Archive for April, 2010
TUESDAY, APRIL 27th, 2010
SPRING TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
A mind shriek from Tom Beaver
The single most ravaged and widely misunderstood landscape I have ever inhabited is currently experiencing the vivid colors and the apocalyptic allergies of spring. Very soon, summer will delight parts of southern California (and Northern) with raging flames that engulf houses and level Malibu homes in ruin.
Brush fires. Burn, burn, burn. Sun. Hot, hot, hot.
Near the “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, dropped in the void by some hair brained idea of fate on the outskirts of the entertainment machine’s U.S. capital, a few city blocks from Sunset Boulevard near the theatre that hosts the Annual Academy Awards, my producer and I make Independent films. Our intricate and necessary mixture of self-loathing and sudden flights of symphonic madness continuously serve as a quiet yelp into the canyons and valleys of Los Angeles. Echoes. The ocean. The desert. Mountains. We have it all. Come and see- but then go home. There is enough traffic to destroy God.
And there are many of us here! We love movies! We’re all scratching at doors that require a “forced entry” or a “V.I.P. pass.” We seek no empathy! Only endurance! A struggle here is a struggle there. One man’s joy is another man’s misery. Why do we do it? Why do various actors, writers, filmmakers, sycophants, restless dreamers, and occasional hustlers, gravitate to this often times invariable dead end?
Well- maybe it’s about fame? Although most will not come anywhere close to this elusive and overrated reverie. Most will replace their soul with hot air bubbles, shrivel to the confines of a broken spirit, and one day- pack their bags and go back to Idaho. Some will make a buck or two while fueling the idea of possible success until they quietly ebb back to oblivion (somewhere out of the view of “rats” “racing”).
Others (ahem) will lie to themselves until the delusion (sounds better than lie?) becomes fact. They will CREATE the myth as they go along. These precious and gifted few will fashion their own personas and establish reputations entirely of their own design. They will lock eyes on their own fate with little endorsement from the Hollywood mob. They will, quite simply, prattle and jostle on as if the only answer lies in the inevitable continuation of the question. It is these coiled and single-minded racketeers that will triumph if they persist. The many people one encounters in Hollywood (usually transient or disillusioned expatriates) have ambition, desire, rabbit-eared pockets, and manic self-delusion in common. Talent is less visible. Talent is transparent. It changes definitions and shapes, sometimes before your very eyes. It is invisible lest you recognize the framework of your decisions, for this is where talent resides.
Talent is displayed through individual and concise choices.
Los Angeles is filthy. It could use some love. There are clean areas- but in general- it is dirty. We need some cash. The recession reverberates strong here. The noise of this (combined with cultural excess) is invasive to the point of headache inducing vulgarity. The blessed tourists (invigorate California’s economy- please!) come and go like ants at a picnic. The landlords are deranged rapists with pronged tongues.
A few reasons to be in Hollywood-
You are certifiably insane or very close to an accurate description of a similar condition. YOU REPEAT THE SAME ACTIONS WITH DETERMINATION AND FERVOR EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS. AKA- INSANITY.
You are already part of the “industry” and are thus able to regularly feed at Morton’s Steakhouse and soothe the fuel tank of your titanic SUV while taking vacations to Peru.
You’re walking the tightrope between complete schizophrenia and absolute failure (this is, contrary to what one may think, standard operating procedure in H’wood).
You’re an outsider slash hustler with many prospects and you are at the top of your forever hopeful game.
You thrive on the feeling of being a blind and deaf mute at the world’s biggest ”networking” event. It somehow degrades and dulls your sense of abandonment (a condition one usually develops in early childhood or high school). There is a vortex of these “arrested development” cases that actually run certain parts of the Production facilities here. They are the emotional equivalent of a retarded gnat pillowed by nepotism and driven by anger. They serve as gatekeepers and their specialty is prohibition.
Here in Hollywood- we carry on waiting for an earthquake to shake us off the Lord’s weary shoulders. We dream. We starve. We sell out. We sell back. We sell forth. We sell like mad. We are the “monster” in all of you. L.A. embodies the darkness (witness the wonderful work of David Lynch!) in American culture (it is significant that the majority of what you tune in to every night of your lives on that lit screen that is the centerpiece of your “living room”- THOSE SHOWS ARE MADE IN OUR BACKYARDS!). We (not necessarily me) sculpt and produce the entertainment (?) you ingest every night on your televisions. We cradle the participants in the porn that you abuse.
We give you Oranges.
I, for one, like to think of myself as a vivid and hard working hermit crab in a land of horny peacocks that often speak in indecipherable codes. I think I speak for many when I say- I love and hate this city. And as I sift through the glittering androids with nothing but wads of dirty green paper motivating their rise from bed in the smog blessed morn, I attempt to map out a strategic and well-paced ascent to the deep perils and towering apexes of creative irony. It certainly be a darn foggy peak with a winding road, but it promises to gather my goals up like little wounded sparrows, and one hopes- reward them with a few fleeting moments of glowing artistry.
We make Independent Films. We prevail in the face of thunderous condemnations. There is nobility to be found, even in the darkest of caves (Hollywood). Or, as Mark Twain said, “All I care to know is that a man is a human being- that is enough for me- he can’t be any worse.”
And Werner Herzog lives here.