A few Film-moments, in progress: information for website, P.Sempel, 6/21:)
Jonas reads from FBI-papers: “...Mekas, according to – the name crossed out – has the “mind of a child and is a true artist”. Wow! Wow, that is a great compliment!”
Jonas (to the camera): “Running?... November
1946. When I was a
child, I often watched the gypsy wagons roll among the muddy, wet roads. They
would sit surrounded by bundles and crates, wrapped up, with their faces hidden,
wet, cold, blown by the winds. But whenever we spoke
to them, they seemed to be very happy.
At the edge of the woods, where our village ends, there they used to set up their tents and we saw their fires burn all through the night. A miserable bunch, but they danced and they sang. Their wagons contained all their belongings. They carried their world with them, …” (from “I Had Nowhere To Go”)
Jonas(at Anthology Film Archives): “Harry Smith?... , he was one of the geniuses…, .. I had the fortune to know…” / PSe: “Can you give us an idea?” Jonas: “He was just a genius…, no great reason…, he was just a genius.” (and chuckles…).
John Waters: … Jonas Mekas saved my life when I was a 15-year-old, angry child, … in
Michael Stipe: …This past summer I was lucky enough to get a personal tour of
ANTHOLOGY with Jonas, and he told me that ANTHOLOGY is the bastion of poetry
and cinema, and we are here to stay. This is the building where the poets of
cinema love…. . It is a metaphor... this building, and he was right. …I was very moved. Jonas has dedicated his entire life to
preserving a legacy that we need now, more than ever. And the ever-changing
landscape of this beautiful city,
Simon de Pury, auctioneer for the Anthology CompletionProject&Harry Smith-Library(on Auction-stage, full house, about 400people), The Capitale, Bowery): “…Laurie Anderson will compose a song for you! And, you will choose the title of the song. You decide. Laurie Andersen will compose this music, for you, and, she will put it on her next album!..5.000 dollars, 5.000 dollars for the lady on my left, 5.000 now – 5.000.. - 10.000! …,…, Auctioneer: 15.000 dollars now! 15.000 dollars? 15.000 dollars now!” (and down goes the hammer.)
Jim Jarmusch: “…and even when he was first renovating Anthology, in the 1980’s..6, maybe?, I got to shoot a little film in there, my first “Coffee and Cigarettes”… And Jonas just said “Oh, yeah, you just shoot in here, whatever you need”, but I love that man! And I love the people that work with him, incredible people. He’s been archiving films, preserving films, celebrating films. You can talk to him about poets from all over the world, he knows about all the artists and writers and poets and film-makers – He’s Jonas Mekas! PSe: What do you think about the title?
JJ: He’s like a
teenager - still. PSe:..still, yeah. At 94!
JJ: …yeah and very excited about new things he might investigate. … anyway, I’m really proud just to be here – …
PSe: This book, “I’ve
Nowhere To Go” JJ: Yes.. PSe:
“Had Nowhere To Go”? JJ: Yes.
PSe: I like this title, what do you think?
JJ: Oh, I always
liked that title. The kid in some remote Lithuanian village somewhere, and then
look where, look at all the places he’s been - both mentally, spiritually,
So yeah, “Nowhere to Go”, it’s the idea of going everywhere – if you can’t go anywhere, you go everywhere, I guess.
Simon, Auctioneer: “ … Richter, yes,yes! 180.000!!” Jim: Fantastic. Bad-ass!
Sebastian Mekas: “I’m going to read from “I
Seem To Live,
Ok. No date, 1964. …Here are the names of a few filmmakers whose work I think is breaking new grounds in film aesthetics and film techniques, and therefor in script writing practices: Ricky Leacock, John Cassavetes, Morris Engel, Lionel Rogosin, USA; Godard, Truffaut, Rouche, France; Bernhard Schuck, Karl Teuser, Shukhray, Tarkovsky, USSR; Lindsay Anderson, England; Pasolini, Orly, Rossolini, Seta, Italy; etc. The list is incomplete, but if we look at the working practices of these directors, we shall sooner realize that they have one thing in common: mistrust of detailed scripts. The degrees vary,… “ (Spector Books,
“…This decade will be marked by the explorations in improvisation.
In any case, Godard works with 1-page scenario… / “Shadows” was made with no script at all, (Double exposure with Sebastian at the window, reading)…
Life caught by the tail, so to say, at the moment of improvisation. Rouche uses no scripts, Pasolini uses no scripts,… . ….What good poem was ever written with pre-conceived ideas? A poem is born during the moments of creating its content, and its form, and its life.
Jonas doing exercises at home by the window whilst photo-copying
Jonas holding up file “I Seem to Live” for the camera /PSe: This is the follow-up of..
Jonas: “I Had Nowhere to Go”. Diaries. / PSe: But you do feel at home in
Jonas (watering his plants, singing): …boy,… the rain, it will never come again..
Sunflowers, wilted flowers, painting “Jonas Lives” infront ANTHOLOGY-entrance, piano
Posters infront St.Marks church: Homage to a Happy Man: Celebrating Jonas Mekas (1922-2019). Saturday, May 25th, 2019, 1 pm. FREE The Poetry Project …piano music
Many people gathering
inside St. Marks,
Julian Schnabel: I just came here to say ‘Thank you’ to Jonas.
…,…, …Tarkovsky said “Art is a representation of Life. Life contains Death. Art, being a representation of Life, is the denial of Death.” So all Art is optimistic; no matter if the subject matter is tragic. There’s only mediocrity, … and talent. And Jonas had all the talent, and all the generosity. And when I first started to make movies, he gave me footage from his movies to put in mine. It made it much better. (Laughing) ….He was uncompromising…,
…We ought to see to get that thing realized! (AnthologyCompletionProject)…
Vyt Bakaitis: “… Jonas recalled from memory one of the first entries he had made in a diary: “Today, I saw three cows and five chickens” , “…a kind of dream, but with eyes wide open…”
John Leland: “…, I was worrying about something, and Jonas said: ‘I never worry. I’ll start to worry when something happens. Why worry, if it doesn’t happen? Then why even worry, when it happens? You deal with it. You waste time worrying.
So, that’s it: Get a camera, nothing to …., cultivate poetry in that sense, be one …
Lillian Isabella (reading Jonas): … ‘Ok, this is impossible, I don’t know what to do. …So, since I don’t know what I’m doing, and they say, Angels know everything. ‘So, now it’s up to you, Angels. You work. You do it for me! I leave it totally up to you. I trust you. I did my thing, but now you do your thing!’ I give up myself and throw it at Angels, and usually, since I give up, they have pity on me and they do the right thing…
Andy Lampert: …, Jonas was The Impossible. His whole life was spent achieving the impossible. If you worked with him, he could be impossible. …, … but here’s the thing: He isn’t, he won’t leave, and he cannot go.
…, Consider all the writing that he published, and all that never got to see the light. Jonas, he’s not going anywhere. And here’s another reason why: This isn’t a memorial, this is the first formal meeting of the ‘Jonas Mekas Preservation Society’ (laughter and applause),
We were fueled by wine, sausage, garlic, which we used to stay healthy, and it works, for 96 years. Bread, poetry, music, cinema, and comradery. …, …
Indra Drevinskaite opens by chance a Jonas-poetrybook and reads:
'This glass of wine
smells like a field.
Lips are touching
the coolness of the cellar
the friendship of the sun
let’s go to the
center of the dance
Musicclub „Golden Pudels“ in
Jonas on little stage, (interviewed by Anne König, SpectorBooks,
…“Good to be here…, and good to be in the Poodle! (audience hoorays!).
introduction to dance.. really was in