Greetings From LA 1978! was made in that year a few months before I moved to New York City. It was meant to be a portrait of the city by car but other shots that did not fit those requirements intruded and, since I have never cared much for concepts - even my own - I abandoned the original idea and allowed the film to make its own way. Shortly after it was made the film was projected with several different soundtracks, cuing records to super-8 projectors under often difficult screening situations, including classical music and jazz, but I finally settled on The Rolling Stone's "Moonlight Mile." The film covered the city that I was familiar with: Gardena, Hawthorne, Westwood, Lawndale, Hermosa Beach, Torrance, Santa Monica, Point Vicente. The emotions in the film befit a 26 year old's look at a city that was by his own admission incomprehensible. It is not meant as an homage, or a critique, or a nostalgic trip - it is simply a portrait of the city that put some of the conflicted ideas and feelings I had about Los Angeles into Super-8 film.
Waiting for Brainard is an adaptation by Tif Sigfrids and myself of Eric Rohmer's short film Girl at the Monceau Bakery, a work that helped to initiate and set the pace for the French New Wave in the 1960's. We transferred the setting from the young, University areas of Paris in the early sixties to Echo Park and Silverlake in Los Angeles some half a century later. We also switched the roles and now it is the woman who takes the lead and the bakery girl becomes a bakery boy. To make matters more to the point we made the voice over narrator - a central part of the Rohmer film - a French man's voice - essentially turning the inner voice of the American female protagonist to a French male and further adding to the narrative play. The film takes Rohmer's ideas, of moral choices that are made early on before one is really prepared for them, in effect improvising on moral choices that eventually define a life, and relocates them to a new contemporary setting where we might see how this scenario plays out in the here and now in LA.
David at China was made in 2001 in Chinatown, Los Angeles. It chronicles the installation and opening of David Von Schlaegel's posthumous exhibition in China Art Objects Gallery that year in LA. Mark Von Schlegell (David's son), Steve Hanson and Giovanni Intra lovingly put together the exhibit of David's abstract sculpture and paintings, and the film shows all of the steps in the process of putting together an exhibition, from the mundane to the sublime. The film tries to give a picture of David Von Schlegell's work in the context of his time, and also provide some serious, and not so serious, documentation of what art openings were like in Los Angeles at the turn of the millennium.
A Wedding In Death Valley is about the marriage of two friends who were married there in 2003. It uses the familiar convention of the wedding video - a form that has a lot of possibilities that are not sufficiently appreciated - as a starting point to deal with relationships, sexuality, and of course at the top of the list - the ritual and romance of the family unit.
A bus ride from Echo Park to Amoeba Records in Hollywood with Daryl Haney as he recounts his experiences as a waiter in NY in the 80’s, as an actor who is brought to LA by Roger Corman to make B-Movies and finally as a screenwriter in "the industry," as the locals refer to Hollywood. Novelist, essayist, blogger - the film uses D. R. Haney’s memories to trigger a series of digressions in the filmmaker’s own memories of various bus trips in different cities – from Lima to New York. The oral memories of Haney and the visual ones of Porcari engage and disengage playing off as in musical counterpoint - asserting the play of memory and the experiential as the two friends navigate Sunset Boulevard in a trip that takes 38 minutes and 30 years.
I (Heart) Oregonia was made by Tif Sigfrids and myself in 2008. It is a film about a trip back home for Tif Sigfrids - to Oregonia Ohio - where she meets up with her family and friends for food binges, re-encounters with old boyfriends, sing-a-longs on the porch, and talks around the kitchen - ending in a birthday trip to the Little River Café for a night of drinking and Karaoke. You can - sort of - go home again and I (Heart) Oregonia is living proof captured on digital video.
Tif Sigfrids goes to Monument Colorado to visit her parents in their new home in a brand new suburb and participates in the July 4th parade. Tif’s mother has a float in the parade celebrating their new shop: The Enchanted Florist. The film evokes the landscape and ritual of American spectacle at ground level, with Tif Sigfrids as explorer and guide.
The House of Fiction was made over a span of years from 1987 to 2000. The House of Fiction was originally a bookstore in Pasadena California that began sometime in the early 70's and closed in 2000. In one sense a film about the closing of the oldest surviving independent bookstore in Pasadena, the film is also a biography of its owner Bill Tunilla and his difficult decision to finally close the store. The work also chronicles my failed attempt to make a conventional narrative film with a young woman in the same location (based on Italo Stvevo’s book As a Man Grows Older) in 1987. As the time frames overlap the failure of the initial film, and the bookstore, act out a musical and visual counterpoint - but the main emphasis remains a love of books, and cats, and their magical life force.
A Parallel was made from 2004 to 2010 from appropriated footage. An astronaut’s rudimentary mission in 1963 goes horribly wrong and he crashes back to earth but miraculously survives. As his wife and child greet him on his return, in their comfortable suburban house, they realize that the man who has come back is not the man who left.
The Beauty and the Beast (Dedicated to Chris Marker) was made in 2006 from appropriated footage. The film is a re-telling of the legend transformed into a narrative about a visitor from a post-apocalyptic future who returns to the past (1962) - the year in which all hell broke loose - in order to set things right.
Made by Tif Sigfrids and myself. A young woman gets rid of her Toyota selling it to a junk dealer, and ends a long distance relationship with her boyfriend on the same day - the latter happening in a McDonald's drive-thru on the way to the junk dealer. Drama ensues - of a kind.
(Made with Doug Lee) - 1989 - Betamax, Hi-8.
A film about the immigrants who every weekday evening clean the modernist landmark building by Craig Elwood: Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Arriving at midnight they work the night shift ending at 8AM - meeting students and staff only when they are working late, after-hours. The film interviews the "night crew" and asks the participants a basic question: What do they think of the building and the people they have met who occupy it during the day?
A document of a folk/rock concert by Tif Sigfrids held in a gas station in Echo Park, Los Angeles aptly named "Magic Gas" - reflecting an older Los Angeles that was more amenable to eccentricity, spontaneous outbursts of irrational behavior, and a good time in a gas station. Tif's friends come and perform duets including one incredible and outlandish performance by master musician Tom "Guitar" Watson.
A collage film made from appropriated footage from various sources, about the young Glenn Gould's trip to New York in 1957 to record Bach's Italian concerto. The film deals with time as both a fundamental aspect of music and how it might work in the world as such - as opposed to traditional narrative flows that have been, and remain, the backbone of documentary films.
A film made with Tif Sigfrids. A young mom leaves her one year old baby in a gallery while a cloud wanders in and it starts to rain.