USE A TELESCOPE FROM YESTERDAY TO SEE TODAY

2560x1440-black-solid-color-background

Who knew that, when Radiohead released A MOON SHAPED POOL on May 8, 2016, they were staring down November 9, 2016 through a terrifyingly precise lens? A time machine? Here is the record in sequence. Read it. Not sure I’ve ever seen anything more prescient. Leave it to the artists…

**

Stay in the shadows
Cheer at the gallows
This is a round up
This is a low flying panic attack
Sing the song on the jukebox that goes
Burn the witch
Burn the witch
We know where you live

Red crosses on wooden doors
If you float you burn
Loose talk around the tables
Abandon all reason
Avoid all eye contact
Do not react
Shoot the messengers
This is a low flying panic attack
Sing the song of sixpence that goes

Burn the witch
Burn the witch
We know where you live
We know where you live
**

Dreamers
They never learn
They never learn
Beyond the point
Of no return
Of no return
Then it’s too late
The damage is done
The damage is done

This goes
Beyond me
Beyond you
A white room
By a window
Where the sun comes
Through
We are
Just happy to serve
Just happy to serve
You
Half of my life
Half of my life
**

Then into your life, there comes a darkness
There’s a spacecraft blocking out the sky
And there’s nowhere to hide
You run to the back and you cover your ears
But it’s the loudest sound you’ve ever heard
And all we trapped rag doll cloth people
We are helpless to resist
Into our darkest hour

But it was just a laugh, just a laugh
Just a laugh, just a laugh
Even at this angle
And so we crumble
A ten ton head, made of wet sand
Oh this dread circumference
You’ve gotta be kidding me
The grass grows over me
Your face in the glass, in the glass
It was just a laugh, just a laugh
It’s whatever you say it is
In split infinities

Then into your life, there comes a darkness
And a spacecraft blocking out the sky
And there’s nowhere to hide
You run to the back and you cover your ears
But it’s the loudest sound you’ve ever heard
Into your darkest hour

When you’ve had enough of me
When you’ve had enough of me
Sweet times
When you’ve had enough of me
When you’ve had enough of me
Sweet darling
Sweet times
Sweet times
Sweet times
**

Now as I go upon my way
So let me go upon my way
Born of a light
Born of a light
The wind rushing round my open heart
An open ravine
With my spirit light
Totally alive
And my spirit light
Through an open doorway
Across a street
To another life
And catching my reflection in a window
Switching on a light
One I didn’t know
Totally alive
Totally released

Waking, waking up from shutdown
From a thousand years of sleep
Yeah you, you know what I mean
You know what I mean
You know what I mean
Standing on the edge of
Yeah, you know what I mean
You know what I mean
You know what I mean

Different types of love
Different types of love
Different types of love
Are possible
Are possible
Are possible
Are possible
**

Now as I go upon my way
So let me go upon my way
Born of a light
Born of a light
The wind rushing round my open heart
An open ravine
With my spirit light
Totally alive
And my spirit light
Through an open doorway
Across a street
To another life
And catching my reflection in a window
Switching on a light
One I didn’t know
Totally alive
Totally released

Waking, waking up from shutdown
From a thousand years of sleep
Yeah you, you know what I mean
You know what I mean
You know what I mean
Standing on the edge of
Yeah, you know what I mean
You know what I mean
You know what I mean

Different types of love
Different types of love
Different types of love
Are possible
Are possible
Are possible
Are possible
**

Hey it’s me
I-I just got off the train
A frightening place
The faces are concrete grey
And I’m wondering, should I turn round?
Buy another ticket?
The panic is coming on strong
So cold, from the inside out
No great drama
Message coming in
In the oh-so-smug
Glassy eyed light of day
Glassy eyed light of day

Where the path trails off and heads down the mountain
Through the dry bush
I don’t know where it leads
And I don’t really care
Where the path trails off and heads down the mountain
Through the dry bush
I don’t know where it leads
And I don’t really care

I feel this love to the core
I feel this love to the core
**

A moon shaped pool
Dancing clothes won’t let me in
And now I know it’s never gonna be oh me

The sweet-faced ones with nothing left inside
That we all can love, that we all can love, that we all can
Sweet-faced ones with nothing left inside
That we all can love, that we all can love, that we all can

But now I see you messing me around
I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know, I don’t want
When I see you messing me around?
I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know

Broken hearts make it rain, broken hearts make it rain
Broken hearts make it rain, broken hearts make it rain
Broken hearts make it rain, broken hearts make it rain
Broken hearts make it rain, broken hearts make it rain
Broken hearts make it rain
Broken hearts
Broken hearts make it rain, broken hearts make it rain
Broken hearts make it rain, broken hearts make it rain
Broken hearts make it rain, broken hearts make it rain
Broken hearts make it rain, broken hearts make it rain

The pieces of a ragdoll mankind
That we can create, that we can create, that we can
Pieces of a ragdoll mankind
That we can create, that we can create

But when I see you messing me around
I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know, I don’t want
Now I see you messing me around
I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know
**

It holds us like a phantom
It touches like a breeze
It shines its understanding
See the moon is smiling
Open on all channels
Ready to receive
Cause we’re not at the mercy
Of your chimeras and spells
Your chimeras and spells
Mmmhm
We are of the earth
To her we do return
The future is inside us
It’s not somewhere else
It’s not somewhere else
It’s not somewhere else

(One day at a time)
One day at a time

We call upon the people
The people have this power
The numbers don’t decide
The system is a lie
A river running dry
The wings of butterflies
And you may pour us away like soup
Like we’re pretty broken flowers
We’ll take back what is ours
Take back what is ours

One day at a time
**

This dance
This dance
Is like a weapon
Is like a weapon
Of self defence
Of self defence
Against the present
Against the present
Present tense
No I won’t get heavy
No don’t get heavy
Keep it light and
Keep it moving
I am doing
No harm
As my world
Comes crashing down
I’ll be dancing
Freaking out
Deaf, dumb, and blind

In you I’m lost
In you I’m lost

I won’t turn around
Or the penny drops
Won’t stop now
Won’t slack off
Or all this love
Will be in vain
To stop from falling
Down a mine
It’s no one’s business
But mine
Where all this love
Has been in vain

In you I’m lost
In you I’m lost
In you I’m lost
In you I’m lost
**

All the holes
At once
Are coming alive
Set free
Out of sight
And out of mind
The lonely and their prey

The ones you light your fires to keep away
Is crawling out upon its belly
And all you have to do is say yes

All the birds
Stay up
In the trees
All the fish
Swim down to the deep
The lonely and their prey
I am here
Come to me
Before it’s too late

The one you light your fires to keep away
Is crawling out upon its belly
And all you have to do is say yes
**

I’ll drown my beliefs
To have your babies
I’ll dress like your niece
And wash your swollen feet

Just don’t leave
Don’t leave

I’m not living
I’m just killing time
Your tiny hands
Your crazy kitten smile

Just don’t leave
Don’t leave

And true love waits
In haunted attics
And true love lives
On lollipops and crisps

Just don’t leave
Don’t leave

A LIGHTNING BOLT FROM THE SKY

Decades ago, let’s say the summer of 1981, maybe (?), I listened to a record with my step-brother on the turntable at my grandpa’s house on Higgins Lake, back home in Michigan. We played it a few times and, being 10 years old or so, I was TERRIFIED of it. It was a horror record, I remember, its cover was black and white, had small pictures of monsters on it, and the record had clips from a radio show or play or movie in between these strangely poppy songs and it just FREAKED ME OUT.

This record has stayed with me for years, despite having NO IDEA what it was. Those childhood memories that are now almost etherial– did this even exist? Is my memory of it EVEN CLOSE to the actual thing? I reach for the picture of the album in my head, but it is blended with old VHS horror movie cases (the original ZOMBIE? THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN?) and mixed in with my imagination and maybe some dreams and probably the thing itself, and that mental picture? It’s not even close.

Since the mid 1990’s, when, for some reason, I was reminded of it somehow, I have been OBSESSED with figuring out this mystery by remembering it or finding an answer. Before my grandmother died, I asked her if she had any memory of such a thing (no), did she keep the albums from the lake house (no), did my dad keep the record (no), did anyone remember this record (no)? Once in a while, the memory cycles around again and I think “Oh yeah, what WAS that?” and then it goes away again for a while. Usually, when I am making a mix of Halloween songs, I’m reminded again, and I am dying to figure it out, and so last week, listening to Halloween songs, I was haunted again by this unknowable thing and again, it remained unknown.

Have I conveyed how much I wanted to remember this record? Not remembering this record literally drove me crazy for DECADES and, with no information to go on, was an unsolvable mystery. My younger self could not give me a drop of information on which to go. Like searching in the dark for something, a specific thing, you’re not sure what it is, but you know it exists. Maybe.

So yesterday, I was in Athens, GA and I made my mandatory trip to Wuxtry Records on my way out of town. I spent like 45 minutes digging through crates and just reveling in being at such an amazing record store again, which brought its own memories flooding back, and as I usually do, I started flipping through the film soundtracks. They were on the floor, tucked tightly into a few crates in the back of the store, and so I got on my hands and knees and was loving the selections, remembering the movies. There are a few I always look for on vinyl and one of them is the original SUSPIRIA soundtrack by Goblin- I have the CD, but it is one I would love to own on vinyl. So, I am flipping through the “S” soundtracks and, truly, a LIGHTNING BOLT FROM THE SKY STRUCK ME.

There, in ‘S’ the crate, sat a record. I flipped past it, noticed the artist (who I love) as it flicked by, and flipped back to it. I stared for a second because I do like the artist, had just looked under his name in the “rock and roll” section and did not see this record in there. It looked weird and why was it in film soundtracks? Oh right, this movie was awful. Ha.

And then, suddenly, I had a complete sense of deja vu looking at the cover. It was jet black with a black and white photo of a bearded vampire. It was a horror record. It listed the artists and song titles, and had another black and white photo on the back of a graveyard. And then, suddenly, I just had a feeling that THIS WAS IT but I wasn’t sure because it didn’t match up with that hazy, obsessive memory I had been desperately trying to reconstruct in my head. But I was almost certain. I stared at it in the crate for a beat and could feel that my heart was racing. I pulled it, tucked it under my arm, and kept browsing but was completely distracted by the possibility that I just, somehow, 35 years later, found this record I had been looking for all my life. Of course, I bought it.

I also immediately understood why my 10 year-old self would have found it so strange because, at that time, I had absolutely no frame of reference for the music of Harry Nilsson. I didn’t get the camp aspect of it at all– I was too young, I didn’t know the Hammer films yet– all I knew was the record, completely out of context. When I got to the airport, I opened the sleeve and there, folding out on the front cover like a vampire’s cape, was a gatefold of all of the black and white pictures of monsters, and I knew for certain this was it. All of those fragmentary memories were replaced instantly by the reality of the thing staring me in the face and the memory and the reality merged and I knew I had found it. I texted my step-brother and suddenly he remembered it as well and sent me a link to the YouTube video of the song we had played incessantly that summer. When I got home to Brooklyn, I opened the record up and inside was the album and the original iron-on T-Shirt decal that came with it (!!!).

The record is the soundtrack to SON OF DRACULA with songs by Harry Nilsson (and Ringo Starr) and Paul Buckmaster, who did the score. It came out in 1974, when I was three years old. It has been re-issued, but my copy is an original with the gatefold of images folding out from the cape. It has clips of the film in-between the songs. It is the soundtrack to one of the (best) worst movies of all time. Why my grandfather had this record at his lake house in the early 1980’s will remain an unknowable mystery.

… and THAT is just one reason why I love taking my time at record stores.

DAYBREAK, The Song We Played Obsessively:

The Cover:
son-of-dracula-lp

The Vampire Cape Gatefold:
sonofdracula_inside

The Back Cover:
lp-son-of-dracula-back

The Iron-On Decal:
unknown

The Label, A Pun On Apple Records:
????????????????????????????????????

My Favorite Movies Of The 21st Century (So Far), 2001-2016

The BBC has asked actual film critics to weigh in with a list of “The Best Films of The 21st Century” and while I am not an actual film critic, I thought it was a fun opportunity to look back on the films that have endured for me since 2001… this is a very personal list and the only thing it reflects is my own connection to certain films that I cannot get out of my head…

TOP TEN

Mulholand drive

4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days 2

Lintrus


lenfant1


Rois-Et-Reine

Climates

pianoteacher

zodiac

no-country-for-old-men-3

there will be blood

Résonance Personnelle (Alpha)

aurora

Bamako

Cache-1

Dogtooth

everyelsrev

Flight Of The Red Balloon

GoodbyeFirstLove.1

margaret09

Summer Hours

two-lovers-2008-3-g

What Time Is It There

Nico’s MIRROR

These pictures of Nico wandering alone on the farm reminded me of a Tarkovsky film…While I could never recreate those incredible images, I was happy to find my son in such beautiful surroundings, completely without any self-consciousness about the camera…

The BRM’s Greatest Hits | My Top Ten Cinematic Experiences of 2010: #1 QUEER and Patti Smith at Sarasota

In celebration of the past seven years of my indieWIRE blog and my migration to a new home here on my own, I will be posting a few Greatest Hits, my favorite posts from the indieWIRE era. Some may be painful, many bear the marks of years worth of growth on my end, but I hope they still have some value. Enjoy!

News today from The Playlist that Steve Buscemi and Oren Moverman’s Queer may be shooting this summer with Guy Pearce, Kelly Macdonald and Ben Foster. I worked with Steve and Oren on a staged reading of this screenplay at the 2010 Sarasota Film Festival; it was a great night and ranked as my favorite moment of 2010. So happy this incredible project is moving forward. Here are my memories from the event…

The original date of publication was January 3, 2011.

__________________________________

Obligatory Repetitive Introduction
In the past, in lieu of ranking movies and being held hostage by the dissonance between the film release calendar and my own experience of the ebb and flow of filmgoing, I have listed my favorite cinematic experiences of the year. I want to get back to that; as the way in which I get to watch movies and talk about them continues to diversify, as the idea of cinematic experience expands to multiple devices, formats, cities, communities, I think this list is here to stay. The age of the theatrical release calendar is dead for me; we’re living in a new time, where the movies can be found in every area of life, from online conversations to your home entertainment system,he back of a car seat to a projection screen at a restaurant, your phone to a portable tablet. So, I am going back to my old model, probably for good; over the next ten days, I’ll be posting my Top 10 Cinematic Experiences of 2010. Not necessarily films (although sometimes), these are the experiences that defined my year in film culture. Subjectivity alert!

1. Queer and Patti Smith at Sarasota


Our Queer Program (designed by Rachel Dengiz, Olive Productions)

Is it self serving to make the number one cinematic experience of my year an event that I worked on? I hope not; working on the Sarasota Film Festival is what defines my career, it is the most meaningful contribution I make to cinema (take that for what it is worth) and I spend countless hours working and fretting over the details of the event. And, even more than all of that, this year was incredibly special; I was privileged to work with Steve Buscemi, Oren Moverman, Wren Arthur and the team at Olive Productions to present a staged reading of Queer, Moverman’s adaptation of the early novels of William S. Burroughs. The cast? Buscemi directed and performed as Burroughs, Stanley Tucci read stage directions and played a couple of small roles, Ben Foster played Allerton, the object of Burrough’s desire, Lisa Joyce was Burrough’s wife Joan, and John Ventimiglia performed as various denizens of the expat bar scene in Mexico. The location? A small, 130 seat black box theater on the edge of downtown Sarasota. Before the reading began? Patti Smith walked on stage to say a few words of remembrance for Burroughs, and her honest, heartfelt tribute to the writer set the stage for a great evening.


Queer at Sarasota: (L to R): Stanley Tucci, Lisa Joyce, Steve Buscemi, Ben Foster, John Ventimiglia (photo by Mollie Grady)

It was an event I was extremely proud to have helped organize and it was a flawless reading; the crowd was riveted by the story and performances and everyone seemed to really enjoy the experience. How could they not? It’s not every day you get to see that group of people on stage together, debuting a new work. And yet, in the grand scheme of the festival world, it didn’t really make any waves, which might be for the best; Sarasota continues to fly a little bit under the radar which is at once frustrating for me and probably for the best. The festival continues to be very special to me, and the intimacy we can achieve is only possible by keeping things, well, special. The up-close and personal experience of Queer was bested the following night when Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye serenaded the attendees at our festival’s President’s Dinner by strolling table to table and singing Beneath The Southern Cross. Everyone was awestruck, a feeling that carried over to the Late Night Party, where Patti and Lenny played a 70 minute acoustic set in a very small room, with a less than desirable sound system, and blew the crowd away.


Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye at The Sarasota Film Festival (photo by Mollie Grady)

Sarasota remains the cinematic love of my life. The program is a pure collaboration between Holly Herrick and me and that relationship remains, my family aside, one of the most important in my life. I love my job, I love my colleagues, I love the work, I am proud of the results. It never gets old. My relationships and passions are what makes it all worth doing. I’m honored to be able to work on what I love; it is a luxury I never take for granted. Onward to 2011.


You Shoulda’ Been There: Patti Smith at The Sarasota Film Festival

Previously
#10 Twitter! Argh!
#9 Jury Duty
#8 Otherwise Unavailable
#7 The Social Network at NYFF
#6 The Home Consumer, Finally
#5 And Everything Is Going Fine… At Slamdance
#4. Post Mortem at The New York Film Festival
#3. Greenberg at Burns Court
#2. Blue Valentine at Sundance

Memory Lane

Best Of The Decade
Top 10 of 2009
Top 10 of 2008
Top 10 of 2007
Top 10 of 2006
Top 10 of 2005
Top 10 of 2004

Welcome To My New Home

Tonight, I received an email from my friends at indieWIRE alerting me that my blog of seven years, The Back Row Manifesto, was being discontinued as a part of an upgrade of the indieWIRE blogging network. Fair enough; it’s rarely updated, draws low readership because of the infrequency of its publication, it is not really a part of the new indieWIRE blog community hierarchy (which is focused on news gathering and reportage) and it’s not, nor has it ever been, a professional blog. I’ve never made a single dollar blogging (not that I’m proud of that *ha*) but when indieWIRE allowed me to launch a blog back in 2004, that was never the point. Things change and that’s how it should be. I am forever grateful to indieWIRE for giving me a platform for all of those years. Not only was it a fair decision to discontinue the original Back Row Manifesto, but beyond that, indieWIRE has promised to archive the blog, which, incredibly generous.

So, before I go any further, a huge THANK YOU to everyone at indieWIRE for having me. It was an honor to be a microscopic piece of the family for all these years and I wish the site nothing but continued success.

As for me, well, for some reason, I’ve decided to keep it going here at my own domain, using WordPress. So far, so good; I feel much more free here, able to say whatever I want without worrying so much about the industry taking much notice. It’s also a very simple design, vertical, a nice template to focus on images and words, a literal clean slate. To get started, I’m going to replicate my favorite pieces and a few recent posts from the indieWIRE version of the blog on here, in the hopes it will give me a good foundation for the future and let me figure out how to execute my preferences using this platform. Think of it as a “Greatest Hits” collection to help christen the new place. One a day for the next couple of weeks… stay tuned.

I hope that I can continue to write about the films that move me, talk to the artists who inspire me, and share my passion for the cinema with those who will follow me here. I hope to make the new place as homey as the old place, but I also hope I can grow here as well. So, update your bookmarks; this is my new home. Time to unpack and get myself situated…