Filmed by Karl Whinnery of www.hotkarlproductions.com , this is an excerpt of our own Alfred Eaker‘s performance of his Brother Cobweb character at The House of Shadows in Gresham, Oregon. “Brother Cobweb” is the title of Eaker’s forthcoming novel.
“I Was Married to a Mermaid” is an excerpt from a longer, yet-to-be-published work entitled Brother Cobweb. Co-directed by Alfred Eaker and J. Ross Eaker. Featuring Alfred Eaker, James Mannan, and Vanessa Blake.
This film is available for 366 Weird Movie readers to preview for a short time.
La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura (trans: Nostalgia for a Distant Future Utopia) takes its title from a work by Italian avant garde composer Luigi Nono. This film was made while Alfred Eaker was a student at the John Herron School of Art. Al invited me to co-direct this short piece from his screenplay. Subsequent editorial embellishments were supplied by J. Ross Eaker, who also served as cinematographer. The story of Paul and Vincent’s combative relationship is well worn cinematic territory, the usual focus being on Vincent’s impulsive, self destructive behavior. Our decision was to examine their aesthetic and spiritual struggles, with a focus on Paul’s equally self destructive ego and immorality. Much of the dialogue is taken directly from their personal correspondence. Historicity and realism are eschewed and the approach is impressionistic; Brechtian if you will. This was a budgetary move to be certain, but allowed the text and themes domination over the mis-en-scene. What results is an examination of the art and essence of two flawed men whose influence dominated the following century and beyond. An aphorism used by Nono speaks to our intentions: Caminantes, no hay caminos, hay que caminar (Travellers, there are no roads, there is just traveling.) –James Mannan
Requiem For The Relentless Fathers (2012) is a short film I made for theology graduate school. “First and Second Samuel” was a class taught by Dr. Marti Steussy. Among Steussy’s assignments was an artistic presentation from the text.
Embedded theology oversimplifies the Samuel narrative: Samuel, the Judge of Israel, is the protagonist. Saul, the first King, disobeys God, and is therefore the antagonist. God consequently replaces Saul with the hero David, whom God loves. Even as a child I had issues with that elementary assessment. Regardless of what my Sunday school teachers taught, I found myself sympathizing with the antagonist. Perhaps it is in my nature. After all, I never could manage to find sympathy for any of the characters in Richard Wagner’s symbolist opera “Parsifal” except the alleged villainKlingsor. Still, having had a class with Dr. Steussy previously, I rightly concluded that she would supply fresh insight into the narrative.
Dr. Steussy discarded tradition. She inspired us to go directly and honestly to the text without preconceived notions. After knocking the dust off my Bible, I did exactly that. At the end of the semester a few fellow students, upon seeing the film, pointed out that they would not have been open to my interpretation if they had seen it at the beginning of the semester.
Since Requiem is a short, many details are naturally left out. The film is what the title says: It is a requiem for three complex, relentless fathers in an authentically strange Biblical narrative. Samuel and Saul are the primary focus. However, we tried to depict even the secondary character of David as embodying more than meets the eye in his initial introduction. (Perhaps someday, we will be able to do a follow-up film of the Davidic character). The historicity of Samuel was not our concern, which is why we placed it in a relatively contemporary setting.
Dr. Steussy proposed a question—“Why is it important how we judge Saul?”—followed by an answer—“It is important because it reflects how we are apt to judge one other.” Of equal importance is an honest approach to the text as an un-hallowed narrative, stripped of our over-familiarity. I found the story of Saul to be a fresh and surprising chronicle; often bizarre, adverse, and morally questionable.
The cast includes James Mannan as Samuel/God, myself as Saul, Robert Webster as David, Jordan Wheatley as Michal, Nate Saylor as Jonathan, Robbin Panet as the woman of Endor, and Jennifer Ring as the Evil Spirit of God. Director of photography: Robin Panet. Assistant Directors: Robbin Panet and James Mannan. Sets: John Claeyse. Music courtesy of Tahra Records. The script was inspired by 1 Samuel and the Samuel commentaries of Dr. Marti Steussy and Dr. David M. Gunn.
Along with a number of other collaborative short films (including 9), Requiem For The Relentless Fathers will be available on 366 Weird Movies DVD label in late 2014.
A blue-skinned man wearing a white clown suit and angel wings sketches obsessively, ignoring various supplicants who come before him. The bizarre symbolism actually makes sense if you know Alfred Eaker and Raymond Thunder-Sky.
ALFRED EAKER (INTERVIEWER): Alfred, what inspired you to interview yourself? Some might say a self-interview smacks of self indulgence, narcissism.
ALFRED EAKER: Perhaps. I am sure to many it is and God knows those tiresome labels are attached to artists all the time, as if it is totally unacceptable. Yet, to use a stereotypical but dead-on example: a business person cutting throats and screwing their way to a top level is commendable and rarely pointed out as being narcissistic. Still, all artists are, to a degree, narcissistic and you have to be to continue doing the art. I do not believe in fair weather artists. Like Bill Ross recently said when I interviewed him, “The world is not set up for artists and one has to be stubborn to continue doing it.” So perhaps it is not so self-indulgent. Actually, a badly misquoted but good-intentioned interview in a local paper from a couple of months back inspired this, proving that most interviewers, God love ’em, are hacks and since I know I am not a hack and can trust myself… Also, real simply, Glen Gould. Gould, one of the genuine freaks in music, interviewed himself, quite well I might add.
A.E. (I): Gould was the Canadian pianist who….
A.E. … Did a total whack job on Bach’s Goldberg Variations in 1955, yes. That was the first of his many transgressions, for which he will be long loved. The same goes for Stokowski’s Bach transcriptions. Someone once described his transcriptions as high cholesterol Bach and I do have high cholesterol.
A.E. (I): You have quite the love of music?
A.E.: From Mahler onto Cab Calloway, Julie London, David Bowie, Velvet Underground and the Statler Brothers.
A.E (I): I do not wish to get sidetracked in a lengthy music discourse. You tend to talk longer and more enthusiastically about music than you do either painting or film.
A.E.: That’s because I am not a musician at all, so yes I suppose I do.
A.E (I): Let’s talk about film. You are an indie filmmaker and you came to it rather late.
A.E.: I would rather talk painting first, but alright. Yes, I started my first film, Jesus and her Gospel of Yes in 2002 . I have been painting since the 1980’s.
A.E. (I): The films sprang from performance art.
A.E.: From my BlueMahler character in several performance pieces that began in the 80’s. Blue is an odd hybrid of identifications I have made in my life.
A.E. (I): You mean influences, not identifications.
We are pleased to debut James Mannan and Robbin Panet’s short film “Hallow’s Dance” on the web. Although there is a mild Halloween theme to the film, Hallow’s Dance should not be confused with a horror film. It is in fact a drama, with the only horror being moral horror at the treatment of Frank/Mom. Co-directed by Robbin Panet and James Mannan, it co-stars 366 scribe Alfred Eaker along with Jason Hignite, Chelsea Rogers, and Terry Dellinger. It contains very mild scenes of suggestive sexuality. The weird part is the short, experimental dream sequence which ends the film, which is shot in black and white with streaming beams of light, accompanied by a catchy organ tune. The short runs approximately 14 minutes.
At the producers’ request, this film will not be released to YouTube or other video hosting sites, and will be available here for one month only.
[Our license to display “Hallow’s Dance” has expired. We will inform you if this film is released, on DVD or otherwise, in the future.]
Celebrating the cinematically surreal, bizarre, cult, oddball, fantastique, strange, psychedelic, and the just plain WEIRD!