Lively, even near the end

I’m heading for the social flurries, daunting hills, and wild parrots of San Francisco on Wednesday. My last trip to the city, in 2002, flooded my senses and floored my thighs. So much nature and vibrancy in an urban environment! So much color! So many bums offering $2 handjobs! Seriously, though, I love the city and it’ll be good to return to it.

So life will be light here at Quiet Bubble this week. (There will be a semi-big announcement, however, on Friday.) In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a filmmaker who devoted his life to flooding his audience with sensory overload, Romantic overtures, and total, beautiful incoherence:

[F]ilm is the very, very closest to music of any of the other arts because it relies upon time. It’s a continuity art, it happens across a period of time. You have to read a poem, you have to experience a film across a passage of time. And across that passage of time you have to feel its textures, its color, its tones in other words. Now, to be sure, they are hearable tones as distinct from tones of color—blue, rust, so on. They are hearable: [sings opening notes to Beethoven’s 5th symphony] “Buh buh buh buum.” “Rust rust rust apple-green.” “Rose rose rose—which can also be a color—pea-green.” And one can go on editing a film so that it has melodies, so that its colors keep shifting and changing as one would expect them to when listening to a little piece of the 5th symphony of Beethoven. [sings] “Buh buh buh buum, buh buh buh buum.” Then it all depends on how you place these tones and melodies, these tones of these flowers that are so pictured and what they come to mean as a compendium of music. Because it is really close to music, and it’s dependent finally upon a mystique that none of the other arts have.

That onrush of language comes from Stan Brakhage, avant-garde filmmaker extraordinaire, who really tried to equate cinema with poetry rather than prose for his 50-year career. This Brooklyn Rail interview, the last one Brakhage had before his death in March 2003, is well worth the read.

(Hat tips to The House Next Door and GreenCine Daily for the news. I’ve wrestled with Brakhage here and here.)

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. He is the co-author (with Daniel Couch) of Bob Mould's Workbook (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in The Quarterly Conversation,, Bookslut (RIP), The Comics Journal, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. Twitter: @walter_biggins.
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One Response to Lively, even near the end

  1. Ernesto says:

    …and I thought everything was MORE expensive in SF.

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