From: Judy Seigel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: 07/05/01-10:37:49 PM Z
> > Maya Deren was an avant garde film maker in the '40's. Not
that obscure of
> > a reference, m'lady. ;-)
Actually, it seems to be. Younger Americans unless they are film buffs
never heard of her..... though hardly a season goes by I haven't found a
film crew from Hungary or wherever camped on the front stoop of "the
shrine" (ie, our house), or begging the current top floor tenant for a
peek at the hallowed ground.
Stop by if you're ever in town & I'll show you the "Maya Deren Memorial
Wall," that is, the curve in the hall where they had to remove and replace
the sewer stack down through 5 stories after Maya filled it with solid
concrete -- from flushing paper towels, newspaper, kitty litter and drano
down the toilet. Happened before we acquired the premises, but I got the
story from the plumber. She insisted she hadn't done anything wrong --
she'd been flushing that stuff for years and it just stopped up now. "Must
be something wrong with the plumbing."
When she died suddenly and her young husband (married again before you cd
say "Meshes of the Afternoon") left for Japan with new wife, I had to go
in & clean the place up -- spent a day on the bathroom floor scraping cat
shit out of the cracks between the tiles with a nail file. The male
pherome spray had soaked into the old wood floor of apartment AND halls
(the boys were always trying to go out to play). Sanding & a coat of
varnish tamped down the stench, but for years we got eau de kitty litter
and fish cat food when the place had been closed up for a while.
While cleaning up, I found a picture of Maya provocatively posed in a
bubble bath on the top shelf of a closet, and in one of my greatest life
mistakes -- THREW IT OUT! I was frazzled & just wanted to be quit of her,
but .... the Maya cult (there's a 2 volume book even, detailing how she
built "The Myth of Maya Deren") would have died for it. Imagine selling
that on ebay !
To bring this back to "alternative photography" -- I tried several times
to like (or even *get*) Meshes of the Afternoon & a couple of her other
films. Perhaps my lack of sensitivity, but I thought they were obvious,
boring, pretentious, and artsy-fartsy. Of course the French thought Jerry
Lewis was a genius. And speaking of French, Maya has been given the
epithet "first woman experimental film maker," but there was at least one
other before her -- a French woman.
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