Monday, June 23, 2008

Herzog & Antarctica

Just a quick line into the ether-- but if you get the chance, go see the new Werner Herzog documentary about Antarctica: Encounters at the End of the World. Now, most people reading this know I am, ahem, a little obsessed with the giant, cold, Southern continent. For those that don't know, I wrote a play about Antarctica, pretend Antarctica, anyway.

That said-- SEE IT! It's full of obsessed, eccentric marine biologists, volcanologists, PhDs who wash dishes, a greenhouse-tending linguist, and one mad, unstoppable penguin who runs amok, into the mountains to a certain death. Really, what else could you possibly want?

Herzog narrates it himself. If I had my choice, I would have Werner Herzog provide the narration for my life, in real time. I think he may be completely mad, but he sees no reason to get excited about it. In the director's commentary for Fitzcarraldo (which is arguably just as entertaining as the movie itself, as it is the one or two most legendary shoots in the history of film), he calmly tells of how a crew member was bitten by a deadly poisonous snake, and how the crew member immediately picked up a chain-saw and cut off his own foot, thus saving his life. Mind you, this anecdote is told in the same matter of fact tone a more conventional director might use to speak about craft services, or perhaps an actor flubbing a line.

And while you're renting Herzog documentaries on my recommendation, you may as well watch My Best Fiend, too. If anyone knows where one can find a complete film of Klaus Kinski's Jesus Tour, please let me know.

This was a much longer posting than I had anticipated. While speaking of Antarctica-- if it melts, we all die. Now turn off that light in the next room!

Seemingly Ordinary Garage Doors

I'm not sure if I'd ever been to Jersey City before, except in a real drive-through, fly-over sort of way.  Which is strange to my way of thinking as I have lived in NY my whole life and this Jersey City place is right over the water.  I ate a really good meal (thank you Cinos!), and saw a show Maggie was performing in under the banner of the tireless ArtHouse people.

After the play, we went over to the home of one of the cast members who was having a party, and it was this really intimidating, well-decorated duplex (they have hypoallergenic cats).  My favorite part of the house, however, was the alley out back.  It ran about a hundred yards with garages opening up along its length.  This may sound like an ordinary place, but I promise you that it was completely magical.  Looking at it, I knew with a complete certainty, that right behind the rather plain fronted, almost industrial facade, were a series of wonders behind each door, each one more fantastic then the next.  

I don't know the details as all the garage doors remained shut.  There are several possibilities.  One, of course, immediately thinks of treasure.  Where has all the Spanish gold disappeared to?  Where do pirates store their booty (I know, I know, the jokes really write themselves).  Another possibility, is that this alley is a gateway between worlds.  If you prefer more sinister options, think keys, and curiosity and wicked, bearded husbands with many previous and unaccounted-for wives.

All of this is really a fancy-shmancy way of introducing this blog.  As many of you may know, I recently quit the money-making day job, and I am being an artist in a more full-time kind of way.  I am no kind of journalist, or diarist, really.  I'll probably post every once and a while to share things I've seen or read or looked at.

I seem to be a little link happy, but I'm making a real effort to connect to places of interest, so please click away.  I do want this to be a modern digital version of a 17th century cabinet of curiosities.  A Pope's forefinger next to a piece of a unicorn's horn, and a lacquered watch fob next to the exoskeleton of an Egyptian beetle.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.  

I am certain, however,  it will be nothing compared to the wonders contained in an alley in Jersey City, behind rows upon rows of seemingly ordinary garage doors.