Friday, May 25, 2012
David Lynch is a surrealist American Filmmaker who somehow found popular appeal. His early bizarre film Eraserhead gained notoriety on the midnight movie circuit. Based on Eraserhead, Mel Brooks hired Lynch to direct The Elephant Man. Later, George Lucas offered Lynch the chance to direct Return Of The Jedi. (Lynch passed and instead made the sci-fi epic Dune).
Lynch's films have a European sensibility and he relies on the subconscious to visually drive his stories forward. He is obsessed with dreams and dreamlike imagery and his soundscapes are fueled by pounding pistons and industrial machinery. Though not always loved by critics, Lynch has received 3 Academy Award Nominations for Best Director and his films have twice won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Lynch also broke ground with his amazing tv series Twin Peaks which featured quirky small town characters, supernatural forces, dreams of backward-talking dwarves and an obsession with hot coffee and fruit pie. (Writer David Chase credits Twin Peaks for helping inspire The Sopranos.)
In the 80's, Lynch co-wrote two amazing screenplays which were never made into films. Ronnie Rocket was about a 3-foot tall red-headed midget and his relationship with electricity while One Saliva Bubble featured a redneck hick who emits a saliva bubble which short-circuits a government weapons system causing townspeople to switch personalities. From 1983-1992, Lynch penned the comic strip The Angriest Dog In The World. These days, Lynch writes music, issues daily LA weather reports from his website, distributes his own gourmet coffee brand and helps spread the teaching and practice of Transcendental Meditation. He still hopes to make Ronnie Rocket into a film. (5" x 7", black ink print)
Saturday, May 19, 2012
When I was a college student, I had the habit of checking my friends bookcases to see what they were reading. I'd see books by Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Herman Hesse. Looking on a lower shelf, tucked away in a corner perhaps, I'd often see multiple well-worn titles by Charles Bukowski. The message was clear: high-brow reading was necessary but Bukowski was pure fun. Charles Bukowski was a poet of the profane. A student of the gritty streets, he wrote about the shadow side of America. Prostitutes, dingy bars, human cruelty, lonely trysts. He was a brutal drunk, a misogynist, a self-admitted louse. But he was also a prolific writer and at times a sensitive poet with a twisted sense of humor. Born in Germany in 1920, he grew up in Los Angeles son to an abusive, alcoholic father. Bukowski began writing (and drinking) in his teens. He struggled for decades, toiling as an on-again/off-again postal worker until 1969 when he published his first novel "Post Office" at age 49. He went on to publish more than 60 books in his life. Hollywood has made multiple movies about him ("Barfly," "Factotum," "Tales of Ordinary Madness") and his writing remains as popular as ever. Bukowski died of leukemia in 1994 and his funeral was conducted by Buddhist monks. His old De Longpre Avenue Apartment in Hollywood is now an official landmark. His headstone features a graphic of a boxer and the zen-inspired epitaph "Don't try." (5" x 6, black ink print)