s u n f l o w e r s

You can read below if you like, but my “guest blog,” highly recommended, speaks for itself:  Please click:  Sunflowers (and then click on the little triangle to “play”)

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I met Paul Alexander at NYU graduate film school.  To be honest, I had gotten into USC and NYU and chose the little dingy place on East 7th Street because it was an arts school and I was interested in becoming an artist.  I knew full well that USC was the smart career move, but “smart” in terms of social positioning and money and power getting has just not been the way I’ve rolled.  This was more about fate, however, than any sort of Rimbaud-like romanticism.  I always dreamed big, it was my world that stayed small.

My class at NYU is a bit of a lost generation.  The class ahead has brought you the Lees, Spike and Ang, the class behind had Todd Solondz and some folks making big money in TV these days.  But amongst my closest peers we have someone making a lot of films back in his Native Singapore, a Canadian who works steadily there, but no break-out name to drop here in the US.

I loved those days at NYU.  And I dearly love the friends I made there.  Marlaine is the friend through whom I met Andy, my wife (who went through the Graduate Cinema Studies program at NYU at the same time, but in a different building in teeming New York City; still, NYU was part of meeting her, I guess it was our mutual graduation present, the absolute certainty in my heart that I chose the right school for me; the path behind us is the only path we could have chosen, the one ahead is wide open).

Paul is a musician.  He was a protege of Philip Glass.  He was a prodigy who played Carnegie Hall and performed in Paris.  He is a gentle and quiet spirit and one of the most truly gifted artistic souls I’ve had occasion to meet.  We have the gift of friendship.

Over the years we have both tried to get on the map as filmmakers, and between us we’ve had a lot of meetings with powerful folks in Hollywood, a lot of almost-happened projects.  I’m not even trying to make films at the moment, but Paul keeps making art.

Paul came to NYU because he felt that he could not fully express himself in music.  The idea of making a splash, of getting noticed and accruing power so that one can have one’s say in larger ponds is a fickle dance with the zeitgeist.  Paul once told me of losing his temper on a Paris stage at an equipment malfunction and smashing up some stuff in a very public tantrum.  It was a highly atypical moment for him, a stress-induced moment of sheer loss of control.  He retreated to his hotel after the show in shame, only to find that the crowd had gone from like to love—that the raw passion had ignited a warm reception into the flames of torrid embrace.

Yet the willingness to fake tantrums and posture outrageousness is a Faustian bargain, one Paul does not, cannot really, endorse.  I too was told along the way in Hollywood that I should really move to Europe where they make the sort of projects I am excited about.  Often my scripts secured half their money (European financing) but could never quite get the US coin.

I’m very interested in the relationship between art and money.  I’m very interested in synchronicity, in archetypes and myth-making.  Paul is a kindred spirit and so I intuitively felt that his latest film, a labor of love and a brief demand on your time, might prove a “guest blog” of resonant beauty.  If you didn’t click above, click below (and click on the “play” button to start the film):

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sunflowers

So, let’s dedicate today to art, to myth-making, and to healing—in the service of all our collective children.

Namaste, Paul & Bruce

p.s. if my links don’t quite work, go to http://www.mottstreetstudio.com/Home.html and click on the upper left image of a sunflower.  You can also explore some of his other work that this Mott Street Studio site.

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