Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Here is a trend that had to be over the first time it appeared: the music video set, nonsensically to archival footage. At least make it make sense. But of course there are always the outliers that flip a switch in favor of the positive statistics... great song, fun imagery.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
I take perhaps perverse satisfaction in being told that something doesn't exist, when, in fact, it doesn't. As if I didn't know about its non-existence and my insistance that it does exist is some state of deep, deep ignorance. But ask yourself and answer yourself: does racism exist? Does genius exist? Does talent exist? Racism, well, no technically it doesn't. There is no other "race." And yet we are racist in our attitudes all the time. Genius? Right, well, granted, nothing pops outta nothing these days, yet culturally there are those who introduce an idea that has yet to be grasped in a real meaningful way. Talent? (This is my personal pet-peeve, the one I'm always scoffing at other people about.) Talent is a red-herring wrapped in a misnomer, candy-coated in a slippery slope masquerading as a wrong turn. And yet, and yet, some people simply have that alchemic ability while others don't. Nothin' for nothin' here. I don't mean to say anything that doesn't pertain. It just came to me, again, that most of what we say weighs about the same as how we look. Which isn't much. Not much at all.
“Subtle, spare, and elegant … In this fascinating plunge into the world of competitive swimming, [Shapton] isolates the poignant moments.” —Smithsonian Magazine
“Whenever I come across something of Leanne Shapton's, I feel like I have found a hidden treasure.” —Amy Sedaris
“If there is a more beautifully observed examination of the weightlessness, silence, rigor, and delight of what it means to swim, I've never read it. But Swimming Studies is also so much more. Leanne Shapton is one of the most broadly creative and gifted people at work today; a true artist, both visual and verbal.” —David Rakoff, author of Half Empty and Don’t Get Too Comfortable
“Leanne Shapton succeeds against all odds with this wildly romantic and erudite book.” —Dave Eggers, on Important Artifacts
Sheila Heti describes SWIMMING STUDIES as “what it’s like to be haunted by the person one used to be, and the search for how that person exists in the present … we see how the discipline of being an athlete can condition one’s ways of making art, and how the patience necessary to make art teaches other types of patience.”
Monday, May 27, 2013
Friday, May 24, 2013
It strikes me one way or another that when I started surfing, and shortly thereafter, when I started longboarding, the idea of taking out one of those big boards was a bit laughable in the surfing culture as a whole. Granted, it was a little more accepted up in Santa Barbara, where I really struggled to learn the art, but everywhere else it was the anomaly. Now, well, now it's past "all the rage" and is simply "how it's done" in certain conditions. There was that initial thrust, or I should say thruster longboards, that made everyone get all screwy and scrinchy at their noses but that sloughed into a more traditional approach and lead to a greater acceptance of alternative vehicles and duct tape invitationals and fish fries and maybe even hand plane exploration. There is definitely a cracking of the door in there somewhere with that narrative. I'm glad we are where we're at anyhow. I wish I had progressed farther than I did before I got this old, but maybe I can pass that down to my son. My kung fu kicking, ballet twisting, soccer champion son. I think I'll go show him this right now...
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Mick Sowry swears by these. I buy that. I buy the enjoyment of films about people and well made films about people making things well even more. But someone, somewhere has got to write some big essay, small dissertation about the connection between the rise of the definitively non-digital analogue DIY culture with the rise of definitively non-analogue digital filmmaking. Please? Someone? I probably won't have time to read it, but I'll appreciate the effort.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
I have been out of the loop on this for, well, almost forever. But I've always been conscious of the fact that there are local people fighting for surfer's rights in many locales. I'm not sure what is going on with the LBSA, but I am sure that there are people out there who try hard for very little thanks. Here is something I read on Facebook that just highlights some of the difficulties surfing has traditionally faced as it fights for a space to happen.
Check out the LBSA FB page for more info.
Check out the LBSA FB page for more info.
I just wanted to let you all know that I have decided it's time for me to
step down as president of the LBSA. I believe the same is true for the
other board members as well.
Larry, Will, and I were at the city council meeting last night and it was a
mess. People from the Westholme area were unhappy with the new surf
schedule. I want everyone to understand how that schedule came about.
Since Danny Bobis and I started the LBSA almost three years ago, a main
goal has always been more surfing space in Long Beach. This is what the
members have asked for. I have tried very hard to work for this while
always being respectful of the general population. The issue has been one
of safety and equitable access. Surfing in Long Beach is very popular and
two surfing beaches just wasn't enough.
When we as a board have reached out to the city council we have always
done so on behalf of the members of the LBSA. This year was no different.
The input we got this year was the same as always... the beaches are
crowded and we need space. With all that has been going on in town, the
rebuilding of the boardwalk, the overall craziness, etc., we started
reaching out to the council months ago to discuss how surfing would be
permitted this summer. We knew that there were concerns last summer
regarding two surfing beaches next to one another, and certain beaches
being designated as surfing on more than one holiday weekend. We wanted to
make sure that these issues were addressed but not at the expense of the
space we had worked so hard to establish. Basically we wanted to help the
city fix this problem without eliminating surfing in that area of town.
It took a very long time for the city to get back to us. Understandable as
there is so much going on. We were finally called in for a meeting a
little over a month ago. The purpose of this meeting was for the city to
hear the concerns of the surf community as presented by the LBSA. This is
normal procedure for a community based organization. We listen to the
members and bring info to the powers that be. We can only present the
concerns that are shared with us whether it be at a meeting or via email.
When we met with the city we did not do so in secret. We did not ask them
to do something for us and try to get it passed through without telling
anyone. We did not promise political support or favors in the future. We
sat down to share the concerns of the surfing population and discuss a
surfing schedule, plain and simple. We were clear about wanting to fix the
two in a row issue as well as the holiday weekend issue. We discussed
making Laurelton a permament beach. We discussed rotation ideas. Everyone
involved felt the more concrete and permanent a schedule the easier it
would be for all beach goers. In the end a schedule was created and
proposed. It was not approved then and there. We were told the city would
review it, discuss it, and get back to us. We asked only that the city
make a decision in enough time for the schedule to be printed, distributed,
and included in the Herald's summer guide so as to properly inform the
They got back to us about a month later saying the schedule had been
approved. Last year they held a public hearing first. This year they did
not. I do not know why they did it this way, but they did. The decision
was theirs. The city could have shared this with the public last night,
but they did not.
When the schedule was released people in the Westholme area got angry and
their anger was directed towards me. They rallied their neighbors to go to
the council meeting last night to attack not just the council, but also to
attack me. Last night I was accused of making back room deals, being
selfish, and trying to take advantage of the community. I had someone look
me in the eye and say to me... "Who do you think you are using Project Pay
it Forward to get in the back door with the city and make these deals?" I
was told that the only reason I was involved in the projects I have been
involved in since the storm was to be able to further advance my own agenda.
I want it to be clear that I have no political aspirations. I do not
believe in back room politics. I do not want to be on the city council. I
do not want special treatment or favors. I love Long Beach and want to see
good things happen here. I am very proud of the work I have done with the
LBSA. I think the fact that there is a surfing beach for the kids in the
West End and that Lincoln is no longer burdened with a camp are great
accomplishments. I am proud of the work of Project Pay it Forward.
That said, I do not need to have my own reputation dirtied over surfing
space. I have to say that the worst part about last night was getting up
there to speak on behalf of the surf community and not having the surf
community there for support. I have not been working to get more surfing
space for myself... I have been working to get it for the surf community.
There were about 10 people from the LBSA there last night. It would have
been nice to have had the support of the people I have been working on
Maybe it would have been worse if there was a room full of surfers, in that
it would have been even more of an us vs. them event. There was no need
for that. I was very disappointed to see such a tactic used by the people
upset with the schedule. I tried to express that when I spoke last night.
I don't need to fight with anyone, let alone over a surfing beach. If
we've learned anything from Sandy its that we need to be united, not
divided. I've had nothing but good intentions and last night I was painted
as the enemy. I don't want to be the enemy.
I believe there is good work the LBSA can do, but I can no longer lead this
charge. If anyone is interested in taking a leadership role, please let me
Thursday, May 9, 2013
The Surf Magazines Don't Talk About Lapsed Catholics is heading back over el pond to take part in the Surfilm Festibal in San Sebastian, Spain. Super excited. If you are around there then, well, you're probably already going...
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
I turn to the right slightly. That's what generally happens. I edit with two screens, the left one being the more used, the right one being the more viewed. Click goes the render button, the little blue line rumbling past as I cock my head and attentions to yet one more well-crafted little digital film about someone doing something patently non-digital. Where would all these craftsypeople be without all this media hoopla we surround them with? Where would all these aspiring filmmakers be without the opportunity to make one more do-it-yourself hagiofilmica about something real, soulful, tactile? And the beat of our interconnected drum gets more synthy with every passing hour. But I am not complaining, just pointing out, see...
via Le Sabich
via Le Sabich
Monday, May 6, 2013
There are these great uses for social medie amidst the big pitfalls of time-wasting, temptation to over-consumption and the spectre of perspective-narrowing. The usual culprits of goodness being the reverse perspective-broadening and the connection it can create to quality people with tentacles reaching far into areas you'd normally might not be able to reach. I've been lucky enough to be digitally introduced to Noah Sabich (and then physically introduced to him) and his a seemingly endless supply of perspective. He passed this along to me today and it is worth it.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Over the last year, I had the opportunity to work on some animated images of LBI for the film Shored Up, a look at the cost of beach replenishment along the east coast. The Director Ben Kalina had begun making the film three years ago when all the scientist were talking about what if a storm like Sandy hit. And then it did. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a series of screenings around the area but you could say you were there first if you show up tomorrow.