Buzzing Palm Trees and 8 Years is Enough!

I had my film screening at the Echoparkfilmcenter tonight! Showed some old short films (happy 20th anniversary, Barbie Dolls!), some fresh ones edited only yesterday on Super 8, and my brand new 32 minutes long Ode To June which I finished in Berlin before I came here (world premiere!!).
There was a quiet moment when we set up the room, the projector, the food & drinks … and while we did so we listened to Mr Obamas speech as the probable new president live on the radio … which was interesting for me as a foreigner … he promised a lot of things like the chance of good education for all and solar and other renewable energy … good luck and keep your promises!!!

And by the way thank you dear audience for singing with me and Paolo & Lisa the Palm Tree Song Line film!!!!! Great performance! There’s music in the city …I’ll be back.



I’m in love with the 704 bus (the faster version of the 4) that goes all the way from Downtown over Alvarado (my access) to Santa Monica Beach. It takes a little more than 1 hour to get to the beach. You pass interesting quite different parts of LA and so are the people that get in and out. A new short film was born today … dedicated to the bus drivers, a hundred times friendlier than their brothers and sisters in Berlin.


Private Processing Practice

Paolo offers this workshop a couple of times a year and this time he asked me to participate as teacher (for 10 adults): the 5 hours marathon of the history of super 8, learning camera, techniques and tricks, first steps with colour and black-and-white film shooting outside (in the park again!), processing two rolls in the cellar lab (one like pirate punk processing in buckets, one in a russian tank) and then projecting! The product was extraordinary: looked like ancient old film, scratches and dust here and there, some parts underdeveloped/negative (where film parts stuck together and the chemicals couldn’t really react)
– all in all: great special workshop! Beautiful piece of art!!

And by the way: The Sunset Junction Street Festival sucks.I asked some people at the bus station (I wanted to go there after the workshop) because I saw they had not only a blue wristband (like me) but a second pink one. Yes, second day another 20 $. That’s too much, die haben ja den Arsch offen we Germans would say 😉   

Social Scene … or Sunburn on Sanborn

It’s Sunset Junction Street Festival. Today and tomorrow. In Silverlake. As they say: THE BIGGEST CELEBRATION OF DIVERSITY, WITH THREE ON GOING STAGES, GAMES & RIDES, ARTS & FOOD AND NON-PROFIT OUTREACH. It used to be free in the beginning, now you have to pay 20 $ entrance fee and the locals are quite pissed.Whatever … I payed, got a blue wristband, wandered around, got a sunburn, had some delicious strawberry lemonade, discovered the spookiest merry-go-round I’ve ever seen, quite old though, but more like a squeetching queeky rattling horror-go-round-shaker.

There were 3 stages, all different sorts of bands, stumbled into a soulish-bluesy southern jazz band with an amazing guitarplayer and singer, old and black with fancy violet pants and a genius on his guitar, must have been Arthur Adams I found out later.

And then, sunset on Sunset, expensive beer in my hand (I KNEW it would happen: they asked me for my ID to prove that I was older than 21 heeeehaaahaaaaaaaahoohooo and then I got a BEER stamp on my arm that allowed me to buy a beer ticket that allowed me to buy beer) … er … one of my favourite bands: BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE! Mmh, great. Bearded Canadians (mostly) with fire in their hearts. I love them.

Oh, before sunset, I almost forgot: It’s not only sunny but also shady and there was killerradio on Sanborn inviting me for some chatting and food on the front porch (this one is for Khani) and Paul and I talked about Fahrvergnuegen and inspiration and the things that I take home from here. Colors! Laidbackness!

Later the evening after Broken Social Scene I took the 4 bus home to Echo Park, I stepped inside and someone said, watch out, vomit on the ground! And the bus driver, realizing it, said: aaaaalllll out! Have to stop the bus! Take the next! … which was just coming, luckily.One good night beer in the Machine Project gallery next to the Film Center who celebrated the opening of BLACK CLOUD CITIZEN SCIENTIST LEAGUE … sensor boxes, universes in boxes designed by children/students, a pollution monster … something mysterious about a black cloud that wouldn’t move. Have to check it out a little closer next time I’m there ….

Super 8 Workshop – last day – Showing & Glowing

It was just a little meeting … an intimate party, a lovely celebration of the students, Paolo & Lisa of the Film Center, me, 2 mothers 🙂 and a tiny bunch of film friends and neighbors. We watched all the films they / we made during the last 2 weeks (what a short time!!) and then we watched them all over again … I am glad and a little sad 😉 and very proud of them and the wabi sabi in Super 8 that is almost unexplainable but they all understood and felt it and worked with it. The special personal beautiful spirit that separates Super 8 from video. The subtle beauty that exists in the imperfect, in every day things. They got it.  Carla making a backwards bow and the fly on the lens is crawling in the same direction simultaneously!! 

Flicker – Best of The Attack of the 50 Foot Super 8 Reel

Hooo, I’m quite late … I wanted to tell you about yesterday evening … There was an exciting film show at the Film Center, Best of The Attack of the 50 Foot Reel – Super 8 films entirely edited in camera, 3 minutes long, the subject was documentary. Saw some amazing films about a cat living on the Empire State Building, men dedicated to trains, animals under a microscope, ducks designing fancy dresses, and many more … Check them out!! 

Music and Sponto

Super 8 Workshop Day 5: We watched the films that my students made at home over the weekend … oh! Whow! Great! So beautiful to see!
And then we made music. A spontaneous soundtrack for the park animation film from Monday. And for more … because once we started we couldn’t really stop … music flow, you know 😉 (make a sound sample later and put it on my blog).

Paolo and I rushed to Venice Beach then, to the Dudley 7 Cinema at Sponto Gallery to show some of my films. Some short ones and then my very very new 32 min long „Ode to June“ … it was fun to show it there (I only showed it to the kids before as a world premiere 🙂 ) – not many people, rather my age, I think they enjoyed it … and we had some good discussions after the film. About cats, America, experimental films, influences, music …

And it was also weird because when I first came to Los Angeles in March 2004 with Khani starting our south states trip we wanted to spend our first night close to the ocean and found a quite cheap hotel on the internet – the Cadillac Hotel just opposite the Sponto. So we had our first American beers in the evening breeze at the open window and watched people go in and out the Sponto with no idea what that place could be. Full circle. Here I am 4 years later presenting my films there … Thank you Jerry for inviting me.

Balloons and a Y

I keep telling my students to walk around with antennas up … to see things that you’d normally not give attention to. So do I if I have the time and here & now I have: just walked down the street to buy milk and water I looked up and found balloons, I looked down and found a Y. Hello Sesame Street ;-D

The Fruit Man on Alvarado Street

I love those fruit stands on street corners. They sell you a plastic bag for 3 or 4 or 5 $ filled with very yummy very fresh fruit like pineapple, mango, coconut, melon and orange. And then spice it with chilipowder and salt! And add fresh lime juice! Mmmh!

I just went down there to buy my daily lunch bag and I asked if I could film … of course I could, said the friendly Mexican man. Watch out for my fresh new film called „The Fruit Man on Alvarado Street“ 🙂

PS: Das Zeug schmeckt erst so richtig geil, wenn es einen Tag ordentlich durchgesuppt ist!!!!
Deborah, can you please translate it for me????

Chained Chair and The Exiles

I just saw the freshly renovated black and white film THE EXILES from Kent Mackenzie from 1961 – – a documentary about „one night in the lives of young Native American men and women living in the Bunker Hill district of Los Angeles.“
„Bunker Hill, where most of THE EXILES is set, was once the glory of downtown L.A. – a haven for wealthy Los Angelenos set on a steep hill with a magnificent view. But by 1960, the area was a run-down neighborhood of decayed Victorian mansions and skid-row apartment buildings. The seedy charms of Bunker Hill have been celebrated in the novels of John Fante, Raymond Chandler and Charles Bukowski. For the men and women featured in THE EXILES, the neighborhood is an escape from the monotony of life „back home.“ The guys spend their night barhopping and gambling while the women try to hold their homes together and go to the movies to dream.“

parking lot under the cinema

Mountain Feast

We call it BERGFEST in Germany meaning MOUNTAIN FEAST – the first half is done. Mountain up. Then there’s the peak and then it’s going down. Not literally. It can be more up than ever.

We celebrated harvest today. Thanksgiving!! We watched our freshly processed super 8 film rolls today. One black+white we shot in the very beginning in the Echo Park — The Making Of … (awesome! We filmed each other, names and motion, beautiful timing and just the right clicks!, and 2 color animation rolls (Duck Race and Fruit Salad) and some more … We were all quite tired and laidback and enjoyed the quiet mood of just watching and letting the images rattle on the little ELMO projector.

I tried to transport the super 8 spirit to my students. The so called Wabi Sabi. Meaning (stolen from Japanese aesthetics describing beauty in imperfect, impermanent, incomplete things and existences.)
I showed them (world premiere!) my 32 minutes long ODE TO JUNE that I made in the month of June trying to capture the June-freshness and the banality and beauty of every day occurences — diary-like — like making coffee, riding bike, sitting on the balcony, talking to cats, … to be continued … and I thank Carla for saying (hope that I get my words right) like — I thought I should be more worried about having a plan to film my film over the weekend but now I see I can be relaxed and see what comes … hope I get you right Carla … and Jorge saying that he would love to film parts of LA that he sees now that he’s kind of grown up and gets around more and often felt like saying to his friends (car riding): stop now! I gotta take this image now! Stop talking! Let me film! Now!
If I inspired you with my June stuff I’m satisfied. Good night! xxxxx to be continued xxxx

Paolo, me, and Matt celebrating Mountain Feast in the Film Center.

Indie Music Films, Thai Tea and Summer Time Songs

Every Thursday the Echoparkfilmcenter shows a collection of inspiring films.
Today: 20 independent music videos from mostly Canada. click!!
I recommend Tricot Machine – a beautiful knitting machine animation film! The song is – uhm – but the animation amazing. Look here!!
And I liked The Masfaldas from Mexico for their freshness! click!!
And the Beangrowers for their animation style. click!!
And the Static of the Gods for the voice and the animated clouds and animals 😉 click!!

Earlier this day. I tried to find the big Goodwill thrift store on Hollywood Blvd. But I got the number wrong. So I landed between Armenia and Thailand. Even better! I walked and walked, got hungry, spied into a window of a small restaurant and saw Thai and Mexican people sitting there and 2 policemen. I can’t go wrong, I thought, went inside and tried the Yellow Curry and the Thai Tea from their special lunch menue. One of the best I ever had! Mmmh!
Thai Patio, 5273 Hollywood Blvd.

Later this night. Paolo and Thea and I wanted a glass of wine to say goodbye to this beautiful night and to one another. We went just around the corner into this old French restaurant (built in the twenties, they told me) that has a kind of lounge for smaller dishes and drinks and live music. The singer sang Summer Time And The Living Is Easy and the day made a perfect circle.

Super 8 Workshop Day 2

Today was Animation Day!
(sorry for the out of focus picture above … my cellphone camera got too hot I guess 😉 /// we transformed the filmcenter into an animation center: 2 tables covered with moving things like fruit, lighting ducks, burning candles, bread, words written on paper … my students did a crazy good job animating, bringing objects to life! I’m proud of them.

Super 8 Workshop Day 1

One of the many reasons that I’m here for is giving workshops in (experimental) super 8 film making. Today was the first meeting of my class – 10 people from 13 to 20 years old.I think I was more excited than they were 🙂 and I can say I am sure that we will have a good time together, they are just cool! I have a lot to give and I know that we will produce wonderful films during the 2 weeks sessions!

„The Monster that ate Stars“, Mermaids, and Sneakers on Wires

I walk in the afternoon heat … I look in the sky in the blue and I film things that hang there like sneakers (3 pairs on 3 different wires on one day. Is that some kind of secret sign?) or that simply stand or fly or sit there like lamp posts, signs, birds, moon, planes … I think my next film is going to be called „Blue Sky and Things in it“

And then I found a kind of mini comic art fair in a yard on Sunset Paolo told me about. Just some stands with some comic artists behind selling their stuff. I don’t know why exactly that one but I bought a very small booklet called The Monster that ate Stars for 4 $ and I just read it and looked at it at home – simply beautiful. 🙂 

This friendly Souther shared the desk with a woman who gave me a postcard with a mermaid with red hands on it and I just found her on the internet … – her name is Gwenaëlle.

Whow! Great artists!  

 And now the magic hanging sneakers again. What would I do without Wiki? Look here!!