Nawh, I never shot a crack head, yet.

Nawh, I never shot a crack head, yet.

I saw this lady the other day her face was so angular and the two orbs stuck in her head, a piercing blue.
I had to drop the spatula and ignore the meat was burning..
the curse of photography was in me
no doctor ever diagnosed me but there was no need,
this girl had a beauty only a photographer could see

I could excuse the clothes she was wearing and that her chest-plate beneath her skin protruded out and still looked sunken in
Sure her movements were erratic as she placed her order
and I could see my co-worker struggle to be nice to her
and I could tell she might rather call me a nigger than call me a man but still I wanted to ask her

hey, you ever modeled?

I asked my co-worker who helped serve the her, did she know who that undiscovered girl might be..

My coworker tilted her head and politely stared at me. I felt ignorant. knowing what a fool I must have seemed

… “she’s a meth head…… and stay away from her”.

Damn, that disease again.

The one that makes me see ugly for beauty.

The one that makes a war torn soul more interesting than most

Female Fish becomes

What was she thinking?
She came to the edge of where her world collided with that giant beyond.
Her skin began to dry at his touch and air burned her lungs when she sucked.
His kiss under her tongue
She graduated closer to a sky so unkind. He stomped her and threw her away….. she swam into the deep where she could be washed ashore…. Fools gold and all told, she figured she might as well lie there and become none. Continue reading

Shared Definitions with David Cronenberg

SHARED DEFINITIONS: WITH DAVID CRONENBERG

PART 1

IN THE ARENA

What if we were allowed to define ourselves rather than come into this world already labeled? What would the world be like? Miles Davis never favored the term jazz. He considered his music to be more akin to social statements and preferred using the term, ‘social music’. Imagine if he had his way of defining and labeling his music. What if we were all able to add to dictionaries? Sort of open source-like. Dictionaries would certainly be incomprehensible yet our individualized perceptions, not to mention our ‘shared definitions ‘ of the world would be very different. Then too, in particular realms of life such as the arts, literature and film would authors of books , painters, illustrators and filmmakers have new categories to plug their own creations into?

What of film makers? Filmmakers have become our writers of the post modern world. Mankind is increasingly replacing words with images. As time goes on will filmmakers always ascribe themselves to the same labels used by critics and reviewers of film? All these questions matter greatly when we seek to condense a persons works into an article for immediate consumption. When it comes to defining movies and in particular those from outside America, what is considered universal can become a foreign language to creatives not conditioned on our national diet of words and meanings. In this paper I will focus on not film makers in general but one in particular. David Cronenberg.

This paper will deal with the conflicting definitions that emerge during face to face interviews with Cronenberg. The definitions often used to define the body of works by this Canadian film maker give reason for pause. This papers takes the position that in their haste to belittle or to compartmentalize Cronenberg, is to slice his oeuvre into disputable terms. Intentional or not, often film critics themselves create Frankenstein-like words and deceptions. These words, while helpful to some audiences, may not fit the intent of the film maker nor fit the stereotypes that come with them and become directly attached to the director’s person-hood.

Often reduced to being a cult leader from horror who had segued into mainstream, here we share what many know to be more the truth – that Cronenberg is in fact a cultural hero. While this daunting task has consumed many an hour and taken the mind of this writer into millstreams of thoughts, what becomes evident is that this papers is but an assemblage of evidence that critics who position themselves as the guardians of the gates of mass consumption, differ on Cronenberg’s importance. The differ from scholars who treat film as more than entertainment but as ‘message is the medium”. The latter renders film the equivalent as important to the exchange of ideas were with the novel during its arrival at the close of the 19th century. Finally, we find herein that the gulf streams of terms used to define films instead of remaining shallow, open into a vast world of words and specialized disciplines . Overall, Cronenberg is an auteur who possess intelligence, wit and skills capable of unraveling the definitions ascribed him.

In 2015 Cronenbeg turned 73 years old. During his longevity, he has given a plethora of interviews, has had essays and books written about him, hosted seminars and talks and appears in numerous youtube videos. As referenced -above, his recently published novel ,“CONSUMED” has been gestating with him for over 12 years. He is as much a master of word play as he is of the techniques used in film making. By the late 20th century, it is a known fact that the HORROR genre itself offers new film makers a way to break into the film making industry. Financing a film based on fears can draw attention for an unknown film maker. Film festivals are the still the swap shops where these sellers meet and seek to impress studio and investors. Cronenberg has himself availed himself at film festivals. There he is sure to sit and chat awhile with those stimulated by his unique style.

Yet Cronenberg seems to have labored so long in the pastures of Horror that he became labeled as a founding father. From the dawning of one of his first feature length movies, SHIVERS, to the critically acclaimed VIDEODROME, he manged to plant such new approaches to horror per se that it grew into a sub-genre all its own: BODY HORROR. Still when it comes to the asking him about his time spent making BODY HORROR films, the term itself, seems to make his blood boil. Many who have interviewed him fall into this trap by posing questions using the both the term BODY HORROR and GENRE despite the fact that he seems to reject them all. Since the late 1970’s Cronenberg’s subject matters have diversified from depicting the body as the central focus of a movie to perhaps the mental trials of his protagonist, yet critics and interrogators alike seems to remain unable to step away from the trapping dropped by previous writers.

Fore the sake of argument: If it is safe to argue that Cronenberg wishes to deny most of the adjectives used to define he himself (and by extensions his movies) as much as he bothers to explain what his intentions are, then it is best to allow this man the space and time to define himself. One could pick any interview and see how Cronenberg speaks. Like a basketball player, he tends to dribble his words… he turns, swivels, looses his pursuer… then fades… begins to suggests other definitions (luring we listeners into an alternate universe: preferably his own) he falls back, shoots and often scores on challenging our previous notions. Often Cronenbeg is faced with a person who holds him in high regard, if one is intimidated by his intellect, he manages shake the foundations the interviewer stands on. He is a skilled debater and oftentimes buttresses interviewers with his self serving terminology. Read and see if you don’t agree, its always his word play that dominates any conversations. Indeed what this paper consists of are fragments of conversations, interviews and clips from critiques on David Cronenberg and his body of work. In this manner, we allow ourselves to juxtapose how Cronenberg defines himself against how others have tied yet failed to define him. Every effort is made to respect the authorship of the publishers and the interviewees from whom the excerpts are taken.

Excerpts from a interview with

Andrew Parker October 30, 2014 You also just published your first novel, Consumed, which a lot of people have been terming a return to “body horror” for you. Would you consider going back to horror at some point?

DC:

First of all, as you know, “body horror” is not my term. That just stuck and now I’m the creator of the “body horror” genre, even though I’m not sure what it is. (laughs) I don’t think it’s horror with the body at all, but a fascination with the body. Anyway, that’s a whole other conversation.

But I never really felt like I turned my back on any genre at all. Horror, let’s say, or [science-fiction]. I just feel like I’ve done it. Most of the projects I get offered in those genres these days are often just remakes of my own movies. They’ve been so influenced by the films that I’ve done that people seem to think I would like doing them again. For me, that’s just boring. And I have many other interests.

Now read what transpired with one interview on the concept of GENRE

O: Do genres interest you at all? Is there a genre you’d like to work in?

DC: I absolutely don’t think in terms of genre. I could imagine thinking, “That’s a great film I’d like to do,” and recognize that it’s a horror film. But I don’t think in those terms at all. It’s another way of putting your mind in a box. For example, when I’m doing Naked Lunch, do I worry about whether it’s a horror film, just because it has special effects? Or Dead Ringers–which category is that? To me, genre is a marketing problem. Or it might be a critical question, but it’s not a creative issue at all

IN THIS CORNER: THE AUTEUR

…”Perhaps artists can only hope to be slightly out of sync with their times so that they may develop images of the world from a slightly skewed perspective…” ROBERT HOBBS.

Cronenberg has shared that he himself has no Christian values that limit his films. His characters are not positioned to represent good nor evil. Croeneberg is an self ascribed ‘atheist existentialist’ who wants to make films that, while using the medium of the screen, uses the motifs of a genre where he can creates new viewing experiences. Often disguised in disgust, a disgust he him shares with some, when confronted with playing devil’s advocate, he recoils at the suggestions. He could be hiding behind walls erected via satire, ridicule or lacking resolve because he knows the terms used to flush him out are imbued with false premises. He knows many of our traditions in defining are faulty. Thus, all interaction with outsiders (those who do not share is observations) are treated as idiots incapable of making him confess to what they perceive as a short coming in any particular film. From behind this voided space, a space where Christian dare not tread, is Croeneberg’s play ground, Here he can present objectives that challenge.

For those who can lay aside their preconceived notions of traditions, their Christian values that resolve good and evil; only on this side of logic, where the open minded audience is still mixed, can Cronenberg be addressed. As scholars demonstrate, mainstream film critics in America, have build their own sand boxes and trapped themselves in it? Audiences who love dark cinema and subject matters like Cronenberg come to rely on the dismissive reviews of some critics to relish more in the anticipation of seeing rather than sharing in the movies dismissed. Horror of the modern era relied on the Cold War fears generated not only from outside the United States but from within. As those fears abated, Directors like Cronenberg sought new terrain. he delved into technology and the medicalization of illness. These subjects became the horror (commonly termed BODY HORROR) and often failed to appeal to mainstream audience. For those more conditioned on block busters and formulaic narratives, Cornenberg’s depictions of mind bewitching, self mutilating anti heroes positioned in and with ending not likely to resolve the fears aroused, just don’t satisfy. Those who tend to enjoy more creative independent cinema know that critics tend to feed on manifestation of their own skewed views.

Upon reading the reviews of MAPS TO THE STARS ( see below) one can get the impression that while reverend as a master of Horror, Cronenberg is simultaneously belittled as as a director with a mere cultist following. He is more the master worthy of making pointed social observations about the time period of the setting. His critics fail to expand from what they see as satire on Hollywood into a worldview that could be found in many locations on the map. Yet before we turn to that peep this:

After [Hitchcock’s] Psycho 1960 the horror film would shift to focus on ‘ourselves’ as monstrous: the threat in the modern horror film might be said to come from within, rather than from outside. In Cronenberg’s films the fear comes from the fact that we are, or may become, the monster. The status quo itself can be seen as the monster, not just the self, and anxieties around who has control over technology and the body are at the forefront of Cronenberg’s narratives. For example, Cronenberg’s 1996 film Crash does not draw a clear division between monster and hero(es), rather, it depicts a society overwhelmed by its technology, though it cannot be said that the technology itself is monstrous.

While all of the following excerpts focus on the movie MAPS TO THE STARS, do not forget that this is not a post dedicated only to that movie. MAPS…’ is merely Cronenberg’s most recent movie. Cronenberg has been offering audiences insight into the reexamination of our trusted views of the world. In this film his script is based on yet another writer’s book. While the nihilism found in his earlier horror films remains, an exposition of our more lurid pleasures, takes center stage. Yet he remain s creative genius who enjoys tinkering around in the laboratory of grotesqueness. In this vein, Cronenberg exudes an often overlooked similarity to a scientist undertaking experiments. Be they character-psychoanalyst A DAGEROUS METHOD working within the confines of a closed system of offices or a applied scientist working in his laboratory THE FLY, Cronenberg holds magnifying glasses up to the human condition.

EXCERPTS ABOUT MAPS TO THE STARS

The Canadian horror maestro scrapes away the surface of Hollywood to discover a magnificently Cronenbergian outbreak of tortured families, reprehensible [behavior] and extreme violence.

The New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani, who has often praised Wagner’s [Bruce Wagner] work, panned “Dead Stars,” saying: “Aside from a few bravura scenes here and there, this self-conscious, tricked-up volume consists largely of gruesome anecdotes — which feel contrived for maximum gross-out value — desultorily strung together like ugly beads on a filthy string…. This novel feels more like a weary wallow in Hollywood scum than the sort of savage satire this gifted author is capable of writing.”

FROM Rolling Stone Magazine

The great Cronenberg, with the help of gifted cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, keeps us locked to reality even as the film hurtles into the absurd.

Sam Sacks in the Wall Street Journal

“… [Bruce Wagner’s ] If the book were just this — virtuoso screed and unsparing parodies of frauds and fame-whores — it would be enjoyable as a piece of provocation and nothing else. But Mr. Wagner’s showstopping trick is to introduce his repellent cast of characters warts and all (often warts and nothing else) and then, subtly and convincingly, make you care about them.”

from THE OBSERVER

Cronenberg: I consider myself a junior existentialist. When I started to read Sartre and by association Heidegger I thought, “Oh wow, this is what I’ve been thinking.” There’s a great lecture Sartre gave called “Existentialism is a Humanism”. He basically said, “Look, we humans are really all we’ve got, forget about the afterlife, it doesn’t exist. Forget about God, there is no God. We should accept that and if we did and realized that compassion and humanistic empathy were valuable – more than valuable but crucial – then the world would be a better place.” So that’s really my approach to life.”

In closing this section first look at what Croneberg had to say about MAPS TO THE STAR

“…The movie is obviously a work of fiction, it’s not a documentary on how Hollywood works; it uses compression, exaggeration, all those techniques,” says Cronenberg. “But both Bruce [Bruce Wagner] and I would resist calling it a satire. Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal is a satire, but this movie is too realistic to be a satire. In fact, Bruce has said that every line of dialogue in the movie he has heard spoken by someone. He could probably tell you who.

CRONENBERG: TO BE UNIVERSAL YOU HAVE TO BE SPECIFIC. YOU HAVE TO SET YOUR STORY SOMEWHERE THIS IS AN AMERICAN SETTING BUT…

 

OPPORTUNISM OR NOT

What does an artist do when his audience expands? Does he become a producer of works that continue to sell or does he ignore is own popularity? Indeed while Cronenberg has amassed a massive following, he seems to be a needle in the side of some old guardians of film-making. Perhaps some of his queries threaten as some refuse to concede to his mastery. Cronenberg is skilled at more than making movies. As one well read in philosophy, the history of psycho-analysis, literature and applied science, he knows how to use visual technique to entertain audiences while simultaneously building a dialogue that comments on the calamitous times and events they are released around. Yet there always seems to be an undercurrent to discredit him. Because of his intellect, he manages to elucidate and expose weaknesses in our shared beliefs. It is best to allow him to define himself. In doing so, critics allow audiences to reexamine their viewing experience. In photography an aperture on camera regulates the amount of light that comes in. Cronenberg working in the tradition of an autuer, expand the language of cinema.

Its frightening as he is an atheist and one wonders what what motivates him, now that is he interested in delving (deviling) away from Horror and toward irony?

“Irony is useful…since it represents a layering of useful strategy…since it represents a layering of meaning, one almost transparently superimposed over another so that gaps and fissures in the apparently seamless web of an accepted ideological construct are revealed” Robert Hobbs

In a interview Croeneberg answers a question about the movie SPIDER. The question was on schizophrenia. His answer is more telling about his thoughts on Identity.

Croenberg: All art is dangerous. We are seeking to recreate reality. What we want is DANGEROUS for us. But schizophrenia is a disease of identity. Who is the you that wants to do or does not want to do something and where is the you that controls it.

Can a man so keen NOT be the Nostradamus of movie making. Perhaps! One wonders if he is the equal to the Salvador Dali in Dali’s later years? His insights in horrors of technology have proven to be the sign of our times. Yet all the while he remains adamant that he does not follow the trails of our cultural fears in hopes of creating a winner of a film.

The Timing of his 1980 films such as THE FLY and DEAD RINGERS (based on two real life suicide pac- gynecologist) suggest he was not above mining the fields of popular culture for subject matter. And while we are in this terrain of popular text being made into popular cinematic experiences, perhaps COSMOPILOS 2012 (based on the novel by Dillo) which was seen as a comment on the recent Wall Street 2008 debacle was just that. Yet he refuted such reading of his films. David Cronenberg was surprised when The Fly was seen by some critics as a cultural metaphor for AIDS, since he originally intended the film to be a more general analogy for disease itself, terminal conditions like cancer and, more specifically, the aging process. In his own words…

“If you, or your lover, has AIDS, you watch that film and of course you’ll see AIDS in it, but you don’t have to have that experience to respond emotionally to the movie and I think that’s really its power; This is not to say that AIDS didn’t have an incredible impact on everyone and of course after a certain point people were seeing AIDS stories everywhere so I don’t take any offense that people see that in my movie. For me, though, there was something about The Fly story that was much more universal to me: aging and death—something all of us have to deal with”. Cronenberg.

Still one can come away from a Cronenberg film not sure if he had been complicit in such opportunism. His intellectual pursuits and dept skill in plowing up fears while burying meaning has positioned him where the doors of research are open from Vienna (A DANGEROUS METHOD) to Hollywood (MAPS TO THE STARS). His adeptness at tingling meanings from Victoria literature on up to the time period of writers whose works have become the bases for many of his films, renders him a forced to be reckoned with in both the socio-political and entertainment worlds.

Croeneberg: “I’m a Canadian, what can I say? Of course! Yes, I’m actually in general a very happy-go-lucky guy and that’s the thing that surprises people because of the movies. You worry about the environment, you worry about the future of the planet, you think as an existentialist, when you die that’s the end, it’s oblivion. People might think, “My God, that’s a horrible way to live.” But no, I’m actually quite optimistic and happy…”

Excerpts from the interview with Keith Phillips for the AV Club

O: Do you think developments in technology have justified the visions of your earlier films?

DC: Well, see, I was never looking for that kind of justification, so I haven’t noticed. When people say, “Videodrome is obviously very prophetic,” I say, “Being a prophet is not my job. Being an artist is.” In sci-fi, there are people like Arthur C. Clarke who love to be able to say, “I predicted satellite systems 40 years before they were invented.” And, if you’re a hardcore sci-fi techno writer, that would be a triumph. But for me, it’s nothing. It’s just a little sidebar. In Rabid, I invented something that’s coming true now. The whole stem-cell stuff is exactly what I talked about in Rabid, this sort of neutral human tissue that would read the context of where it was placed and become that kind of tissue. That was 26 years ago. But I don’t feel like I need recognition from that to… I don’t feel that I have to justify myself at all.

This writer does not favor equating ticket sales with evidence of a must see movie. Seriously good cinema is not always well marketed nor is it necessarily received with popularity. Yet in the pages of many reviews, the emphasis is placed on monitory gain. If Cronenberg, using his name, news and fears of the day wanted to fast track a production and cash in on a popular film, I wonder if such behavior placed on his creative vision might not contradicts his analytical-arch with Moloch. Cronenberg most recent films examines the production of if not the outgrowth of fears and anxieties in post the post modern era. Would his interest in propaganda and bombastic telemarketing reduce his standing as social observant/critic?

As stated by Douglas Kroner, “While Cronenberg’s films are negative and pessimistic, they deal with real anxieties and phobias. His horror films combine projections of the universal fears of death, and the bodily mutations, invasions, and disintegration which nourish the classical horror film, with fears of contemporary viral, carcinogenic, and telematic body invaders. The horrors often mutate into phantasmagoric nightmares of catastrophe and apocalypse…” He provides the needed packaging of our common fears into nearly indigestible entertainment. In Cronenberg’s films both mind and body, in mysterious interaction, disintegrate or mutate out of control and wreak havoc in a hyperfunctionalized and hygenic social order unable to deal with frenzied metamorphosis and proliferating disease.

THE SOUND OF THE ELECTROLUX

What do we know for sure about David Cronenberg? We know that he enjoys collaborating with writers. The track record is clear. We know that he loves to speak of the sounds his fathers typewriters had on his artistic pursuits. Not only the sounds generated from the typewriters but how those same sounds introduced him to the marvels of machination. We also know that he enjoys being an autuer. On numerous occasions, he has made these pronouncements.

Oftentimes magicians, illusionist and even charlatans grant us entry behind the curtain that provide them shields. They occasionally step aside, lay their cards on the table and give us the facts behind their schemes. Indeed charlatans must be exposed. Yet even the most esteemed crime stoppers often themselves are imbued with the same characteristics of the criminal they pursue. Like crime detectives, Film critics (whose job it is the dissect films and define the tactics of filmmakers sometimes serve Moloch. They can not always be trusted to remain objective. When outsiders like Canadian film maker David Cronenberg stands at the gates howling cinematic diatribes, its best to ignore the critics and let Cronenberg speak.

With his penchant for the grotesque, Croeneberg is sure to disgust many. Yet for those astute enough to separate his Canadian wheat from his chauvinistic chaff, the new school of critics can then be called in to explain what shared definitions apply.

 

 

One’s Cooper, One’s Stratharin: No Leading Man

While they both exude the kind of talent that once confounded me into thinking they were leading men, they both started out and for a long time were considered character actors. The term character may be defined as a supporting actor skilled at playing distinctly unusual, interesting, or eccentric characters, such that they are almost unrecognizable from part to part, and yet play many, many roles convincingly and memorably. This definition is acceptable yet it fails to illustrate that personal idiocracy that some actors manage to bring to the screen. An idiosyncrasy that is as profound as is serves in convincing. Both David Strathairn and Chris Cooper carry that important trait, or, look of being able to embody the roles they play with mannerisms that have enabled them to develop a reliable screen presence while simultaneously carving into the brains of those familiar with their works, attributes attributed to them and them alone. This creates a beguiling memory much like a LEADING MAN does for us. Both actors continue to convince us that a certain aspect of the roles they play are noteworthy not because the role is central to the plot of a movie but because the character himself offers something that resonate in the familiar. The familiar we hold both on (though in our minds) and off screen. That familiarity can be a peculiar sort of thing or a stereotypical view held about that ‘kind of person’. What these two also manage to do is to play it close and convince us of the certainty  rely on then suddenly shock us with a hidden aspect of the character. An aspect that is not so familiar

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   While both men maintain very controlled demeanors when being interviewed, Cooper seems the more reserved one of the two. Perhaps this is the end result of being reared in the midwest and the south. Southern men, particularly white men, often withhold themselves behind a veneer of respectability. They often use, ‘Ma’ma’ and ‘Sir’ toward authority or those in a position of such. This is similar the dual roles used by those forced into subservience. It can outwit one’s opponent. For those familiar with the writings of WEB Dubois, the term ‘DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS’ IS is well to recall. Cooper was born in Kansas City, Missouri and spent a great deal of time on a cattle ranch in Houston Texas. One surmises that he is as soft spoken in life as he is in many of the roles he assumes. Yet he, like many of those ‘quiet man’ roles he assumes , conceal an explosive interior. Cooper uses this “devil in the detail” to great effect.

Chris Speaks

“I had a close relationship with cattle and horses as a young boy, so

it becomes a very strong emotional link to the character when you have lived that life experience,

say in “Seabiscuit” where I’m the trainer of this marvelous race horse who’s having some trouble

because he’s been treated poorly and trained poorly. And a simple line like “He just has to learn

how to be a horse again”, that’s a really strong connection. Through the career there are a number

of instances like that”.

Comparatively, Strathairn, born in 1949,  hails from San Francisco. He has a distinctly assertiveness that is heard not only because of his rigid delivery but his fluid body motions that creates an air of authority when he speaks. Even when he is playing the part of a guy who has seen better day, his delivery demand attention. Regrettably, neither of this descriptions can hold water if one were to use them to pigeonhole either of these men. They are capable of morphing into opposite of themselves at will. I mean that’s what all good actors do. Some better than others.

Take a look at this clip from THE SENSATION OF SIGHT, a 2007 indie film not always sighted as one of Strathairn’s finest. It was directed by first time director Aaron J. Wiederspahn.  In it you see a lot of what actors like to do when they are free to immerse in a role not headed for the BLOCKBUSTER status. Its a risky role yet when  you know that Strathairn at one time was an actual clown ….that is true… he spent two years prior to engaging in acting traveling with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, you know he takes risks. One wonders if his unusual gate is a result of some accident or a habit he uses to great affect.

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Chris Cooper carries a similar tool in his arsenal of actor/character skills. No finer example exist than his Oscar award winning performance in ADAPTAION. Indeed the award for “best supporting actor” fits Copper squarely in the supporting actors category for which this post argues he does not squarely fit. Nonetheless, he manages to do for toothless and stringy haired characters what had not been done.

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Only Micky Rourke’s role in THE WRESTLER comes close. But lets not get off the subject…..

Enough of what makes these actors different, its what makes them alike that is worth picking apart. Perhaps even better what is worth dissecting is why they are often cast to play similar roles. There is no better place to start than with the John Sayles’ 1987 Matewan. Both actors must feel indebted to John Sayles, he casts them both repeatedly. However in Matewan, the sowed the seeds of their respective destiny by taking on roles that not as lending men but as leaders of men.

Matewan relies on a historical occurrence. Its known that the labor wars between coal miners and their ruthless employers was long and bloody. For actors young in their profession, it was a daring move to portray men who actually helped start that war. In Matewan, David Strathairn takes on the role of sheriff Sid Hatfield. This role required him to not only perform the acts that relived a real person. But a person who was murdered for his bravery. Meanwhile Chris Cooper (who shared screen time with Strathairn) portrayed an equally daring role as a union organizer, Joe, Kenehan. What is both laudatory and condemning fr them here, is that because of those and more casting like them they both ran the gambit of being typecast. Over the years, they swam through that almost neck-in-neck.

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Both have lead the government teams charged to capture and kill Jason Bourne in the Bourne sagas. Christ Copper has been a company man, a government man and a father figure in so many films. He manages to and bring to each movie that lasting impression he is known for. He does it with such candor that he avoids typecast. Flip the coin and the same can be stated about Strathairn.

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Strathairn salt and pepper hair and air of sophistication that allows him drift in and out of characters who possess a trusted authority and a shady side. He too has been been a father, a G-man and (again) historical figures. One of which lead to an ACADEMY AWARD for his portrayal of Edward R. Murrow  in George Clooney’s GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK . His impeccable range toward the polished and clean or the darker side is avails him well. They both offer unpredictability in in small doses.

DAVID SPEAKS

“…Right, to serve the thing. That’s what we do; we serve the story. One particular case of mine was the

film called “Dolores Claiborne” in which I had to play a very damaged man who abuses his daughter

and it was a very uncomfortable prospect to go there, to think about what that is and actually

depict that, but it was part of a story that was so much more. The relationship between the mother

and the daughter and the character was essentially just a smaller catalyst for a bigger picture, but

I felt it was important. Sometimes you have to go down some dark alleys while the main story is

bringing light to something else”.

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It is no accident that these men confound the senses and often confuse one’s memory of one from the other. They may not be casts as leading men; however I would place my bet that they sure are neck in neck with leading the pack of character actors. One one final note- one distinctly difference is Strathairn is his rather outspoken on the political front.

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Then again, Copper has played the part of a political candidate in Silver City.

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I GIVE UP.

Tired of Triggering Deceit

Gay Friendly is a term like any other. While it launches one into the realm of political correctness, it can close one into a room where to criticize homosexuality becomes tantamount to being a traitor, or worse, a liar. I am neither and I am both because while I embrace being gay friendly I forever withhold being totally OUT with my friendliness. Why? Perhaps my status in America prescribed on me the status as “other”. Perhaps this “otherness” creates an apology to those with power and a welcome to those who are like me.  Something in my race identity may be shared with those who come to define themselves as homsexuality. I am no hypocrite to either group yet I have had misreading occur. Gay men seek to welcome my willingness to befriend them as a cowardly confession to my own sexual transgression. By example: Hetrosexual women do the same thing to heterosexual men. They shy away from making too many male friends as they fear a misunderstanding may develop.  I have grown tired of the masking women engage in both when they are attracted to  a man as oppose to  when they are not. They are masters at maintaining distances for fears of misunderstandings while also toying with a man’s mind. That is another story for here my focus is on expanding the my understanding of gay men.

Gay guys learn the value of these cat and mouse games and their tendency to use them wears me out while I seek genuine friendship with homosexual males. I therefore withhold my open greeting with open smiles. I clench my teeth insist on firm handshakes and maintain a body language  in the same manner as women may do men. What this means is I am forever maintaining distance from my willingness to explore the possibility of profound  friendships with gay men. This transfixes one into a strange sort of isolation. Even herein as I associate the word explore with the reference to homosexuality places me in mental danger of losing the quiet respect given one heterosexual to another. Yet in today’s climate fostered by news the transgender and transsexuals communities, it is time that heterosexual men be granted  social space to explore friendships with gay men without crashing and burning his own social standing.

Spaces are open for actors. When Sean Penn played Harvey Milk, did he play it safe as he managed to go through that? Did he as a very masculine guy have reservations about his career?  He did and others before him opened the door for  heterosexuals males to play more gay roles? Indeed he had history behind him since he was portraying the life of America’s first openly gay elected official. Not all of us have the fortune of befriending powerful homosexuals. Many a black man have had encounters with wealthy white men who fancied male lovers. While the advances I have had, I have rejected, I have seen that they (wealthy gay men) tend to have the ability to punish naysayers.  Can the terrain open for actors and wealthy individuals be afforded me a hetrosexual man who is  both a black man and  a photographer? The Photographer part seems an easy shoe-in. A straight photographer can hold fast to his prejudices even as the engage in creativity with gay associates. Denzel Washington’s role as the attorney for Tom Hanks aid ridden character in PHILADELPHIA aptly demonstrated that professionals rendering service to a gay person can forgo his angst on the job while maintaining his objection to the lifestyle at home. Heck, again one can fall back on the fact that our nation has maintained separate social barriers along racial lines for centuries.  Have we become a society as apt to wear false faces as we hold ourselves out to be guided by notions of inalienable rights.  For me as an artist photographer creatives are often regarded by a large number of conservatives as social outcast working on the fringes. Since Ronald Reagan and former mayor of New York, we have seen politics cut back on the funding of the arts. Perhaps this is my assumption: That is that creativity exist in closed spaces where the friendship of hetrosexual and homosexuals raise eyebrows less.

Perhaps my discomfort has to do with the populism associated with homosexuality. Since the decline of industrialization, the leisure time of  out nations youths have increased. Women and their politics infuse not only the work place but the street corners. Their political and social concerns backed my an increase in economic power seems to soften the masculine world around use. The number of gay men seem to increase  with every new television show and with the ameliorations of everything associated with  masculine prowess. From contact sports  such as boxing down to drunken driving we have seen what seems to polarize males from some masculine troupes available to previous generations. While we seek par down aspects of violence we may  eliminate some of the rights of passage into manhood. Manhood that while damaging, nonetheless help prescribe gender.

Certainly I’ve seen it. it has been being broadcast into our minds for two decades. From IN LIVING COLOR to THE NEW ORANGE IS BLACK (I have never watched the latter). The clowness mannerism find acceptance in the audiences with few role models.  Can a society such as ours move from industrialization where large numbers of men with back breaking jobs become less visible and  people become exhausted with the social conventions that seem exploitative and thereby seek out the what is considered unnatural? Since  the mid 90’s I’ve seen more boys become  brazen in their display of femininity. What effect do these new mindset seek to do with others viewed as outmoded? Eradicate us and our social conventions so that straight men dare not befriend a gay guy?

Is it too much to ask that straight me to allowed to befriend gay guys without having to resort to violence? I have never had to punch nor talk down to anyone who made advances on me. Yet any courthouse in urban center are replete with civil and criminal court cases where bands of brothers beat helpless homosexuals down. Those days may be still around yet such is a rarity. Individuals have to refrain from violence and HATE CRIMES.  I do not need legislation to change my mind. My mind was already straight but not narrow.  I am ready to loosen up and allow  my indifference to allowing homosexuals  into my mental space as I welcome any female who  might allow me into hers. Still I feel uncomfortable having to reject the advances made upon me when make headway against my own reservations. Heck I’m too old anyway. Few guys and girls alike lust after old men.  Then  again perhaps being African-American I wish to have sympathy with those who seem damned and determined to refine themselves without redefining us all.

THIS POST WAS INITIALLY A MODEL CALL. HOWEVER IT HAS BEEN EDITED TO ADDRESS THE A PERSONAL  QUEST.

JKSTEWART (September 1, 2015)

It only took a day and I think it honest of me to share with you the discussions that have thus far evolved. Indeed modelmayhem is a public site and although the clloque is private, the casting is not. I called for openly gay men and so I feel it no less honest to make public my conversations with those who replied.

Subject: RE: Tired Of Triggering Deceit PRINT
Eugene Haughton
09/27/11 10:11 AM

Kevin,I am interested in working with you on this project. Check out my port and let me know if you are interested.

E.

kevin stewart
09/28/11 6:50 PM (Message read)
I looked at your entire body of work. I commented on one because that sort to Dandy look is want I want to start with. Question: are the props in your images yours? I enjoy  working with props and I have a tendency to create off the handle without much pre-planning. Yet you do bring to mind the type of sporty and then away from sporty…the classy cool gay guy with a bit of universal appeal…so thats what I would offer you a very greased atheltic look…running down a track with a suit on but sweating and bursting out of it. Then a cool suave guy standing outside a candy shop.
Eugene Haughton
09/29/11 8:15 AM
Kevin,
Thanks so much for your comments and love on my pics. You have great work in your port as well. Yes those props in my pictures are mine. I like both of those ideas. I was a track star in collegeso I could play the role quite nicely. The candy shop thing is very cool. It’s out of my element but that is what I like. When would you be down to shoot these ideas?E.
kevin stewart
09/29/11 12:56 PM (Message read)
Let me be honest with you on the track theme: when I conceived it I was focusing on a female decked out with a high edgy fashion look that had both elements of sey appeal and atleticism. I pictured her in tight shorts and topless or with bra on and heels but sweaty and medals hanging off her neck. When I proposed it to you I immediately ran (figuratively) toward a masculine safe place. I dont want to do that in this project, I want to stay out of my comfort zone..modestly…so can you style it both ways?
Eugene Haughton
09/29/11 3:16 PM
Style a girl and myself? I could do that easily. Or were saying me be both the girl and guy?
kevin stewart
09/29/11 3:32 PM (Message read)

Ok I want only you unless you can hook me up with females who really are not conservative..For now lets keep the focus on you. I would want you to remain male in both looks…granted we could use speedo swimwearor any bikini like bottoms to exploit the obvious reference to a theme normally reserved for female sex appeal. But I want you to be a guy in both the aspects of this theme..Lets call it DASHING SEX APPEAL.NOW AS TO A FEMALE, IF YOU HAVE A FEMALE AND YOU WANT HER IN THE SHOOT COOL…BUT SHE SHOULD BE A COACH FIGURE WITH A TIGHT ASS ONE PIECE ON WITH HEELS A JACKET AND A COACHES CAP ON..SHE SHOULD BE MOTIVATING YOU TO RUN..I WOULD USE HER AS BACKGROUND BUT IT WOULD BE A TWIST…NOW HEAR THIS..I AM NOT INTERESTED IN COMPLICATING OUR SHOOT WITH SOME OVER THE TOP DAMSEL WHO AINT WORTH THE TROUBLE. THE GIRL SHOULD BE SOMEONE WILLING TO GO TOPLESS IF I WANT.

WE CAN DISCUSS THE OTHER LOOK BY THE CANDY STORE ONCE WE ARE FINISHED DISCUSSING THIS ONE.

Eugene Haughton
09/29/11 4:33 PM
Id rather not have a female. Too complicated. But I like the dashing appeal them. Where I would be running wearing a speedo and cut off shirt.  Would I wear make up or just the skimpy female clothing? Maybe I could start off in a suit and then as I’m running I’m taking off clothes and I end in the skimpy stuff?
kevin stewart
09/29/11 5:06 PM (Message read)
NOW THATS AN IDEA…I LIKE THAT, WE WOULD GO SLOW WITH IT SO AS TO ORCASTRACT THE REMOVAL OF THE CLOTHES…I LIKE THAT..IT CREATES A STORY…AS TO MAKEUP MAYBE GLOSSY LIPS AND EYE SHADOW…IF YOU CAN GET THAT ITS A WRAP…DYNOMITE! THE SUIT COULD HAVE A NICE STRIPED TIE SO AS YOU RUN/TROT IT CATCHES THE WIND AND AD A DRAMATIC ELEMENT…COMING OFF FLAPPING IN THE WIND. THEN WE END UP WITH YOU WINDED AND LOOKING LIKE YOU HAVE WON…NICE!!
Eugene Haughton
09/29/11 5:16 PM
Yep!! That is what I had envisioned. Now about the candy shop?
kevin stewart
09/29/11 7:57 PM (Message read)
The candy shop should be more european or more like Ferrell the qua-si school boy Dandy look where you could be a rapper or a aristocrate.
Eugene Haughton
09/29/11 8:08 PM
Can you send me a pic as of the ideas you are looking for?
kevin stewart
09/29/11 8:17 PM (Message read)
email me at kevinis40@yahoo.com. Goodnight..taking it in.
Eugene Haughton
10/02/11 7:46 AM

Hey Kevin,I was hitting you back. I emailed you and never got a response. I really want to stay in contact and make this shoot happen.

E.

kevin stewart
10/02/11 8:09 AM (Message read)
ok ok I appreciate that…We can start planning. Next Weekend Im attending an annual event all day Saturday. Its a graffitti competition and I know thats in my definite horizion. But other that that its planning and impelimenting this project with you as the first model. Now as to my yahoo.com page, I  recently cleaned that monster up. I had 500 some odd email and went on a deleting frenzy. So try again. Now as to me sending you samples of our candy store idea….I know you can relate to this even without me sending something. But I will…and again lets set a date for either Sunday next weekend at least do the track look of not both. Or if the  weekend following…then
kevin stewart
10/02/11 2:25 PM (Message read)
Eugene please google Kanye West style…when you see him in a suite balanced by sweater underneath or an ascot…you are see a dandy influence. If you just copy Kanye..you’ll get the concept.
Eugene Haughton
10/03/11 2:48 PM

Kevin,I can do the track idea this Sunday. I am free in the mornings.  I looked up Kanye West style and see what you mean by the Ascot! I like that look alot. Maybe do the suit top with like some dazy dukes shorts with dress socks and dress shoes?

kevin stewart
10/03/11 6:38 PM (Message read)

ok here is the kicker..I think between the two of us we can locate a track…I know where two private schools are in midtown..perhaps we could get in and get it done…but one catch, I use the bus…I dont have a car right now…but I am willing to do it this Sunday.Scratch the dazy Dukes…Here is why..eahc time we shoot we should try to do something avante garde and something conservative. You sould build your portfolio for shopping yourself while you build your work for pure inspiration. So make the look a smooth look. I’ll pull sex appeal out of you in your manneism. Think sun glasses, reading glasses gloves  and if you give me that..I might go for the dazy dukes after we shoot it conservative. In any event….lets make Sunday a go!

Eugene Haughton
10/04/11 5:21 PM

Hey. Where are the tracks located? So who is going to do the make up for the Girly look at the end? I have no idea about make up? I have a khaki suit for that shoot and brown dress shoes.For the candy shop shoot. I have a seersucker suit that I have been dying to wear and I can have on vest with a short and make an ascot from a scarf. Or use some material to make a bow tie.

E

kevin stewart
10/04/11 7:04 PM (Message read)
oK so if you think makeup is necessary and I can flow with that and book makeup but since  catapulted to the makeup issue I guess its on me to make all the extraneous stuff happen..We just confrimed and now I have the task of finding a track. booking makeup and pay for it. And coordinate the arrival of all. So I assume now you are ready to be exclusively talent and show up on time whereever I instruct…ok I can do that..let me find a makeup artist and pick a place…
Eugene Haughton
10/04/11 7:15 PM
I always show up on time and ready. I’m way ready to do this. I need to find some female under wear and what do you want as a top?
kevin stewart
10/06/11 4:37 PM (Message read)
I spotted a track on Robinson Street. I see it from my bus on my way to work every morning. So lets set the time to meet at that bagel place directly across from Lake Eola park…Time? You stated you were good for the morin. Still no word from the makeup artist I contacted..I’ll try another. So lets plan there and perhaps there is a secluded place to change but Im sure we can work it out…BTW Saturday is Pride Day, right?
Eugene Haughton
10/06/11 5:37 PM
Do you mean panera bread ? Sunday around 9am? Yes Saturday is pride at lake eola.
kevin stewart
10/08/11 5:03 AM (Message read)
Yes Panera….and well go without the makeup. Sometimes they are as difficult to get as a female model. But if you can get your hands on some lip gloss I think that will be find. And lets say 9:30. I have a skimpy bus schedule on weekends. Hopefully you can park close by…or well move your car close to the track…and the you can chnage in it.
Eugene Haughton
10/08/11 5:12 AM
Okay. So bring a suit. What should I bring to look like a girl? Bra and undies or what?
kevin stewart
10/08/11 5:36 AM (Message read)
Ok this is where the challenge lies…You should think sexy more so than look like a girl. but here is want I see. If by chance you can find a pair of heels I know chaces are you dont but I think a bra might work. Then a super tight pair of shorts..this is where the daizy dukes you mentioned for the other look might better serve. You should use body language to suggest female and maleness… Your poise should be one of gladly displaying your sex appeal not to costume then let the clothes do it. You do it. But yes to repeat..a bar tight shorts a wife beater and long necklaces. I’ll bring a yellow ribbion with  A MEDALLION on it to signify a winner but does this work in your mind?
Eugene Haughton
10/08/11 5:50 AM
Okay cool. I don’t have heels. I do have a pair of tight shorts. Bring a wife beater and a long necklace. Lip gloss. That is easy enough and I will work on my male/female pose.
kevin stewart
10/08/11 5:54 AM (Message read)

As I may have stated before but if I did not I know it takes a couple of shoots together to make wonderful work..sometimes woderful work is achieved off the rip …on the first shoot..I think we will get good work because we are putting you in an familar enviornment. But I also think this is a sever challlenge for me. I actually started a bolg on the hole project. I have cut and pasted our text and allow it to become evidence of my growth as a human….so the shoot means a lot to me. Trust me when I say things that look like Im shimking on  quality I am not.I actually reached out to a differernt makeup artist this morning. But I do want you to pruchase some baby oil type gel… to put on your body and I do want some sneakers…with white socks…If you did have the heels…I would cut the toes out of the socks and that two would copy what I used to do with females when I wanted a sporty look with sexy opentoe shoes.

Eugene Haughton
10/08/11 6:28 AM
Okay. I have some baby oil. Lip gloss. Shoes with white high socks. (heels if have some) suit with shorts wife beater and a long necklace. Dress shoes too for the suit part. And I’m happy about this. What if it Rains tomorrow ? Can we reschedule? Here is my number 4074511958

THE REBEL FLAG CONTROVERSY

In 1982 I was a student at the University of Mississippi. Not many year before that very campus had been the focus of national attention. James Meredith was the first Negro to attend that prestigious campus. Its rolling hills and redbrick building create a picturesque institution of higher learning. That year the first CONFEDERATE FLAG controversy was to come into my life. I have since lived through a couple others. Many years later after graduating from Ole Miss, while living in Atlanta, Georgia, it surfaced again. I was working in a law firm and had to stay clear of public discourse that might embarrass the firm where I was employed as a paralegal. Yesterday, I accompanied my sister to the parking lot of Wal Mart in Searcy, Arkansas. This time I was not a student. I was not barred as a paralegal nor a critic but allowed in as a photographer.

When people are engaged in speaking for a cause they believe in and they allow a photographer to photograph them they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect I honor that now as I post these pictures. I will state this. When I was at Ole Miss, the Klu Klux Klan came to march on behalf of the flag. It was my first time seeing them up close. There robes were not cheap sheets as they had been dismissed as. I was always impressed with how sturdy the real material of a Klansman rob felt. No robes were worn outside Wal Mart’s festivities. The guys who organized it and all who participated showed their faces. They had nothing to hide. They shouted “this is not about hate”.

No matter how once sums it up. Flags, Banner and symbols like this one has had a checkered past. From the battlefields where it charged to the terrorist who once used it to the hearts of those who claim it as their heritage.

I close with the words my sister uttered, I know this too shall pass. Yesterday it was EBOLA today THE CONFEDERATE FLAG. Tomorrow when you wake up, try to erase all this and remember when the smoke all clears…the flag is a symbol. It is someone’s right to carry and fly it. Loose not the that the smoke and mirrors of the media and the failed systems keep us fighting one another do not care for its abolition nor its continuation. Common men need to find common grounds
DSC_0078

Liberty ships rust on U.S. shores

Several days ago, perhaps even weeks ago I read an article about a sculptor who had erected a piece lionizing Edward Snowden, Julian Assuage and one other person…a US convicted military person Bradley Manning. My heart sank as I wonder where we Americans are with our love of righteousness. I fear we have given up on the race toward eldorado, Emerald City and that place called America. The artist ( An Italian) who bothered to make this three man effigy bothered to leave a empty chair next to the work so that spectators who HAD SOMETHING TO SAY, could stand up and voice ALOUD!. We used to cry for freedom aloud but now our cries are often muzzled beneath our gossip of others. We have become a nation of haters….meanwhile

France and the EC have decided to force Goggle and search engines to implement a “right to be forgotten” for those Europeans who use google. Its apart of the whistle blowing that Snowden’s disclosure led to. Without being told so, I connected these dots. My head and my heart are on one accord as I battle my position on weather these kind of individuals who find themselves at the forefront are traitors or liberators. Liberators who believe that their conscience rules over their loyalties to state and companies. Its a gamble to blow a whistle to cry aloud for the masses. We used to back those who did so. Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Mother Teresa. Now we abandon them and let the State tell us what to think. We do this as the Europeans try to steer us back toward our adopted inheritance of LIBERTY.

The ACLU recently filed a brief on our behalf. Sadly the brief was against our own government as they attempt to circumvent the through “interpretation” clauses that expand the collection of phone calls made from us to other parts of the world. Seems its a never ending saga that the ships that once came to the United States brought with it those persecuted for their beliefs. Those ships have lost their navigators. The anchors are rusting right here on our shores.

JKSTEWART