Fialka's ongoing book project - AVANT GARDE FILM & The ANN ARBOR FILM FESTIVAL HISTORY BOOK
Gerry Fialka is writing a history of the Festival via extensive research and interviews. The book (which will also be published as an e-book) covers the ONCE Group roots, creative motivations, philosophies, innovations, live performance art & music, lobby art, the early Old A&D location, Michigan Theater location, and much more. Delve deep into its inner workings and transformative longevity. Fialka's 50 plus interviews (and still growing) include founder George Manupelli, Chick Stand, Pat Oleszko, Jay Cassidy, Joe Wehrer, Harold Borkin, Frank Mouris, Bill Brown, Leslie Raymond, Jason Jay Stevens, Morgan Fisher, Ben Russell, Bryan Konefsky, Owen Land, Craig Baldwin, Blue Gene Tyranny, Hugh Cohen, Frank Beaver, Jeanne Liotta, Peter Rose, Fred Worden, Lynne Sachs, Mark Street, Jay Rosenblatt, Alfonzo Alvarez, Jesse Lerner, Steve DeJarnatt, Frank Pahl, Terri Sarris, Lisa Marr, Paolo Davanzo, Gary Schwartz, Chris McNamara, Oren Goldenberg, Jesse Drew, John Cannizzaro, Danny Plotnick, Scott Nyerges, Rebecca Barten, David Sherman, Joe Tiboni, Victor Fanucchi, Roger Beebe, William Farley, Jeremy Benstock, Georg Koszulinski, Erika Suderberg, James Gillespie, John Nelson, Pip Chorodov, P Adam Sitney, Fred Camper, Tom Gunning, Chris Felver, Bill Daniel, Kate Perotti, Simon Mercer and many more.
Most recent interview additions include: Bill Brand, Martha Colburn, Tony Gault, Alexandra Cuesta, Vera Brunner-Sung, Laura Bouza, Natasha Mendonca (top prize winner at Ann Arbor Film Fest 2011), Vincent Goudreau, Javier Martinez and Jessica Sarah Rinland.
At Experiments in Cinema (New Mexico): Scott Stark, Wago Kreider, Peter Snowdon, Julie Perini, and Anthony Buchanan. The list continues - ,Ondi Timoner, Timothy A. Carey, Ben Watson, Tom Gunning, Martha Colburn, tENTATIVELY a cONVENIENCE, Bill Brand, Pip Chodorov . Craig Baldwin, DJ Spooky, ruth weiss, MA Littler, Jesse Malmed, Nina Fonoroff, Gregorio Rocha, BILL MORRISON, MARK PAULINE, STEVEN CERIO, DAVID GATTEN, VERONIKA KRAUSAS, John Smith, James Harris, Phil Solomon, GENE YOUNGBLOOD, WINSTON SMITH, ALEX MACKENZIE, HASKELL WEXLER, PAUL CRONIN , JOHANNA DRUCKER, PAUL KRASSNER, Charles Workman, Leighton Pierce, Haskell Wexler, Larry Gottheim and many more...
Gerry Fialka interviews are at https://archive.org/search.php?query=fialka
Fialka ran the infamous Ann Arbor Film Co-op from 1972 to 1980. He has curated film in LA since 1980, earning praise: "Gerry Fialka is Los Angeles' preeminent underground film curator." - Robin Menken, CinemaWithoutBorders.com
Fialka served on the AAFF Screening Committee from 1977 to 1980. He was the Ann Arbor 8mm Film Festival Director from 1977-80, and on the 8mm Screening Committee from 1975-80. Since 1971, Fialka has attended many AAFFs, and presented workshops:
· 2001 - "Best Of PXL THIS" workshop & screening of Pixelvision Fisher Price PXL2000 Toy Camera Festival, and produced the performance art piece "Moon Over Weeki Wachee" with Suzy Williams and the after party with Stormin' Norman & Suzy
· 2006 - Three different workshops on Documentaries, Culture Jamming and Experimental Film
· 2007 - AAFF Pioneers workshop
· 2008- Two different workshops: AAFF Innovators workshop & "Kick Out The Jams" on live music at the AAFF
· 2009 - AAFF Pioneers workshop
· 2010 - "Dream Awake" workshop on James Joyce & Experimental Film
. 2013 - Rooted Not Retro - GF moderated panel on AAFF history & issues - present & future with Leslie Raymond, Pat Oleszko & Ruth Bradley
. 2015 - Dr Chicago As AAFF Expanding Frames workshop
"I am inspired and excited that Gerry Fialka, who holds an affinity for the Ann Arbor Film Festival, is writing a history of it. Having attended several of Fialka's AAFF workshops, I can testify he is intimate with experimental cinema and media philosophy, and is deeply dedicated to the exploration of new knowledge. " - Leslie Raymond, Professor of Art & New Media, University of Texas, and currently the AAFF Executive Director
"I have attended several of Gerry Fialka's workshops in Ann Arbor. He is willing to enter in new discussions even if they go against his current views. Fialka's multilayered delivery of ideas encourages the search for new questions and new paradigms that extend beyond. He is well-informed, off-beat and articulate - one of the most fascinating people I've met." - Keith Jeffries, Ascalon Films
"Fialka is a damn good interviewer. His questions are sometimes so precise that it tickles and sometimes so grand and thought provoking that one feels on the edge of a new spiritual awareness." - Lynne Sachs, past AAFF award-winning filmmaker and past AAFF judge
"Being interviewed by Gerry Fialka was a real high point in my film career. His questions are wacky, discursive, cosmic, probing, thought provoking and, yes, experimental and avant garde. I left brimming with a renewed passion for the wide world of film and ideas. Gerry's enthusiasm and restless intellect are contagious." - Mark Street, past AAFF award-winning filmmaker
"Gerry Fialka's interview with me at Experiments In Cinema 2011 Film Festival was a highlight. He is my new favorite person. He is writing a book on Avant Garde Film & The Ann Arbor Film Festival. He is such a trip! Totally brilliant and passionate about everything about human existence it seems, but in particular media theory, media art, media activism. He asked me all sorts of great questions." - Julie Perini, filmmaker, writer and teacher
Gerry Fialka's Proposed Workshops-Screenings for future Ann Arbor Film Festivals
Gerry Fialka is available for bookings as a Guest Lecturer at universities, art museums, bookstores, salons, etc. Besides the many listed lectures, he can also create customized workshops.
MORE PROPOSALS FOR ANN ARBOR FILM FESTIVAL -
I- INNER VIEWS - Fialka streams many of his taped interviews in the lobby on a laptop or tv monitor or VR goggles. With Bill Brand, Martha Colburn and lots more.
II - ROOTED NOT RETRO - Fialka hosts a panel of AAFF vets and interconnects their favorite films with past and current times. Could include: Connie Crump ( Quasi at Quackadero), John Johnson (Lelouch's Rendezvous), Clark Charnet ( Selective Service), Martin Shack, Dan Gunning, Vicki Honeymoon, Woody Sempliner, Jay Cassidy (good way to acknowledge past directors too). Fialka comprehensively surveys the meta-influences of the AAFF nurturing the arts community, new filmmakers and new ways to view avant garde film. With rare film clips and interactive discussion.
41 - BEYOND GESAMTKUNSTWERK - The German composer Richard Wagner first used the term "Gesamtkunstwerk" ("the total artwork") in his 1849 essay "Art & Revolution." Paramedia Artist Gerry Fialka joins with local filmmakers, poets, musicians and dancers to reinvent this multi-media, intermedia and transmedia extravaganza, aka "Gesamtkunstwerk". The one-of-a-kind interactive immersion teaches the history and future of live cinema. Expand "centers without margins" in an interdisciplinary collaboration of film, video, dialogue, theater and music. By reinventing the influences of Melies, Vertov, Warhol, Marker, James Joyce and more, participants transform the boundaries between art and science. All crew, no passengers! Explore circling the square and the mysteries of art. With anticipatory mindfulness, this multimedia synthesis shows how artists work much faster than theories evolve. Get educated as entertainingly as possible and discover what comes after the Internet. Entertrainment? "Will it be an event about a fake original or original fake?" - Peter Greenaway. They become what they behold.
From Buñuel's live narration to Stan VanDerBeek's exemplary multi-media Movie-Drome to Gene Youngblood's Synaesthetic Cinema to Ann Arbor Film Festival's Pat Olesko's interactions with her filmic self, the combo of film and the physical body has been transformative. Carolee Schneemann, Sun Ra and PXL THIS's King Kukulele have used their bodies as projection screens. Fialka surveys the historical context of pioneers Jack Smith and Alan Kaprow, who dissolved boundaries between film, art and life. Cultural Revolutionary Gerry Fialka and participants' fun otherness probes the creative process and interrelations between experimenters and audience. The mash-ups and transformations of cinema with new media, video, computers, and performance art are deeply examined and demonstrated. Explore the creative process by retooling McLuhan's percept: "May I suggest art in the electronic age is not a form of self-expression, but a kind of research and probing. It is not a private need of expression that motivates the artist, but the need of involvement in the total audience. This is humanism in reverse, art in the electric age is the experience, not of the individual, but of a collectivity."
42 - PORTRAIT OF THE POET AS EXPERIMENTAL FILMMAKER - Historian/Lit Critter Gerry Fialka's interactive workshop examines the interconnections between film and poetry. These artforms expand our notions of reality both inner and outer. How is the interior dialogue (consciousness) the essence of the human condition? How does it inform content vs form issues? Explore Poe, the Symbolists, Hollis Frampton, Walt Whitman, William Farley, Jack Kerouac, Charles Olson, Henry Ferrini, Robert Creeley, and Beat films up to contemporary New Media makers. Drawing on witty and insightful analysis of poet/experimental filmmakers Jean Cocteau, James Broughton, Maya Deren, Marie Menken, Abigail Child, Bob Branaman, Jack Smith, Yoko Ono and Stan Brakhage, Fialka reviews first-person lyrical visions. This multi-media event includes rare film clips of Diane DiPrima, Amiri Baraka, Bukowski, Beckett, Burroughs and Gary Snyder, as well as live readings accompanied by film projections that stir up new metaphors via self-reflexive synthesis. Come into deeper awareness of synesthesia and the non-physical via spoken word and moving image art. "All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling." - Oscar Wilde. Radically change the paradigms of sense ratio shifting. Turn the eye into an ear ala McLuhan's percepts. Fialka's observations provoke the rascality retrieval of Man (Cine-poem) Ray and Curtis Harrington, who transformed Poe into cinema.
53 - DREAMWORKS REDUX - Fialka and crew reinvent Dreamworks Quarterly Spring '80 issue which included Chick Strand, Dusan Makavejev, Pat O'Neill, Stan Brakhage, Paul Sharits, Ed Emshwiller & Bruce Conner discussing their dreams and films. This participatory "playshop" repurposes the same theme with new filmmakers, the heirs to this stellar line-up. "To sleep - perchance to dream; ay, there's the rub." - Hamlet by ShakESPear.
55- UNWATCHABLE FOOTAGE: The True Face of War (1914-2010) Documentarian Henry Schipper & Gerry Fialka discuss why explicit war footage is taboo, and screen archival material that makes everything you've ever seen about war look like a polite lie. Why is it forbidden to see the bottom-line truth about war? Viewer discretion advised. In the realm of Marcel Duchamp and making art that is not art (invisible paintings, motionless dance, silent music, unwatchable films), rethink the very act of screening film, and examine its hidden environments.
58- DR CHICAGO-AAFF - Experimental Film Historian Gerry Fialka surveys resonant intersections of George Manupelli's Dr Chicago films and the Ann Arbor Film Festival, which he founded in 1962. The amalgamation of innovators and sources that inhabit the Dr Chicago films is a hybrid metaphor for the roots of the Festival. Evolution is adapting to the exploration of personal filmmaking with breakdowns as breakthroughs (Alvin Lucier's stutter), performance art (Pat Oleszo), poetry (Edgar Allen Poe), avant garde music (Robert Ashley, Pauline Oliveros, Blue Gene Tyranny), political activism (Black Panthers), contemporary dance (Steve Paxton), painting, comedy, and post-post modern collage sensibility. This participatory workshop hoicks up the very personal interactions that these myriad forms also exploit and engage. Probe the vitality and influence of George Manupelli, who is still active as a filmmaker, poet, collagist and political/environmental activist. His Film For Hooded Projector also evokes the cosmic giggle ala the Duchampian inquiry of making art that is not art.
60- DOCUMENTARY FILM AS ART - Media archaeologist Gerry Fialka's interactive workshop on the documentary film and its recent rise of popularity. Examining pioneers like Flaherty, Vertov, Wiseman, Pennebaker, Leacock, Michael Moore and Chris Marker and their quest for ecstatic truth, emotional truth, intellectual truth and physical truth. Fialka incites new questions about Grierson's definition of documentary as "creative treatment of actuality." Probing the philosophies of documentarians, fresh insights will arise concerning stagings and reenactments, and the different viewpoints on degrees of involvement with the subjects. Vertov argued for presenting "life as it is" (that is, life filmed surreptitiously) and "life caught unawares" (life provoked or surprised by the camera). What is endemic to this genre and why? Wiseman calls docs "reality fiction, Alan King "actuality dramas," and Richard Leacock "historical fantasies." Why ? "I am for anyone who seeks the truth, but I part ways with them when they claimed they found it." - Bunuel.
63- ANN ARBOR FILM FEST PIONEERS - Gerry Fialka's interactive workshop probes the festival's history with provocative interrelations between innovators Ed Emshwiller, Carolee Schneemann, Pat Olesko and Stan VanDerBeek. Their mash-ups of cinema with video, computers, and performance art presaged New Media and Transmedia. Deeply examine its roots with the festival's web of past, present and future transformations. Fialka contextualizes McLuhan's percepts as detailed in Janine Marchessault's book Cosmic Media: "The New Media offer a freedom of movements, of creative thought and aesthetic perceptions that previous visual regimes did not. These portend an opening rather than a closing of different forms of engagement and interactivity." "The future of the future is the present" - McLuhan. "Fialka's workshops are in-depth communication of something extremely elusive - the history of the unimaginable - and his lively interpretation renders it useful." - William Farley, past AAFF Award-winning filmmaker & judge. The LA Weekly called Fialka a "cultural revolutionary."
64- PSYCHOSOMATIC CINEMA - Fialka explores the phenomenon of the psycho-activate effects of watching film. Danny Boyle's 2010 film 127 HOURS has caused audience members to pass out. Harold Lloyd's suspense comedy did it in the 20's. Horror films have done it too, Experimental filmmakers like Ken Jacobs and Tony Conrad have warned of their films causing epileptic seizures. Fialka interconnects the biology and science of the public film viewing experience. Can film really transform society as Joseph Beuys aspired? Can film end war, as D W Griffith said it would by 2024? What are the hidden effects of film? Survey the emotional, psychic, physical, nonphysical and social environments created by cinema. Poet W. H. Auden wrote that the mystery of art is that we do not know if it activates or pacifies us.
A- THE ART OF FAKERY IN DOCUMENTARY FILM - Media archaeologist Gerry Fialka's interactive workshop on the art of fakery and its recent rise of popularity. It transforms Picasso's axiom "art is a lie that tells the truth." Their rascality rewrites the nature of experimentation. "Only the hand that erases can write the true thing." -Meister Eckhart. Media archaeologist Gerry Fialka explores EAT THE SUN, 70's AAFF winner and early example of the fake doc. Are they lying to tell the truth? Discussing Alexandra Judas & Jessie Lerner's book F IS FOR PHONY: Fake Documentary And Truth's Undoing, Fialka probes the fiction/documentary divide, the ethics of reality-based manipulation, and whether documentaries derive from form or conception. From Buñuel's Land Without Bread to Welles's F is For Fake to Reine's Spinal Tap to Craig Baldwin's faux faux Tribulation 99, fakes dismantle understandings of identity, history, authenticity and authority. Examining pioneers like Flaherty, Vertov, Wiseman, Pennebaker, Leacock, Michael Moore and Chris Marker and their quest for ecstatic truth, emotional truth, intellectual truth and physical truth. Fialka incites new questions about Grierson's definition of documentary as "creative treatment of actuality." Probing the philosophies of documentarians, fresh insights will arise concerning stagings and reenactments, and the different viewpoints on degrees of involvement with the subjects. Vertov argued for presenting "life as it is" (that is, life filmed surreptitiously) and "life caught unawares" (life provoked or surprised by the camera). What is endemic to this genre and why? Wiseman calls docs "reality fiction, Alan King "actuality dramas," and Richard Leacock "historical fantasies." Why ? "I am for anyone who seeks the truth, but I part ways with them when they claimed they found it." - Bunuel.
B- PIXELVISION - PXL THIS Film Festival - Fisher Price PXL 2000 Toy Camera - Pixelvision "When the aliens are here and deciding whether to vaporize all mankind for our inhumanity, cruelty and greed, showing the aliens PXL THIS will save the world. PXL THIS shows our best nature as humanist creators and subversives against those who deserve it. Save the world. Support PXL THIS." - George Manupelli, founder of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, filmmaker, poet, collagist and political/environmental activist http://laughtears.com/PXL-THIS-25.html
C- HOW THE US GOVERNMENT IGNORED AVANT GARDE FILM - This is the title of a chapter from the book Hollywood and The Culture Elite by Peter Decherney. Fialka explores politics and the mysteries of art. "Nelson Rockefeller supposedly once told Franz Kline ('jokingly') that the only reason collectors bought art was to keep artists from becoming revolutionaries. For a while in the sixties this strategy stopped working." - Lucy Lippard. Examine the book Who Paid the Piper – The CIA and the Cultural Cold War by Frances Stoner Saunders, who explores CIA connections with the Abstract Expressionist movement. Survey the work of Joseph Beuys and art's potential to transform society. Why is the mission of Bruce High Quality Foundation "examining the structures that make art what it is today with the intention of offering improvement" ? Fialka interconnects the AAFF with this indepth inquiry.
D- FIREBRANDS- Live interviews by Gerry Fialka with: Yoko Ono, Jon Jost, Rick Schmidt, Ross McElwee, Abigail Child, Marina Abramovic, Bill Morrison, Lynne Sachs, Karl Krogstad, Paul Schrader, William Farley, Joe Gibbons, Abraham Ravett, Gene Youngblood, you.
E- Vortex of Visionary Venues (The many ways AAFF has spawned & nurtured venues like Other Cinema. Basement Tapes, Echo Park Film Center, 7 Dudley Cinema, Documental, Robert Beck Memorial Cinema & many more.)
F- Darlings of AAFF - Curt MacDowell & George Kuchar (& why their feature Thundercrack was rejected)
G- COSMIC CINEMA - The metaphysics of experimental film. Keywords: magic lantern, dreams, alchemy, meditation, drugs, occult, Larry Jordan, Ken Anger, Harry Smith. "Early in life I experimented with peyote, LSD and so on. But in many ways my films are ahead of my own experience. The new art and other forms of expression reveal the influence of mind-expansion. And finally we reach the point where there virtually is no separation between science, observation and philosophy." - Jordan Belson
H- ONE ROOM & ONE ZOOM: Structuralist Cinema at AAFF - Kubleka, Snow, Conrad, Warhol, Owen Land, Joyce Weil (uncover cinema's rock-bottom constituent elements - flicker, loop printing, fixed framing, re-photography)
I- Finnegans Wake in AAFF - From Hollis Frampton to Mary Ellen Bute with Cecile Starr in person (Harry Smith claims Bruno invented cinema 5 thousand years ago. James Joyce reinvented it and flipped it into social networking 7 decades before Facebook and MySpace.) "I can read readin' but I can't read writin' 'cause this writin' is written rotten" - Popeye's confession to Wimpy on his abilities as a semiotician.
J- AAFF Abstract Animation - from Oskar Fischinger to Whitneys to Larry Cuba to John Nelson (whose first AAFF film was made with strings, then he won a special effects Oscar)
K- CRITICAL THINKING/WRITING- How writing and theorist text about experimental film broadens the relationship between the viewers. Investigate fearless rule-breaking filmmakers via these writers (some have or have not attended and written about AAFF): P. Adam Sitney, Holly Willis, Amy Taubin, Parker Tyler, David James, Gregory Battock, David Curtis, Amos Vogel, Jonas Mekas, Fred Camper, Fred Haller, Scott MacDonald, Bryan Frye, Sheldon Renan & more.
L- Art, Painting & Sculpture in AAFF (program graphics, lobby art)
M- Experimental Theater in AAFF - Once Group beginnings and preshow performance art
N- AAFF Semiotics Take-over
O- The Inclusive and Exclusive Dilemma
P- OLD A&D vs MICHIGAN THEATER - "What I would like to do is build a cinema in a cave or an abandoned mine, and film the process of its construction. That film would be the only film shown in the cave. The projection booth would be made of crude timbers, the screen carved out of a rock wall and painted white, the seats could be boulders. It would be truly 'underground' cinema." - Robert Smithson
Q- "don't sell out, sneak in" Poetry and Exp film -explore why the word "poetic" is used in describing exp film...LOWELL BLUES: THE WORDS OF JACK KEROUAC ('05, 25m) - Henry Ferrini fuses visual history, language and jazz to illuminate Kerouac's childhood holy land. With Johnny Depp, David Amram, Robert Creeley, and Lee Konitz. The film interprets how place activates the writer's imagination,20and how the writer's art reshapes his city with reverence and respect. POLIS IS THIS - Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place ('07, 57m) --Ferrini tells the story of Olson, a colossus of American letters. Polis Is This surpasses the challenge of containing this giant and his ideas in cinematic form while simultaneously expanding our awareness of how much the universal is contained in the local. For Olson, the local was Gloucester, Massachusetts, the polis (a body of citizens in a particular place) wh ich shaped his life and poetry. Beyond a generous amount of Olson footage, striding his 6’8" corpus about his poli s or engaging in the teacher’s art, we also meet the polis of this film: the artists – Amiri Baraka, Robert Creeley, Dianne DaPrima, Pete Seeger, Ed Sanders, John Sinclair, Anne Waldman – and the locals who knew him. Hosted, after an Olsonesque fashion, by John Ma lkovich. JOHN O'KEEFE'S ADAPTATION OF WALT WHITMAN 's SONG OF MYSELF ('07, 49m) - All too often, filmed theatrical performances are as flat as the screens upon which they20are projected. Not so with John O’Keefe’s phenomenal adaptation of Walt Whitman’s lovingly radical and radically loving poem from 1855. A quintet of ca mera operators (including the director, William Farley), don’t merely fi lm one of the most gifted solo performers in the world, they accompany O’Keefe as he celebrates every moment and beat of the poem just as Whitman celebrated every moment and beat of his life. John O’Keefe goes beyond a recitation or interpretation of the poem; he inhabits it.
R- POWER COUPLES - Fialka interviews Lynn Sachs & Mark Street (east) and Paolo & Lisa Marr (west) and Rebecca Barten & David Sherman (southwest) (and there's lots more) about their vital drive to educate, make and exhibit exp film.
S- RSDI RICH KIDS - How crane shots and Nike commercial mentality has .......... exp film.
147- THE BROTHER SIDE OF THE WAKE - Gerry Fialka and friends reinvent (and reimagine, expound, understand,interpret, translate, articulate, resuscitate, expose, enhance, evoke) the Orson Welles film The Other Side of the Wind via the Mennipean satire of James Joyce and much more. Delve deep into the hidden psychic effects of the philosophy that the journey is more important then the destination. What are the motives and consequences of Chris Marker's probing of the inability to escape time? Why even make a film when you can just live life as if it is a film? As it lives in your imagination?
Consider these quotes from Orson Welles and others:
"Who do I have to (expletive) to get out of this picture?"
"The great danger for any artist is to find himself comfortable. It's his duty to find the point of maximum discomfort, to search it out."
“You could almost say a director is a man who presides over accidents!”
"One should make movies innocently — the way Adam and Eve named the animals, their first day in the garden…Learn from your own interior vision of things, as if there had never been a D.W.Griffith, or a Eisenstein, or a JohnFord, or a Jean Renoir, or anybody."
“There are only two things it is ever seemly for an intelligent person to be thinking. One is: ‘What did God mean by creating the world?’ And the other? ‘What do I do next?’”
AND consider these quotes by others...
Peter Viertel wrote that John Houston enjoyed working on the Welles film because it was a perilous undertaking and he enjoyed "an adventure shared by desperate people that finally came to nothing."
"The gods graciously give us a first verse for nothing; but it is our task to finish the second, which must harmonise with the first and not be too unworthy of its supernatural brother.” - Paul Valéry
"Nothing is what I want." - Frank Zappa
"I started out with nothing and still have most of it left." - ?
"Pull the wool over your own eyes." - ?
“What he creates he has to wreck.”- film critic in The Other Side of the Wind
Jean Renoir: "A director makes only one movie in his life. Then he breaks it up and makes it again."
" The voyage will not teach you anything if you do not accord it the right to destroy you." - Nicolas Bouvier
"An artist never really finishes his work, he merely abandons it." - Paul Valery
Michelangelo Antonioni: "The greatest danger for those working in cinema is the extraordinary possibilities it offers for lying."
Gus Van Sant proclaimed the filmmaking devistated his life.
Orson Bean claims that movies saved his life.
RIA AS REVERSE INTUITIVE ABERATION
AFROFUTURISM AS MCLUHAN
I AM A HACK - Adam Curtis, Alex Gibney and more
BERRIGAN BROTHERS AS FAMILY REVOLUTIONARIES
GEEK OUT AS FREAK OUT
ROD SERLING AS SURREALISTIC FABULIST
MOTORCAR AS MECHANICAL BRIDE
VR CINEMA AS POINT OF BEING
RUBE GOLDBERG AS DEUS EX MACHINA
PLAY AS CONFLICT RESOLUTION - The ultimate manifestation and function of play, according to Johan Huizinga, is the resolution of conflict, which in turn creates social order. Gerry Fialka's "play-shop" probes this maxim and more. The word "play" comes from the Old English " ple - gan ," which means "move rapidly, occupy or busy oneself, exercise; frolic; make sport of, mock; per-form music." Participants play around much like Bob Fosse, as detailed in the book Fosse by Sam Wasson, who wrote that his dancers seemed "as if they were playing at dancing more than actually dancing." We will play at playing. Jimi Hendrix said, "You've got to have a purpose in life. But I'm not here to talk, I'm here to play." Miles Davis encouraged "Play what you don't know." Brian Sutton-Smith said "Play begins as a major feature of mammalian evolution and remains as a major method of becoming reconciled with our present universe. In this respect, play resembles both sex and religion, two other forms - however temporary or durable - of human salvation in our earthly box." and “Games are rites of passage, t he player performs a task, gains acceptance of his comrades and experiences success. It’s playing out an analogy of life.”
EXPERIMENTAL FILM AS SUBVERSIVE ART - Anthony Buchanan and Gerry Fialka probe the rebellious nature of the creative process by interrelating avant garde filmmaking and subversive art.
ART MAKING AS REMOTE VIEWING - Fialka probes the interactions of the non-physical with human art creations. How does technologies enhance human performance? How is matching a metaphor for neuron mirrors? Explore the neuroscience of James Joyce and McLuhan, who asked: "How about technologies as the collective unconscious and art as the collective unconsciousness?"
CHAPLIN CHANGES! CAN YOU? - Fialka probes Charlie Chaplin's motives and consequences in films, music, press strategies, amd life style choices. Explore how he embraced contradictions with his Tramp character, who embodied "the natural nobility of the downtrodden and the despised, yet he was no innocent." - Richard Brody. Delve deep into his relationship with the press, as a "suppress agent," and his maxim "numbers sanctify." Examine his Menippean satire: "The first Tramp film to be released, Kid Auto Races at Venice, features Chaplin on location at a real-life soapbox-derby competition, as a down-and-out swell cantankerously intruding on the newsreel camera crew filming the action. The template was instantly set: the Tramp’s self-conscious artifice launched Chaplin’s comic leap into reality." - Brody
LIGHT BULB AS ENVIRONMENT - Fialka probes the subliminal effects of the light bulb. Why is it the symbol of a good idea? " The 'invention' of the lightbulb became emblematic in the public's eye as 'the' quintessential invention. That, plus it obviously also works in the sense of 'he saw the light'." - Andy Konkykru. "In Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, Gertrude Stein uses electric light as a symbol for human inventiveness (and hubris) - the desire to overcome the limitations of daylight. Stein herself wrote only at night, and clearly identified with the Doctor Faustus she created." -Sarah Chinn. McLuhan wrote that "a light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence." In Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon describes a single light-bulb’s revenge plot on humanity. "Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb." - Bob Dylan.
WHEN HENRY MET VIVIAN - Could Vivian Maier have met Henry Darger? They both lived in Chicago at the same time. Gerry Fialka probes these reclusive artists, and interconnects their tools and environments. Their possible friendship raises questions. We will ponder the striking coincidences and psychic kinship of eccentric street photographer Vivian Maier and reclusive writer/artist Henry Darger. John Maloof, curator of some of Maier's photographs, summarized the way the children Vivian nannied would later describe her: "She was a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She learned English by going to theaters, which she loved. ... She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn't show anyone." Much of Darger's artwork is mixed media with collage elements and has become one of the most celebrated examples of outsider art.
Darger's fantasy manuscript is called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion
TWENTY FOR FOLLOW-UP - Live cinemaists Will Erokan & Gerry Fialka delve deep into the social engineering of Joseph Heller's Catch 22, the 23 enigma of William Burroughs & Robert Anton Wilson, Subgenius Robert Dobbs' Club 22, and David Lynch's 25 Twin Peaks. They make and match the "u" in the number "four" into the universal & multiversal individual: YOU! Bob Dylan says "I didn't create Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan has always been here." James Joyce and Frank Zappa say that all times are happening now. Richard Linklater proclaims in his film Boyhood - "It's always right now." T.S. Eliot wrote "In my beginning is my end." Phew! The job in five words: "probing invention's hidden psychic effects."
HIDE-AND-SEEK - Gerry Fialka's interactive workshop probes the function of art, and the motives of its makers. Explore the hidden psyche effects of the environments resulting from art-making and art-viewing. Hide-And-Seek is a children's game in which players conceal themselves in the environment, to be found by seekers. Participants will seek new metaphors. Consider this axiom: "Art is confession; art is the secret told. . . . But art is not only the desire to tell one's secret; it is the desire to tell it and hide it at the same time. And the secret is nothing more than the whole drama of the inner life." -Thornton Wilder. What is art about, and then what is it really about? Delve deep into the artist as "probe" and "antennae of the race." What role does intention play in the creative process? Marcel Duchamp said there is no art without an audience. What role does the audience play in the creative process (during the making)? What was the motive of the cave artists? James Joyce was the first projectionist in Dublin over 100 years ago. He abandoned it and asked, "Why should I go inside a building and see a movie of a tree when I can go outside and see a real tree?" Years later William Faulkner said that the best fiction can be more true than journalism. Why do we have to recreate/reproduce things in order to get them? Why do we go to a theatrical play of people acting out life? Why don't we just live life? McLuhan and Warhol both said that art is anything you can get away with. Examine the interconnections between "art for art's sake" and "the medium is the message/massage."
MADNESS AS MUSIC – Gerry Fialka & Brad Kay probe sanity and the creative process. Charles "Buddy" Bolden (1877-1931), the man credited with pioneering jazz, had schizophrenia and could not properly read music because of impaired motor function. His lateral, freewheeling approach may have been the roots of the very essence of jazz – improvisation.http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct01/melody.aspx "You can't prove you are sane, unless you have discharge papers from a mental hospital." - McLuhan. “You’re driving me sane” – Peter Lorre.Chogyam Trungpa says "If there is no sense of rejoicing and magical practice, you find yourself simply driving into the high wall of insanity." Delve deep into Oliver Sacks, Thelonius Monk, shamanism and more. With live music, films, discussion and Insane Crazy Blues.
BE HERE NOW as BEING THERE - Gerry Fialka probes the relationship of watching the film BEING THERE today (as in Ram Dass - Be Here Now) and the audience's reactions. He explores the outtakes at the end. Why did Peter Sellers so protest including those scenes, which broke the fourth wall, making the form (the process) more dominant than the content. Consider this axiom: " Art is confession; art is the secret told. . . . But art is not only the desire to tell one's secret; it is the desire to tell it and hide it at the same time. And the secret is nothing more than the whole drama of the inner life. " -T hornton Wilde r. What was the film about? What was it REALLY about? What was the viewing experience about, what was it REALLY about? Delve deep into audience feedback and feed forward.
ALL TIMES ARE HAPPENING NOW - DURATION IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS - “At a certain point in DOUBLE PLAY, Benning suggests that duration in cinema reveals meaning. This is apparent, though manifested differently, in both Benning and Linklater’s films. In Benning, there’s on-screen duration: shots that can last anywhere from seconds to hours. In Linklater, duration occurs most interestingly between films (e.g. the BEFORE trilogy). DOUBLE PLAY explores the marks of time, of duration, not only in Benning and Linklater’s respective filmic bodies, but also in their friendship and lives.” –Gabe Klinger
KEEP VENICE HOMELESS - GF probes homelessness in Venice, California. Who loves your trash more than me. Need money to make new sign. Michael Ventura wrote " Do not avoid the eyes of the homeless." Viva Los Venice. http://256.com/gray/quotes/solutions.html
NOBODY WROTE IT - Gerry Fialka probes the motives and consequences of songwriting. Examine the ownership conundrums. When asked who wrote Old Joe Clark, Charlie Haden yelped, "Nobody wrote it!" "Everything is in public domain." -Oscar Wilde. "These folk songs gave me the code for everything that’s fair game, that everything belongs to everyone." - Bob Dylan.
FIALKARTWORKS - Gerry Fialka probes his own creative process in the uses and misuses of technology. His University of Michigan studies in Art History and Film with Diane Kirkpatrick and Yon Barna enabled him to exploit early failings via alchemical juxtapositions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttr6Gh8lcf0
MACGUFFIN AS METAPHOR - Gerry Fialka probes the film Inherent Vice as a LSD macguffin via the smoke from the main character's cigarettes.
DANCE THE LIGHT FANTASTIC - Gerry Fialka and Rag'n'Bones perform live dance, music and poetry with avant garde moving image art to revolutionize spontaneous dancification rituals. "How can we know the dancer from the dance?" - Yeats.
"Great interviewing requires a stimulating interviewer and Gerry Fialka is certainly that. Best part is that he makes the rare act of deep thinking in public before an audience flow as creatively and easily as a Basquiat painting." - Jay Levin, LA Weekly founder and former editor-in-chief
"Fialka keeps ticking with independent cinema screenings! I am impressed with how adeptly and artfully he leads the lively post-screening discussions. His vast knowledge and passion for experimental films is evident." - John Caldwell, Producer
"Gerry Fialka's interaction with my students on media and McLuhan both challenged and inspired them to think outside the box. What an energizing two hours - I'm not sure who enjoyed it more, me or my students!" - Drew Pearlman, Filmmaker and Santa Monica College English Professor
"Fialka's animated Media Ecology Workshop acted like a Karate chop on the minds of my film/television students. It's rare for high school students to be exposed to these basic media fundamentals with the historical tracks that lead into present day truths. What a reality check for teens. The kids enjoyed the high-energy presentation and got a mental reorientation of how media plays on their day-to-day lives." -Romeo Carey, Media Director, Beverly Hills High School
"My experience in Gerry Fialka’s MESS series was a scintillating discussion of history, culture, philosophy, sociology and the creative process. His questions and ideas transcend the accepted, traditional limitations of “the interview. “ --Brad Schreiber, author, producer, screenwriter, journalist
“Fialka’s questions are challenging and thought provoking. These questions rattled me for days.” -Mary Jordan, filmmaker of Jack Smith documentary
"Fialka's interview with me was an invigorating, pleasurable, philosophical, specific, awakening journey." - Harry Northup, actor and poet
"Fialka's questions were engaging. What a wonderful and uplifting interview." - Steve Vai
"Fialka's interview had me buzzing inside with thoughts and memories that his engaging questions set in motion. Super stimulation." - Filmmaker Larry Gottheim
"Fialka's interviews are really inspiring. Listening to these interviews have given me a peace of mind." - Creator of things/Film Curator/Wanderer Michelle Mellor
"Gerry Fialka is a meteor shower in the contemporary media arts discourse. I am SO happy that he writes for OtherZine. He's blowing my mind." - Craig Baldwin, who has published nine Fialka essays on his online film magazine OtherZine since 2009
"When the aliens are here and deciding whether to vaporize all mankind for our inhumanity, cruelty and greed, showing the aliens PXL THIS will save the world. PXL THIS shows our best nature as humanist creators and subversives against those who deserve it. Save the world. Support PXL THIS." - George Manupelli, founder of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, filmmaker, poet, collagist and political/environmental activist
Please answer these 4 questions-
1) What does the Ann Arbor Film Festival enhance or intensify?
2) What does AAFF render obsolete or replace?
3) What does AAFF bring back that was previously obsolesced?
4) What does AAFF become when pressed to an extreme, what does it flip into?
(for example: CAR 1-private mobility, 2-horse & buggy, 3-knight in shining armour, 4-bomb, home, traffic jam)
I want to include your experimental and documentary films in 3 film series in Venice & Santa Monica, CA. "Gerry Fialka is Los Angeles' preeminent underground film curator." - CinemaWithoutBorders.com " Fialka is a cultural revolutionary... one of Los Angeles' great celluloid underworld overlords, relentless cultural provocateur and filmmaker." - LA Weekly
Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? is a painting by Paul Gauguin 1897.
George Manupelli said "We invented a festival and then it became one." … "Anything worth doing well isn't' worth doing at all." … "The things you think you can do are the things you can do the best of all."…“Art must reduce the distance between the limitless capacity of the mind and heart to do good, and the misery of others in the context of a total lack of social justice. There are reasons to study art.” … “We want to optimize things. We want to die high. We don’t want to die low. Live to the fullest.”…"Say something you don't already know, that's the function of art." … "Ignore yourself. Leave out what your ordinary instincts might be. Handwriting is very automatic. Write your name backwards and upside down. Get rid of the tendency to do it the old way." …“The Dr. Chicago films take into accountant the audience, as if I'm talking to them, as if I'm telling jokes. They enjoy it and (are) joking back. I made the films for them. It's not 'Hey listen, I can teach you something and learn from watching this. It is – we are in this together. One thing I like is that every film's reception was warm applause. They came to be enriched and see the works." …”What to do next? Smoke a little bit more dope, take some mescaline, kiss each other’s ass & come to me if you don’t know what to do next and I’ll tell you what the next scene is going to be.” (Love thy label as thyself-Joyce)
AAFF programs: “The film festival supports, unqualified, the New Working Class, the Black Panthers and Huey Newton, the White Panthers and John Sinclair, the Ann Arbor Black Berets, the Chicago Seven, legalize abortions and advocates the elimination of ROTC, classified research, and the recruiting on campus. As far as ecology is concerned, the Earth is already doomed. Don't give it a second thought." …“There would be no tastemakers managing the festival. The festival's main purpose would be to serve as a collaboration between filmmakers and audiences. There would be no press by the Festival mentioning one film over another, no categories, no film would ever be too long to screen, no censorship at any cost….”The philosophy of the festival has always been about ideas; art put at the service of the mind (Marcel Duchamp) and a celebration of these ideas”...”The playing of Chilean president Allende's last taped words from the presidential palace under siege during the 1973 coup and a denunciation from the festival stage of the CIA involvement (Eugenio Tellez) was thought of as motion picture extension”…. “The one thing moving was the words. Old stories will be told in new ways, and entirely new stories will be told”…. "’Did you show a film depicting explicit masturbation?’ the University of Michigan Vice President demanded to know. ‘Well, sir, I have never masturbated, nor have I watched anyone, so I wouldn't know what it looks like. Have you ever?’ I questioned in desperation. –GM”
"You don't have to be a communist to be anti-capitalist. It is enough to be a poet." - Jonas Mekas,… "I am for anyone who seeks the truth, but I part ways with them when they claimed they found it." – Luis Bunuel …"Cinema is much too rich a medium to be left to storytellers." - Peter Greenaway… "To define is to kill. To suggest is to create." - Mallarme…. Narrative is born among the "animal necessities of the spirit" because we are "waiting to die." - Hollis Frampton. …La Poste writer reacts to Lumiere Cinematographe film screening Dec 30, 1895: "When these gadgets are in the hands of the public, when anyone can photograph the ones who are dear to them, not just in their motionless form, but with movement, action, familiar gestures and the words out of their mouths, then death will no longer be absolute, final." …You mean my whole fallacy is wrong?” - MM
Please send me your reactions to this- "Farocki’s mastery begins by identifying cinema as a historical meeting point between technology and seduction. Cinema has always been the name of the machine for merging warfare and entertainment, propaganda and pornography." http://www.e-flux.com/journal/editorial-harun-farocki/
"One never knows, do one?" - Fats Waller
"The word is now the cheapest and most universal drug." - McLuhan '51