Nate's got a nice new piece up


I remember seeing this in-camera. Nicely done!

TIE Retrospective, 2009

All you need for cinema to happen: A room with an audience, all facing the same direction, a source of light projecting above their heads, and darkness.

-Christopher May, director, TIE

There is a pause, space of black and silence, purposefully left between the short films. I describe to Jennie the need for a moment to clear the mind, come to the next piece fresh -- "like ginger & sushi," she retorts.

What follows are my notes and reactions to many of the films screened.


Necrology (Standish Lawder, 12 min, USA, 16mm, 1969-1970)
The only older piece of work in Program One of the show, Standish Lawder's motionless camera films people on an escalator, then projects this motion in reverse. The effect, of a flat mass of people ascending ad infinitum, brings to mind the Auffahrt (Ascension) -- countless souls in their own performative little worlds fleeting upwards on screen. At the end of the film, we are treated to a cast list full of imagined lives and ones constructed from what we see -- the secretary, menstruating, the man picking his nose, the Yalie, black. In this list of assignations, we are reminded of the projections we make onto others, strangers.

Dipping Sause (Luther Price, 10 min, USA, 16mm, 2005)
A series of Rube Goldberg devices propel the film toward varying torturous, fetishized conclusions.

Film for Invisible Ink, Case No. 142: Abbreviation for Dead Winter [Diminished by 1,794] (David Gatten, 13 min, USA, 16mm, 2007)
The screen is white. There are flecks, small variations in color, and the dust on the film is both evident and repetitive. Hair is focus-pulled. I ask Jennie if this is what winter in Nebraska is for her. She says it is, and like a kaleidoscope, only so much better.

July Fix (Jason Livingston, 3 min, USA 16mm, 2006)
How brilliant it is to take just small snippets of a pop song with appropriate pauses of silence -- we know to fill in the blank space, we do it automatically as the song is immediately in our head.

Nothing is over Nothing (Jonathan Schwartz, 16 min, USA/Israel, 16mm, 2008)
Toward the end, we see the eponymous shot, a stenciled bit of graffiti of Ahmadinejad sporting playboy bunny ears & bowtie with the words NOTHING IS OVER NOTHING just below. An Israeli solider stands next to the electrical box on which this is scrawled, posing for the camera. Schwartz's travelogue of Israel is full of blue -- from the opening shot of a blue door detailed with a Star of David in the foreground as a Hasid stands in the right half of the screen, slightly back to the mother in a blue denim dress holding a Russian Blue cat to the bathroom encrusted in blue tile, blue window panes to a man and a woman covered in mud at a spa to another stencil, this of an upside-down machine gun, done in a pale blue spray paint -- and this produces the effect of nearly convincing us the film has been tinted. Apparently, his camera was broken; he did not realize he was shooting in more than 24 frames per second. The effect of the all-encompassing slow motion is deeply profound, and it was quite striking to see it at this precise historical moment.

Sacred Space (David Chaim Cohen, 14 min, USA, 35mm, 2007)
Stan Brackhage revisited, not through technique but in effect, and ramped up on tactile, seemingly three-dimensional steroids. And to think this was a student film from CalArts, made on 35mm. Amazing, mesmerizing, and I never wanted it to end.


Dollar Portrait (Matthew Perino, 4:44 min, USA, 16mm, 2008, Silent)
In the positive and negative optical printing, parts of money begin to resemble sprocket holes.

Whirl (Scott Banning, 7:35 min, USA, 16mm, 2007)
Lights on an amusement park ride look so blue, they've never looked so blue or purple all at once before. Sometimes, in their close-ups, they begin to look like anglerfish, deep underwater. This was originally black & white film that was then transferred and edited digitally, then projected and the projection filmed. The tint emerges in the digital space between film stocks.

Wot the Ancient Sod (Diane Kitchen, 17 min, USA, 16mm, 2001, Silent)
This portrait of leaves is a reminder of the incredible possibilities of a shallow depth of field, something only film can achieve.

To Be Regained (Zach Iannazzi, 10 min, USA, 16mm, 2008)
One of a few films done by young, devoted filmmakers, this one a graduate of Amherst. It's impressive to see documentary work -- a medium that traditionally requires a much higher ratio of footage to finished length -- done all on film. Iannazzi does plenty of hand processing, adding lovely grit to the footage of his own he cuts together with stock footage of salmon being...de-egged?

Trauma Victim (Robert Todd, 17 min, USA, 16mm, 2002)
This collection of shots and scenes seems to come deep from within the psyche. As waterfalls are projected, I find it impossible to keep my eyes from tracking downward with the water. Like its waterfalls, it is a pouring out of brain space.

Errata (Alexander Stewart, 7 min, USA, 16mm, 2005, Silent)
Nothing so beautiful has ever been done with a photocopier. Ink soaks like blood through the projected image sequences.

Metaphysical Education (Thad Povey, 4 min, USA, 16mm, 2003)
Made with a homemade optical printer, frames seem to slide horizontally, revealing their soundtracks in the otherwise hidden margins, bright and beautiful.


Official Program Notes

TIE on the web

Sundays in the Park with George

from my slingshot, November 21, 2008

New York Times: This is a splendid journey into the realm of the imagination
John Gruen: No, it isn't.  TRON is.


Photo equipment for sale

There is a Bogen enlarger at the Salvation Army at 48th & Leighton going for $30. It has the lens, but no contrast grading plates. Looked to be in decent shape, though, and the bellows worked fine, no apparent light leaks. I already have an enlarger, so go pick it up if you're in the market!

(image from wikimedia)


Luv is Automatic

Tiny Documentary #4: Luv is Automatic from nocoastfilms on Vimeo.

Carrie Masters, a photographer and illustrator in Lincoln, Nebraska, seeks inspiration from the world around her for the designs in her product line, Robot Luv.

I made this video for Carrie last fall. The shoes are now out in Japan, so the video can be shown!


Auteur Theory

These two films (which I saw back to back the past two nights) struck me as prime examples of auteur theory. Take that for what it's worth.


Inaugural Blog

Wow. And it is done, and it is good.
11:51 AM CST

And, three minutes to go.
10:57 AM CST

Trying out the flurry of Facebook/CNN live status updates.
10:37 AM CST

E, regarding Lynne Cheney: What did she ever see in him?
E & Mom, in unison: Power.
10:25 AM CST

Transfer of power happens exactly at noon eastern time. What if the president hasn't taken the oath yet? "Give the f*ing oath on time. Let's not leave that up to chance." -Mom
10:20 AM CST

Mama Biden!
10:13 AM CST

Both Obama and Biden voted against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts, who will be swearing them in. Mom says "Well, that's democracy!"
10:05 AM CST

Apparently, whilst moving boxes, Cheney pulled a muscle in his back. He'll be attending the inauguration in a wheelchair. Just one last bit of icing on the looking like Mr. Potter cake. Schadenfreude? Jawohl!
9:02 AM CST

ABC is showing the crowd on the Mall. People are now packed in all the way to the grounds of the Washington Monument. That's a mile and a half from the Capitol.
8:42 CST


A loss for the world of televisual manipulation

I've just learned that it is quite common among new flat-screen LCD or plasma HD type televisions not to have a video output. This means one cannot record the signal emanating from the TV (i.e. broadcast television) onto another medium such as a tape or into a computer editing program. First, I am bummed because I can't record the inaugural address tomorrow. However, this has far broader implications for those of us media manipulator types who enjoy bastardizing the drivel spit out at us. After all, it's better to mess with your television than to kill it.

Read This

It's over tomorrow. A Harper's Index retrospective of the Bush years.


My kind of bike lane

Wow! A laser-beam bike lane that goes where you go! What a GOOD idea!

As we look for ways to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and find viable transportation alternatives to the internal combustion engine, many urbanites are turning to that staple of bipedal locomotion: the humble bicycle. While ridership is increasing every year, bicycle safety remains a huge issue: in 2007, 43,000 people were injured in bike accidents, resulting in 698 deaths. Though many cities are getting serious about making bike-friendly infrastructure changes, installing bike lanes is a costly porposition with a glacial pace of implementation.
Enter LightLane, a safety concept from the clever designers at Altitude, Inc. The system projects a virtual bike lane (using lasers!) on the ground around the cyclists, providing drivers with a recognizable boundary they can easily avoid. The idea is to allow riders to take safety into their own hands, rather than leaving it to the city. And just in case you need to be convinced about the need for better cycle saftey, watch this video about the stupidest bike lane in America.


End of Christmas

From the Big Picture blog...

So, contrary to what the majority of people in this country seem to believe, the twelve days of Christmas begin on Christmas and end with Epiphany, the 6th of January, the supposed day the three kings showed up. All you haters, keeping yer trees up until the 6th is ok, dammit.

This is now past. My Christmas tree is still up, and I know I need to take it down, because even though I traditionally extend the tree until my birthday, the 11th, this is also now past. Maybe it'll be an MLKJ Day project.

Ihregahdless, there's a guy in a Santa costume riding a bike in a shark tank.

Tech Thursday

From my work research on Gizmodo yesterday...

This girl on Etsy totally sold out of the raddest nerd-bike accessory after gizmodo pimped her style.

Too bad. That's wicked cute. Most helmet covers look lame trying to look stylish. This embraces the medium a little better.

And then there's the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir...

Anders, if you have any more Volvo problems (and knock on wood you don't), perhaps this will be a repurposing project?


TIE Returns to the Ross

The fantastically curated TIE collection is returning to the Ross this Wednesday & Thursday. The past two years, Lincoln has been blessed with great programs and presentation from Christopher May, TIE's curator. This year should be no exception:

Since 2000, the internationally-based TIE festival has been a leading champion of artists still working in the medium of film, with a particular focus on both new and historical avant-garde cinema. TIE returns to UNL with two new programs specifically selected for The Ross by TIE founder/director Christopher May. The exhibition features an eclectic range of experimental films that illuminate the continuing vitality and beauty of celluloid, while subtle and at times obvious philosophical and thematic curatorial gestures conduct the flow of the programs. Both shows include highlights from TIE's 2008 international festivals, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Paonia, Colorado.

The TIE festival will feature two programs.
PROGRAM 1 will be shown on Wednesday, January 14 - 7:00pm
PROGRAM 2 will be shown on Thursday, January 15 - 7:00pm

Come join me. I'll be going to both, if I can help it. Oh, and since you're going to be stopping by the Ross, you should also probably find time to see Slumdog Millionaire, darling of the Golden Globes, and Synecdoche, NY, the latest adventure into Charlie Kaufman's brain.


I'm in McCook for work, teaching video editing to a group of 20-some 4th graders through high school seniors. Should be an adventure.



sorry, i'm trying to obsessively, compulsively catch up on my google reader subscriptions. they kind of piled up while i was away. maybe you should read what i've shared. it's right over there, next to this post.


Proud of Friends Edition

My friend Rob Sand (b. Decorah, Iowa), one of the first people I met in college & also one of very few fellow Brunonians to return to the Midwest (currently in year 2 at University of Iowa Law), has just had his undergraduate thesis written up by Harvard Law scholar Larry Lessig. It's some solidly interesting research into the effects that public financing of campaigns has on political participation. Read it here.

Rob is a super-solid guy (bloke would be apropos if I were more of a Brit), so it's great to see his work garnering some serious respect. Not only is he an academic, but here's a shot of him onstage with our friends Elvis Perkins in Dearland.


Colorado New Year

I'm at Emily's parents' townhouse at Copper Mountain, fresh off of winning the betting pool in the Nebraska-Clemson game (my guess: 24-21 NU, actual score: 26-21 NU, the prize: a free lift ticket tomorrow!).
On the way out to the mountains, circa Denver, I was struck with a stomach virus that just now seems to be leaving me. I had two lackluster days of skiing, took today off, and have two days left on the slopes before we head back to Lincoln. Not making the progress on my ski skills I had hoped, but having a very nice time of it nonetheless. Besides, I'm wearing my handknit cardigan.
Photos to come once I'm back at my own computer!