Rose Wood MP3 Interview File

A while back we interviewed Rose Wood and I transcribed the interview and posted it here, well I finally found the chord I need to put the files online as an MP3 (yay!), so for all of you that don’t like to read, now you can just hit play and listen.

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MASHA TUPITSYN: VIA THE SCREEN

Interview with Masha Tupitsyn on her new book LACONIA: 1,200 Tweets on Film.

How do you prefer to watch movies? Do you think the way in which you watch a film contributes to your reaction to it?

The film critic Pauline Kael wrote: “When one considers the different rates at which people read, it’s miraculous that films can ever solve the problem of a pace at which audiences can ‘read’ a film together.’” It’s funny, a lot of people react to that line in LACONIA—where I write about watching movies alone. It’s like blasphemy when it comes to cinema. But it’s true. I do prefer to watch movies alone, for a lot of different reasons. I think they come in a different way when you watch them alone. When you do anything alone. I also started watching movies that way as a kid, and the way you start is maybe the way you always stay. I am really selective about who I watch movies with, so I had like movie friendships. Friendships that were based on watching movies together and talking about them. But I’ve moved away from that more and more, and DVDs and streamed movies only exacerbate my tendency. And since I’m also someone who writes about movies, I have particular tics and ways of watching them that would irritate someone who’s just trying to watch a movie for (uninterrupted) “pleasure,” because I’m constantly interrupting the cinematic fold, so to speak. Or maybe I’m never even in it in the way that a traditional viewer is supposed to be, which doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it intensely. Where you don’t talk while a movie is playing. You don’t stop and start a movie. Go back, go forwards. Re-watch. Watch a movie too late or over a period of 2 days. But for me it’s less about watching and more about working through a film: what it’s doing, what it’s trying to do, what it’s showing, what it’s not showing. What it does to me. What it does to the world it’s in as well the world that’s in a film. The world it makes and that makes a film possible.

There are two quotes about cinema from Steve Erickson‘s novel Zeroville that I always think about. The first is: “Last night, the movie became mine and no one else’s.” Which is the idea that there is a kind of alchemy between a film (the true or secret film that is underneath the false film, as Erickson says repeatedly, which is the one everyone watches together—the “official film—at the same time. The film you’re meant to read in a certain way) and a viewer, so that cinema is also about who’s watching it—the chemistry between a particular film and a particular viewer, at a particular time, and that, like a book, has an ideal reader that contributes to the meaning and existence of that book, and the writer who writes it—a film needs the right pair of eyes to really see it.

The second quote from Zeroville that applies to what we’re talking about is: “The thing is, that movie last night is a completely different movie when you watch it by yourself. Why is that? Movies are supposed to be watched with other people, aren’t they? Isn’t that part of the point of movies—you know, one of those social ritual things, with everyone watching? It never occurred to me that a movie might be different when you don’t watch it with anyone else.” Having said this, it’s important to distinguish the critical, discerning, and radical intimacy between a viewer and a film from a kind of purely fetishistic and possessive relationship to images that is dangerous and titillating and alienating, and which Michael Haneke so brilliantly conjures in Benny’s Video, for example. And with Pablo Larraín’s Tony Manero. Where images are used to feel less, not more. Where images are used to cut us off from knowing what things really even feel like in the real world—off the screen. To engage with the real world less, or only via the screen. So that Benny thinks killing a pig, or watching a pig get killed, is the same thing as killing a girl in real life, in his house.

What I’m interested in now is an evolution of what I’ve always been interested in when it comes to film: The cinematic subjunctive. That is, the relationship between what’s possible in the cinema (how the cinema influences and/or hijacks our idea of possibility and potentiality) and what’s possible or not possible in real life—the gap(s) in between and what those gaps do to and mean for us—for our hopes, desires, and dreams; whether they limit and expand them, whether they hold them hostage in cinematic space, and how one—offscreen vs. onscreen—affects, shapes, and confuses the other. How they overlap and blur. Rub up against each other and clash. Sometimes even cancel each other out. Which is, in many ways, what I’ve been looking at all along—in LACONIA, Beauty Talk & Monsters, and Life As We Show It. For me, the real question is always: What do images want and what do we want from images? But not just from images when we look at them, but what wants of ours are stored in and reflected back to us (often unconsciously) by/through images—films? And can we access and live those wants and desires unless they are mediated and contained by images? How do images mediate and contain us? And more, how do we live because of movies? For as Geoffrey O’Brien writes in his book about movies, Phantom Empire: “If only it had been possible to live like this.” This is what every movie is always engaging with and putting us in touch with—if only it were possible to have this, to want this, to be this. Because as O’Brien also points out: “It wasn’t narrative that drew them but the spaces that the narratives permitted to exist.”

What is your favorite period in film history?

It varies culturally, of course. Whether it’s European cinema or Third World Cinema or avant-garde cinema. But in American cinema, it’s the 1930s and 1970s. With the 1930s, you have this athletic, dexterous, and energetic attention to language. To the elliptical way people talk and feel. Their rigorous back and forth—a sign of tenacity—of not being able to let something or someone go. I think one of the great things about the screwball comedies of yesteryear (and there are many) is their velocity, because that speed and energy and attention have to do with the quantity and quality and intensity of feeling and interaction and desire. In the 1930s, as Geoffrey O’Brien writes, “a movie was a completed destiny,” which has so much to do with the motif of time and memory; the way the characters live in and through and for time. So there’s this wonderful cadence and rhythm to everything. To the way things are felt and said and done. And in the 70s, you had the recognition of social reality and what it does to people’s lives. You had incredible doubt and skepticism and suspicion of dominant power structures, so that for a moment there was a sense that things could change politically and socially.

What’s your biggest critique of the industry?

Exactly that—industry. The way everything gets turned into industry these days, including people. I think Beauty Talk & Monsters really answers that question though. Continue reading

Reminding us of Our Humanity: An Inclusive Interview with Taylor Mac

Taylor Mac isn’t just our favorite living theater person, he is one of our favorite artists making work today period. After seeing “The Lily’s Revenge,” his five hour manifesto at the Here Arts Center in 2009, we became full on Mac fans and haven’t missed out on anything he’s done in New York since then. We recently had the honor of being able to meet him for a two on one interview just before the final week of performances for his newest play, “The Walk Across America For Mother Earth,” took place at LaMama’s Ellen Stewart Theater. Since our interview, Mac played a number of successful shows down under in Australia and he is now in rehearsals for an all new production of “The Lily’s Revenge” in San Francisco, which Stephen and I will both be going to see in April. (Californians and travel savvy theater lovers, get your tickets now before they sell out and you have to wait all day like we did for rush tickets.)

It is our pleasure and privilege to offer you this conversation. May it thrill and touch you as deeply as it has us.

Enjoy!

MP: Hi Taylor! We’re both very excited to sit down with you and discuss your work but are finding it a little tricky to figure out exactly where to start with so much to talk about… Could you maybe tell us a bit about what it was like to be part of the first production to go up at La Mama since Ellen passed away? What sort of feelings has that brought up in you?

TM: I never actually met Ellen. I’d seen her a lot though. I saw her introduce shows with her infamous cow bell and I had a lot of respect for her and even more so now after having read various obituaries that have come out. I am so amazed that she created her legacy in her forties. It’s really remarkable that she was able to do it at a time when women weren’t able to do those things, let alone black women. She led a very inspiring life and I feel honored to be part of the first show at LaMama since her death. I also feel honored for the chance to work with The Talking Band who had worked with Ellen for so many years.

That said, my goals are different. Ellen’s goals were committed to Off Off Broadway and the Talking Band is committed to Off Off Broadway, but if I never do another Off Off Broadway show in my life I will be so frickin’ thrilled. It’s complicated. The industry is such a mixed bag. I’m so happy to be part of its legacy…

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Interview With Marc Arthur + Peter and the Wolf

Whenever I tell people about my friend Marc Arthur, I can’t help but describe him as one of my crazed genius friends. Ever since I first met Marc (at some drunken crazed party in San Francisco wherein everyone was some version of male/female parading their bodies like peacocks strutting for a sexual encounter) I’ve had the joy of expanding my notions of theater and performance art. Marc Arthur’s work strips theater of its essential elements to create a new model for live performance, fusing physical media with live action to articulate a combined logic of the performing and visual arts. His shows have been produced by LaMaMa, Dixon Place, New Langton Arts, and The Living Theater. Arthur frequently collaborates with legendary underground filmmakers the Kuchar brothers and beloved drag performance artist Vaginal Davis. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Emily Harvey Foundation, Venice (2007) and Frise, Hamburg (2009). Arthur studied at Universität der Künste, Berlin; the California College of the Arts, San Francisco; and in the dramatic writing program at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. It brings me great joy and excitement to announce his latest work, Peter and the Wolf, is coming to fruition. Be sure to buy tickets and check out the interview we did so you all can get a better understanding of the beautiful work he’s been lovingly working diligently on so that theater may progress.

Here’s the interview:

MP: Hey Marc! It’s really great to meet up with you and talk about Peter and the Wolf, wanna start out by talking about the inspiration for its creation?

MA: Yeah! It started about two years ago. I was hiking in Big Sur when I had a very communal experience with a wolf. When I first saw it I thought it was going to attack me. I retreated but the wolf caught my eye. There was something about this creature that was so human. The animal and I bonded and I ended up spending the night there with it. At the time I was also doing work at New Langton Arts. I conceived of a show where each character in Peter and the Wolf would be represented by a different artist – there would be an exhibition and every artist would submit a work based on their character. It’s evolved since then into a more performance based piece.

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Haunted and Daunted: An interview with Marissa Nadler

We here at minorprogression are long standing fans of Marissa Nadler. Since we first heard her music some four or five years ago we have been entranced and transformed. With every album and every performance that we’ve seen our love grows deeper and her skills reach further. Last year’s “Little Hells” is still in constant rotation and we often find ourselves returning to her older albums, surprising ourselves with how many lyrics we know and how many memories her music conjures.

I know this month everyones attention is on another female singer-songwriter with ethereal qualities, but while Joanna Newsom gathers lots of press for her quirks and classically orchestrated flights of fancy, Nadler’s work still somehow hovers just under the radar. This is not to say that she hasn’t had more than a fair share of positive and even glowing press, but rather, that Nadler’s music is more haunted, more intimate and in some ways, much harder to place than Joanna Newsom’s. Where Miss Newsom’s music can be viewed as pretentious or overly precious by some, Nadlers songs all possess a solid unswerving backbone, suggesting subtle and sometimes frightening wholes that are only sometimes revealed. I find this quality makes Nadler’s often harder to shrug off. While I by no means wish to make light of Miss Newsom’s newest album “Have One On Me” which is unquestionably wonderful, I don’t think that any of our readers are unaware of it’s existence. Marissa Nadler on the other hand has been a love of our lives for too long now for us not to share her with our readers and if by some chance this is your introduction to her, you are very lucky indeed.

A few months ago we saw Miss Nadler play in Brooklyn and she was generous enough to give me her email. Now my dear readers, we have an exclusive interview with her and if I may say so myself, it’s one of the best that we’ve had the pleasure of putting up. Marissa answers all of my questions fully, thoughtfully and generously. We are honored to be sharing her responses with all of you.
Enjoy.

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