Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Kerry snags an owl in the women's bathroom of Otherlands coffee! Great oogly-boogly! That's the way to do it! I'da never found it, at peril of criminal violation. There's lotsa reasons why folk could stand to be more like Kerry, but this is one of 'em. If you see an owl, send me a pic, or let me know about it! I'm on the hunt to track as many down as I can.
And check out Kerry's blog (http://ilovememphisblog.com/,) while you're at it. Come for the breakfast brackets, stay for the trenchant and dynamic Memphis commentary. It'll do ya good.
Today I want to approach another conspicuous element in the Black Lodge dossier that seperates them from not only chains like Blockbuster (well, duh..) but also from many ("many" being pretty relative, here,) independents.
When was the last time you paid your late fee at Black Lodge? If you're like me, it's probably been awhile. And not just because they're doin' me a solid because I'm making a documentary about them. It's always been like that, from the first time I rented there.
Which is kinda crazy, isn't it? When I think about the amount of money for late returns that they haven't collected - accrued over almost ten years of operation - good grief! That's a decent coupla two three simoleons, right?
Matt and Bryan both say, though, that they're kind of sympathetic to the pathologically-late customer. They can identify with it, and as Matt says, "Why would I penalize someone for doing something that I'd do myself?" Which is pretty cool.
Also, (and, who's with me on this) how many of you folk have a couple of video stores around town that you have to avoid because you have a late fee? I mean, the late fee drives business away from the store, see? So, in a way, it's also smart business to get the customer out from under that black cloud, and back into the store.
Is it worth the sacrifice of the potential revenue stream from late fees? Does it even out? That's a good question, and one I hope to talk to Lodge staff about. I think, though, it makes the place feel a little more comfortable, and a little more personal.
I dunno...why do you think they do it like that? Is it mad? Or, maybe your experience is different from mine. Have you gotten jilted by Black Lodge for some reason or other, along these lines? As always, please, please let me know what you think, or what you'd like to talk about in re: Lodge.
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
New stuff to report, though - just sent away for 100 mini-DV tapes for $215.00. That's $2.15 a tape, people! Cheap! Give it up for http://www.tapestockonline.com/! And, I gotta give credit where credit is due - mucho gracias to Jason Scott for tipping me off to the special. Jason Scott, by the way, is almost painfully cool. Go see how cool by visiting him at http://www.textfiles.com/.
He is, among other things, a fellow documentary filmmaker, and (especially if you're into all things computer) has an excellent documentary on the old BBS systems that proliferated in the eighties before the internet, as we know it, came to be. He's also embarking on a project about independently run video stores, so, natch, we clicked pretty well. I owe him an enormous debt of gratitude, not only for the cheap tapes heads-up, but also because this guy, who barely knows me from Adam, is letting me borrow his camera so I can have a second camera for the Black Lodge shoot! Awesome!!
I need to get one more shout out before I talk Lodge, and that is to Memphis Connect, which you can find by going here: http://www.memphisconnect.com/. They've been good enough to retweet my blog on twitter, which will hopefully drive some business over to this here collection of ramblings. Not only that, but they've offered to possibly do a short Q&A which might go up on their site. Holy moley! So, go check out their site for all things Memphis: they're the bomb!
So, back to the issue at hand. I am continuing to prepare for embedment at Black Lodge. Looks like I'll be coming in somewhere between December 8th and December 14th, and starting the shoot. Come down and say "hello!" Or, say "hello" here! Just say it - it's gettin' lonely on this page.
There's a common theme when I talk to folk about Lodge - I'd say 20-30% of them, the first thing they notice or comment on is the fact that you run smack dab into the (diverse and spacious) porn section upon entering Lodge's front door. I mean, you can't avoid it. Some folk are turned off by it, some think it's funny. I've talked with Matt and Bryan about it and - while it's definitely part of the grand Black Lodge scheme - they are (typically) a little evasive about the reasoning behind it.
Matt says that one reason for it is to bring the largely threatening (for most folk) topic of human sexuality out into the open. Everyone's having sex (or wishing they were having sex,) most everyone is watching some kind of porn (yes, even your humble narrator,) but the going strategy is to place it in a creepy back room with lots of sinister security cams recording your every move. If Matt's theory is right, by moving it into the open (indeed, to the very front of the store,) there's a certain onus (yes onus, not onanism,) that is removed in the process.
Do you buy this?
I think what Matt has given me is a theory that came kind of after the fact. I mean, I kinda dig where he's coming from, but I also think there's a more confrontational psychology to having the porn so open and in-your-face, that probably was the first reason it is where it is. Look, I love Lodge, but they're kind of a misanthropic bunch (an aura that they gleefully cultivate.) I think there is a lot to be said for the porn being there because its a way of seperating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, customer-wise. The folk that are badly offended probably aren't the kind of folk that are interested in renting many Lynch/Jarmusch/Herzog/et. al films, anyway, right? Not that Lodge is all about arty films or arty directors, necessarily - just that their stock veers off the beaten path quite a bit.
The unknowing customer searching for Titanic (presuming, of course, that they can get past the spray-painted building with the creepy sign,) is presented straightaway with an environment that is about as candid as they come. And I think there's a certain relinquishment of control that goes along with that - another aspect of Lodge I hope to try to capture in the film. You (or I, or the customer,) are in their house. They have their own rules. You abide, or you leave. It's actually pretty freakin' honest, in my book.
Anyway - what do you think about why they do it? Am I completely off target? Let me know what you think!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Okay, so, the woman was chatting with me about my most recent blog post, and began to advise me about a local antique dealer that keeps a lot of antique owls in stock. Which, is cool.
Not, however, the type of owl I'm looking for.
So, I figure I better spell this out. See the design in the picture up above? Not the circle part, but the diamond in the middle with wings? That's a Black Lodge owl. More specifically, its a Black Lodge owl tattoo, and even more specifically a Black Lodge owl tattoo worn by Farmer, a Lodger who you've probably seen working the desk if Matt or Hogue aren't around. These are what I'm looking for. I hear estimates that there are some 35-50 owl tattoos that are specifically Black Lodge Video inspired (interestingly, Matt tells me that he has had the experience of meeting someone with an owl that was a fan of the Twin Peaks television show before they ever heard of Black Lodge Video - how far out is that?)
Okay, just after looking at the tapes from Friday night. Yeah, as I suspected, the audio levels on the band are a little messy, but perhaps not irretrievable. It's amazing what you can do with FCP and Soundtrack. Still...it's gonna be tricky.
The video, on the other hand, is actually a lot more solid than I expected. The band footage is pretty good - it is a little dark, but I'm cool with it. The only problem I see there is that I (that is camera 2,) was doing a lot of cutaway shots as well as wandering around the Lodge and getting footage of folk just kinda hangin' around the store and not necessarily in the room where the band was playing. Then, when I came back to do cutaways of the band, I didn't re-white balance. So....my footage is decidedly more red than camera 1 footage, which is predominantly blue. Gonna have to spend a LOT of time color correcting to get this to look right.
More good news, the conversation I got downstairs looks great! I'm really looking forward to getting more of this candid-style interaction amongst the Lodgers. I mean, the piece is as much about the community as it is about the store itself. The more I can get of this style of footage, the better as far as I'm concerned.
Next is a bit of a waiting game - I've got about three weeks and change before I embed myself at the store over the holiday break. I'll be dropping into Black Lodge a lot just to check in, but this is the period of time where I really need your help. What can you tell me about Black Lodge that I don't already know? What do you think of Lodge? What have been your experiences? Do you think you have a perspective that would be good for inclusion in the documentary? I'm really hoping to start hearing from people who want to weigh in on this piece. And, again, you don't have to be a fan, necessarily. If you've got a beef with the Lodge, now's the time to let it out!
Also, I'd really like to gather the owls. If you have an owl, and are willing to let me get a photograph of it, I sure would appreciate it. And, there's owls all over this town. Seen one? Let me know so I can go shoot it. I know of a couple on campus, one at P&H, one at Huey's downtown. Where are more?
Alright, off to teach. Be careful out there.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Got the second camera for last night's shoot! Just in the nick of time!
All in all, things went well. I'm really curious to see how the audio is gonna come out...the band didn't run through a sound board, so, me and Matt Bowling were riding the levels on our cameras all night. Still, it looked really cool. If you haven't been up there, the Micro-Dome is really dark - not a lot of light to get yer textbook exposed picture. But, hey, it's a freakin' "black" lodge, right? I'm cool with dark.
And got some cool music, too. Want to give a shout out to Tiffany Harman, Other Stories and The Ideal Setback for a great show. The Ideal Setback is Todd Chappell, and his stuff is ambient, spooky, with lots of loops and neat distortion and stuff. He and I talked a little bit and I think I'm gonna be using some of his music for the background track. It works well with the atmosphere I'm trying to get with this doc. You can check out his stuff at http://www.myspace.com/theidealsetback. See Tiffany Harman, Other Stories, and Tiffany Harmon and Other Stories at http://www.myspace.com/eveestarr, http://www.myspace.com/otherstories, and http://www.myspace.com/tiffanyharmonotherstories, respectively.
Got some interesting conversations from folks down in the store proper, too. I really think that's gonna be the trick of making this thing look and feel a little more authentic. Me going down with a camera, postin' up in a corner somewhere, and just being very silent and unobtrusive and getting people speaking off the cuff without worrying (or, even, knowing,) about me being there. The best stuff I've shot so far for this documentary was just folks talkin' who had no interest in the fact I was making a documentary at all. Boss. Very direct cinema.
So, mucho mucho going on today. I've got to get little Vertov over to PetCo and do some kitten things. Out to the Orpheum with the woman tonight. Play practice this afternoon. Point being, I'm not gonna be able to look at the footage til Sunday at the earliest. In the meantime? Shit...I dunno. Start gettin' ready to embed, I reckon. Finish my papers for my other classes, too. Damn! I just realized I'm freakin' busy!!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Dropped by Lodge tonight to check out the set-up for the show tomorrow. Talked to Matt and Tiffany Harmon and the collective known as Other Stories. Looks like its gonna be a real laid back show, which is cool. I'm kind of wondering how it fits into the documentary though. Well, in a way I am.
I mean, the average Lodge show tends to be a little more punk, a little more industrial. This being the case, is what I'm getting typical? Is it emblematic of Lodge events? Probably not. On the other hand, it is an ontological happening. It's "real." I'm glad I'm gonna be shooting it, regardless, Tiffany and her colleagues are cool folks. So...its all good. It's all gonna work out.
Just wish I had that second camera. Dang.
Also talked to Chris Bratton for a second. Looks like we're gonna be one happy family for Christmas. This is gonna be tough. I'm embedding myself at Black Lodge for a month, and it's gonna be different. Difficult. Hopefully, rewarding. I just don't see any other way to get the story of what Black Lodge is really about without being there and soaking in it. All of the interviews I've done so far and the footage I've collected amount to a film about a store with a bunch of movie boxes all over the wall. It just doesn't...I dunno...it doesn't live and breathe. It looks like a 20/20 human interest segment. Ugh.
So....we'll see how it all works out.
Again, come out tomorrow. 5 bucks. Cheap.
Currently on loan from Black Lodge: Cassevetes' Shadows
I'm off to the Lodge tonight to check out the setup for tomorrow's show. Tiffany Harmon and Other Stories and The Ideal Setback are playing in the microdome, and I want to get some footage. I'm still not sure how this is all going to work out. Matt Bowling has been good enough to volunteer to run some sound and just generally be an extra set of hands, but visually speaking what am I supposed to do? Get coverage of the band, sure, but get coverage of the crowd and just the whole "scene." And I've only got one camera. Dag, yo.
Anyway, I got my equipment checkout sheets okayed, so I'll be picking everything up tomorrow after my speech class. Then I'll probably try to squeeze in a nap, get at Lodge around 5. Figure whatever happens, whatever I can get, it's all still good footage.
I'm tired of waiting around for this thing. I feel like I've done a lot of good prep work, but the prep period has gone on FOREVER, and I'm still no closer to really understanding what it is I'm so drawn to, what story it is I think I'm trying to tell. Much less how that story should look - how to make it visually apparent. I'm such a fucking dumbass sometimes it's fucking depressing.
Still - got to remember to print out a whole buncha release forms...I've GOT to remember that. I'll probably forget.
So, if yer not doing anything, head down to Lodge tomorrow evening. Check out the show. Come say something about your Lodge experiences. Come memorialize Cooper. It's a good thing to do.
Currently on loan from Black Lodge: Pink Flamingos & Wet Hot American Summer