A croquet tournament at the Hollyhock house: this offers tremendous freedom. The location makes beautiful motion photography an afterthought. The distance from the street makes diamond studded audio. And, a bunch of arbitrary folks are showing up in Sunday whites and flapper apparel to compete in croquet clueless to the rules or gameplay. Qualitative
If the focus of Jeffry Inaba's Video City seminar switched from a “polemic on architecture” forwarded through the medium of film to “the social institution of sports and the environments, circumstantial and intentional, formed to accommodate them,” then the serendipitous occurrence of this themed croquet match at the beginning of the semester would make my first short a snap. Interesting characters, Broadacre reminiscent pastoral setting, Hollywood sign for establishing shots, on and on. So, I made the phone call to the Barnsdall peeps, got the OK, called double and his two bomb 24p cameras, and off we went.Rhododendron
Long story short, all the likely tech issues - shitty audio, shitty light, shitty backgrounds, shitty characters- were avoidable as planned. The whole point was to build the problems out of the system and make the first film a storytelling and editing issue rather than a content issue. The first go at throwing junk at the final cut timeline amounted to a lil whimsical film I enjoyed, and characters I grew to love. Bocce ball, same thing. Old men tossing their balls and talking trash. After three weeks of logging twelve plus hours of footage, edit trance, frame fucking, elderly Armenians and Italians trading insults in lieu of Pogrom and what Inaba calls “a North Hollywood pastiche of the Long Island Gentry,” however, I'd had enough. So I woke up at dawn Saturday to go shoot.Shvitz
Eddie Murphy in The Golden Child. The closing battle between Eddie and Luci takes place in what appears to be strange abandoned silos above Los Angeles. These are the retired Nike missile radar silos at the western, “dirt” end of Mulholland Drive above Encino. Decommissioned in 1968, this outpost was responsible for launching missiles from deep beneath the Sepulveda reservoir at the pinko menace approaching LA's continental shelf. The surrounding hillscape, along the ridges north of the Getty Center, is some of the best preserved natural landscape in LA. Apart from the Eames' house backyard, this is the only place in LA where seasonal change can be spotted with the naked eye. The opening credit sequence to MASH was filmed in this canyon line. Twicing
At some point in the 90's, this Cold War defense installation was turned into a nature preserve and public park. Like all wildlife preserves, signage helps guide visitors though the surrounding landscape. Here however, the signage diagrams the sequence of commie radar detection, the radar signal to the readymen, the readymen to the missiles, and the missiles sending the evil empire straight back to the Circle Nine Vodka party. Large block type print reads “know your role.” Now, the site is populated by mountain bikers and hikers with higher tech equipment and better physical readiness than the readymen of the 20th century. The sign at the top of the hill reads, “the maagnitude of computer equipment it took to run this site can today be powered by a solar calculator.” The poetry in the cyclical growth of the transistor. A mountain biker explains his palm pilot to me. I blackberry him an mpeg.Undertow
Angelino readymen taking out pinkos at the continental shelf. Per Cube's motto, “pistol grip pumped on my lap at all times.” The concept of an aerial bombardment of Los Angeles, reduced to these post facto cartoons, raises an interesting question for double and me: Double offers, "What could possibly be gained by bombing Los Angeles?" In war fighting strategy, urban centers populated by the upper class and the bourgeois are usually relegated to tertiary targeting. The rich are, according to Pan-African writer Franz Fanon, too rich and materially defined to risk losing it all in an effort to revolt. What's the point, then, of obliterating Encino? LA loves irrational exuberance. LA loves self destruction. LA loves you.Voodoo Boilers
In 1963, A dam atop Baldwin Hills, now Hahn state park, collapsed and flooded the homes below. This was followed in 1965 by the Watts riots, a fireball of revolt that consumed a community. In nostalgia-rife '68, predominantly migrant class kitchen workers witnessed the assassination of America's most promising presidential candidate smack dab in the middle of the Mid Wilshire district by one of its own. The same year, the Nike missile radar site was decommissioned. Los Angeles had rendered its own aerial defense obsolete. The missile lanching readymen went back south to San Diego, figuring any invading army is better suited pulling up a bench and shrimp basket at Neptune's Net, apt to enjoy couple a sunsets while Los Angeles eats itself whole, shell and all.