Short Experimental Western Film: The Magical Dead Sunstroke Valley


A film combining the mythology of the Hollywood/Spaghetti western, Tarot, magic, occult, Jungian psychology, and mysticism with flamboyant, multi-layered, supersaturated imagery.

Multiple narratives conflict and adhere. Meanings emerge and contradict. Music and dialog tell another layered story, sometimes agreeing with the images, sometimes trying to subvert them.

A film should be a container for the psychic unconscious energy of its creator. That is what this is.

There is also a commercial.

Los Angeles Police Randomly Shooting Innocent People During Manhunt

The LAPD and Torrance Police Department are terrorized to the point of deadly incompetence by a single crazed gunman on a mission of revenge. Nut-jobs who write manifestos and go out to hunt police are quite rare and somewhat beside the real point. What we should all be extremely concerned about is the fact that the absolute finest that the LAPD has to offer – those who manage to get promoted into the detective ranks – apparently have such poor training, such poor instincts, and such callous disregard for life that they are willing to open fire on women delivering newspapers, simply because they happen to be driving a blue pick-up truck. Then, moments later, Torrance police open fire on another pickup truck just around the corner. This other pickup is black. So which is it, guys? Blue or black? Does your crazed gunman typically dress up as a woman and throw newspapers onto front lawns?

How many people are these assholes going to execute in their hunt for a lone Rambo wannabe?

Amazingly, the LAPD chief, Charlie Beck, considers this a ‘case of mistaken identity!’ Seriously, chief? What are you smoking today? This is an appalling case of dangerously stupid people who work for you shooting at innocent people for absolutely no reason. This is a case that should make a chief of police witheringly angry to the point of punching some cops’ teeth out onto the sidewalk, firing them, humiliating them in public, with criminal charges to follow. But that isn’t happening. Maybe the chief has a barbeque planned with these detectives. He wouldn’t want to miss that.

The problem here is that this deadly reflex to shoot at anything without understanding the target goes against any kind of training these people should have received. Firing your gun without knowing what you are shooting at is unacceptable. I don’t want to sound too reactionary, but cops who shoot innocent people really do deserve what’s coming to them. A newspaper woman is much better than a dangerous cop.

It goes without saying that I am horrified at the shocking violence and disregard for innocent life on display by the LAPD and Torrance police. An insane murderer’s rampage has somehow exposed our police force as an extremely dangerous organization.

Dad, Can I Borrow the Car? 1970 Disney Driver Education Film

Disney produced this amazingly good drivers education film in 1970. It is one of those cheerfully playful experiments with common avant-garde techniques that were so much a part of seventies culture because of shows like Sesame Street. The filmmaking is generally quite good and sometimes even approaches brilliance. I've been working vaguely and lazily on a new film about cars and Los Angeles and I'm quite prepared to lift some things right out of this film or at least use it as a template for commenting on car culture in this great throbbing fast lane metropolis.
Kurt Russell of ham acting fame gives the narration and he's actually good, playing the young man in school who is about to go for his driving test and qualify for the license to kill that will get him lots of action as long as he looks out for little girls chasing big red balls into the street.
Enjoy a trip through Los Angeles of yesteryear and remember that cars just work better out here.

Tormenta by Los Angeles Artist Gronk

Whenever I'm in a Los Angeles art gallery if I notice a piece by Gronk I always get snagged and hang around in front of it for too long. I tire easily of galleries and museums because of the general impatience you encounter in those places. People are at their absolute bottom level of stupidity when they saunter through a gallery, stopping for just an exquisitely timed observation period sometimes directly in front of where you happen to be standing. They also tend to move around a room in the same direction, going with the flow or listening to their little tape-recorded tours. I like to go backwards and jam these people up a little. I also like to massively flirt with pretty women but often get into trouble with their boyfriends whom I haven't noticed lurking in the opposite corner.
Gronk makes me feel at home in a gallery because I like to stand before greatness. I'm not fond of the equalization of creativity. This guy just casually blows everything off the walls like he's the kind of great artist we made in the time of Pollock. There's an air of hard-edged bohemian mixed with muralist mixed with art history scholar. In other words, he knows what he’s doing. He's got an enormous classical underpinning that may sometimes get obscured if you too closely associate him with the Los Angeles street. I mean classical in the more inaccurate general sense of an artist that has a deep connection to the artists and major movements that came before him. I see a calm and understanding continuation of American art history coming through the few Gronk works I have had the pleasure of standing in front of.
Gronk on ArtNet.
L.A. Times 2005 profile of Gronk
Complete list of works