Cartoon: New Boston Movies in progress
In 1938 the French Surrealists staged their most spectacular art show in Paris. The major artists Dali Duchamp, Chagall, Magritte, Carrington, Ernst, Man Ray, and Andre Breton where part of the exhibit. This is a cartoon story about that show.
Napoleon, Victor Hugo, Balzac, Picasso, Gertude Stein. They all stood by the Seine in Paris and looked out at the moon. Now it is our turn. On the first night in Paris my friend Maria took actress Dawn and me to a party on the Pont des Arts footbridge that crosses the river by the Louvre. There hundreds of people were enjoying wine and cheese at an outdoor picnic on a warm spring night. We met several local people including Grace who hosts monthly artist salons in Montmartre.
The next day we took a train to Cannes. When we got off at or stop we fond that it was a half an hour away from our hotel. Standing in the hot sun we were given directions on which bus to take. However we discovered that we were heading in the wrong direction. Finally we arrived at our hotel at Juan-les-Pins down the street from a beautiful harbor on the French Riviera.
Our first night at Cannes we saw a documentary tribute to Roger Corman Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel directed by Alex Stapleton. It was introduced by Peter Fonda, and featured interviews by people who got a start with him such as Martin Scorcese, Jack Nicholson, Peter Bogdonavich, and Robert DeNiro, as well as many clips from some of his 60s drive in B movies. Corman has made over 30 movies in is career. At the end there was a standing ovation as Roger and his wife were in the audience.
We saw the Egyptian movie The Postman and a restored Rosselini La macchina ammazzacattivi from 1952. The UK Pavillion by the beach had a happy hour where I met the dog lady from London and a woman who rowed across the Atlantic Ocean.
They had daily parties at the Short Film Corner which showed my movie Love @ First Sight. We met many other filmmakers at these events. Out of the many shorts only 9 were chosen for competition. We saw those 9. Many were European movies with very slow, dreary stories with little music. MEATHEAD directed by Sam HOLST about a guy’s first day working at a New Zealand meat rendering plant was the most interesting visually.
We thought BEAR directed by Nash EDGERTON was the best one but CROSS (CROSS - COUNTRY) directed by Maryna VRODA won the best short award. We watched several filmmakers and cast including Sean Penn walk the red carpet. It was a daily ritual where all the major films got their 9 minutes of fame.
In the Middle Ages some peasants were afraid to go up in the mountains because of the many dragons who lived there.We stopped in Grenobe for a few days. It is a city surrounded by mountains with some vestiges of the famous 1968 Winter Olympics that was held there. We wen tup one mountain where a whole town has been built to accommodate skiers and summer tourists.
We returned to Paris for a few days. From the outdoor cafes we went inside to the Louvre which was filled with French and Italian mythological and historical paintings among other things.
We visited the house of Gustave Moreau an artist who's imagination gave mythological and historical paintings almost dreamlike images.
We went to Galerie Atelier Z where I first exhibited my painting in Paris in 2003. They had photographs of women covered with bloody meat and there was a woman who was a living statue who dressed in prehistoric furs with a headdress of animal horns.
Taking a break from art we entered the Museum of Natural History which was filed with skeletons of prehistoric and modern animals. Then we were off to the Zoo to watch the monkeys and orangutans.
Finally on the last night our guide Maria took us to Grace's art salon in Montmartre. The occasion was a photographic art show and the guest list was eclectic.
The curator was a photographer who had a book of Cannes photos. There was an author of a book about Paris writers and a burlesque performer who has a TV show. Other Musicians, photographers, and artists added spice of a true legendary Paris salon. In fact this one was written about in a recent issue of the New Yorker. At the end of the night we went to a bar where we danced to American 1960s rockabilly music before our inevitable flight back to the States.
Recently I went and saw improv comedy in Boston's North end. The routines were made up on the spot and were pretty clever and original. years ago I used to go to comedy clubs. I still go ccasionally and find them amusing. But there are some elements missing in modern comedy. The thing is that stand up comics get up onstage alone with a drink in their hand and tell jokes.
Nothing wrong with that but think back to the 20th century during the early days of movies.Actors liek Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton were silent they never spoke. The comedy and stories came out from pure physical action. The Keystone Kops never uttered a word but amused audiences with their manic chase scenes.
Stand up comedians often work alone. What happened to comedy teams? The Marx Brothers and the 3 Stooges were so much funnier together than solo.
I was watching a Steve Martin DVD. His solo acts are funnier but he is much funnier playing off dan Ackroid, Belushi and the others from SNL. His Theodora of York routine is absolutely hysterical because he plays off all these other people.
This new movie Paul with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is funny because they are a team and they play off each other (and the Alien)
Another interesting thing you may notice is how rare male/female comedy teams are. There were Stiller and Meara. Mike Nichols and Elaine may in the 60s. Sonny and Cher were the most successful male/female comedy team but only lasted a brief time. Why is that?
Why aren't there more man/woman treams, why isn't there more physical humor, why aren't there more comedy teams in this age of solo standup talkers? I don't have the answer to that. This is just a blog but it's sometihng to think about.
The movie Cleopatra got lots of bad reviews over the years. It may have lost money costing $40 million but in fact it's a pretty good movie.
Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Rex Harrison all add to the story. Some of the movie is historically accurate. Although Cleopatra entering the Roman Forum und ther Arch of Constantine is pretty funny. That arch was built 400 years later. It is like having Christopher Columbus walking by the Empire State Building.
It is a long movie (4 hours) but entertaining and worth watching on a long rainy day.
The last few years have brought many Movies to Massachusetts. I saw the Town and the Premiere of the Fighter.
They area all successful crowd pleasing films to be sure.
It occurred to me that outsiders watching movies about Boston may think that everyone in Boston is a local born and raised in the old neighborhood. That may have been true when they filmed The Friends of Eddie Coyle in 1973. The truth is there are thousands of people in Boston from other places: Europe, China, California, etc. University students and faculty, biogenetic scientists come from many other places.
Coming from a provincial town where everyone knows every one else from the sixth grade it's a breath of fresh air to constantly meet up with people form other cultures and countries.
What makes more exciting cinema? Irish cop and robber chase scenes or a Russian scientist pouring liquid in a test tube?
Actually there was a recent Boston movie The Social network about founding of Facebook by a Harvard programming student. We can't really complain though. Recent movie shoots have brought in over a $1 billion to the local economy. But just realize that we're not all a bunch of drunken Leprechauns.
Las Vegas There is a hotel casino on the Vegas strip called the Mirage.
In some ways it describes this never-never land for adults. Where else would someone build a replica of the Venice canals in the middle of a desert? The streets are paved with slot machines or more like guys passing out cards to tourists for hot girls @ an affordable price.
Caesar’s Palace is more ornate than Julius could have ever imagined. I went to one bar at MGM to watch football on Sunday. The waitresses are serving drinks while the games are screened overhead. But then every half hour disco music kicks in and the scantily clad waitresses jump up and dance on the bar for 5 minutes. Then they go back to bartending. They made me miss the Chicago Bears touchdown.
If there is one person who would thrive in Vegas it would be Dr. Victor Frankenstein. There is a major industry there digging up the bones of Elvis and the Rat Pack and building shows around these legends from 30-40 years ago. Walking through Caesar’s Palace I was offered a proposition by a lady of the evening asking me to fit her into my schedule. I spent a whopping $10 at the roulette table on the first night. I did go to see a Beatles tribute band and went to a comedy club. So why was I in Las Vegas anyway you may ask? I was there for a cartoon/caricaturist convention.
200 artists drew each other for 5 days straight and went to seminars by animator Bill Plympton and others. I drew dozens of people and several drew me. One guy drew me as the mad scientist from back to the Future. Las Vegas was a huge collection of sights and sounds…mostly the jingling of pinball machines. It’s certainly a place to visit for awhile before you go back home to reality.
The SURREAL SIDESHOW has been accepted for the Boston Comedy & Movie Festival, IMAGINE "Short" Movie Night.
The screening event will occur on Thursday, November 11th at the Hard Rock Café in the Boston Room at 8 PM. We are reminding you that the audience will choose The Best Funny Film with their vote. The winner receives a $1,000 cash prize -
Tickets for the event will be available online at www.imaginenews.com beginning November 4th at $15 each and at the door if space remains.
Where better than to spend Halloween night than in the Valley of the Kings....The dark ancient desert filled with Egyptian mummies. Click on the picture and watch the movie if you dare.