Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Love Not Given Lightly

Left Richmond on Monday in a state of euphoric elation...the Saturday night gig went so well, a big crowd in a large old fashioned rock club (not a typical venue for surrealist films soundtrack contemplation admittedly) responded vocally, wildly to my performance, then the jam with the excellent Hotel X went off without a hitch, and quite thrilling it was for me to sail and wail over such tight horn-driven tropical hotdog grooves, very nice guys too particularly Tim Harding and Ron Curry...before the gig a cool bbq at Prof. Mike Jones lovely abode with a multitude of film profs from the surrounding hinterlands assembled under one roof with various other friends of the James River Film Festival including James Parrish, one seriocomical moment occurred when one of the DVD prints I was scheduled to play to was found missing at the 11th hour, in a case of mistaken assumptions, but a last minute raid on a the local university film library produced the desired copy of Rene Clair's "En'Tracte" on DVD and my many many man-hours of preparation of my designated solo guitar score proved to have been worth it in the end (but what me worry, I was ready to improvise to whatever they had to throw on the screen)...

Animation genius Ray Harryhausen, Gary, experimental filmmaker Martha Colburn, and Ray's wife Diana Livingstone are feted at the James River Film Festival, Richmond Virginia, 3/26/06

photo by Trent Nicholas | Click to enlarge (hosted by flickr)

the next day I accompanied the legendary animation magician Ray Harryhausen and his lovely Scottish wife on a tour of the Edgar Allen Poe museum appropriately enough, got to quiz him to my heart's content over lunch afterwards on arcana like the legendary lost spider pit sequence in Kong (he'd never seen it himself, as apparently Merian C. Cooper burned the only extant print of it after the disastrous test preview horrified/nauseated the audience back in '32), he did however see Peter Jackson's re-creation which I linked into for you dear readers a blog back or so which is available as an extra on the recent Kong re-issue DVD, Ray opined that "Having seen this, I know why Cooper would have cut this sequence out" (namely, for being so shudderingly frightening, and also as it indeed was a gratuitous digression that slowed down the main narrative thrust of the picture, which we agreed does not contain an ounce of fat, unlike the current version where it takes over an hour to get to the heart of the matter ie first sighting of Kong)...

that morning Ray introduced a screening of perhaps his best film (his favorite anyway) and in these days of momento mori as fashion statement proliferation (isn't the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album called "Show Your Bones"?) the closing skeleton warrior attack sequence from "Jason and the Argonauts" was as breathtaking a tableau as I recalled it over the sea-mists of 40 some odd (very odd) years indeed (and don't forget my first solo album was entitled "Skeleton at the Feast")...anyway to be honored as a special guest alongside Ray Harryhausen and the young NYC based animator Martha Colburn was a rush, and to then be privy up close and personal to Ray's intimate recollections of a lifetime spent making cinemagic that has thrilled and will continue to thrill millions around the world made this trip a wonderful and memorable venture into the former capital (of the CSA), a city where the Boss apparently first gained his biggest fanbase outside Asbury Park in the years leading up to his CBS contract, in fact my hosts remembered quite a few shows with Bruce and his then band Child (later Steelmill,) which they recall as sounding like a cross between Creedence Clearwater and the Yardbirds (must dig up those early tapes from Uncle Bob...)

Had lunch today with my friend Willem Dafoe and his lovely wife the Italian director and actress Giada Colagrande and her friend the editor Natalie Cristiani. Willem and Giada have just moved into an elegant apartment in an old brownstone on Perry Street just down the block from me (a street haunted lately by Sex in the City theme tours, oy vey...yeah the Magnolia Bakery is right around the block on Bleecker Street, and Sarah Jessica Parker resides on Perry St. as well along with her husband Matthew Broderick, whom I remember meeting in Santa Monica years ago when I was working on "Ice Cream for Crow", right before Matthew's first film "War Games" came out, my friend and fellow Yalie the producer Larry Lasker brought him by the house I was staying in...Matthew was a Beefheart fan, too). Anyway--Willem looks great, handsome, vital and vibrant, and is off to London shortly to do a new picture with Paul Schrader; he's just moved into another new house as well, in Giada's native city of Rome. She was really charming and vivacious and we compared notes on Palermo, which is one of my favorite cities (a visit to the catacombs there comes highly recommended, a sepulcher where you can stare into "the cold face of death" as a dear friend puts it--the walls festooned with dried husks of the once-living hanging off hooks in the very raiments they died in, myriad moth men and women, including the painter Velasquez repose there in various heroic and not-so heroic contorted postures...some of the women very Barbara Steele-like in appearance, La Maschera del Demonio my favorite horror film--in fact, Diamanda Galas was all ready to mount an instore performance there as soon as I set the scene for her).

Just saw a Spitzer for Governor commercial air during The Daily Show, its background music an obvious cop/homage to/pastiche of The Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs": C# minor viola drone fermata'ed at the end, punctuated with Spectorish kettle drum stings ala Mo Tucker's sideways bass drum...I kid you not, kiddies,

and so to bed




Blogger Kathy said...

It was a pleasure to have you in Richmond Mr. Lucas. Your performance was extraordinary. I am thrilled that Richmond had an avante garde performance and that there was such a good response. Take care.

3/30/2006 3:19 PM  

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