A New York day, in moans

Today was a perfect New York day. I didn't wake up because I never went to sleep. My brain raced all night with ideas, as it usually does. Not entirely unpleasant but at the same time, absolute torture!

In the early morning, the sun shone blueish through my curtains. This is a light I rarely see since I'm a late sleeper. I climbed out of bed, grabbed my camera, and spent an hour playing with it. For lack of a better subject, I took fuzzy dark self-portraits against the bright window. I am proud of myself any time I overcome my fear of this camera. It's fairly new to me, a big fancy canon DSLR. (As my new pal Megan Leppla says, it's one of those cameras that "will always know more than you".)

Afterwards I drank tea from a poison cup while reading my favorite filmmaking blog. I found a speech given by Charlie Kaufman and lay down to listen to it. He articulated so many major-epiphany-level thoughts at once that I would struggle to summarize them here easily. You'd better just listen: 

What Kaufman says about not premeditating your work struck a major chord with me. "Go where it takes you," he says. Try to give voice to that indeterminate 'moan' inside you. The moan! God, I love that. 

I met up with Megan in Chelsea. We stopped by a few weird art galleries before heading to the Drawing Center, where we saw drawings and films by Len Lye. They were mesmerizing. One of them, called Free Radicals, is composed of scratch marks made directly on 16mm film (no camera involved) and animated together to drumbeats from an african tribe:

Len Lye called his films "pure movement". I feel like I could watch them for hours, but I can't exactly articulate it what they satisfy in me. I believe this is means they are 'moans' -- just like Kaufman was talking about!

Afterwards I met up with Scott Bateman to assist him in shooting a scene for his mockumentary about the human brain. I like assisting him because not only do I get to be a part of the film, but I get to meet all the actors (comprised mostly of awesome comedian pals of Scott's). I enjoy explaining to each of them that Scott and I are not actually related. 

As evening fell, I made my way to Cinema Village to see Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, a new independent film directed by Sam Fleischner. It's about a mother's search for her autistic son, Ricky, who becomes lost on the subway as Hurricane Sandy nears.The film captures the feeling, movement and sound of the city so vividly that walking out the theater onto the streets of New York was surreal. I had forgotten I was in New York because I was so transported -- to New York. 

My favorite sequences in the film were those of Ricky riding, lost and increasingly dazed, in endless circles on the subway trains. We ride with him through the dark tunnel. Our vision blurs until the lights ahead are just textured discs of color. They play and move and sway and change as Ricky compulsively (but joyfully) repeats the names of trains. 

G train G train G train... The scene feels like a Len Lye film. Movement and sound. I felt like I could watch it for hours. A moan. 

On that note, I haven't slept in over 24 hours. Here's my moan for tonight:

G train G train G train

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