SAM SHEPARD & THE FILM SHEPARD & DARK.


I’ve had bar chats with Sam; many Santa Fe locals claim friendship; he’s our Santa Fe Shepard for independent thinking, accessibility, dust-bowl prolific honesty and still a flush hand of rugged classic looks. The last time I saw him, he was sitting next to me at Geronimo, writing in his little notebook and eating steak.  He put his fork down when I said ‘Hi Sam.’  He talked about his novel (Inside Man), his Kentucky ranch, and showed me his new cell phone. When he held it, it was like a man holding a gun for the first time. Nothing about him was robotic, on cue, or predictable. When he gave me his phone number and said ‘Call anytime,’ I resisted throwing myself into his arms; now I wish I had.

When Shepard & Dark opened in town for three days, I was out the door within hours. I figured the movie theater would be packed, so I brought earplugs. I take my films too seriously and refuse to be interrupted with slurping and munching. Into the first scene, my concentration was bulletproof; I would have protested if anyone said a word.

Beginning with the footage; incredible home-made movies and photographs of early Sam. You will see him as a youngster on the ranch where he is raised, and Sam leaving home as he kicked his way through puberty. Then we see that chiseled frame of masculine sensitivity as a young playwright in Greenwich Village where you meet Johnny Dark. The dialog between the two men and the dramatization of their adventures through home movies and collected letters they exchanged over a forty-year period broke my heart. I felt the pain inside of Sam as if we were best friends.

It is as honest and genuine a continuum of conversation between two men that I’ve ever witnessed. The subjects: their father’s, destiny, fate, women, writing, dogs, tragedy, and loss. It is a wrap of cinematography, humor, philosophy and a pool-of-tears-ending.

Yes, there is a dusting of emotions on Jessica Lange.

Several lines I recall, in particular, to paraphrase Sam:

We can change our lives, our work, our wardrobes, our women, but we never really change. Our essence remains constant. I’ve always felt outside the whole thing, sometimes more than others. As a writer, you have to be selfish with your time. I’m always moving, going on the road, I didn’t know that was how my life was going to turn out, but it did.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SHEPARD & DARK


phone-pics-291.pngTHE SCREEN IN SANTA FE scheduled three showings of this Docudrama.
Huh? Sam ol’ boy lives in Santa Fe. I’ve had bar chats with him, everyone has, and he’s our mascot for independence, accessibility, and still a flush hand of rugged classic looks. Like he should be Ralph Lauren‘s model, not Ralph.
I figured the theater would be packed so I brought earplugs. I take my films too seriously, and refuse to be interrupted with slurping and munching. Into the first scene; my concentration was so acute I would have protested if anyone said a word. Beginning with the footage; unbelievable home-made movies and photographs. You will see Sam as a youngster on the ranch where he grew up in Central California, Sam leaving home and working his way through puberty. Then we see that chiseled frame of masculine sensitivity as a young playwright in Greenwich Village where you meet Johnny Dark. The dialog between the two men and the dramatization of their feelings about the collected letters they exchanged over a forty-year period is something beyond a beyond a reality show.
It is as honest and genuine a continuum of conversation between two men that you’ve ever witnessed. The subjects: their father’s, destiny, fate, women, writing, dogs, tragedy, and loss. Just to name a few. So if you wrap the cinematography around the humor, philosophy and ending that left me in tears, you have a masterpiece of film for the audience.
Yes, there is a dusting of emotions on Jessica Lange.
I walked away feeling as if my life had not even begun. So much life squeezed into one man lead me to It is as honest and genuine a continuum of conversation between two men that you’ve ever witnessed. The subjects: their father’s, destiny, fate, women, writing, dogs, tragedy, and loss. Just to name a few. So if you wrap the cinematography around the humor, philosophy and ending that left me in tears, you have a masterpiece of film for the audience.
Several lines I recall in particular, to paraphrase Sam:
We can change our lives, our work, our wardrobes, our women, but we never really change. Our essence remains constant. I’ve always felt outside the whole thing, sometimes more than others. As a writer you have to be selfish with your time. I’m always moving, going on the road, I didn’t know that was how my life was going to turn out, but it did.
That kind of admission for a floundering but dedicated writer will last me a while. On documentaries; they don’t get enough attention. I hope this film tears that fence down and let’s the HONEST-REAL-BULLS come through.

 

SHEPARD & DARK


Ralphie I served 1966–78

Ralphie I served 1966–78 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE SCREEN IN SANTA FE scheduled three showings of this Docudrama.

Huh? Sam ol boy lives in Santa Fe. I’ve had bar chats with him, everyone has, and he’s our mascot for independence, accessibility, and still a flush hand of rugged classic looks. Like he should be Ralph Lauren‘s model, not Ralphie.

I figured the theater would be packed so I brought earplugs.  I take my films too seriously, and refuse to be interrupted with slurping and munching.  Into the first scene; my concentration was so acute I would have protested if anyone said a word.  Beginning with the footage; unbelievable home-made movies and photographs. You will see Sam as a youngster on the ranch where he grew up in Central California, Sam leaving home and working his way through puberty.   Then we see that chiseled frame of masculine sensitivity as a young playwright in Greenwich Village where you meet Johnny Dark.  The dialog between the two men and the dramatization of their feelings about the  collected letters they exchanged over a forty-year period is something beyond a reality show.

It is as honest and genuine a continuum of conversation between two men that you’ve ever witnessed.  The subjects: their father’s, destiny, fate, women, writing, dogs, tragedy, and loss. Just to name a few. So if you wrap the cinematography around the humor, philosophy and ending that left me in tears, you have a masterpiece of film for the audience.

Yes, there is a dusting of emotions  on Jessica Lange.

I walked away feeling as if my life had not even begun. So much life squeezed into one man lead me to question my limits on adventuring. Several lines I recall in particular, to paraphrase Sam;

We can change our lives, our work, our wardrobes, our women, but we never really change. Our essence remains constant. I’ve always felt outside the whole thing, sometimes more than others. As a writer  you have to be selfish with your time. I’m always moving, going on the road, I didn’t know that was how my life was going to turn out, but it did.  

That kind of admission for a floundering but dedicated writer will last me a while.  On documentaries; they don’t get enough attention. I hope this film tears that fence down and let’s the HONEST-REAL-BULLS come through.

HA HA SANTA FE


IN THE GALLERY- EVO GALLERY SANTA FE, NM

The panel of experts on appropriation and copyright of

images covered the recent case, Cariou vs Prince. I knew nothing about the case; but it

was a participation of audience and panel that really worked.  The humor on the panel did not

overcome, the man in the third row who was knitting.  Richard Prince, "Graduation" (2008) was widely cited throughout this case, and was one of the five pieces the Court withheld judgment on today (image via Fordham's IPLJ)

Today I saw a woman in her fifties walking past my house with a dog. She was wearing her apron.

Last week, my phone called Sam Shepard three times, instead of calling Stefanie.

 

ART OF BAR WRITING


SANTA FE, NM

It was just 3 in the afternoon, and I’d returned from a trip to San Diego, and my body craved relaxation, but not in the house, where suitcases remained unpacked, and dishes to be washed.  I walked down to La Fonda Hotel and sat at a table in the woodsy and old leather bar.  The smell of tequila and chips permeates the room, so I flowed with the

ambiance and ordered guacamole and a margarita. Sipping slowly, I took notice of the other people around me; old men in Spanish colonial chairs staring into the hotel activity, the reception desk staff, fudging with room reservations, and the lovely waiter, who bowed each time he came to my table. I hadn’t planned on thinking about the script I’m working on, and just as I was unwinding my limbs from the plane ride and trip from Albuquerque, ideas started boiling up like bubbles about this script. I panicked because I didn’t have my journal, or even a pen.   Ah! the gift shop.. …

” Do you have a writing pad?”

“What kind?”

“With lines.”

” We have a few.”

” I’m in a hurry, anything will do.”

” What’s the rush?”

” I’m a writer,”

” Oh, I get it.” The clerk rushed through the transaction, and as I was about to leave I remembered,  

” And a pen.”

She handed me the one she was writing with, and off I went.

Seated with my tools, I scribbled the thoughts as fast as they entered my still sober self, and when I finished, I took to writing about my surroundings.  Yes, this is a place to bar write. I’ve observed Sam Shepard in several places writing through a meal. He has the distinction of not being bothered, but if he is, he draws a line around his space with his power pupils, one glance, and you’re blown off his planet. Sam does not always  position his power pupils to defer interruption, I’ve seen him put his pen down and engage the stranger. His eyes turn to a likeness of the Mustang horse, wild and waiting for tenderness.

 You have to practice this art, because invariably someone will ask if you are a writer, if you are published, and then they tell you they want to be a writer too.  I don’t have power pupils so I put on my head-set and if necessary place  my phone to the ear, if I am in the middle of a superlative sentence that I cannot stop.  You also have to monitor your drinking, because I’ve learned more than one glass, is not going to read like it did while you were drinking.  

 

ADVENTURES IN LOVINGNESS


Carson McCullers photographed by Carl Van Vech...

Image via Wikipedia

The sky is brush stroked with rivers of grey clouds interceding the passing blue of the day. I feel breathed, my heart exhausted, and my spirit is groping for remission, like an Advil into a hangover.

I remember my childhood, my first kiss, the day I announced to a class of fellow writers that I was a writer too. Our teacher, Emily, instructed all of us to stand up and say it. I resisted internally, and afterward the effect was as she promised, it became second nature.

I don’t know how I will remember the dragon episode, which turn in the labyrinth will remain most vivid; until now, imagining a folder and how I would label it, The We of Me, the phrase borrowed from Carson McCullers short story, “The Member of the Wedding.” I read all of Carson’s books when I lived in Saratoga Springs, NY. Carson spent several seasons as an artist in residence at Yaddo Art Colony in Saratoga, and was known to escape at night down to Congress Street, and sit in a saloon sipping brandy. The story is entwined around Frankie, a young girl in love with her brother, who has just married and is moving to Alaska. Frankie wishes to go with them.  “A sweet momentary illumination of adolescence before the disillusion of adulthood,”[4wikipedia “It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member. She belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world. Frankie had become an unjoined person who hung around in doorways, and she was afraid.”

Last summer, I was not hanging around looking out at the world, I was on the porch, serving wine and crispy chips, while Rudy loaded Pete Rodriquez in the CD player,” Can I play it one more time?” he shouted, and John basting chicken over the Barbeque, draped in my William Sonoma apron, and I am drifting through the epilogue unaware that these moments will turn into sculpted memories, of a summer in Santa Fe. But for then, we lasted until the sun melted in the horizon and Rudy ran out of Kelly’s Cove stories. We were joined, we had our own club. Sometimes Jewels joined us, or LimoLoren, and there was a ribbon around the house, all of us were tied to the harmony of the we of me.

John won’t be coming back; there is too much brittleness, and astonishment in my life. As before, but not the same, Rudy is here, he just appeared in the doorway, “Come see what I did in the garage.” Our garage was transformed into a movie theater after I mistakenly poked the wrong button on the gate remote, and the automatic doors crashed into Rudy’s van. Yesterday, he strung red lights along the perimeter of the adobe building. He does these things to cheer me.

A lot of people I know are falling out of love, or have been asked to stop loving someone they thought they loved. There’s a group of us at La Posada; Victor the Cuban singer just broke up with Ruth, “ I’m going crazy–I’m Latin, without a woman—I cannot do it.” And Eddie, who just broke up with his girlfriend, “Two years-Oh well, I just move on. What can you do?” and Tobey; who has figured out how to forget his girlfriend’s fatal fall from a hillside where she was hiking, he is now the master of mingling. Then there’s Sam Shepard, whose pain is transparent, without a spoken word, it’s in his vigilant Mustang eyes, and in the angle he looks at the world. There are a lot of us; who have fallen from grace with someone who thought they could love us. Then, comes the reoccurring incident; whether it is about money, lovemaking, or the act of communicating with anger or restraint, that suddenly bloats up to the size of a thunder cloud, and bursts through all the promises and collective dreams.

After my burst with John, I went over to La Posada to escape the chattering in my head. My pal, White Zen, who I’ve named for her constant calm joined me at the bar. Raul was on duty, he’s been there since before all the Anglos discovered Santa Fe. He’s seen the white lightning of movie stars, and the Indian Shamans with feathers and folklore.  Raul takes all of us in his stride; which is slow as molasses. Don’t try and rush Raul, because he will ignore you, and your drink will be watery by the time you get it.

I was sitting there, with a glass of wine, when I recognized the man next to White Zen. At the same moment, the juxtaposition of reckoning beckoned us off our stools and we hugged. Dancing Bear, I’ve missed you I said, or something like that. Dancing Bear is a New York Santa Fe success. Unlike so many people I’ve met, he lives here,   works globally, and he’s in big demand right now.

Dancing Bear smiles even if his mouth isn’t smiling, you know he is inside. He’s in the tidal wave of dreams coming true, but not without their own claim ticket on your soul. Someone is always disposed if you’re catching big tuna. Now this night, goes like this.

“ Look if I don’t fuck up this dance–if I don’t fuck it up; it’s going to be something I’m really proud of.”  He emphasizes this with one hand, raised eyebrows and a slight bend in his neck.

“And you won’t.  How long have you lived here?”

“Do you know how I ended up in Santa Fe?  I was living in Los Angeles, driving on that freeway all day, and a friend said, ‘ Hey, you otta come to Santa Fe.’ Never even heard of it, so I came, that was 1983(I think it was 83) and bought a house, and moved here permanent a few years ago.  I could live in New York–in a minute, I love New York, Los Angeles, no- what for, my daughter’s not growing up in the Palisades.” He looks at Raul, they share another story, because they’ve known each other years, then Dancing Bear slaps the wooden bar with one hand, his face creases into a private memory; “El Farol!” he shouts. “Those are the memories, everyone was there, it was the most amazing time.”

“John and I used to go every Tuesday,” Dancing Bear wasn’t listening; he was swept into the memory. His eyes looked right through the mirror behind Raul’s bar. I wished I had seen it then. I didn’t get to El Farol until 1998.

“ Now—okay–I mean right now, after all these years,

I have my ex-wife-ex-wives, and their children, husbands, whatever, and they are in my life-okay–they are in my life.” I tried to speak, but his bear mouth wiped me out.

“They are in my life.. forever.”

“What does Dancing Dora say about that?”

“I’ll tell you what she says; they all sit down to her table at Thanksgiving. All of them. And it’s cool. Not all the time… this one with that problem, the kid with that, but in the end it works.. it works.”

“ It didn’t work with John and me.”

“ You got nothing to be ashamed of.. okay. A lot of people cannot handle it.. my friends think I’m crazy.”

“So do mine.” I said.

Lula Carson McCullers adapted the book, A Member of the Wedding to stage in 1950, then to film in 1987, and into television in 1997.  Lula wrote until her body failed her, and her hands crippled. She dictated her unfinished autobiography “Illumination and Night Glare” (1999) just before she died. She wrote her first book at twenty-three, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

 Carson’s major theme; the huge importance and nearly insoluble problems of human love.” – Tennessee Williams.