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Ian Thal

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Blogs by Ian Thal

Friday, July 18th, 2003:
7/27/2003 8:23:42 AM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

A very busy day: Photography, silent film, dancing, and self promotion
I get up early in the morning to meet Liz to pick up the negatives for the photo sessions she did with us this past winter and spring. We'd not spoken for a few months and when I get to her place in Cambridgeport the small talk is far more extensive than during our past photo sessions. A lot is focused on Bill and how serious his injury is and how uncertain it is over whether or not he will continue to be part of Cosmic Spelunker Theater. I admit that while he is often a challenge with whom to work that I miss having him at rehearsals. James and I on the other hand have a very smooth, streamlined and efficient working relationship, still Bill's proclivity for chaos and contrarian behavior is potent.

Liz and I look over the contact sheets. There are some great shots I never saw, including a session I did in full costume (sans makeup) with Bill. I remember how the first roll or so didn't work well until I explained to Bill that the photograph is just a very tiny stage no more than three feet across-- whereupon we managed to create some amazing poses for Liz to capture.

The contact sheets hammer in the fact that the human face is incredibly malleable. Depending on the gestures I chose from shot to shot, I can be a grotesque, even gargoyle like, or quite handsome, and given my own tendencies to extreme facial gestures, who knows what I look like at any given moment?

Liz is taking some of her art books to sell to Harvard Bookstore. She's short of money right now and has a kid to support. My left arm is still busted so we throw some of the books in a backpack and hike to Harvard Square. It's the first time I've really had the chance to have some social time with Liz since meeting last fall. She sells all but one book... it has a cracked binding and she gives it to me. It is a collection of profiles of women artists-- a few of whom (Cindy Sherman, Julie Taymor, etc.) I've been a fan of for some time.

Afterwards we grab breakfast and try to plot another way to promote our careers together.

In the evening, I go to Artists At Large for movie night. It's a double feature of Charlie Chaplin's "The Immigrant" and Harold Lloyd's "Haunted Spooks." Both are shorts that the two comedians made for the Mutual Film Company. No one else shows up that night, so it's just Tommey, myself and a film projector. Both Chaplin and Lloyd are simply amazing physical performers. Once again I see how so many folk can be nostalgic for the time before the talkies. Lloyd exhibits a wonderful fluidity of movement and grace-- I've never seen more than a few excerpts of his work-- I am amazed that he is not as well known as Chaplin or Keaton are today. Between Tommey being a photographer and my being a mime, we are able to run a commentary about what makes these two films brilliant. I recognize Lloyd's mastery of isolations and translations. The Immigrant shows Chaplin's mastery both of mime and of the camera-- how by coordinating the movements of his legs and the camera he creates the rocking of the ship in the first act. If only Chaplin's co-stars had a level of physical technique approaching his own-- imagine what he would have been capable of as a director!

So from scene to scene we are able to figure out when t he set was being rocked and when the rocking is an illusion. Amazing since Chaplin was inventing all of this stuff.

The Lloyd film is a plot that has been reused countless times, but it is wonderfully performed. There's a racial undercurrent which bothers me a little-- but that too continues to be reused in every Martin Lawrence, or Chris Tucker vehicle. The minstrel show is still alive. At least this old film is gentle and avoids crassness.

Afterwards, Tommey and I put in an appearance at an event at the Piano Factory Gallery. Carey, who is a rapper and singer is hosting the event. He is putting on an event at Tommey's space later. So we're there to schmooze and promote the next P.L. The crowd is a racially mixed (all too rare in Boston) crowd of young hip hoppers and hippies. Carey was raised in the artist colony of the Piano Factory by the original generation of hippy artists, and he seems to be trying to create a positive, artistic scene. I'd met him a few times before and that's enough for him to give me a huge hug. The music is provided by a jam band with a funk beat. It's not my scene so I can't plug my next event with the simple handing out of post cards-- so instead I hit the floor and dance Tommey stands around and schmoozes to various people with the line: "That's my guy. He's performing at my space and curating a series for me, let me give you a card..." Perfect example of team work-- and we didn't have to plan it out.

The evening's gallery manager is a guy named Michael. He's an actor and had a supporting role in the film "Glory." Afterwards he notes my mime technique and that he's involved in a theater which has a summer youth program and asks me to come in, he assures me that it can easily lead to gigs at that theater...


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More Blogs by Ian Thal
• September 2007 Blog - Saturday, October 06, 2007
• August 2007 Blog Index - Sunday, September 02, 2007
• July 2007 Blog Index: - Wednesday, August 01, 2007
• June 2007 Blog Index - Monday, July 02, 2007
• May 2007 Blog Index - Wednesday, May 30, 2007
• The Adventures of CMYK - Tuesday, May 01, 2007
• April Madness - Tuesday, May 01, 2007
• Walt Whitman and I - Friday, April 20, 2007
• Breaking with Bread and Puppet - Thursday, April 12, 2007
• American Dissident Outs Stalinist Clown! - Saturday, February 24, 2007
• The Last Days of Judas Iscariot - Wednesday, January 03, 2007
• My First Feature Film Shoot - Monday, September 04, 2006
• Into the Station” at Boston City Hall - Saturday, July 08, 2006
• Becoming Fire - Friday, June 09, 2006
• Bill and Ian See Blue Man Group - Monday, April 17, 2006
• An Open Letter to Stephen Schwartz - Monday, April 03, 2006
• My Quarrel with The Weekly Standard's Stephen Schwartz - Saturday, March 04, 2006
• Bread & Puppet Journal, 2005 - Thursday, December 29, 2005
• Teaching mime with Open Air Circus - Friday, August 05, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VIII - Monday, January 03, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VII - Monday, January 03, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VI - Monday, January 03, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part V - Monday, January 03, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part IV - Monday, January 03, 2005
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part III - Friday, December 24, 2004
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part II - Friday, December 24, 2004
• Another Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part I - Friday, December 24, 2004
• The Dresden Dolls show - Tuesday, November 09, 2004
• Waltzing to War @ Out of the Blue - Tuesday, November 09, 2004
• Word Play on SCAT - Tuesday, November 09, 2004
• Autographs & Interviews - Tuesday, November 09, 2004
• Beacon Hill Panorama @ All Asia Café - Monday, October 04, 2004
• Trip to Providence - Monday, October 04, 2004
• Interview in Providence Phoenix - Thursday, September 02, 2004
• Activists Vs. Artists - Friday, July 30, 2004
• James Van Looy Interview - Thursday, May 20, 2004
• The Perils of a Political Humorist - Wednesday, May 05, 2004
• On Display - Wednesday, May 05, 2004
• Whimsy: 4/29/2004 - Wednesday, May 05, 2004
• Self Criticism - Wednesday, May 05, 2004
• From The Archives: A Misreading - Tuesday, March 09, 2004
• Our National Anthem/Back in the USA - Friday, January 30, 2004
• Notes on the Confederacy/Back in the USA - Friday, January 30, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Epilogue - Friday, January 23, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part XVII - Friday, January 23, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part XVI - Friday, January 23, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part XV - Friday, January 23, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater, Part XIV - Tuesday, January 20, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater, Part XIII - Monday, January 12, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater, Part XII - Monday, January 12, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part XI - Monday, January 12, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part X - Friday, January 02, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part IX - Friday, January 02, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VIII - Friday, January 02, 2004
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VII - Saturday, December 20, 2003
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part VI - Tuesday, December 16, 2003
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part V - Tuesday, December 16, 2003
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part IV - Monday, December 15, 2003
• Two Weeks With Bread & Puppet Theater: Part III - Sunday, December 14, 2003
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part II - Friday, December 12, 2003
• Two Weeks with Bread & Puppet Theater: Part I - Friday, December 12, 2003
• Flux Concert & Lunar Eclipse - Friday, November 28, 2003
• Squawkings, Hexings and Sonny Holiday - Sunday, November 02, 2003
• On Groupies and Bloggers: Part II: The Blogger - Monday, October 27, 2003
• On Groupies and Bloggers: Part I: The Groupie - Monday, October 27, 2003
• First Ballet Lesson - Sunday, October 26, 2003
• Economics of Art - Wednesday, August 13, 2003
• An artist at work - Tuesday, August 05, 2003
• Performance @ Large - Tuesday, August 05, 2003
•  Friday, July 18th, 2003: - Sunday, July 27, 2003  
• Trip to NYC, part II - Sunday, July 20, 2003
• Trip to NYC, part I - Sunday, July 20, 2003


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