Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Filmmaking Update

Went and watched the almost finished Lumberjack Storytime short that I wrote and directed.  It's an outtake of sorts from our feature film Made Crooked.  It's Tara's story that she tells to get a reaction out of her father and brother about having wanton sex with two burly lumberjacks, which is acted out humorously in costume by Tara, Travis and me.  We shot it in a warehouse, but it looks like it's in a cabin.  I covered the props with foamcore cut to the shape of the original furniture in the cabin, we then projected images of the cabin onto the set.  It was fun to do and I dig the results.  Gave Jordan a few notes on the sound design and we discussed the titles.  We shot it so long ago that we were having trouble remembering who worked on it for the credits.  Moody?  No, we hadn't even met him yet.  Et cetera.  Funny.
It's almost finished and we discussed what to plug away on next.  I wanted to finish another short, but I had to admit that we really need to get back to Dangerous Writing.  It's so damn close.  So tonight's the night.  Expect some updates soon.  Soon as defined by Neal and Jordan that is.  So don't hold your breath, but do count on us to stick with it until the damn things are finished.

True Grit

Love the movie.  For about fifteen years I've been contemplating getting TRUE GRIT tattooed on my knuckles.  Have yet to read the book.  Think I will, but I'll be buying a vintage copy as the latest printing has something to do with the Coen Brothers remake of the 1969 film starring John Wayne and Glen Campbell.  I'm not mad at the Coen Brothers for their remake.  I might even go see it.  And I understand the movie tie-in covers in order to sell more books.  But just from an aesthetic point of view which book would you rather have on your nightstand and, or in your satchel for a week?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Get Low

I'm not sure this was the best film I've ever seen, but I enjoyed it.  I'm much more forgiving of matinees in general, as we saw it earlier this afternoon.  There were many long stretches where I was all in, a couple moments where it dragged and some sort of a rush to bringit all to a not so tidy end.  I liked the acting and the much of the story.  Bill Murray always distracts me as most comedians tend to do in dramatic roles.  As charismatic and talented as many of them are, they cannot seem to take on the role as an actor can.  As Robert Duvall can and does in this film.  There are films, more often in supporting roles, that Duvall remains more himself than his character, but Get Low is not one of them.  The kid from Sling Blade was very good.  Sissy Spacek pretty good, too, though her character didn't have that much to do.
The sets and the costumes were amazing.  A lot of period films get the styles well, but the clothes as if they either brand new or in tatters.  I have a pet peeve of seeing the bottom of a pair of shoes propped up on a desk in a film and it's obvious they're straight out of a box never worn outdoors.  Bill Murray's shoes have a hole in them, which is perhaps taking it too far, but actually a very telling detail that isn't revealed until late in the film.


List of rationed goods during WWII.

Noms de New Blog, etc.

Once again, I've been thinking it's time to move on from Finding Fellini.
I really don't want to make movies any more, and the storytelling I want to
do just doesn't seem to feel right alongside all this other stuff.
And if I were to promote a new blog, I'm not sure I want all the baggage on FF.
The new blog will likely be along the lines of what I've been posting lately –
men's vintage and heritage clothing, Americana, fashion, Indian robes, travel.
I do think Fellini was intent on finding the beauty and mystery of our lives and exploring
the above things is certainly along those lines, but it feels like a new direction that merits
a new template.
I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to write fiction of any sort.  Which doesn't mean
that I don't want to write or tell stories.  Storytelling is a very broad term.  At least in the ways
I term it.  Pictorial artists, designers of all ilks, nightclub promoters,teachers, musicians, bloggers – we all tell stories.
The great thing about a blog is that it's so free-form.  You can go in any direction your heart desires.  But for it to be relevant to those that might enjoy it, it needs to be focused and consistent.  There are those that might enjoy traipsing all over the place with me, but I get the sense that it's the exceptional reader that's game.
Also I don't want to kill certain elements.  The progress meter for Sway - the novel I started but am unlikely to ever pick up again - is something I want to preserve.  I don't want to kill it.  I'm okay with it being frozen in time.  But I don't want to answer for it.  I don't want to put myself through talking about when it might be finished or what it's about.  I enjoyed writing it (perhaps typing is better, as someone once famously criticized Kerouac's On The Road), but I don't necessarily want to go back and review it or try to improve upon it.  That's all I have to say about that.
It's better for me this way.  And if it's better for me, I think it's going to better for the internet.


Red White & True
Original Glory
Proven Classics
Hooligan Sailor
America Indeed
John Brown Chronicles
Rockabilly Hero
Three on a Match

To be continued ...

Friday, September 24, 2010


According to Esquire, the buzzword in men's style this fall, with most every brand exploring its archives and trumpeting craftsmanship and authenticity in its collection.

As an avid follower of such things, I wholeheartedly agree.  I happen  to enjoy seeing companies like Levi's and L.L. Bean go back to their roots.  I have a closet full of L.L. Bean Signature.

Proven Classics

Portland Outdoor Store
Brooks Brothers
J. Press
Paul Stuart
Red Wing
Lee Storm Rider
L.L. Bean
Ben Davis
Harris Tweed
Florsheim Wingtips

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Waxing Silly

It's Fall, so the fashionistas are really going for it.  When I lived in New York City it always made me laugh to see all the slaves trying to wear the cashmere sweaters in the IT color of the season when it was still very warm outside.  Or when Uggs were the thing - women couldn't stop themselves from wearing shearling boots in the heat of early September.  One year my mother bought me a beautiful leather car coat that was insulated for my birthday, which is in late August.  I'll admit it was very difficult to wait until it was properly cold enough to wear it.  I'm sure I pushed it.
What would be the fun of fashion of one didn't push the limits.  I have suffered much judgment since early high school for my daring to step outside the mainstream.  Living in Portland, one can hardly leave the house in anything but jeans without being accused of dressing up for a fete.  I miss living in NY where people check each other out, but rarely offer any verbal comment.
There's a little company called The Hillside that makes ties, pocket squares and scarves out of chambray and other unlikely fabrics for such items.  I have one of their chambray ties in charcoal.  But, the IT item of the fall amongst the fashion types that I follow on the web (some of their links can be found to the right) seems to be the waxed cotton tie.  There's no way I'm going for it.  I love the idea of waxed cotton, but don't really like clothing made of the stuff.  I don't like the smell when it gets wet nor its stiffness when it's wet or dry.  A necktie is unlikely to get very wet, but the idea of stiff, unforgiving waxed cotton around my neck makes me bristle.
I had a waxed cotton Barbour barn jacket that I got in Scotland several years ago, but I finally gave it away after trying so hard to like it.  Then a couple of years ago I couldn't resist buying a Filson Tin Cloth Logger.  I love the look of it.  And I've worn it during a downpour on the deck of a sailboat and in the Oregon woods without getting wet or cold.  I can't always say the same for gore-tex.  But the Filson is most often unwearable.  Maybe I'm not going about it very well.  I seem to spend more time going out to dinner or coffee on rainy days than sailing or standing around in the woods.  It's super stiff, though not as smelly as my Barbour.  You have to take it off before you get in the car.  In my Bronco or pickup it was okay to sit down, but steering felt way too cumbersome.  I've had it for three years and it's as stiff as the day I bought it.  Lately I've threatened to sell it on eBay.  I don't think that's going to happen.  I just need to get a jacket or coat that I can wear in the rain that isn't a parka made of some sort of modern technical fabric and save the Logger for appropriate occasions that are neither indoors nor sporty. Unlike my fellow Portlanders, I can't bring myself to wear gore-tex or fleece when I'm not engaged in the activities for which they was designed.  An early spring trip up the Columbia on a sailboat - Filson.  Skiing on Mt. Hood in January - North Face. 
Even so, you will not see me wearing a waxed cotton necktie anytime soon.  The tie paired with a white oxford and the Filson logger would make quite a statement.  But it would be very uncomfortable and I don't care how cool some very cool people say it is, if you can't wear clothing effortlessly, you shouldn't wear it.

Butterflies and Demon Pirates

Sailor Jerry is to traditional tattooing as Matisse is to 20th Century painting.  So good that you almost look past him.  And because prints of his work have seen many commercial applications.  Like listening to the Beatles in an elevator, the genius of the melody transcends the cliche.  I love Sailor Jerry flash as I love Matisse and the Beatles.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010




heirloom (plural heirlooms)
  1. A valued possession that has been passed down through the generations.
  2. A crop variety that has been passed down through generations of farmers by seed saving and cultivation.

Little Bit Wm. Faulkner, A Little Bit Steve McQueen

A behind the scenes look at the creation of Billy Reid's Workwear line with Levi's. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Gimlet Eye

Le Mensch

Le détermination


Le Rat Rod

Le travail


From the age of about 6, I wanted some x-ray specs.  Underwear would have been fine to spy upon, though some flesh would have been good, too.  I used to check out the ads in the backs of comic books for these things.  I was pretty sure they didn't work and that if they did, I probably shouldn't have them.  Either way, there was no way I was going to let my mom in on the fact that I had a desire to see through women's clothing.  She would not have thought that was very cute.
Years later a friend of mine asserted that by that stage in our lives, we had enough experience to know what a woman's breasts looked like through their clothes.  I'd say I would agree with him for the most part.  Though modern bras are very adept at subterfuge.  And natural breasts are anything but cookie cutter.  I don't think I've ever experienced two alike and that includes the ones on the same chest.
I was obsessed with boobs from a very young age.  I really loved Cat Woman.  I've never been into the size as much as the shape.
I wouldn't call myself a boob-man, because I like tushies, too.  I never really recognized a girl's butt as being attractive until I was in the sixth grade.  It was very impressive though.  I was standing on Hawthorne after seeing a movie at the Bagdad.  I'm thinking it was a Richard Pryor-Gene Wilder flick, maybe Stir Crazy, though my memory isn't quite that good.  Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure that was it.  Anyway, we were waiting for my friend's parents to pick us up afterward.  Matt said something like, Look there's Julie S.  She didn't go to our school, but she was well-reputed to be a fox. (To use the parlance of that time.)  It was the first time I had ever seen her.  She was standing in front of us.  And there it was, one of the greatest butts of all my middle school years.  (I tried for years to get a date with Julie.  I finally gave up.  And then later, during high school, I dated her younger sister briefly.)
My early obsession with women's chests was probably a result of not being breast fed.  I would suppose that explains a lot about me if anybody buys into Freud anymore.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

J. Crew Sells Out

They're selling out not in a Warholian fashion, but in a retail way.  The jacket above is of the type of heritage American workwear coveted in Japan and lovingly and painstakingly recreated and reinvented by companies like Kapital.  It's beautiful stuff.  The jacket above is neither vintage nor Kapital.  It's a collection created by Heller's Cafe, a vintage clothing museum in Seattle,  and Warehouse, a Japanese denim company, for J.Crew.  It just launched and much of it is sold out already.
I also noticed that J. Crew just released a shawl collar sweater with toggle buttons much like some of the Kapital coats we shot this spring.  Of course fashion is endless recapitulation and replication, but it seems like J. Crew has really jumped on the Japanese, and perhaps specifically the Kapital, bandwagon.
They are going for it.  Check out the facial hair and the unkempt locks on this male moodle.  I do notice that though they may go for the bohemian stylings, they still can't abandon their youthful demographic.  Only a company like Kapital has the cojones to cast an old blue-eyed bastard like my high school classmate Robbie Daigle shown here in Kapital's beautiful 40s wool melton wool with hand-tied rope toggle buttons.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I Know These Guys

City of Culver City

I've been in Los Angeles since Saturday.  (I flew on September 11th.)  I'm staying at the Culver Hotel.  My room is right next the H of the HOTEL sign in the photo.  The hotel is historic, built in 1924.  The exterior and the lobby are very nice.  The rooms and upper hallways not so nice.  I do love the view from my room though.  I'm right on the end of the building so I have those two windows facing west as well as two facing south and one to the north.  Nearly panoramic.  I like seeing the lights and sky to the west at night as Washington and Culver Boulevards intersect.  John Wayne owned this joint long ago.  One if its other claims to fame is that the actors playing the Munchkins stayed here while the Wizard of Oz was being filmed.
Many of my friends have asked why I'm staying in Culver City.   No particular reason.  Last time I was here, I stayed in Santa Monica.  I like being near the beach, but everything else is too much of a shlep when you're out there.  One can experience the openness of this area on foot.  You have to get in your car to go anywhere at many hotels in LA.  Except for downtown, but I didn't feel like staying downtown this trip.  The purpose of which is mainly restorative and to see some people.  I like the simplicity of being around here.  Some of the architecture is nice.  And the hills to the south feel like some sort of uninhabited border, the other side of which could be a vast western desert instead of Inglewood and LAX.  The streets are very clean without it seeming posh or exclusive.  There are some good restaurants just across the street such as Ford's Filling Station and The M Cafe.  There's a movie theater to the right of the plaza in the photo.  I saw The American there the other night.
The scale of Culver City feels very comfortable.  I first drove through here late one night many years ago before it was revitalized.  Then a couple of years ago my friend had the privilege of opening a new play by David Mamet at the Kirk Douglas theater.

I was staying with him, so the night I went to see the play we went over to Culver City and had dinner at Ford's before he went to work.  I roamed around by myself until curtain.  It was a typically beautiful Los Angeles  evening.  Everything had a nice feel to it.  I've stayed all over the place down here.  I don't know that I would make Culver City my forever go-to spot in LA, but it's got its advantages.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Kapital Casting

Two of the models above are professionals.  The rest are friends, people I found on the street and my son.  I like street casting.  Especially for a company like Kapital that favors interesting faces over the usual ho-hum plastic people.

19th Century Fonts

Big Sur Revisited

The powerful feel of Big Sur's enormous sky above as I got to know the character and his world had become part of the book and stayed with me as I continued to read it back in the Pacific Northwest.  

I love that I carry that sky with me - both the infinite, pacific blue of its days and the sparkling cosmos in the gloaming black of its nights.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I've Found This To Be True

Movies are impossible to make and they ruin you,
but children run and run.

Adult Reading

I just finished The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Barry Udall a few days ago.  A very enjoyable read.  Reminiscent of John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany – but better.  Better because it was less sentimental and not as corny.  Irving's books almost felt like guilty pleasures when I read them long ago.
Now I'm reading Timothy Egan's The Big Burn.  I've been wanting to read The Worst Hard Time, Egan's book on The Dust Bowl, before his latest book, but it didn't turn out that way.  I was given a biography of Teddy Roosevelt by one of my acting students years ago and I wanted to read that prior to The Big Burn as well.  I've learned though, that sometimes you just have to dig in.  I love reading history.  I was a history major, actually, though that seems very long ago, and as I specialized in Mexico, it seems even more remote.  I even earned a lifelong membership to Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society, though I've yet to put that on a resume.  Growing up I loved American History.  I had a set of encyclopedias in which I wore out the entries on all the American Wars and the Presidential biographies.
However, in the early 90s when I went to college, I was studying Spanish and Mexican folk art.  And there was a renowned scholar of contemporary Mexican history that had just come to Portland.  I became his student.  When I went down to the Universidad de las Americas in Puebla - the USC of Mexico - for a semester I took a seminar on The Mexican Revolution.  Professor Schuler's lectures and assignments prepared me well.  Even though the course was conducted in Spanish, I earned an A+ on my first essay exam.
One of the joys of blogging is to be able to recall such forgotten moments in one's life.  It has no relevance and to mention such a minor triumph seems almost immodest, but it I think it's good to remember such things.  To write them down and make them real.  For no one other than myself, and perhaps any reader that needs a reminder to recall their own small victories.
What it does for me is to evoke the whole person that I am.  To overcome my habit of editing myself to the point of nullification at times.  I am a pinball.  I ricochet from one interest to the next, immediately forsaking much of my hard-earned recent experience, gathering all of my energy for the next target.  I roll bright, shiny and confident toward it, though I feel the chaotic randomness of my path acutely.  Pinball really is a good metaphor for my life as it is a seemingly random game that actually can be played with skill and sometimes bravado.
It's important for me to remember as my fascination with 20th century American History reignites that my Mexican scholarship wasn't a waste or something to ignore.  However distant it may feel.  To be honest, it felt distant when I was studying it.  Not only was it history - events in the past, but it was foreign in so many ways.  As I traveled around Mexico, meeting people and staying with friends' families, they often remarked that I knew Mexico geographically and historically better than they.  Maybe this is part of the greater puzzle that I am trying to piece together  - no matter how much someone says I know, I tend to doubt it.  Fear.
One thing I'm coming to view as a strength is the seeking and the chasing – the ricocheting pinball rolling at a high speed toward yet another pin, knowing full well it's not going to find stasis as it hits the bumper but will likely gain velocity and a new course.  This is a pivotal insight.  For so long, I've been trying to find some sort of equilibrium.  For others to hear this usually produces at least a scoff.  I'll admit it's a funny way of going about it.  Reminds me of the wisdom to know that the playground bully is often the most afraid - tough to believe, especially when his wrath is coming at you, but invariably true.
I have no need to justify my interest in the subject of Timothy Egan's National Book Award winning, New York Times bestselling book.  Plenty of people didn't drive through forest fires in the early 70s with their grandparents or study history in college or have an acting student that was obsessed with Teddy Roosevelt or have an affinity for vintage American work wear or have an old friend that's a legendary forest firefighter have read this book and enjoyed it and have done so presumably because they feel connected to the stories within simply because they're human.  Maybe that explains my need to enumerate my qualifications - I don't find it easy to connect.  Maybe because I'm a steel ball bounding about.  And maybe because I find it so god darned difficult to be satisfied with simply being human.  It doesn't feel good enough much of the time.  It's important that I don't beat myself up about this.  I can just take a look at it.  I must really want to, because it's pouring out of me.  Today all I really wanted to blog about was what I've been reading.  To be really honest, I just wanted to post the image of the cool slide from the New York Public Library archives I found at the top of the page.  But the thoughts come.  And then they go.  And some of them come around again and again.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Dogs That Chase Cars | The Nuances of Seeking

Some dogs are born to run and to chase.  It's in their nature, certainly, but it proposes danger to both chaser and chased should the operator of the vehicle react recklessly or be exposed on a motorcycle or bicycle.  There are steps owners can take to modify and, or prevent such behavior.  I've been chased on my bicycle and motorcycle multiple times.  Scary.  Not fun.  On a motorcycle it's not so bad as it's easy to decelerate and then take off to throw off the dog's angle of pursuit.  On a bicycle it goes against every instinct to slow down when being pursued.  Once in the woods of Pennsylvania I had to jump off my bike and scramble up a tree as a Rottweiler got way too close for comfort.  One thing each of these experiences has in common is that every time the owner acted as if this was completely surprising behavior on the part of their dog.  I have a friend whose dog has a tendency to chase bicycles.  When they're out for a walk she keeps him on a short leash when bicycles approach.  Many people don't.  The owner of the Rottweiler actually told me that her dog wouldn't hurt me as he growled and bared his fangs from the base of the tree in which I was seeking sanctuary.  I would submit that she had an opinion of her dog that was unrealistic.  She was delusional.
Yesterday I caught up with an old friend.  We were very close in the late 90s.  We were business partners and we traveled extensively together.  Some of my favorite stories involve him.  We lived life to the fullest during that time.  Things happened to us that seem like tall tales.  Since he and I didn't speak for the past ten years, many of those things started to feel more mythical than actual.  There was no bad blood, we just lost touch -- he's definitely not the type for social media.  So we talked and got caught up.  He asked me what I was into these days.  It's a question I expected from him.  The basis of our relationship back then was he was Mr. Gerard and I was Wiseacre.  We had pencil thin moustaches and wore spectator shoes.  We got fitted for custom-made zoot suits and hats together by Valentino in Las Vegas.  Everything we wore was either vintage or custom-tailored.  Our pictures appeared in publications such as Life, Esquire and The New York Times.  On Wednesday afternoons we got straight razor shaves from a barber.  Before I could answer, he posed some guesses.  And before I could reply with much depth, we were off on another tangent.  At some point he said, "You're a chaser.  You were always chasing something."  He admitted he followed me when he could, but sometimes he couldn't keep up.  I got a little tongue-tied.  I wanted to deny his claim, but I thought about it and I told him he was probably right.  I admitted that there always seems to be something that catches my attention.  I'm a seeker.  It wasn't easy to say it unapologetically.  I think I've long equated being a seeker with being lost.  It's a stretch for me to see that being curious and adventurous and sometimes reckless is part of my nature and that it's made me the worldly, sensual and sophisticated man that I am.  I want to hold onto that -- to accept and embrace the multitude blessings in my life that have come about because of my nature.  Because it's much better to be a seeker than to be delusional.  Even though sometimes they feel like they're one in the same.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Io Sono L'Amore

I love Tilda Swinton.  She's powerful and gorgeous and sort of grotesque.  She's not afraid to contort or expose her body and soul in unflattering ways.  She's an actor from the old days of film - her beauty is a result of her artistry rather than just another pretty face. 
My friend suggested this Italian film called "I Am Love" the other night.  "Tilda Swinton is in it."  All he needed to say for me to agree.  But it was god awful.  It tried so hard to be good the first third.  Which was annoying, but there were many beautiful shots and settings and people to get to know.  They were all presented as if the filmmaker thought he were Rossellini.  But he isn't and Rossellini's once avante-garde manner of introducing a place is now passé.  Tilda was amazing in the first act, however.  She palyed the patrician wife perfectly and quietly.  So tall and regal.  She has such an expressive body in the simplest of ways.  (Think of her in Michael Clayton.  Her physical life was amazing.)
Then the second third of the film a lot of stuff happened without motive, but again, it was pretty.  But not that pretty.  Or simply pretty the way some blond women are pretty - kind of boring.  The film was so dull that Tilda Swinton getting very naked did nothing for me.  If kind of make me feel like she had wasted something in exposing herself so in this dog of a film.  It seemed as if the filmmaker stopped trying.  And then in the third act, it was if he was trying really hard to be bad.  The music got really overt.  Opera would seem understated in comparison.  Agonizingly solemn and at once tragically hysterical.  As we walked out of the theater my friend said he was glad he saw it for one reason only, that he would be able to use it as a barometer for film tastes.  If he met anyone that loved it, it would tell him a lot.
I still love Tilda, but I won't blindly go see another film just because she's in it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Swooning is a physical sensation often brought on by a profound feeling of adoration.  It is experienced as a sort of electrical charge traveling from the chest downward, sometimes all the way to one's toes.  It is usually followed immediately by a sigh and a relaxation of the muscles accompanied by a heady giddiness.  To swoon is often amorous in connotation, but it can also mean to experience generic symptoms of light-headedness, dizziness and, or fainting.
This more debilitating swoon is known as a vasovagal attack.  A vasovagal attack is a condition involving slowing of the heart, reduced blood pressure and reduced blood circulation to the head which reduces the oxygen supply to the brain and can lead to fainting or convulsions. The condition is brought on by over-activity of the vagus nerve, a remarkable nerve that supplies nerve fibers to the pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe), lungs, heart, esophagus, and the intestinal tract as far as the transverse portion of the colon. The vagus nerve also brings sensory information back to the brain from the ear, tongue, throat, and larynx.
The condition is more common in females than males and is often associated with conditions such as lack of sleep, illnesses involving fevers and excessive fasting.
Of course these things are related -- we experience many sensations in the organs and body parts listed above when we love.  It makes sense that as the tenth cranial nerve, the vagus nerve transmits mucho informaccion from our heads downward.  In a new love affair there is little sleep to be had, falling in love is often associated with fevers and one rarely has an appetite when in the throes of early courtship's passions.  These symptoms are also common for parents of newborns.  There are other objects of beauty, both in the natural world and things manufactured, that make one weak in the knees.
I wanted to give the physical sensations of appreciative adoration a little thought tonight, because I've been swooning all the goddamn time lately.  I'm finding Fellini all over the bloody place – life is freaking grand.

We Really Shouldn't Bomb Iran ... Ever