Monday, October 16, 2017

Blade Runner -1982, 1989 and 2049

We live in a strange new world. Not so much a brave one. We have too many cowards in our world today. Those who view lies and fake realities over that of actual facts and reality, just because it suits someone, allows them to win, or to profit.


I went alone the other Monday to the Bremerton SEEFilm Theater to see Blade Runner 2049 in 3D. It was worth it. It looked and sounded great. I had planned to go on a work day so no one would be there but when I arrived they mentioned it was a holiday (Columbus Day). But still, only about seven people showed up for the 2PM showing I attended.

As I sat before the show began playing with my Kindle Fire and trying not to listen to banal adverts on the screen, I got an odd feeling. We have had so many mass shootings, I couldn't shake the feeling of impending doom.

I hadn't brought a firearm myself even though I legally could. I hadn't even thought about it, On concealed carry, I have a rule. If I think I should take one I do. If I can't make up my mind, I do. If I don't feel it necessary (which is usually), I don't. But sometimes you just don't think about it, until later. This was one of those days. Typically, not a big deal. Let's face it, there is a lot of to do about nothing most of the time. Most people don't ever need to carry a gun. But that's a topic for another time. I only mention it because it calls to my state of mind in the theater.

I was just focused that day on going to see the long awaited, and potentially never going to happen, Blade Runner sequel. So in sitting in the theater, I tried to shrug it off. But with things like the recent Las Vegas mass shooting, our biggest mass murder to date, it was kind of hard to shake. So many nuts around anymore. However, once the show started, thoughts of it evaporated.

I've had an interesting experience with the Blade Runner universe. Same as many, different than most.

It goes back to when Blade Runner came out. I saw it just like everyone else and fell in love with it, just like many other. I started to check out all of Ridley Scott's films. I liked his late brother's films too, like Top Gun when it came out and others. I worked at a few Tower stores in the 80s (Tower Posters, Records and Video stores, in two cities) and watched Ridley's other films on both VHS and Beta as I had both, and came to love especially his first film, The Duelists.

Anyway, the quality of the film in the theater was excellent. The film itself, I couldn't be happier with. At the end, I just sat there... stunned. I planned to watch the titles to the end as I frequently do, and just after the best of the initial title music, I realized we were all still there and I flashed again on the whole mass shooting issue. I had to wonder...what if?

What if someone hated the sequel we had just watched? What if they wanted to watch the film, then just kill us all and go out on a Blade Runner (a violent film) high note? It was then that I remembered the death threats I'd gotten back in the late 1980s when I had said online that I was considering writing a sequel to Blade Runner.

I put those thoughts behind me for the moment. I just wanted to enjoy the last vestiges of this new film, even if it was just the titles. Besides I like to try and see if I know any names I see scroll by. Not to mention, I've had to generate my own title sequences in films before and it's interesting to note how new films are put together.

Finally, I realized I was alone in the theater. Then a theater attendant showed up. We ignored one another for a moment as I contained to read and listen to the end title sequence. He said something to me from the end of my aisle. I couldn't make it out so I reluctantly got up and walked over to him, a little disappointed in my somewhat euphoric mood being broken.

When it first came out, BR was my favorite film for some time (along with Brainstorm which I based my first screenplay, Ahriman, on in various ways). Toward the end of the 1980s I had decided I wanted to write a sequel to Blade Runner. Back then I was on various newsgroups on the Internet, which at the time was all text based. The World Wide Web still had a few years to get started up. My web page back then, JournalED.com (Journal of ExtraOrdinary Diversions, based on a print magazine I never quite got off the ground in the 1980s), which eventually grew to a sizable web site, and is now just online for historical purposes (but still, it's been online since 1995).

One newsgroup in 1989 had been talking about BR and I felt emboldened to mention I was thinking of writing a screenplay sequel to it. Within hours I had two death threats for even considering writing one. I was happy to note however that within a day or so someone offered to help me if I liked, and we both disregarded the death threats. I had thanked him, but I didn't really feel I needed the help.

I was married at the time. We had a young one year old son. I told my wife about all this and she agreed one night to help me come up with the concept. So we sat down at our dining room table in our ratty little apartment above a wine store on 65th and Revenna in Seattle, got a bit drunk, had fun maybe got stoned on some pot, and recorded the session. I still have it. It wasn't great, but in the end there was a concept. In listening back on it I can hear that she really didn't offer much and I did most of the talking, but it was fun and it lent some emotional support in my creating the concept.

I found that cassette, after all those years of it having been lost in my papers. A tiny little cassette tape for a micro-cassette recorder that I'd inherited from my late grandfather. Through the first of the 1990s and after we divorced, I worked some more on from time to time. I have the paperwork from that period on those efforts. I plan now to get them together and write something from it. It just won't (obviously) be a Blade Runner story.

At the end of the show of the sequel it had left me in a kind of fugue state. As if in a trance, almost. All these years since first seeing the original. I'd once had the Criterion Laser Disc version of it. I had magazines on it. I watched documentaries on it. I saw the Director's Cut when it came out and premiered at Seattle's Egyptian Theatre. I read the sequel books (yes, there's sequels and I didn't much like them). And all the other things about it that had left me sitting there in the theater a bit stunned. So I thought I'd come home and write this up to share it.

And here we are.

I have to highly recommend the film as well as Ridley and his chosen director Denis Villeneuve and writers Hampton Fancher, Michael Green, with story by Hampton Fancher. Of course initial credits have to go to the great Philip K. Dick in being based on characters from his novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

As I've said, I have a long and personal history with BR as well as Ridley. Many do. There were two choices for me about a BR sequel, the original being somewhat of a near religious consideration for many. A sequel, most sequels really, are either worthy of being a sequel in the first place, or not. Anything over that is gravy. I saw it in 3D.

All I can say and the highest praise I can give it is... I accepted it. And I liked the gravy.

Monday, October 9, 2017

King Louis' 724 Art Studio in Port Orchard WA

"King Louis." That's J Louis King in Port Orchard, Washington.

Two amazing people: "King" Louis with Alison Arngrim, hamming it up at Sidney Museum in May 2017
I want to spend more time on art, fiction writing, filmmaking, rather than so much on non-fiction and politics. I'm working on that. But before I get to it about Louis and the gallery....

Louis (left) in Studio 724
I had retired last year from over twenty years in IT so that I could spend my time in the arts, in writing, in filmmaking (both in front of and behind the camera; though I do prefer behind, in front is a lot of fun), and whatever else strikes my fancy and whatever I seem to be good at.

I got into tech writing because I enjoyed IT work but also to become a tougher, better and faster writer. My interest in IT faded for me in recent years, in part because of the kinds of nonsense you get on the business side, in part because of a messed up situation in my career that I found myself in. Both of those had killed my interest.

All along I've tried to get my fiction works going but it's been like working two full time jobs. So many times I just missed the mark. Not so much in my writing as in the people I met, connection I'd made. Whenever you find that something is killing you (in my case, IT)... well it's time to do something different.

And now? Now I have all the time possible to dedicate to my art. however I wish to define that. I have to tell you, just as I'd thought it would be all these past decades...it feels great! And I've met some fascinating characters and artists.

Back to Louis and the Studio.

Louis is a diverse force of nature. He's had an interesting variety of jobs in his lifetime. He's been a seafood salesman in the Midwest, a chef, a celebrity TV chef, an Amtrak worker, traveling the countryside,  a photographer and a lot of other interesting things. It's been a pleasure getting to know him and his history at events, over beers and in general over time this year.

Louis King, an artist\photographer in his own right
Wherever Louis goes he seems to inspire people. He rails against obstructionism and banality and supports talent and art wherever he can. He's a great benefit to Port Orchard whose residents are lucky to have him. He wants to surround himself with creatives, talent, forward thinkers, movers and shakers and I'm pleased to know him. Even to have found him. As are we all who have met him and been brought under his circle of influence.

Kim's Adult Coloring Book release event
I spent part of the day on September 16th, an enjoyable Saturday at 724 Art Studio in Port Orchard, Washington. There was an artist's book release event, for Kimberly Von Rossum, for her adult coloring book that was a hit. It was put on of course by Louis who is also a volunteer leader working to keep a couple of the local museums going. Including the Sidney Museum a couple of blocks up the hill from 724 which itself is located along the main drag downtown Port Orchard and near to the waterfront.
Studio 724 is next to the Brick House Bar, a historical location it would seem
Louis has been acquiring for the studio a growing variety of artists from the as-yet-unknown (as in very soon both my daughter and her boyfriend who will have works in there and I love their artworks), to the works of the rather famous hanging in his gallery. Louis is also starting up a gallery walk soon, too.
Live music next door at the Brick House. Great burgers there! Love their Jalapeno burger!
Internationally known local artist Max Hayslette is one of the artists in the gallery and probably the best known of the artists currently on display for sale.

Max Hayslette art for sale
Interesting side note, it seems Max used to babysit my daughter when she was younger, in his being friends with her mother and then new step-father (now ex-stepfather). So, thanks Max. Strange how we find these degrees of separation in life, right?

Max Hayslette, seems like a nice guy!
This last Friday night (10/6/17) was Port Orchard's biannual Ladies' Night Out and we had an event at the gallery. Next one I think is in May.

Out front during Ladies' Night Out
I have to say, I had a massively good time.

Artists Aura Stiers (left) and Shelly Wilkerson and, my friend and director Kelly Hughes
I got to meet new people, some locals who wandered in, some who were just curious, some doing some art shopping, as well as some local artists and writers. Myself included. They will be doing more art events and some writer events.They also had a display of costumes for sale which seemed pretty popular. And they have local artist's art on greeting cards for sale.

I got to talk extensively with two of the artists there, both of whom have their art on display. From one of them I had to buy a couple of her greeting cards. Herself a gallery owner, Shelly Wilkerson owns Crazy Lady on Bay Street, also in Port Orchard down the street a pace, along with her photographer husband, Glen (nice guy too!).

Some of artist Aura Stiers unique and stylized art pieces utilized wood, not covering it up as too many do, rather utilizing the wood's natural grains and growth rings, allowing them to subtly show through enhancing the pieces. She was also wearing some of her art in an amazing looking ensemble that drew praise and remarks from customers and artists throughout the evening.

When does one EVER get to have a greeting card signed by the actual artist whose work is depicted on them? I have a collection of post cards I started when my older sister became a Flight Attendant ("Stewardess" back then) for Northwest Orient (now Delta). She'd send me postcards from around the world, however my most prized possession is one from a friend during my university years from McMurdo Station in Antarctica (got one of THOSE?).

So I simply had to take the opportunity to get a couple of cards signed by the artist! No. Not starting a greeting card collection, though I do have one from those given to me over my life time. "Historians" have trouble throwing historical kinds of things away you see and no, I'm not a hoarder by any definition.
Louis on left, customer with Kelly Hughes and event greeter (seated).
I now have one of my own books at Studio 724 on display (see photo below and Thanks, Louis!). I am happy to say I made some new friends. I'm not an extrovert by any sense of the term, but they did talk to about having my own author event soon. I've never actually had one as I guess I've just been avoiding it.

Some of the costumes for sale on the right
Studio 724 as well as Louis himself, are both in my estimation valuable additions to the local Port Orchard community and businesses.

During a lull in the evening. You can just see my books on the back wall just over the seated gentleman's head
I was there before the Studio started up, back when Kelly Hughes was running another kind of a studio for filmmakers and I hope to be there... not long after it's gone, but rather as long as it exists.

Which I hope for my sake and the community's will be a very long time.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Attraction and Eroticism

Which, is the more pleasurable? Attraction? Or Love?

Attraction is definitely the stronger of the two in my mind. After all can one not love another yet have a love affair with still another they are attracted to, against all vows and promises?

Has this not been shown over and over throughout the ages, in song, literature, movies and plays?

Is therefore Attractiveness the all important piece of the relationship puzzle? Does a relationship begin to dissolve once Attraction disappears? When there is no Attraction, is there not soon in its place, repulsion.

In much the same sense that physicists speak of the magnetic or the electrical, do people not use terms like magnetic or electric for someone they feel Attracted to?

Not Beauty... but Attractiveness.

The American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd College Edition says of Attraction:

1. The act or capability of attracting [this tells us nothing]. 2. The quality of attracting, charm [Charm], 3. A feature or characteristic that attracts."

And of Attractive: 111. Having the power to attract [again, this tells us nothing].
2. Pleasing to the eye or mind [Mind]; charming." [Brackets added by the Author]

Pleasing to the eye decries surely, that aesthetic appeal which so many disparage mentioning. What is that but: Beauty?

Surely however the "pleasing to the mind," description does not explain it. Something that pleases my mind? All of it? Or most of it that can be acquired, accessed by another. What is the negative appeal in this?

An Attractive person is one that attracts your attention by way of stimulating (or "titillating," perhaps too sumptuous a word?) many separate areas of a person's mind. Obviously, the most powerful ones would be affected first: those of Beauty (sight?), Sexuality (movement? smell?), Aesthetic Demeanor (attitude?), as well as Productive Characteristics.

But is that misleading? "Productive Characteristics"? What does that mean?

A mundane example....

Porno movies are Productive.

In a sense they are or else they wouldn't exist, would they? They show us sex, raw and forced visually and audibly into our consciousness. The really good ones would also gain access to our other states of consciousness, as true art penetrates to and through many layers of consciousness and intellect. But not for the immature, the unsophisticated.

Are they productive in a way to truly "turn one on?" I think most would agree not, actually. Though many people do get a kick out of them, just how productive are they, considering their original purpose? That of stimulating one sexually. Surely they only achieve whatever they do by way of being so single mindedly obtuse. Brutal, in a sense. Overkill.

Why is Eroticism generally considered productive according to its purpose? Unless of course, it overpowers and preoccupies one. But this usually only happens to those with truly addictive/ compulsive personalities to begin with. People who needed help from the start. Is this so different from and far between the more raw, projected sexuality of most kinds of pornos? Is it because it is so very hard to achieve?

After all, it does require a certain kind of. . .Class. Of Charm (in other words, I would say, a "need" to be Attractive) in order to be truly sexually stimulating. To any satiating or at least a satisfying degree. This is something that requires a lot of complementarity. To give that to a diverse group of consumers, it "appears" to require debasing it to the point of utter ludicrousness. Thus your run-of-the-mill porno movie. Cheap. Raw. Typically unrehearsed. Poorly thought out.

This happens to us upon a paraphrase of a theorem of the late Media Prophet Marshall McLuhan (see his cameo so aptly put in the "standing in line at the cinema" scene in Woody Allen's, ANNIE HALL).

It proffers the degree of the intellectual level of a medium for any given audience, decreases in proportion to the number of individuals contained in that audience. Thus, so the theory goes, Public Broadcasting produced/sponsored shows, should have a higher quality content than that of the mass media offerings of prime time TV sitcoms.

A porno movie may indeed raise a penis to its full extension, a clitoris to its full engorgement. But is it the raw-nerved throbbing, full bodied mindfulness, experienced in near-orgasm? And no, I do not mean climax. A climax is merely a pleasant spasming of muscles. An orgasm is a much fuller experience and brings in much more of the body/mind experience.

A mere climax can leave the pelvic area congested, which is the way the body sets up sexual arousal: engorgement of the pelvic veins and nerves, irritating the organism's metabolic system to seek decongestion.

Typically, orgasm does not leave the body in this congested state, which is the more healthy (and more popularly desired) form of relief. Repeated congestion of the pelvic region without resolution, especially in women, can be medically unfavorable and lead to complications. And not just emotional ones.

This ideal indeed comes only with true eroticism. And that only comes through ... Attractiveness. See? One has to be attracted to (say...), the people on the screen in a porno, in order to experience this. Or the scene they are playing their charade out in. The projected circumstance. One could be attracted to oneself, or a preconceived idea, which then uses a porno only for confirmation and orientation in order to more fully solidify what was already in one's mind.

But true eroticism is no easy thing to achieve. In part because as has been pointed out by others long ago, it is in the nature of the human experience that one can even erotisize, raise to the level of a fetish, even that of a rock.

It is in essence, the Charm, the Quality, the Classiness (even anti classy, as in eroticizing a sense of the aesthetic of the ugly and finding sexual attraction in it, that is to say in being turned on by the gross and disgusting) of the viewing and not the view itself that does the real work.

This is one reason why pornos do indeed work for many people. For do they not primarily focus on the quality of the viewing and not the actual view being watched? Which brings up the potential for the individual to be pre-experientially inclined for an intense release, in which case one could watch a wall and find the same intensity.

It is the bare fact that the person the viewer is with (even if that be themselves), in the circumstance they are in, is the stimulating factor. It is the Attractiveness, the Charm, and the Class, as well as the Company they are keeping.

It is not as many do claim, that everyone is simply different in their tastes and therefore it is much too hard and expensive for a scene to be made which will please most anyone. Although it is indeed NOT easy to do this, I believe it is for another reason. Rather I believe it is a difficult thing to produce because of the innate need for Attractiveness. Something that requires a kind of Class, of Charm, to be truly sexually stimulating. And not necessarily in the classic sense of the words.

This is why viewing naked is sexually inspiring, but less-than-naked is Erotic. Thus, the high sales of special undergarments with orientations toward sexuality. This is also why hardcore porno is merely stimulating, while softcore tends more easily to be erotic, more fully... engaging. However, many will note that since softcore does not show it all, many viewers (mostly male) feel cheated and so do not find it in the end erotic. Once again, this reflects back onto the appetites of the individual viewer.

This is a mere misconception on the individual viewer's part. Often they find after seeing it all, that this does not satisfy after all. Nor does it satiate. Is it such a fine line for most people between the sexual excitement achieved through hardcore porno and the more fully erotic elements exercised by the way of Love, Aesthetic Appeal, or Attractiveness?

It has been said that true sexual fulfillment only comes from one being in a deep relationship. However, cannot the opposite be said in that a stranger that arouses, can also lead to an intense and deep satiation? Or does one actually satiate and the other simply inspire more desire? Which, is the most desired in that case?

Does this distinction so easily become blurred? Isn't it more like the case of a glass of fine wine is lost on a wino because he is looking for the strongest "kick." A motivation so unlike the Attraction a wine connoisseur finds for that same glass, prior to the wino having drunk from it.

The True Seeker finds instead of the wino's "kick," the connoisseur's aesthetic explosion of appreciation. One that comes up from deep within, through many levels. What is actually a cascading of mental appreciation through various regions of the brain and various levels of one's mind.

An explosion that warms, that comforts, that nurtures and lingers, sometimes for days afterward. For drinking a very fine wine can produce in a Connoisseur, an orgasm-like (though perhaps, very temporal) response. This is far indeed from what a wino experiences in his drugged, "climatic" deliriums.

So one has to ask: What is meant by having Productive Characteristics? Is it "climax?" Or, is it "orgasm?" Aesthetic Appeal (the single glass of a very fine wine), or total inebriation (a five liter box of cheap fortified Thunderbird wine in the hands of a wino)?

Is Attractiveness simply physical Beauty, or something else, something...more?

I will leave it up to you. The next time you see someone who draws your Attention to them without their even trying, from across the room, attracting you from across a bar, or through the curious air at some party, consider just what it is that is drawing you.

Consider just what it means to you. To the both of you.

I think you will find that the pleasures in Life will be better for you if you do consider it. Just like the fine wine in the hands of a Connoisseur.