davidhare wrote:Of course Mekas seems to have (inadvertently?) alienated Smith with his pronunciations of high seriousness. Not that Smith's work isn't, but I assume Jack Smith was both too sensitive and too sensible (also the French meaning) to wear this label lightly.
We must remember that Jack was an extremely flamboyant artist, a man capable of doing everything, regardless of what others think of him. Mekas as well as Susan Sontag regarded "Flaming Creatures" as a serious, profound and beautiful work of art (they were of course right) and Jack felt they were pretentious. While no one can know what Jack really felt about his film, he was always very resistent to high-brow academics. His work came from his heart, so he didn't really contemplate about it as Mekas and Sontag did. From that point on Jack refered to Jonas as "Uncle Fishhook".
Ken said that Jack was definitely an intellectual, but never made it overtly explicit in his behaviour. He might seem crazy at first, but gradually revealed his sharp mind. I recommend reading the book "Wait for me at the bottom of the pool", edited by Hoberman, which collects some fine writing by Smith. Jack also wrote a little essay on von Sternberg which is included in Criterion's "The Scarlet Empress" DVD.
By the way, "production costs" for "Flaming Creatures" were $300. Tony Conrad told me they spend it on the lab costs and that was it. Jack was able to shoot the film on the roof of a building because he knew the tenant. Here
is a radio report about Jack.
Fantoma is FINALLY releasing their first volume
of Kenneth Anger films on DVD!
Contains the films:
Puce Moment (1949)
Rabbit's Moon (1950, the rarely seen original 16 minute version)
Eaux d'Artifice (1953)
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954)
The extras sound wonderful!
* High-definition transfers from newly restored elements
* Screen specific audio commentary by Kenneth Anger
* Rare outtakes and behind-the-scenes images
* 36 page hard-cover book, featuring rare photos, written appreciations by renowened filmmakers, never before seen sketches and plans for unproduced films, and more!
Jonas Mekas has updated his website
with some amazing content! There are a lot of great videos up there and he announced to put up some rare Menken and Anger films on December 9th. I hope the Menken will be GO! GO! GO! Jonas Mekas
really must rank among art history's major visionaries. What he does right now with his 365 diary-films reinvents cinema once again, and almost no one notices it. I am passionately following these films and am downloading them regularly. As today's film (Jan. 5th) proves once again, Mekas may be one of the last true beat poets that made Downtown Manhattan so famous in the 60s. For me, this man really represents life, living it in a way that we all should aspire to.