CLUB MIDNIGHT Celebration Of Free Expression April 3

•March 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Los Angeles Times, 2/26/10: “YouTube is no prude when it comes to art –when it actually takes the time to appreciate the work. After censorship watchdogs gave the video hosting giant a public undressing for its removal of videos by artist Amy Greenfield that contained nudity, the company made amends.”

Auguste Rodin: “The human body is first and foremost the mirror of the soul and its greatest beauty comes from that.”

I hope you can make it to my latest event
>CLUB MIDNIGHT/AGAINST CENSORSHIP                 A celebration of free expression in 35mm, 16mm and double projection

One time only on the large screen complete and uncensored at

New Filmmakers Spring Fest
>Saturday April 3 at 8:00 PM
>at Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue (at 2nd Street),
>Admission is $6.00Wine and champagne reception afterward

And Svetlena Mintcheva of the National Coalition Against Censorship  will be at the screening to talk with you about film, art, dance, nudity, censorship and the internet.

Walt Whitman, “If anything is sacred the human body is sacred.”

Hopefully we’ve made some inroads for the nude as art, as dance, the body, its beauty and greatness, on the internet, which, as amazing a means of communication it is, usually doesn’t distinguish between art and pornography. And of course – my thanks to my dancers.

Now I want my films to be seen off of the internet and with what i know and love best- with the moving image-dance on the large screen and in dialogue with a live audience.  The 35mm prints by Cineric inc and the projection at the enormous screen in the Courthouse Theatre at Anthology  are wonderful.

Club Midnight an evening-long film-cycle of six interlinking films which transform the expressiveness of multi-talented, dancers who have worked in erotic clubs, into emotion drenched, dynamic, visually dazzling digital cinema. To music by Philip Glass, Marilys Ernst, St Karen and Einsturzende Neubauten, the women reveal themselves, body and soul, with energy, anguish, longing, freedom and finally a wild joy in “a new nakedness no longer at war with spirituality and intelligence.” (Isadora Duncan, The Dance of The Future.) The evening will start with the theatrical premiere of MUSeic Of The BODy, another of films censored by YouTubr/Google and end with the signature film.

This photograph is a frame from Club Midnight(the signature film) which will be seen in Cinemascope. Dennis Hopper is on the soundtrack giving voice to poetry by poet laureate Charles Simic, while Andrea Beeman and Bonnie Dunn move on-screen turning the carnal into existential longing.

The origins of the event go back to February when YouTube censored all of my films I’d put on the site, including segments from Club Midnight. I was outraged at such censorship of film art, mine and everyone’s. The absence of any way to appeal directly to YouTube impelled me to contact the National Coalition AgainstCensorship and spoke with Svetlana Mintcheva, She agreed that my work should not have been put in the category of “pornography”, that it’s art, and that we should appeal to Google. So with the with the leading internet civil rights organization, Electronic Frontier Foundation, we went up against the internet giant to help bring to light the issue of YouTube/Google’s censorship of nude art.  With an outpouring of press and public support on the internet,  YouTube, in an unprecedented and hopefully groundbreaking decision, reversed their censorship of my films, with no restrictions.

MMore information about Club Midnight/Against Censorship

VVisit http://www.newfilmmakers.com, http://www.clubmidnight.net

The Holy Body Experience

•March 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Recently because a website, boingboing.net, wrote of YouTube censoring my work. They posted my film, Tides. At this writing 24,000 people have viewed it on the net. This is unreal to me. More than anyone has ever seen my work I think. But it’s out there in cyberspace. A number. what means so much to me is the few people who wrote to me on vimeo.com, who have been in some (positive way) transformed by the film. Found meaning. One found the film the “holy body experience.” Thank you!

I have a few words on this. Is the body holy or  unholy?

DH Lawrence said he was not interested in the eros of jaunty amours but in the eros of deep mysteries.  Eros was a great god in ancient Greece.

I’ll never understand the Christian ethic of us being sinful because we live in our bodies. Our bodies dirty? Most people bathe everyday.  All life is lived through the body.

I must be a pagan. A Jewish pagan? In Judaism the body is sacred, but it’s therefore supposed to be covered up. In art the body is sacred so it’s seen.

Jean Cocteau said that the only reason for reaching a lot of people is to reach those one or two whose lives are changed by one’s work. In our era I feel that film has that capacity.

CENSORED BY YOU TUBE

•February 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hello Everyone

Mid January my art dealer, Lynn del So of Creative Thriftshp and I put the three video art pieces in my month long show, Untitled Nude, up on You Tube. Two days later the videos were taken off with notices that my work is “inappropriate to community standards” and if we put up more our accounts wold be closed entirely.   I wrote the National Coalition Against Censorship, who then asked me if i would be willing to go public as the issue of censorship  – of equating art with pornography on the internet – on You Tube – is very large and important. I said YES!

A week later two videos up for more than a year were also censored.  The ACLU of the interent, Electronic Frontier Foundation partnered with the NCAC and we went public.

Go to http://www.ncac.org for some of  what’s been happening.

Because of the pressure applied by NCAC and EFF, YouTube has re-reviewed my work and it’s theoretically back up under the restricted to 18 years and older category. But You tube is  totally ignored the basic issue. Art is not pornography and should be an exception in their guidelines along with education, documentary and science. And there is some kind of “error” which still prevents my films Element and Tides to be viewed at all from my account.

I thought i could write my many feelings and thoughts on censorship and being censored by youTube but i can’t yet. I’m still too raw inside.

So Instead enjoy one of the censored videos, a short segment from Light of The Body, one of the films on my new 60 minute, 6 film,  DVD,

CLUB MIDNIGHT  now  for sale on http://WWW.FACETS.ORG.  (more info: http://www.clubmidnight.net)

•June 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The heart-tearing video made on cell phones by the Iran protestors is cinema of the body. The body of unqenchable spirit. Not watching. The actor and camera the same. Almost no separation between action being seen and action behind camera. Toal participation. To reveal the truth from the gut. This is cinemabody in its most real and truthful sense. Laying their bodies on the line while videotaping. But can we even call it cinema? It’s overpowering communication in the middle of life or death reality. The gap between us here sitting watching on TV and the people on the streets in Teheran is something i don’t have words for. That we can’t do anything. But it’s unforgettable because of those videos. Sitting here watching yet plunged into the center through our eyes. Yet from the vantage of total safety while they’re risking their lives. Perhaps these videos will make a change.

Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek

•May 31, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It was very moving to see Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek. Until then I couldn’t associate the man who made the photographs for Spirit In The Flesh with Spock. Now I can. His voice was laden with his deep commitment and identification with the deepest meaning of Star Trek.  Perhaps it is: putting us in direct contact with the cosmos, and through this encounter putting us in relationship to each other and to encountering the unkown in ourselves. He is the still center in the wild, careening film. The heartbeat behind the scenes.

One of the amazing things about Kabbalah is placing human life in relation to the cosmos. The Shekhina is the link between cosmos, the animation, the spirit of our world and the residing of spirit within us.  The Shekhina is the healing power in the world.I felt that in making Spirit In The Flesh and felt it in Leonard’s words and in his face. Spock was no longer  Spock the first officer but the Wise Old Man with the healing power of unity within him, uniting future and past, uniting planets, uniting the two main characters by uniting feeling with logic. 

The Vulcan greeting is the sign for the Hebrew letter, the “Shin”, which is the first letter of the word “Shekhina”.  It goes back to Leonard’s childhood in Brooklyn  – in the Synagogue when the priests, the Kohanin, would call the Shekhina to enter the temple. Nimoy relates how his father told him no one could look as the light from the Shekhina was too powerful to behold. But he looked and saw the Kohanin with their arms outsetreched, in ecstacy, their hands in rhe sign of the Shin. So he chose that sign as the Vulcan greeting. 

In some of Nimoy’s Shekhina photographs, the women have the Shin written  on them, sometimes like  tatoo, sometimes the letter printed as if on their palm reaching out to us, sometimes floating in space above them. A sign of power, of magic, or a brand of yhe sacred upon the body? Uniting the female body with divinity.

At the end of Spirit in The Flesh I have one of the dancers, Andrea Beeman, standing covered with a black shawl, making herself the middle prong of the “Shin” Vulcan greeting, then she spins, with the real cosmos as see by the Hubble telescope on the film screen behind her and embedded in the stars, one of Nimoy’s photographs, a star-women, looking down in blessing. the worlds united- going where no woman has gone before.

In Star Trek Nimoy seemed a messenger from a timeless realm beyond. The future beyond death. Or reincarnation? Certainly a visitation of blessing for us. For us to feel. A most un-Spock-like wish.  And he isn’t an alien destructive creature form beyond, but  a visitation of  ourselves from beyond putting us in contact with ourselves beyond ourselves.

Cinemabody

•May 13, 2009 • 1 Comment

Cinemabody is short for “Cinema Of The Body”.

Cinemabody is this blogsite. And its my new company for the film, multimedia and installations I make.  And it’s a whole area of cinema I feel part of and wish to support in any way I can.

It’s not cinema about the body. It’s cinema which is the body. And how the expression of the body as cinema can give kinesthetic vision to all that we can’t see and generally regard as separate from the body, but which I see as coming through the body – Cinema Of The Body And Spirit.

I use dancers. I was a dancer. I know that dancers can accomplish this “magical” expression. The body moves. Dance moves. Cinema moves. But my cinemabody isn’t about dance, just as film actiong isn’t about acting. It’s about everything else. As many great actors say, real film acting is invisible. And just as film actors can reveal thought, emotion, intention, even lgith andcdarkenss through the face, so can some dancers – film dancers – through the body.

For me, good film dancing is caught up in the invisible rather than itself and its own image. I’m not interested in the identifiable image of the dancer. Cinema of the body is not ‘dance for camera”. It’s the dance of cinema itself, for me a dance of the essence of our being as humans, through the human body’s expression.

Uniting that cinema of the body with live dance is my one of my current challenges, especially in the new 40 minute Spirit In The Flesh,which I wrote about in December and January when it was in progress, and which I’ll now start to write of.

Spirit in The Flesh is inspired by and based on actor (now also a photographer) Leonard Nimoy’s wonderful photography book, “Shekhina”. Infact the title,”Spirit In The Flesh” are words of Leonard’s taken from his book which express his photographic visualization of the “Shekhina” – Kabbalah’s  divine female spirit which dwells with us – are seen on the large screen. My editor, George Engleos,and I,  transformed them with motion imparting techiques, into what I call “photo-cinema”.  in “spirit/Flesh”, this photo-cinema is on the large screen, united – melded – with live dance, spoken word – Nimoy’s and other from his book- and  music by John Zorn; plus Zahava Seewald &Michael Grebil;  Oren Ambarchi and z’ev, all on John’s label, Tzadik.

Leonard’s photographs are a little known part of his being and work, compared with Spock, and seem separate from Spock. But I eventually think I found links between his Shekhina photographs and his participation in Star Trek.

I took a long break from blogging after the 40 minute “Spirit in The Flesh”  was presented at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space in Manhattan,NY, last January. it was presented with some of the films from my cinema-dance cycle, “Club Midnight” (visit http://www.clubmidnight.net). 

The response was great, so we’ll be doing it again. With live performance integrated with the Club Midnight films. With more work on “Spirit/Flesh”.  And the premiere a new piece for video and live performance, MUSeic Of The BODy: For Nam June Paik, which came out of a past  dual Paik/Greenfield video and live dance performance  piece, which was named a Best in the Arts & Entertainment in dance in The New York Times by Jennifer Dunning.

I’ll write about all that as it comes  along. And about others’ work. But right now I wish to write about Spirit In The Flesh.

So -more tomorrow or Friday.

•January 24, 2009 • 1 Comment

I feel blessed to be visioning upon Leonard Nimoy’s vision. And it’s  a visionary experience. Not coming from my own root material but his i find my inner and outer vision going in new unexpected directions. he says his Shekhina photographs are the envisioning of the invisible and my piece has come out of close-eyed visioning.

I haven’t met Leonard only communicated with him through his photo rep and gallery and right-hand-man, Rich Michelson. But I feel I know a generally hidden side of him through his photographs and his book. I  work with him through his spirit in the photographs. And i more and more find myself feeling in contact with my mother’s spirit and also of Hilary Harris’. Hilary was my mentor in film editing and then lent himself to my accomplishing my own vision by becoming my cinematographer. Hilary was a wonderful experimental and documentary filmmaker yet he never imposed his vision only lent himself to mine. His film Nine Variations On A Dance Theme is a film anyone who care about cinema and dance   -or about exrtraordinary cinema of the body. It’s perhaps the most perfect flm dance (or if you will cine dance or if you will screen dance) ever made.  when my Club Midnight:Flesh into Light shows are over I’ll write more about it.