yellow John Alton: Have you ever learned anything about your work from a critic?
Raymond Carver:No. No review I've ever read concerning my work has changed the way I've written or even changed the way I've thought about myself or my stories.
John Alton: It doesn't tell you anything new?
Raymond Carver: No it doesn't. And if you start to believe the laudatory reviews, then you have to believe the other ones as well, perhaps.
John Alton: So the primary concern you have is telling the truth the way you see it?
Raymond Carver: Yes.
Max Roach's last performance at the 50th anniversary celebration of the original Massey Hall concert, May 15, 1953, in Toronto, where he performed solo on the hi-hat.
I am not sure how this is supposed to work…
Let me see it.
Does this have something to do with it?
Marlon Brando on The Dick Cavett Show, June 12, 1973. With representatives of the Cheyenne, Paiute and Lummi tribes. Please watch until 2 minutes 37 seconds.
yellow Les Tomkins: It's like listening to somebody's accent, is it?
Miles Davis: Right. I can hear a grey singer that's trying to sing coloured—I don't mean black, I mean coloured—and all of a sudden, like, he'll say "mother" and his "er" won't get that true sound. Tom Jones is funny to me, man. I mean, he really tries to ape Ray Charles and Sammy Davis, you know.
Les Tomkins: Yes—but he's making a success of it.
Miles Davis: Well, see, he's nice–looking; he looks good doing it. I mean, if I was him, I'd do the same thing. If I was only thinking about making money.
Some Points about the Stanislavski Method
The Stanislavski Method suggests that we always start from an understanding of the text.
Look for the facts of what happens, what the characters do, and how the plot unfolds. This includes the backstory—what happens before the play starts.
Look at the play’s given circumstances.
yellow I was going through some things yesterday and I came across this letter with these two photos. I am not sure where the third photo is...
yellow While it is true that I have been a Professor of Computer Science at University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, University of Utah, and Boston University, it is also true that I have been Prof. of Art and Architecture at University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana.
It is not true that I have not been "trained". I went to the University of Iowa, Iowa City on a scholarship for my sculpture. I did 4 years undergraduate and 4 years graduate work in the Art Department; graduating with a MFA in art and design in 1966. "The Ron Resch Paper and Stick Film" is my thesis submission. Along the way I have done a number of art shows, and museum exhibitions, and intend to do some more. --- I think this qualifies me as "trained in art".
yellow Ray Carney: In both life and art, Cassavetes was interested in the moments when our patterns are disrupted. He was interested in the moments when we're left a little exposed and vulnerable. Those moments when some of the little routines that get us through life break down. That's the subject of the films. He was supersensitive to those little emotional routines we're trapped in and don't know it.
For me personally, this side of him came out in conversation in the way he could look at someone and instantly "do" them. He was extraordinarily perceptive about people, all those little things that make us us. I'd be eating lunch with him, someone would come up to the table, and the second they were gone, or in the middle of a story about them, he would momentarily switch into their voice and gestures. He had a sixth sense for sniffing out people's emotional and intellectual habits, the patterns of thinking we are enslaved to and don't even recognize. If someone was there—a waitress or whatever—he would push their buttons to try to see if he could get them out of them, or at least make them see them. He would say or do almost anything!
But it was not in life but in the films that it was done most brilliantly. He wanted to trip up people's routines, mess with their minds—both viewers and characters. Look at Faces. It's about Super Salesmen—guys who can sell anybody anything at anytime, but what John was interested in was the moment their sales pitches are no longer sufficient, the times a raw emotion comes out. Look at The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Cosmo Vitelli thinks he's figured out life and that it all comes down to a carnation and a tuxedo jacket, and if you just look classy or charming or stylish everything is going to go smooth. Then suddenly he gets tangled up with the Mob and finds out what reality is.
yellow Michael Fitzhenry:At no point would he intellectualize what he was trying to accomplish? Like how'd he feel about, for example, Cosmo slipping out of the role he'd been performing so comfortably?
Ray Carney: John was a profoundly instinctual artist. He didn't understand people or experiences abstractly, but practically. He had what Hemingway called an unfailing bullshit detector when he saw something. He could tell if someone was faking it. He could tell if they were coasting on a routine. He could tell if they had some fancy-schmancy theory about what they were doing that was just for their own vanity. His art came from his gut reactions about life. You ask about Cosmo. Ben Gazzara told me that when he was playing the role, he was having great difficulty understanding it. As an actor, he was uncomfortable and bewildered. One night he said to John, "I just don't understand who this guy is." And John took him aside, and they huddled together in the back seat of a car. And John started crying. Now I don't know if the crying was an act or if it was sincere, but I don't really care. John started crying, and looked at Ben and said, "Ben, do you know who those gangsters are? They're all those people who keep you and me from our dreams. All the Suits, all the people who stop the artist from doing what he wants to do. That's what you are as Cosmo. You're somebody that just wants to be left alone to do what you want to do. And there's all the bullshit that comes in, all these Suits that come in and start messing up your life. Why does it have to be like that?"
John Cassavetes on Movie Audiences.
Some More Points about the Stanislavski Method
Breathing Life Into the Text
Before you enter, you should know where you have just been, what were the conditions of this previous space, what you have just been doing, why are you coming into this new space, what is this new space, and what do you immediately want as you enter?
Explore the moment of orientation—that is, the moment in which you orient yourself to where you are and, if applicable, to the other character(s) in that new space.
yellow JOSEPH: (having reflected and gathered himself) I remembered this: Though Twemlow is introduced to the reader as being like the table at the Veneerings' dinner party, he comes to reflect a wise way of thinking.
RONALD: What is being like the table?
JOSEPH: It's a description of a character from 'Our Mutual Friend' by Charles Dickens. Actually, in the book he is described as being the table.
JOSEPH: Or specifically the leaf of a dining table.
RONALD: I think Raimundus Malasauskas once posed the question if a table could curate an exhibition.
JOSEPH: Did he conclude anything?
RONALD: He only posed the question. It was an interview. I can’t remember the answer.
JOSEPH: Was it in a specific context?
RONALD: A magazine, but I like to think they were probably sitting opposite of each other at a table.
JOSEPH: I see.
RONALD: The table being in the middle as a posed problem or theme perhaps... which directs a course for the dialogue.
yellow A long pause
Once, when they used to do most of the installation themselves in the smaller venues, she noticed a fleeting attraction to him. They worked closely in those days, and in retrospect she chalked it up to the combination of his profile and the magnificent floodlights they had been using. The accentuated angles had caught her off-guard; she resolved to ignore it. They would use those mushroom-shaped lamps for several more shows until they had all burnt out or were lost to the European Union's dispassionate commitment to sustainability. She knew he had finished his last cup of coffee for the morning and she could hear him relent through sarcasm:
So you want to reproduce the Kodak tungsten look of sunlight that's slightly crisper than late afternoon North Ontario indian summer as it would appear through oak trees on an enclosed veranda facing south-west through late 19th century farmhouse windows, in a white cube studio with three-point lighting?
Miles Davis interviewed by Bryant Gumbel for NBC's the Today Show in 1982.
yellow Les Tomkins: However free you get, though, it's based on a given form, isn't it?
Miles Davis: Oh, you have some kind of form. You have to start somewhere. I mean, otherwise we'd all be living outdoors. You have walls and stuff, but you still come in a room and act kinda free. There's a framework, but it's just—we don't want to overdo it, you know. It's hard to balance. Sometimes you don't even know if people like it or not.
Les Tomkins: Can't you gauge it from the audience reaction you get?
Miles Davis: Well, I never really listen to that, you know.
Les Tomkins:You might wonder whether they're genuine, or just applauding because they think this is `the thing'.
yellow Miles Davis: No, I only look at writers like that. The writers that say it was out of sight, and I know it wasn't. But audiences—they like colour, you know. I can go out there wearing a red suit, man, and they'll say I'm out of sight.
But you've got to give 'em some credit, too. You must. I mean, look at Duke, man; he drops some things on 'em. I think they should be educated; you should always drop something on an audience. And friends should educate you, you know.
Or else they shouldn't be around—if they're just gonna drain you.
When you get in front of an audience, you should try to give 'em something. After all, they're there looking at you like this. You can't go out and give 'em nothing.
You see, women usually make the men satisfied and contented. Bitches like to feel good, have their back rubbed at the same time, look good in the latest clothes, have their man where they want him. You know, they like the comfort. Then, when you come on the stage they want that same thing. They don't want to have to think, or follow you. If they don't like you right away by the way you look, or something, they won't go for you. W Guys should stay away from women—that comfort thing. There's too much crap going on in the world that you're supposed to be comfortable. You've got to be on your toes. You can't just stand—because they're fighting somewhere, man, and it's pretty messy.
Les Tomkins:You've really got to challenge yourself, and also the people who are listening to you.
Miles Davis: If I go to hear someone, I'm at their mercy. I'm listening, you know, but I don't go there and say: "Do something." I'm trying to get whatever they put out. But I don't demand it, because things don't come like that.