The Trash Can Is A Treasure Trove

“For the first three months, I place each student at a table with a thousand pieces of white paper and a trash can underneath. Every day they have to sit at the table for several hours and write ideas. They put the ideas they like on the right side of the table; the ones they don’t like, they put in the trash. But we don’t throw out the trash. After three months, I only take the ideas from the trash can. I don’t even look at the ideas they liked. Because the trash can is a treasure trove of things they’re afraid to do.”
― Marina Abramović, Walk Through Walls: Becoming Marina Abramovic

Cate Blanchett in “Waiting for the Artist”

I have always loved documentaries. Now in this age of streaming – documentary watching has become like drinking from a firehose.

One time, I can’t remember where… probably a college film festival in the 70’s I saw a documentary by Stan Woodward about grits. This was probably the first transformative documentary I saw – I was a different person (at least slightly) after I saw it. I wrote about this years later, many years ago, in my first blog and lamented the fact that I couldn’t find the thing anywhere and had to be satisfied with only seeing it once. A kind reader mailed me a VHS copy.

Of course, it wasn’t as good as I remembered.

Now, in this best of all possible worlds, we don’t only have documentaries… we have mockumentaries. If done well these too can be… if not transformative at least moderately entertaining. That might be all we can ask for anymore.

There is even a series of mockumentaries, “Documentary Now!“, on IFC. A new season is under way, and the latest one is brilliant. It is called “Waiting for the Artist” and is a riff (a very close one at that) on the famous work “The Artist Is Present” about the famous (and famously insane) performance artist Marina Abramović.

Somehow, they convinced Cate Blanchett to portray Marina Abramović – and she is spot on.

If you have IFC, be sure and check out “Waiting for the Artist” – it hits the perfect place between lunacy and pathos and even has a bit of a point to it.

And the ending is really, really funny.

Youtube has a copy of the original Marina Abramović documentary. Marina is even crazier than the character in the mockumentary.

Why Are We Talking About Haircuts?

The barrage-balloon cables lay rusting across the sodden meadows, going to flakes, to ions and earth – tendons that sang in the violent nights, among the sirens wailing in thirds smooth as distant wind, among the drumbeats of bombs, now lying slack, old, in hard twists of metal ash. Forget-me-nots boil everywhere underfoot, and ants crowd, bustling with a sense of kingdom. Commas, brimstones, painted ladies coast on the thermoclines along the cliffs. Jessica has cut fringes since Roger saw her last, and is going through the usual anxiety – “It looks utterly horrible, you don’t have to say it….”

“It’s utterly swoony,” sez Roger, “I love it.”

“You’re making fun.”

“Jess, why are we talking about haircuts for God’s sake?”

—-Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Fabrication Yard, Dallas, Texas

Poor Receptacles For Dreams

“I thought climbing the Devil’s Thumb would fix all that was wrong with my life. In the end, of course, it changed almost nothing. But I came to appreciate that mountains make poor receptacles for dreams.”
― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Arts District, Dallas, Texas – PATHS by Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir at HALL Arts

All He Wants Is A Handful Of Greens

This is how they meet. One night Slothrop is out raiding a vegetable
garden in the park. Thousands of people living in the open. He skirts
their fires, stealthy. All he wants is a handful of greens here, a carrot
or mangel-wurzel there, just to keep him going. When they see him they
throw rocks, lumber, once not long ago an old hand-grenade that didn’t
go off but made him shit where he stood.

—-Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Fabrication Yard, Dallas, Texas

 

The Shark, Babe, Has Such Teeth

 

Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe
And he keeps it, ah, out of sight
Ya know when that shark bites with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves, oh, wears old MacHeath, babe
So there’s never, never a trace of red

—-Mac the Knife

Mural, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Fighting Fish

Inside the bowl, the two goldfish are making a Pisces sign, head-to-tail
and very still. Penelope sits and peers into their world. There is a little
sunken galleon, a china diver in a diving suit, pretty stones and shells she
and her sisters have brought back from the sea.

—-Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

 

Bishop Arts District, Dallas, Texas