March 3, 2014
After working on my memoir project, I took a walk in the rain. Today is Bobby Driscoll’s birthday, who was a friend of my parents. I don’t have a strong memory of him, due that I was a little child when he was around the household. But his presence was felt strongly. What I hear about him is mostly from my mom, who was very fond of him. It’s funny that he was the source material for Disney’s “Peter Pan” and in a sense growing up was a huge pain for him. Not as a man, but the way the entertainment industry treats its children, who work in the film world. They always want to freeze time, yet a human can’t remain what he was, he or she can only be “is.”
I’m consistently fighting a depressing that lurks underneath my skin, and the weather today, which is stormy, pretty much fits the mood, as if it was a tight suit on a mannequin. I react, but I can’t really express myself. The one thing that makes me feel happy is that there is a Jean Harlow retrospective at Film Forum here in Tokyo. They called her the “Blonde Bombshell” in fact that is the title of the film festival focusing on her work. Tonight they will be showing “Hell’s Angels” double-billed with “Red Dust.” Escaping into the theater to see a film, even though it's a movie I have seen over and over again, is somewhat a spiritual experience for me. It’s very much like a “Last Year at Marienbad” experience where I try to remember the film, but when I do see it again, it seems to be a totally new experience. Certain films work that way for me. It is like going into a theater is similar to walking into a thick fog where you can’t see your hand in front of your eyes, yet you know it is there. Jean Harlow comes in and out of focus in my life, but it is always behind the fog. Perhaps due that she died many years before I was born, yet, her presence (like Driscoll) still affects me even now. Seeing her work in Tokyo may seem to be a strange occurrence, but the city in how it resolves and moves is a mystery as well.
Asger Jorn, one of my faves, is an artist and writer who I come upon usually by accident. I never think of him, yet once in awhile I come upon a book by him or perhaps something on COBRA, the art movement that he was part of. Their working method was based on spontaneity, which takes the form that I devote my life to. To make plans is to presume one is going from A to B, but in my experience life throws many surprises on that road. It is preferable to be prepared for rapid changes in one’s life. So yes, I will go see the Harlow films, but I won’t even look at the schedule, I will just show up, pay my ticket, and perhaps walk right in the middle of the film.
On the way to the theater, I ran upon KFC, where one can smell the frying death that was once a chicken or a selection of chicken parts, made in the same sense as Dr. Frankenstein making his monster. I hold my nose, and faced my future without a thought in my head.