Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Sunday, July 26, 2015
The Sunday Series:
Sunday July 25, 2015
A peaceful Sunday. That is all I want. I go to a movie theater in the suburb to see a comedy or even a comic book movie to take my mind off my troubles. Many times I go to see a film and haven’t the foggiest idea what I have just seen. Mostly I allow my thoughts in my head to be projected on the large screen in front of me, and I don’t even wish to dwell with what those thoughts mean or what they represent. Most movie theaters these days only process digital images than film. As of last March, 38,719 screens (out of a total 39,789 screens) in the United States have been converted to digital. So in truth, am I even seeing a film? Or a reproduction of a film? Or should the credits now say “A Digital Production by Judd Apatow. ”
The beauty of modern theaters is how they convey the feeling that you’re in a first class compartment of an airplane. The seating is very comfortable and one can even push back to recline and place your head facing the screen upwards. A holder for your drink, and plenty of room on the armrest on each side of the chair to place your elbow or even arm. It is also pleasant to be in a darken theater to see the projection of the latest digital release.
The one thing that does bother me is the customer that comes in and seems nervous. I have always felt that was me, in a sense, that I come to a movie with thoughts or problems, and the purpose of me being here is to leave my troubles outside the theater, for at least a couple of hours. But I can feel that customers irritation or oddness, which totally destroys the experience of seeing a movie in a theater. I thought that I should contact an employee of the theater to let them know that there is a customer who is giving out bad vibes, and therefore I’m not experiencing the enjoyment as fully as I should be entitled to.
He keeps changing seats. First he is sitting in my row, and I’m in the middle of the theater. He then moves in front of me, and idiotically he sits in front of me. He has a role of seats he can sit in. Yet he chooses the seat right in front of me. I moved a few seats down, and when the coming attractions come on, I tend to watch him than watching what is on the screen. Now I notice he have an object in his hand, and it seems he is looking at the object instead of the digital projection. It isn’t a cell phone. What is it?
He puts it back in his pocket. The film is starting. The dialogue is funny. Yet he doesn’t laugh nor does he look like he is paying any attention to the film. Once in awhile, I see him glancing at me time-to-time. I make sure that I don’t capture his eyes when he does so. I sometimes wished that the cinema was totally blacked out, except for the screen. The whole idea of being in a cinema, at first, was to be part of the audience. But the reason I’m at the cinema is really the size of the screen, and the fact that one can lose themselves to the images in front of them, as well as being surrounded by the digital projection’s Dolby sound.
The disturbing aspect of this environment is the customer mouthing off to the screen, but I can’t fully hear him, due to the volume of the movie being so loud. I wonder if he feels he’s being pulled into the narrative of the movie, or is he living in his own narrative with its own unique soundtrack? The weather is so hot today, and all I want is to lose myself in an air-conditioned theater, yet, I can’t focus on my comfort, due that this guy is making me totally uncomfortable. If I was a normal guy, I would go up to him and tell him to shut-up, or please leave the theater, but I’m fearful of approaching a stranger. When you are part of the audience, one hopes that we are all on the same wave length - yet clearly this ‘gentleman’ is on another planet.
If I just close my eyes, all of this will go away. My thoughts are projected on my eyelids. I see abstraction from the lights bouncing around the screen. I find this to be the perfect cinema. Not digital, but human. No one exists, except me. I, alone. Finally.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Sunday, July 19, 2015
The Sunday Series
Sunday July 19, 2015
This is Sunday. The day my life changed. Hopefully for the better. I have joined the circus last week, and my first performance will be today at the Hollywood Bowl. Ever since I was a teenager, I had an obsession about being a juggler. I even considered to go with my friend Robert Greene to a clown’s school in Italy, where they teach you the fundamental or basics of juggling. I didn’t want to wear clown make-up, due to my fear of clowns as a child. I find it slightly creepy, and I never out-grew that feeling of fear, when I come upon an image of a clown. There are many groupings in life, and the Clown Gang is one that is the scariest of them all. I remember as a child, walking down Venice (California) street called Electric Avenue, and seeing a group of clowns in make-up, but oddly enough, wearing street clothing. They were just sitting on the street and drinking out of a brown paper bag. They were also smoking, both cigarette and marijuana, which made them even more sinister looking than normal.
When I walked by them, one of them yelled out something to me. I pretended not to hear them, but then as I tried to pass them on the street, one of them touched my shoulder and tried to force me to the ground. I kept on walking and I heard them yelling behind my back. I refused to look over my shoulder, and I just kept going straight to my destination. It was then that I saw a brown paper bag fly over my head and shattered against a building’s wall. I still cringe, when thinking about that moment and time. It is odd, that now at the age of 60, I want to join the circus.
“Cirque Musica' is a new traveling circus, that is nothing like the circus of my youth. For one, they use a full live orchestra for their music, as well as having a school based in Southern Florida, where they trained all their performers. They flew me there from Los Angeles to the South Florida Circus Arts School, and I never been to Florida before. In fact, I have never been to a Southern state in the United States. Once I got there, it reminded me very much like California. Yet, the weather was very high with respect to the humidity. I never liked to sweat, and since I started training as a juggler, I sweat a lot.
The school trains you under the hot sun, and I think they want to make sure that you can concentrate with all the bowling pins in the air. The act itself is not that difficult, but the concentration is the art. One must focus on the amount of objects you have above you, and not to get distracted either by who or what is walking by you, and of course, including the glare of the sun. There is a zen-like peacefulness I get when I juggle alone.
The powers-to-be at the circus suggested that I change my name to Beni Hasan, which had a nice exotic touch, and therefore I will appear in performance with that name. Along with clowns, jugglers are looked upon as the type of performers of base morals or even dealing in witchcraft. Believe me, if they actually saw my act, they will know that this is not the case whatsoever.
I can’t count the times that I hit my instructor in the head with a bowling pin, due to my so-called skills as a juggler. While flying back to the Burbank airport (sometimes called Bob Hope airport) from Florida, various administrators from the circus school suggested that I may be more interested in working in the merchandise table at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. The fact that my performance will go on tonight is making the entire school sick to their stomach. I said “no deal.” I’m Beni Hasan, and I’m going on the Hollywood Bowl stage this Sunday night. For an artist, when one is told that you won’t make it, or you can’t - well, that is like putting a red cape in front of an angry bull. Of course, I am going to head towards that red cape as if it is an opening to another universe.
My 60 years on this plane is pretty much of a joke. No one is laughing, except me, and I laugh hard. Even in my bed, wide awake from thoughts of failure, I pretty much mapped out the performance in my head. Some count cows jumping over a fence, but for me, I’m counting the balls that are floating above my head, till I fall asleep. In my dreams, I imagine myself in a show in front of an audience of old girlfriends and they’re watching me fail all over again. I threw one bowling pin up, and then the next - and finally I have three in the air. But the women in the audience are calling out my name to distract me from what I’m doing. I break out into a sweat, almost a panic, and then I let one of the bowling pins fall down to the ground. I hear laughter from the audience and I wake up in a sweat.
As I wait backstage at the Hollywood Bowl, I notice my fellow performers are ignoring me. I’m nervously throwing the pins in my little practice area, and basically dropping each one to the ground. It is a remarkable moment when you either realize you don’t have the talent you think you may have, and when people around you clearly know that you don’t have the talent. I put on my make-up on. It has been decided by the powers to be, that if I was going to go on, I need to wear clown make-up. The thing is if I drop the pins, it would look like a comedy clown act. Everything is a performance here, including my life. I feel the need to drink water, but then the spotlight goes on the stage, which is the signal for me to enter that light, and clearly and with nothing but fear in my stomach and head, I run into the spotlight.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
The Sunday Series:
Sunday July 12, 2015
Today being Sunday I just heard the news that the bid I put in for Detroit's Fisher Building (1928), as well as the near-by Albert Kahn (1930) building was the top price - and I have both buildings for 12.2 million dollars. A tad beyond my budget, yet, it is always wise to jump into the flames than run around it. First of all, the Fisher Building is located on 3011 West Grand Boulevard, not far from the Motown Museum. Like the other building with his name, Albert Kahn designed The Fisher Building. The building was built and commissioned by the Fisher Brothers, who had a company called "Fisher Body" who made the bodies for automobiles. The building mostly consists of office space with retail on the bottom two floors. There is likewise the Fisher Theater, which is an elaborate 2,089 seats - mostly focusing on Broadway related musicals. Now, the building housed the headquarters for the Detroit Public Schools - which I may just have to kick out, because of my plans for the space.
The building is 28 stories high, and I plan to have my living quarters on the top floor. To wake up in the morning (or even in the evening) and to look over Detroit, will make me feel like a king or emperor. A little over a week ago, I visited the Fisher Building, where I walked on every floor - room to room, office to office, and even through its various storage rooms. I wonder how long would it take for me to use every toilet in this remarkable building. For my entire life, I had an empire in my mind, but now the palace will be in front of me. I can even bring over guests.
With some assistance from the "Welcome to Detroit" website, I'm hoping to invite a few hundred over for dinner and drinks. It is important to welcome the citizens of Detroit to my new home. I know it must feel strange to have a stranger move into such an iconic structure such as The Fisher Building - and on top of that, also the Albert Kahn building, which is in walkable distance from the Fisher as well.
The Albert Kahn Building was built and commissioned by Fisher Brothers as well. It was completed in 1931, and is ten-stories high. There is an underground tunnel connecting the two buildings together. At one time, Saks Fifth Avenue department store had the grand floor - but alas, that was in the past. In fact, a lot of things were in the past. There have been many mistakes, and promises broken, but now, it is time to look at the present and perhaps even in the future.
To be truthful, I have never cared for people. On the other hand, always was fascinated by architecture - especially skyscraper buildings. I love the idea of a structure that comes from the imagination, and therefore an ideal portrait of a human. Living day-in and day-out and accepting one's limitations strikes me as an act of cruelty. To stand a few miles away from your structure and thinking 'it is mine, ' is surely one of the higher moments one can experience. In real estate, 12.2 million is not that much. Yet for that amount, I get giddy with excitement that is similar to removing my pants in front of a beautiful woman. To stand erect in front of a beauty, is surely a series of moments that I treasured. I at one time, many years ago, was wandering around Grand Avenue, and since no one was around I did just that - I removed my trousers. As I felt the blood racing in my loins, I looked up at the Fisher Building swearing one day that it will be mine.
Who could have foreseen the financial collapse of Detroit? It seemed that I wished it upon this great city, so I can obtain the building of my dreams. The capitalist mode of production is where one can lose everything and where one can win all at the same time. I have lost, with great intensity, but I never lost sight of my goal. To obtain a vision, that will clearly be my self-portrait. The Fisher Building will now be known as "Tosh Towers," or "TT." I'm clearly thinking of having the whole building to myself. So I can wander from floor to floor without seeing another - and perhaps I would hire a small crew to handle the elevators. It would be nice to come here in the morning or evening if there is a need, and have them greet me as I enter the grand door.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Monday, July 6, 2015
As anyone who knows me, I'm a hardcore Sparks' fan. Recently they teamed up with Franz Ferdinand to make an album (it's excellent) and are now touring the world. Here is a recent concert done in Paris, France.
Sunday, July 5, 2015
The Sunday Series
Sunday July 5, 2015
I wouldn't say he is a hero, but clearly the blood that runs in Henry Ford's veins are the same as mine. I too have a passion to run an empire. To organize a series of assembly lines to produce a product or better yet, a beautiful piece of machinery, is like kissing the devil on the lips. I never liked working for anyone, because I don't like to be told what to do. I like to do the telling. No boss over me and watching me sweats over his dreams. There is only one dream, and that dream is mine and mine alone. There is nothing more beautiful than an industry making sounds in a factory. Day-in-day-out is poetry in rhythm. The meditation of eight or so hours spent in a large room with your employees making a vision - not their's, but your vision, which is pure poetry. The kind of balladry that is popular and beautiful for everyone. Today, being Sunday, and I'm in Detroit, I like to look back when I lost control when I came face-to-face with the man who sold the world.
To be in the mind set of Henry Ford, I have read his four volume set of books "The International Jew." Nazi Youth leader, Baldur von Schirach, was quoted at the Nuremberg Trials that Henry Ford was the most influential American, a figure that German youth can look up to. In Hitler's office, there was both a portrait of Henry Ford as well as a well-thumbed copy of the "International Jew" on his desk. I have spent a great deal of money and capital to obtain copies of books that Ford had in his personal library. Although personal funds don't allow me to live in his mansion or even the same-size type of house, I can for sure make my bedroom into a tribute to Henry Ford. Here in Detroit, whenever I walk on the streets, I see his magic on almost every object and structure.
Antoine de La Mothe-Cadillac, a French explorer and adventurer, is credited as finding "Detroit," in 1701, but it is Ford that made and put Detroit on the map. Even though the origin of the word "Detroit" is French, make no mistake, that Detroit is all-American. This city of champions, in everything from making the perfect automobile to the superb athletes who win for the city. This is where I belong. With the winners, not the whiners.
"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." I found a tailor in Detroit to dress me close as possible to Henry Ford. The pictures I have seen of him, I admired the suits that were tailored made for him. A man without a suit is like a man without a city. I never like looking at failure in the eyes. My thinking is "don't find fault, find a remedy." The one thing I hate about my life is whenever I felt doubt about something. I can feel it in my stomach. The sense of feeling displaced either by history or by a group of people, is a terrifying prospect. I don't even want to go there. "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." I need to get on the right side of history, and never balance myself on that moveable line in the sand.
Detroit is a paradise as a dream. From my second story bedroom window, i can see the Fisher Building, and one day, I will be able to walk through its golden entrance and the doorman who opens the double door, and the boutique as well as the gentlemen's shop on the first floor, will know me by name. "Welcome Mr. Berman, may we serve you."