Friday, February 22, 2008

Laughing Gas

And here are my favorite boys -- who always astound me with their masterful timing, idiosyncratic mannerisms (Oliver Hardy's hands and fingers are characters unto themselves!), and, of course, their off-kilter genteel relationship to each other and the baffled world around them. Boy, do they have heart -- and genius to burn!

I look forward to seeing "Liberty" again (if I can ever find another copy), and some of the other silents they created, as many contain some wonderful views of old Hollywood and LA! Here's to Laurel and Hardy! (I wish their works was more available on DVD. Umph!)


My senses are becoming cinematic! Light is at this project's core -- setting everything afire. I look forward to the time when sunlight, glass, and cinema meet! History, the power of the present, and the future of new ideas beaming forth in one long warm glow -- a Silver Sun!

Mae Marsh seen here capturing the light fantastic

Lover Man

Fiery passion, romance, primal force, animal grace -- and even occult power come together in this one man. Behold, Valentino!

Good Soldier

2008, and a global war is raging. Some live on the virtual side of the war, like those of us on the West Coast. Some are not as fortunate. Like in past times of dramatic global upheaval, arts, culture, and sciences have been there to provide a welcome distraction to troubled times, healthful perspectives -- and when on point, canny insight into our complex nature and the condition of person-hood.

I am so proud to be part of arts culture. I consider it not only a delight, but an abolute responsibility to show creative civic leadership -- in whatever ways that I can.

Today and everyday, I applaud those working in all creative fields. Those who work tirelessly, whether in private or in the public eye, to put our species on a positive track, expanding our awareness of ourselves -- and of other worlds. The creative fields of arts and sciences are armed with the best minds and hearts, poising our lives for new worlds of exploration, extending hope and new forms of humanity.

I often tell people "It may look like I'm in the business of art ..but really I am in the business of Hope." Everyday is an opportunity to transform our lives into something better -- and inspire others to do the same. Onward and upward!


Moving steadily on the project details for Silver Sun, as Emma works on some design solutions. Soon, we'll have a full project summary in place, a call for *new* silent film submissions for program inclusion, a budget proposal, and some design renderings from Emma.
My research continues forth, and much of it involves simply immersing myself in the subject matter -- visually, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. Sometimes, I end up connecting some dots to my personal past. Such as the time I saw a re-release of "Wings" as a kid at a theater in Torrence, California, w. live organ music. Or seeing "M" for the first time as a teen starring the magnetic yet lurid Peter Lorre, or "Metropolis" (also by Fritz Lang), w. its inspired retro-futuristic sets.

I have not seen many silent films. So, like many of my projects, Silver Sun is an opportunity for me to grow and learn... as I hope it will be for everybody involved.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hue and Eye

Hand-tinting to highlight a scene or object, bringing color to specific elements, while leaving other parts of the scene in glorious black and white. We are transported to a film world with its own logic, rules, and outer nature.

Seen here, The Great Train Robbery (Griffith, 1903) gets a fanciful makeover -- each cell tinted by hand!

Color Wheel

Little did I know that the majority of silent films were tinted or toned with vibrant colors. Hand-tinting processes were employed, or bathing black and white positive film in dyes for toning. Colors were chosen to fit a mood or location, such as blue for a seaside scene or red for action sequences, shown here.

The marvelous colors offer a magical, often dreamlike lyricism, inviting audiences to bask in an otherworldy glow -- or contemplate their own personal psychotropic terrain. I wonder what colors Silver Sun will produce?

Friday, February 15, 2008


Oo la la. The Silent Screen is otherworldy, dreamlike, and thrillingly decadent, with set and costume design so central to cinema's development as an art form.

Seen here, Salome, 1922, directed by Alla Nazimova, w. costumes/sets evocative of Aubrey Beardsley.

Friday, February 8, 2008


My guiding light and terrifically entertaining research material for this project is Seductive Cinema: The Art of Silent Film by James Card. Vastly informative and written with heart, I recommend this book to those who have even a passing interest in Film and Cinema marginalia. His insights are informative and at times -- daring!

"I will even go so far as to suggest that there has never been a great film without close-ups. In fact, a great film was never made until close-ups came into general use. ...In the close-up the motion picture is in its own world." -James Card, Seductive Cinema

Seen here, Gloria Swanson exuding her emotive charm.

Strong words from the heart. And who can blame him? The close-up is quite magical and profound, bringing an intimacy to that special relationship between our heroes and ourselves.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Quiet evocations of mood, spirit, and pathos

Liberty Bell

My research for Silver Sun brings me to all manner of "places" within my experience and my psyche, reminding me of the richness one can tap into when developing a project full of unknowns. Today, I remember the impact Luis Bunuel had on me ala his most hilarious autobiography, "My Last Sigh", when I read it, oh... about 20 years ago. What a fun read for anyone interested in Film, Surealism, and Freedom. Speaking of which, I'm certain my research will require me to revisit his filmic tour-de-force, "Un Chien andalou" (1929, Bunuel/Dali). I viewed this outrageous masterpiece, oh, about a dozen times in my late teens/early 20's via the many midnight screenings at various film arthouses in LA, my hometown. The slice through the eye, the crawling ants, the decaying cows in the pianos, the characters (and audience!) inexplicably locked into situations that followed a jagged unknowable logic -- a filmic realm of hidden desires and mindbending juxtopositions. To view this film is to take part in a strange liberation of the senses!


Recently, I screened "Pandora's Box" (1928, Pabst) as part of my research. Brilliantly directed by G. W. Pabst, the film introduced me to the charismatic & luminous spirit of Louise Brooks. The film drew me into the sordid world of grimey players, underground misfits, and desperate hearts. A serial killer even figures into this spoiled stew. Pathos, drama, suspense, and intrigue ensues -- with poignant moments of comedy. But, it is Louise Brooks' captivating performance as Lulu which is transcendent and quixotically powerful. Her unbridled innocence with which she imbues her character is matched only by the marvelous way she embraces this new medium... Film! The silver nitrate simply loves her. I was transfixed -- and you will be too!