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game
  • 312219.2019

  • 312201.1127

    "I think sable is a great Texas coat. I can see this with jeans, I can see this with an evening gown." - Nieman Marcus Fur Salesman

     

    WISEMAN LOOKS AT AFFLUENT TEXANS

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ''The Store,'' Frederick Wiseman's film portrait of the Neiman-Marcus department store in Dallas, will be shown on WNET/Channel 13 on Wednesday evening at 9. The two-hour study is the award-winning film maker's 16th movie and his first documentary in more than three years. From 1967 (''Titicut Follies'') through 1980 (''Model''), Mr. Wiseman had produced a new film each year, and his work received such critical acclaim that a Wiseman documentary heralded the beginning of each new Public Broadcasting Service season for more than a decade.

    His latest work, according to the 53- year-old film maker, is the continuation of what he perceives as a 25- to 30-year-long overview of American life. For Mr. Wiseman, the making of ''The Store'' represented a financial struggle that he has not had to face since his earliest ventures. It is a lament that is not unfamiliar to independent film makers, even those with credentials as formidable as Mr. Wiseman's.

    ''The Store,'' his first documentary filmed in color, continues in the cinema verite tradition, a genre in which Mr. Wiseman is an acknowledged master. Though ''The Store'' stands as a single entity, Mr. Wiseman believes that it fits perfectly into his ''institutional series,'' a collective look at those places which, he says, are both common experiences in people's lives and are vital for the functioning of society.

    According to the film maker, the idea of taking a close look at Neiman- Marcus was an outgrowth of his last documentary, ''Model.'' That documentary focused on the creation of advertising for consumer products; ''The Store'' takes that a step further and looks at the actual selling of those products. Mr. Wiseman says he chose Neiman-Marcus because in many people's minds it represents the store, the most famous emporium in the country and perhaps the world.

    ''If you are going to have theories about American society, you've got to look at all aspects of it,'' he said during a recent interview in his Cambridge studio. ''You've got to look at how the images are created that affect people's lives and the choices of consumer goods they buy.''

    To this end, ''The Store'' focuses on the institution, which to many, symbolizes Texas prosperity. During the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, Mr. Wiseman's unobtrustive camera zeroed in on virtually every aspect of life within the renowned department store. Among the collage of images: a society matron who spends several days each week in Neiman-Marcus' luxurious dressing rooms trying on various ensembles with the aid of two saleswomen; in the fur salon, a customer wearing a full-length sable coat ponders the purchase of another but only if she can get the same inner lining in the new one; a member of the sales force telephones a customer for whom she is handling the Christmas shopping and reports: ''I don't have the reindeer. But surprise - I do have the angel''; an exercise teacher greets a group of saleswomen and leads them in smile exercises; the expected and countless staff meetings with various executives and staff members, addressing marketing strategies, security, sales techniques and staff morale.

    Ironically, this view of the nation's moneyed society was plagued in its creation by financial woes. Though P.B.S. is presenting ''The Store'' and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's program fund did provide 40 percent of the film's cost, Mr. Wiseman's relationship with public television is anything but amicable. Indeed, the film maker says he wouldn't be working at all if it weren't for an MacArthur Prize fellowship, an award of $50,000 per year for five years for being what the MacArthur Foundation calls ''a genius.''

    The MacArthur award arrived in 1982 ''at a really critical moment,'' as Mr. Wiseman put it, when his second five-year contract with WNET/ Channel 13 had run out and the financially strapped station could not renew the agreement. Having finished work on his first theatrical film, ''Seraphita's Diary'' (which was privately funded), Mr. Wiseman was anxious to begin work on ''The Store.'' His proposal to the C.P.B.'s program-fund panel was rejected. The panel, he recalled, wanted to know why he had chosen Neiman- Marcus rather than Macy's or Gimbels as his subject.

    The MacArthur money was enough to allow Mr. Wiseman to begin work on ''The Store'' last fall, but he was forced to pledge his collection of films as collateral for a loan to complete the $235,000 documentary. After he was done filming, he did receive $90,000 of C.P.B. funding, although it came, he pointed out, at the prompting of the program-funds director, who overrode the panel and ''decided to take a chance.''

    Mr. Wiseman, whose work has been honored with any number of prestigious awards, is angry at what he feels is an undeserved struggle to fund his latest venture. He calls the public-television system a ''bloated and engorged bureaucracy'' in which an independent film maker simply ''doesn't fit.''

    Yet, despite his frustration with public television, Mr. Wiseman is pleased with ''The Store.'' He believes that this film, like his others, has cross references to all his work. In ''The Store,'' he pointed out, the viewer can see the doctors, lawyers and judges who run the institutions in his other films and learn how they spend their money.

    When queried as to why, indeed, did he choose Neiman-Marcus over such stores as Sears or Macy's, Mr. Wiseman responded that while those places are equally valid subjects, they don't reflect what he was looking for at Neiman-Marcus. ''I don't believe in a kind of populist film making in the sense that one has to always take subjects that reflect the broadest stream in society,'' he said.

    Nevertheless, such films as ''Titicut Follies,'' ''Law and Order,'' ''Hospital'' and ''Juvenile Court'' earned Mr. Wiseman the reputation as an incisive social commentator. The starkly revealing portraits of these institutions, the people who populate them and the people who run them were more than disquieting. In some cases, such as ''Primate,'' ''Juvenile Court'' and ''Titicut Follies,'' they provoked anger and threats of legal action from the subjects (to this day, a Massachusetts court order is required for a screening of ''Titicut Follies'').

    With ''Model'' and now ''The Store,'' the film maker appears to have moved away from the kind of institutions that inspired his earlier work. He bristles, however, at the suggestion that he has mellowed and is no longer willing to take on the tough ones.

    ''My blunt reply to that,'' said Mr. Wiseman, ''is that anybody who feels that way doesn't know what I'm doing.'' He added just as emphatically that he has never been a muckracker and is not interested in exposes. He believes that both ''Model'' and ''The Store'' are just as, if not more, revealing about our society as ''Titicut Follies'' and ''Law and Order.''

    ''There's a certain group of both documentary film makers and documentary film critics who feel that you have to make movies about poor people,'' he said. ''That's the subject. That's social criticism. My feeling is that anything you think is a decent subject for a movie, if you make it right, is a possible movie. There's more to the society than poor people, and there's obviously a relationship between poor people and rich people.''

    Although several of Mr. Wiseman's films provoked unfavorable reaction from his subjects, he said he met with no resistance from Neiman-Marcus in doing ''The Store.'' The company's executives set no prior conditions and gave him free run of the entire operation, from staff meetings to dressing rooms.

    According to Mr. Wiseman, Neiman-Marcus officials who have viewed ''The Store'' were pleased with its outcome; however, he said he is unconcerned with how the subject as well as the audience responds to his portrait and rejects the idea that he is too soft on his subject in ''The store.''

    ''I don't think my films particularly confirm or deny - and they're not meant to - any particular social theory and they don't offer solutions,'' he said. ''They're meant as explorations of as many aspects of American life as I can do and have an interest in doing.''

    As with his other work, Mr. Wiseman spent a full month shooting and the better part of the year editing his current film. He did no prior research and tried to avoid any pre-conceived thinking about Neiman-Marcus.

    ''The shooting is the research,'' he explained. ''I discover what I'm trying to say both in shooting and, more specifically, in the process of editing.''

    ''The Store'' is the first documentary that Mr. Wiseman has shot in color. His 1982 commercial venture, ''Seraphita's Diary'' - both a critical and box-office flop - was also done in color. The driving force behind the switch from black and white was a new, ultra high-speed color film that, for the first time, responded technically to the demands of the hand-held, natural-light circumstances under which Mr. Wiseman works. Neiman- Marcus, he felt, was ''like being handed a $20-million set.'' Although tip-lipped about future projects, Mr. Wiseman indicated that he will attempt another theatrical venture despite the negative response to ''Seraphita's Diary.'' He is also determined to continue his documentary work regardless of the financial struggles. About public television, he was outspoken:

    ''I cannot let what I do be determined by the political vagaries of public television,'' he said.

  • 312175.1014

    It is as if each time you say a verb, the action is being invented and forgotten practically simultaneously, ensuring one never has pre-conceived notions to distort outcome. A shared verb that invents itself by being spoken or employed as action. Think about it. This is a verb-state more known in eastern/far-western cultures. Although the concept is revolutionary from a brain point of view, it has only few possible uses in our western culture of materialism where discordant meanings are ultimately argued in law or science.  A more complex explanation:

    "The nearer edge of the subjective cuts across and includes part of our present time, viz. the moment of inception, but most of our present belongs in the Hopi scheme to the objective realm and so is indistinguishable from our past. There is also a verb form, the INCEPTIVE which refers to this EDGE of emergent manifestation in the reverse way-as belonging to the objective, at the edge at which objectivity is obtained; this is used to indicate beginning/starting, and in most cases there is no difference apparent in the translation from the similar use of the expective. But, at certain crucial points, significant and fundamental differences appear. The inceptive, referring to the objective and the result side, and not like the expective to the subjective and causal side, implies the ending of the work of causation in the same breath that it states the beginning of manifestation."


    - BENJAMIN LEE WHORF AN AMERICAN INDIAN MODEL OF THE UNIVERSE

  • 312172.1110

  • 312170.0649

    Canon vs. Rulebook. If you lurk in the caches of player boards and other online councils, you'll see there are some carefully crafted divides. RPG players see choices as the future of their media, they create ever escalating asymmetrical choices to continue the media's true unspoken goal: problem solving, and MMORPG's like World of Warcraft try to simulate the near infinity of outcome. The story can have no end. No one character remains so central their death ends all connections (deaths that ends all connections in film: Neo's, Emperor Palpatine's). The idea of canon is opposite, novels, comics and film celebrate canon, which employ fewer characters that have limited range in behavior. Subtle shifts mutate story and characteristics but not the meaning (Burton versus Nolan's Batman). The difference between playing an elf versus playing Luke Sywalker seems pretty obvious, the elf has no inherent narrative, Luke IS the narrative. The confusion of watching a linear Prince of Persia to an audience of gamers seems lost on a studio executive but to even the casual gamer that plays POP it must be an extreme disconnect. What they used to inhabit and control now is under the control of a predetermined outcome, completely antithetical to the medium he emerged from. A devolution in storytelling. Watch out Hollywood.

     

  • 312169.2001

  • 312167.0620

    A bizarre blending of faith and scale-mirrors, read scripture while spotting inventive miniature worlds and their obsessive details. OCD meets JC. Listen to a man who believes in God so much while he ignores that he is imitating one with toys. http://misterbobsmodelworksemporium.blogspot.com/

  • 312164.1125

    Anime that is especially outer/inner. "Coming Soon"

  • 312163.1533

  • 312161.0811

    Barrelhouses were mostly illegal houses of gambling with skewed odds, prostitution, cheap corn liquor and a house pianist. As the barrelhouse became the only place men could romance women somewhat without fear of retribution, its popularity rose steadily and a circuit was established for travelling musicians - soon this began rivalling gambling as the main attraction. Barrelhouses were usually staked by farmowners hoping to sieve their workers' wages back rather than letting them spend it up north in the barrelhouses of Beale Street (Memphis).