurs into the 21st Century, managed to make the right decisions. The system, broken as it sometimes is, can still work. The Civil Rights struggle of this generation wins two battles, even as the struggle of a previous generation takes a knock, with the overturning of the VRA. Two steps forward, one step back. But I’ll take it. If there’s one thing I learned from my mother it is that this fight is never over.
By strange coincidence, I have been offered an opportunity to celebrate the victories of the past twenty-four hours in the most beautiful way possible.
Two months ago, we were auditioning actors to play a Buddhist Monk in the film I just produced. An actor came in, named Kee Chan, and gave a beautiful reading. We cast him, and he was fantastic in the role. Not incidentally, he was also a gentleman of great kindness and sensitivity. A week or so ago, Kee told me that after twelve years he was to finally take the oath as a Citizen of the United States of America.
Kee is, in relative terms, a passing acquaintance… and yet… today I am going down to stand with him and watch him take that Oath. I love America, and I can’t help but be impressed, and moved, by people who choose to be American, who wait and work and strive for a thing I was born into. My new friend, who today takes the Oath, is a reminder of what I will not, and must not, take for granted.
Today is a great, beautiful, shining day to be, or become, an American.
Go about 50 seconds in. James Gleaon’s drunk scene. For context, a crusty newspaper editor (Gleason) is trying to tell a naïve populist speaker (Gary Cooper) that his corporate sponsor, DB Norton, is trying to turn Cooper’s grass roots movement into a proto fascist political party.