John Douglas

the GLACIER Film

 

a single frame journey, edited in camera. shot in Glacier National Park, the Grand in the Tetons, and then to the Yukon and into the Kaskawalsh Glacier for 21 days in the last months of  summer 1971 with Robert Kramer, Lou Sempliner and myself...

 

 

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May 12, 2003
Burlington, Vermont

 

John,

Thank you for letting me show the rough cut of da Speech in my Documentary Film class at the college. The students wanted to see it more than once but time was tight as the scheduled feature, Michael Apted's 42 Up is over two hours in length. The screening of your film was a great success.

We wound up having such a long discussion about it that the class ran over its three hours as it was, with no time to talk about the Apted film at all. Do you have more of Simon Stockhausen's music? The soundtrack was amazing. One student commented that it was "post-rap" because it mixed in so many elements and musical styles.

 

I wish you could have been present to hear the comments. We decided that it was more about the media than anything specifically political in and of itself. All of the network news clips and use of broadcast footage. One kid said, "It's inferring how the U.S. government went 'logically' from the destruction of the World Trade Center and the hunt for Bin Laden to the destruction of Baghdad and the hunt for Saddam Hussein." Another noted that "It takes the whole U.S. government war against Saddam with the Iraqi high command playing cards and gives you the "enemy" version with the U.S. high command cards." They called it "brilliant". This one student went on some about how it isn't really anti-Bush at all but aganist the media onslaught since September 11th.

 

My own thought is that you did a great visual accompaniment to the Stockhausen score. The way he loops those sound bytes of Bush isn't so much an anti-Bush comment as an ironic manipulation of the pop media. And that's what your "talking head" Bush does on the screen. Very smart. At first I didn't know what to make of the journalist in the pink dress in front of the White House. Then I got its irony with her speech about "compassion" for the Iraqis juxtaposed against the not-so-subtle tank charging through walls. Another thing I liked a lot was what comes off as almost poetic, the visual beauty and rhythmic pulse of the bombing of Baghdad.

 

I was uncertain of whether or not to ask you if I could show it, knowing that it wasn't finished and that it hasn't yet been premiered formally. I am very glad that I did. And the students - aged 18-30 - couldn't have been more delighted. One girl said, "It's art. It's taking all that awful stuff and making it into art." I agree.

 

Yours truly,
Kenneth Peck, Ph.D.

 

 

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Alpenglow began in a small Vermont town when founding members Peter Coccoma, Graeme Daubert, Elori Kramer, and Kenneth Root shared songs in an old stone mill. Over the next two years, after adding bassist Colin Weeks, Alpenglow transformed original songs rooted in the folk tradition into a collection of finely crafted arrangements that are sprawling, moody, and wholly their own. Their music has been described as "swooning, harmony-laden stuff…laced with arcing fiddle, shimmering keys and healthy doses of ringing guitar punch." A hilltop chapel is both the inspiration and recording site for their forthcoming album. Their songs send listeners home to sleep soundly, knowing that somewhere, a resounding calm lies over the countryside.

 

 

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