Friday, August 31, 2012

Filming Detroit III

Filming Detroit III
—for Joseph Cornell

“The emphatic truth—
of gesture in the important
moments of life”

Language seems to go thru a dark passage to beauty but the creative act of the filmic itself seems to find a way. Since we’ve been forced to see movies as “talkies” rather than “silent” stills (boxes)—is it any wonder that the filmic should be so rare?

A few flashes come from Cornell’s work—perhaps elsewhere? Not much though—so that one might have to say that the “filmic” doesn’t exist—there’s only “talkie” cinematic language, cinematic narrative, cinematic dialog, cinematic plots, cinematic acting, cinematic direction.

The cinematic isn’t the same as the silent surrealist filmic—it’s as far removed from the filmic as the novelistic is from the novel. Can one write & exist in the novelistic—while not writing novels?

Paradoxically, the filmic doesn’t seem to be able to be grasped while its happening, in the movement, in its “motion picture” state—but only as artifact, the “still.” Perhaps Cornell sensed this after “Rose Hobart”—and concentrated on his surreal boxes after that? 

After Miss Dali acted out her bitch-scene tipping over the projector & then complaining that Cornell had telepathically stolen the same “Rose Hobart” idea for a film from him, well…can one blame Cornell from concentrating on surreal box-art after that?

What is a still? A photo from a film? Something from the pages of Cahiers du cinema? Pictures in a textbook? A department store catalog? A pornographic picture from “My Baby Is Black”?

What if the so-called obtuse filmic lies not in movement or catalogs of picture books or porno? What if a diegetic horizon is needed to “freeze-frame” & configure the filmic mobility theoretically as a framework for a presentational unfolding combining the stills with a story (diegesis) so that a new “third obtuse meaning” is born from the lower depths?

In some ways this has already happened with graphic novels & comix. Such innovations represent the “still-shot” as filmic when “doubled” within a series of frames not necessarily arranged horizontally but rather vertically. As with this Crazy Kat cartoon. Notice it’s vertical storytelling schematic.

The last “still” of Krazy Kat in the pond offers us the inside-story as a fragment of the whole vertical narrative. In this shot the center of gravity is no longer between horizontal frames of other stills but rather “inside the shot”—the accentuation of the last fragment expands the absurdity of the whole story..

This vertical “diegesis-complexity” lies with accentuation within the fragment—as Cornell does with his vertical boxes composed of various “frames.” Each box has a vertical reality of articulation—as opposed to the cinematic horizontal narrative effect. 

Cornell’s vertical filmic narrative is at once parodic & absurd. The obtuse or third meaning isn’t “a specimen chemically extracted from the substance of the film,” but rather “a trace of supercilious bits, hints, clues” experienced in a “stop-action” still-shot.

The “stop-action” still-shot is the fragment of a second text whose existence never exceeds the fragment. Both film & still find themselves in a palimpsest relationship without being on top of each other or extracted from each other. There’s a surreal co-existence of images—doing their Cornell box-thing.

The “still” throws off the constraint of cinematic time—as with Cornell’s boxes which are aesthetically as well as technically & theoretically like a silent text or screenplay that’s not committed to logico-temporal order while readymade time is free.

The “still,” Cornell’s boxes, institute a readymade reading at once both instantaneous & vertical—what happens when this happens? 

Cornell’s boxes as well as his “Rose Hobart”—perform a vertical mutation of filming degree zero. But what is that?

Collage of Detroit’s Lee Plaza Hotel
—“Detroit’s Beautiful,
Horrible Decline,” Time

Once one of the most luxurious residential hotels in Detroit, Lee Plaza closed in the 1990s.,29307,1882089,00.html#ixzz24wxyHTDk

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Filming Detroit II

Filming Detroit II
—for Joseph Cornell

“A bad event
happened to me
but its having
occurred became
even more complicated
in my thinking 
about it.”
—Barrett Watten
Bad History

This Barthes-esque “third meaning” has its own way of structuring the film differently as Cornell does creating his “Rose Hobart” film out of the “East of Borneo” talkie motion picture.

Cornell’s “third meaning” emerges with the “stills” & condensed imagery of “Rose Hobart” (15 minutes)—compared that of Borneo (1 hour 10 minutes).

Cornell’s “film” begins only when language & “talkie” metalanguage ends.

Everything that can be said about “East of Borneo” can be said in a written text entitled “Borneo”—except this third or “obtuse” meaning. One can gloss everything in “Borneo” except the obtuse quality of  Rose Hobart’s face, her gestures, her actions.

This obtuse filmic lies in the region where Rose Hobart herself pauses, stops, smiles, looks, moves, lives & performs for us her own story—and language or cinematic dialog or the soundtrack can’t really describe this third world of nuanced, obtuse meaning that’s seeable but not describable. 

Except with Bad History surreal aesthetics & readymade filmics…

Collage of Detroit’s William Livingstone House
—“Detroit’s Beautiful,
Horrible Decline,” Time,29307,1882089_1850985,00.html

Constructed in 1893 in the once elegant Brush Park neighborhood, this home, designed by architect Albert Kahn, was moved from its original location several years ago by preservationists who hoped to maintain it. It was demolished last year.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Filming Detroit

Filming Detroit
—for Joseph Cornell

“Me? I pursue an
image, no more.”
—Gérard de Nerval

“The still offers us
the inside of the fragment.”
—Roland Barthes,
“The Third Meaning,”

Cornell’s boxes institute a reading that is at once instantaneous & vertical—it scorns cinematic narrative “talkie” horizontal time.

The boxes are “stills”—still-shots that show us how to dissociate technical restraint from what is cinematically indescribable: the “third meaning.”

The boxes are “silent” screenplays—they’re “stills” from a film that isn’t simply seen & heard cinematically, but rather stops in time & space so that the “fragment” can be scrutinized and listened to attentively.

This seeing & hearing enables the “box” to be a “still” that’s a “ready-made” object, a ready-made scene within a film that exists in a new way, i.e., thru the “third meaning” which is vertical not horizontal narrative.

Collage of Detroit’s Michigan Central Station
—“Detroit’s Beautiful,
Horrible Decline,” Time,29307,1882089_1850985,00.html

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The New Constructivist Moment

The New Constructivist Moment

Compare the ArcelorMittal Orbit (2012):

“According to Anish Kapoor, the design brief from the Mayor's 2012 Olympics office was for a "tower of at least 100 meters (330 ft)"—looking for an icon to match the Eiffel Tower or the Tower of Babel with the sense of "building the impossible" that "has something mythic about it" and that the form “straddles Eiffel and Tatln.” 

With Tatlin’s Constructivist Tower (1919):

Tatlin's Constructivist tower was to be built from industrial materials: iron, glass and steel. In materials, shape, and function, it was envisaged as a towering symbol of modernity. It would have dwarfed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 

The tower's main form was a twin helix which spiraled up to 400 m in height, around which visitors would be transported with the aid of various mechanical devices. The main framework would contain four large suspended geometric structures. 

These structures would rotate at different rates of speed. At the base of the structure was a cube which was designed as a venue for lectures, conferences and legislative meetings, and this would complete a rotation in the span of one year. 

Above the cube would be a smaller pyramid housing executive activities and completing a rotation once a month. Further up would be a cylinder, which was to house an information center, issuing news bulletins and manifestos via telegraph, radio and loudspeaker, and would complete a rotation once a day. At the top, there would be a hemisphere for radio equipment. 

There were also plans to install a gigantic open-air screen on the cylinder, and a further projector which would be able to cast messages across the clouds on any overcast day.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Psycho IV


“I masturbated.  In fantasies,
my adolescent form was
replaced by Janet Leigh's
from Psycho"—Scott Heim
The Death of Anthony Perkins

Stuffed owls creep—
Up and down the old
Ratty-carpet stairs

Mother smells—
Something cheesy in
The motel down below

Stuffed swallows blink—
Norman smiles as he
Unlocks Gavin’s door

Gavin’s taking a—
Nice hot shower
It’ll be his last one

The shower curtain—
Slides back and what
Does Norman see?

It’s handsome Gavin—
Beating off and starting
To fuckin cum

He’s got soap in—
His eyes & can’t see
The big butcher knife

Besides his eyes—
Are closed as he
Shoots out his brains

Norman’s heart—
Pitter-patters away
Gavin’s going spaz

Then comes the—
First stab deep into
Gavin’s flexed ass

A floorboard snaps—
Like a backbone up
There in the mansion

An antique banister—
Creaks with sharp pain
As Gavin screams

With each fatal stab—
John Gavin falls to his
Knees in the shower

Ending up with his—
Eyeball gazing down
Into the swirling drain

Tony plays the role—
Transvestite Murderer
So very perfectly

Taking his time—
Taxidermy for Gavin
The hot young Toughie

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Psycho III


“The cinematic murder lasts a
total of forty-five seconds, but
seems like an eternity"
—Scott Heim
The Death of Anthony Perkins


Gavin plunks down his—
Billfold and his big
Black Luger

He’s hot and gritty—
The shoddy Bates
Motel stinks

John Gavin—
Takes a shower
Next door

Norman ogles thru—
The secret peephole
At the stud!!!

John Gavin’s—
A hot Number #1
Undressing himself

His curlicue pubes—
Sizzle like hot
Frying bacon

Gavin strips off—
His tight shorts
His Speedo underwear

His nice ass—
Whispering invitations
To the motel walls

Norman is pretty—
Persnickety when it
Comes to Tricks

But John Gavin’s—
Ten inches makes
Things simply perfect

Saguaros and yuccas—
Pose like sinister statues
In the parking lot

The VACANCY sign—
Blinks neon blood-red
Nervously outside

It all seems filmic—
Somehow deliberate: 
A coyote howls in the dark

Norman plays with myself—
Smokes a big fat joint
Cruising Gavin’s groin

Mother waits up there—
In her rocking chair by
The mansion window

Back and forth—
The creaking sound of
Death approaching

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Psycho II


“I lingered under—
needles of scalding water”
—Scott Heim
The Death of Anthony Perkins

Anthony Perkins—
Pretty much seemed
Dead already

Not as dead—
As Vera Miles was
Dead though

Snooping through—
The Bates basement
Only to meet her doom

A butcher knife—
That bulls-eyed her
Screaming mouth

I spend all my—
Time in the asylum
From day to day

Drugs simmering—
In my arteries and
Varicose veins

Miss Hitchcock—
Superimposes a grinning
Skull on my face

And then Scott Heim—
Crawls into bed with me
No Vacancy in this place

Friday, August 17, 2012



“I won’t even
harm a fly”
—Norman Bates
Psycho (1960)

Mommy Dearest—
And I live up here
In the mansion

On the hill—
Above the nice
Bates Motel

We both simply—
Adore toasted
Cheese sandwiches

She likes to—
Crochet in her
High-backed rocker

I dress up—
As Mom on Halloween
It’s great fun

Drag is the—
Only way to get
Off these days

Turns me on too
Gutting dead people

Just the other day—
I stuffed a really cute
Nosy Detective

I got him real good—
Coming up the stairs
Nice slice and dice

Then I took him—
Down in the basement
And did him nice

My attractions—
Seem to center on
Tony Perkins

He’s my Hollywood—
Gay Silver Screen
Heartthrob Queen

I’m not much—
Attracted to that
Slutty Janet Leigh—

I really prefer—
Her hot boyfriend
Cute John Gavin

His broad shoulders—
Those sexy tight hips
His bedroom eyes

I’d sure like to—
Get him in the Bates
Motel showers


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Latter Dayz



Christian Markelli: This is me not talking to you. 

[This is the story about me falling in love with a young Mormon guy. Him and his buddies moved into my apartment house here in SF. It was love at first sight.]

[joking around with Christian] 

Elder Aaron Davis: Dude, you're way too easy. 

Christian Markelli: [seductively] So I've heard. 

Elder Aaron Davis: Well, I'm already going to hell for kissing you so I may as well take the scenic route. 

Christian Markelli: I don't believe in coincidence. These days, I believe in miracles. 

Elder Aaron Davis: Well, here it is. [pulls it out] You want a miracle—well, here it is. Some nice virgin Grade-A Mormon Utah dick. C’mon, suck it.

Elder Aaron Davis: Oh, honey. Thank you Heaven!!!

Elder Aaron Davis: Yeah. Yeah, I'm just some doodah pudknocker Prick from Pocatello. They ship us here from Dick Island. 

Elder Aaron Davis: C’mon don’t be so retarded will you? You found me out, all right? My worst secret. Now I'm humiliated so get to work. Do me, man, and do me quick.

Christian Markelli: Wait, I don't think you're a dick.

Elder Aaron Davis: Shut up. I don’t care how ridiculous it looks, I need it bad, right away. 

Christian Markelli: Don't you believe in anything? 

Elder Aaron Davis: Yeah! Getting off.

Christian Markelli: [sucks him off]

Elder Aaron Davis: Now then, tell me! You tell me one thing in your life beyond a shadow of a doubt that you really believe. 

Christian Markelli: I believe Lady Gaga has never been given her due as an actress. 

Elder Aaron Davis: Duh, what the fuck, I mean didn’t you see her when she was doing “Alejandro”…

[catching himself] 

Elder Aaron Davis: Man, cocksucking isn’t something you can build your life on!! Look at yourself! You're so pretty and colorful on the outside, but inside you're nothing but a swishy Fag!!! You're like... You're nothing but a walking, talking, swishing, faggoty Perp!!!

Christian Markelli: That's not fair. 

Elder Aaron Davis: It doesn't matter whether it’s fair or not. I can't believe I let you do me when there’s nothing, Christian, nothing about you that's not skin-deep. 


[voiceover monologue from heaven] 

God: Sometimes it all seems to be like a mass of dots. But more and more these days, the humans feel like they're all disconnected. And it's crummy... and awfully sad... that’s why I want Mormons to practice Bigamy. I want Mormon men to have lotsa wives to keep them busy and happy with their miserable godforsaken crummy Utah existence. That way they’ll Praise and Adore me…and not Stray from the Golden Tablet’s Sacred Path of Redemption!!!

Christian Markelli: [laughing] Not again. 

Elder Aaron Davis: C’mon, dude. Do me again… I need a revelation, baby. Help me get off so I can have a juicy fucking Vision!!!

Christian Markelli: You want revelations engraved in gold and angels trumpeting down from heaven. What if it’s just a blowjob you need instead? Maybe even me telling you I love you, right here in bed? I think that’s pretty miraculous, don’t you think?

Elder Aaron Davis: God, I hate wise-ass faggots.

Christian Markelli: I gave you a blowjob. How can you just shrug it off like it was nothing?

Elder Aaron Davis: It's not my choice. We Mormons live in a Home of Shame!!! We live a Life of Fear!!! We’re afraid of being Excommunicated!!!

Christian Markelli: For just a blowjob?

Elder Aaron Davis: You wouldn't understand. 

Christian Markelli: Jeez Lueez, wait till I give you a rim-job!!!

Elder Aaron Davis: I’m not good for you. I’m just a guy you can’t have. You don’t know how bad us Mormon men really are.

[Aaron laughs] 

Elder Aaron Davis: In the light of our abnormal and abominable state of mind, we Mormons refuse to see that we've been duped into a hogwash alternative lifestyle – the Mormon Church. We wish our shame was enough for just us, but we’re such Mormon sex maniacs that Bigamy has become our Religion. Not to mention our shame, the shame we’ve brought to our many wives, our many children, to the Great Smith as well as to the sacred Golden Tablets!!! 

Christian Markelli: Wait a minute, the Golden Tablets?

Elder Aaron Davis: Yeah, we just discovered them. A UFO landed in the Beltway right before the election. Out popped an Alien who dropped the Golden Tablets live on CNN and FOX-News!!!

Christian Markelli: What about queer Mormons?

Elder Aaron Davis: We don’t hate queers. That’s just a big Media façade to butch it up. Some of the highest Mormons in our Church Hierarchy are fags. And they’ve got huge concubine families with lotsa homosexual wives. Dig it, it’s the Truth!!!

Christian Markelli: I’m SHOCKED!!! Simply FUCKING SHOCKED!!! What’s the World coming to???

Elder Aaron Davis: Yeah, I'd say us Mormons really live the original definition of ALTERNATE LIFESTYLE. 

Christian Markelli: That’s okay Aaron. As long as I’m your only wife….

Elder Aaron Davis: But what if you're not? Huh? What if everything in my entire pathetic life, which I happen to hate, has led to this point right now? What if, what if there’s no blinding light in the middle of the road that, that strikes me like the guy in The Bible? That I can’t help myself? What if I’m addicted to Bigamy, baby? And I need a dozen guys all the time to satisfy my miserable so-called life?

Christian Markelli: Yeah, like who?

Elder Aaron Davis: See what I mean?

Christian Markelli: Yeah. But what if I can change all that? No more big time Bigamy for you? You know, just a one-man Mormon Show with only one guy?

Elder Aaron Davis: You have no idea what I'd be giving up. 

Christian Markelli: Dammit! What’s wrong with you? You want lotsa guys engraved in gold and angels trumpeting down from heaven? What if this is it instead? Me telling you I love you. Right here — in bed?

Elder Aaron Davis: Forget it. Don’t try to snow-job me. You can pretend all you want to… but Mormon men never change.

[Christian walks to the door, but it won't open] 

Christian Markelli: God, I hate Mormon guys!!! 

[Aaron grabs him and gives him a passionate kiss] 

Christian Markelli: [in an English accent] Could be worse, could be raining.

Elder Aaron Davis: That's Young Frankenstein. 

Christian Markelli: Mother!!! Blood!!! Mother!!!

Elder Aaron Davis: [confused for a while, then gets it] Psycho, that's Psycho, right? She goes a bit mad sometimes. We all go a bit mad sometimes.

God: [Nothing’s so bad that you can't add a little guilt to it and make it worse; and there's nothing so good you can't add guilt to it and make it better. Guilt distracts these humans from a greater truth: that they have an inherent ability to heal. They seem intent on living through even the worst heartbreak. 

God: Hmmmm. Practice.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012



“Klaatu Mirada Nikto!!!”
—Michael Rennie,
The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth—
Went Mormon

Was the day Romney—
Became POTUS of AMERICA!!!

An Alien appeared—
With a Golden Tablet

And the Earth stopped—
In a State of Shock!!!

The Mormons got even—
For years of Persecution!!!

The Mormon Tabernacle—
Resounded with Victory!!!

Martian Mitt Romney—
Str8t from Outer Space!!!

So Goes Utah—
So Goes the Nation!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Last Man on Earth

The Last Man
On Earth (1954)

“there's no
escape from
Vincent Price”
—Scott Heim
“The Death of
Vincent Price”

Bleak as Pasolini—
Kitschy as Sergio Leone
Decadent as Visconti

There’s no escape—
For the Vampire-Zombies
Of Living Dead Rome

Shots of dead bodies—
Strewn in the empty
Streets of the Roma

The alarm clock rings—
It’s morning once again
Time for Vincent to rise

“Another day” she says—
“Another day to live thru
Better get started”

Thus begins one—
of the most tacky horror
films of Vincent’s oeuvre

When a disease turns—
All of humanity into a
Nightmare of Living dead…

Much deader than usual—
Poor bored humans around
The putrid dead dying world

It becomes Vincent Price’s—
Stake-plunging Responsibility
To DeZombiefy the Planet

The Last Man on Earth—
Has to reluctantly become
Limp-Wristed Vampire Killer!!!

Yes, my dears, as Night falls—
The plague victims begin
Leaving their stinking graves

Crawling, shambling, limping—
Whimpering, pleading for blood
Throughout the empty streets

The Hellish Undead—
Zombies starved for blood
Thirsting for Vincent Price’s bod

The Last Gimpy Man on Earth—
Lisping, mincing his way thru
One of his most tacky movies

But this time Vincent won’t—
Escape the Living Dead!!!
Like in all those Poe Classics

Spectral Rome drained dry—
Ancient abandoned Sinful City
Stalked by greedy Bloodsuckers!!!

There’s no escape for Vincent—
“Vincent come on out now!!!”
Comes the Creepy Nightly Chant

Ubaldo Ragona directs this—
Classic Long before the American
Rotten cheap Hollywood version

Nobody can compare with—
Vincent Price, certainly not
Crummy Charlton Heston

The Omega Man version—
Stinks worse than the ugly
Cheap Zombie-Vampire Dead

The Last Man on Earth filmed—
In dismal black & white shots
Of decadent postwar Rome

Produced by the horror queen—
Samuel Z. Arkoff with a cast of
Millions of Unemployed Italians

The Zombie Cast reads like a—
Spaghetti Western with names
Like Franca Bettoia, Danieli,
Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Umberto
Raho, Antonio Corevi, Ettore
Ribotta, Rolando De Rossi,
Giuseppe Mattei, De Fonseca,
Gen Ruggiero, Franca Silvi,
Giorgio Giovannini, Brunell…

Serena Ulloa, Angiolina
Menichelli, Piero Mecacci,
Linello Meucci, Vico Vaccaro,
Luciano Volpato, Carlo
Grandone, Enzo Silvestri,
Armando Timpani, Bruno
Zanoli, Alfonso Avincola,
Angelo Lannutti, Alvaro
Lanzoni, Renato Pedrini,
Federico Tocci, Carmen
Frosali, Alfonso D’Artega,
Rita Agostini, Franco Rispoli,
Ermete Santini, etc. etc.

And of course the great—
Hollywood Horror Queen
Vincenti De Pricella herself!!!

“December 1965? Is that all—
It’s been since I inherited the
world? Only three years!!!”

“Seems like 100 million—
You're freaks, all of you!
All of you, freaks, mutations!”