Dead Mice

I am cleaning out the garage.

I took an old plastic Christmas tree spilling out of its box and put it on the floor in the center.

I took a half-constructed cabinet, that never got fully-constructed because it was missing some parts, and laid it down in the center.

I took boxes of old broken kitchen appliances and placed them in the center.

I took a rickety, dirty toddler saucer and put it in the center.

Some water-damaged ceiling tiles. A lawn bag of old yard waste whose bottom fell out when I picked it up. Soiled cardboard.

Tomorrow is garbage day.

On Monday and today I have gone to the garage to get my bike, to ride to the train I take to work.

Monday, outside the garage’s side door, I found a dead mouse. I kicked it aside into some weeds near the garage.

This morning, I saw another mouse. I assume it’s a different mouse, and not the same mouse moved by the ants that were crawling all over it on Monday.

I kicked this second mouse (or first mouse that resumed its former position) where I kicked the other/same mouse before.

Tonight, I take heavy-duty garbage bags and waste stickers, collect the garbage from the center of the garage and dump it all to the back alley.

I’ll wear gloves. I’ll look for dead mice.

Here, a movie Stan Brakhage made about his dog’s corpse decaying.

Part 1

Part 2

Ghosts Before Breakfast

It’s been a while since I have posted a link to an experimental film. I’m about due.

Here’s a fun, playful film from the late 1920’s by Hans Richter, titled “Ghosts Before Breakfast”. There’s an abundant joy of cinema evident in this film that most movies lack.

Whither Experimental Film?

I graduated with a Film Production/Studies degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

The film program was not so much geared towards learning the trade of a classical Hollywood kinda production, but more about making films that you would find personally interesting (and not necessarily commercially viable). Documentaries and experimental films were big at SIUC.

In this program I was able to see a lot of experimental films — from the early days of Man Ray and Salvador Dali to more contemporary fare like Michael Snow, Stan Brakhage and Standish Lawder.

It was always interesting when I would walk into an experimental film class – what was going to happen? We could be discussing the filmmaker prior to seeing some of his or her films, but I really had no expectations — it was exciting.

Years later, there is this huge history, this huge body of work out there, created by people funding their own expensive projects (film ain’t cheap) that reflect their own personal vision. And where are they now? How can one see these films?

I looked for Real Italian Pizza, a film by David Rimmer that completely bowled me over when I first saw it. I found it at Moving Images, available only in 16mm.

I searched for some Standish Lawder films, a filmmaker who also I liked a great deal, and found his stuff available at Canyon Cinema, also available only in 16mm.

I searched for another film, Serene Velocity by Ernie Gehr (apparently an inspiration for the title of a recent Stereolab compilation), and couldn’t find any way of seeing or acquiring it.

Are these films going to survive? Are these films going to be seen?

With the explosion of personal filmmaking on YouTube, it seems like it is a ripe time for people everywhere to see this whole world that for the most part has only been seen by film school students.

Is YouTube the answer for these experimental films? Often the quality of YouTube video is pretty substandard, due to the needs of keeping filesizes reasonably small. But if not that, what? Something has to be done.

From time to time, I’ll try and post links to experimental stuff I find.

Here’s Standish Lawder’s probably most widely-seen film — Necrology.