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October 13, 2008:

THE LUMPEN PROLETARIAT

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I have just come back from a screening of a film entitled L.A. Plays Itself, at the American Cinematheque, formerly known as the Egyptian Theater. I’d been told about the film and it sounded right up my alley – a film about how L.A. has been portrayed in films, and maybe the then and now of it. At least that’s what it sounded like to me. What it is, in fact, is something wholly other. Oh, there are clips galore, although some of my favorite shots of the city from films are not in this just under three-hour documentary. The filmmaker introduced the film by saying he was depressed because several people at the imdb hated his film, especially the final hour. He said he hoped we’d all stay for the final hour, and we all did. The first third is okay – lots of good clips and a teeny bit of then and now. But every now and then the director lets his politics get in the way, commenting on this or that from his point of view. And as the film wore on that’s all it became – a political and social diatribe that I couldn’t have cared less about. I mean, you know you’re in trouble when the narration includes the phrase “the lumpen proletariat.” The narration is awful and the fellow who voiced it is so amateur that it renders the entire film lifeless from start to finish. Then there’s the running time – if you just tightened up the terrible editing you’d cut thirty minutes out – and if you took out the repetitious diatribes you’d cut another thirty. It might be more palatable at just under two hours than it is at three. The final hour is a whole different film, in fact, and a really annoying one at that. I so wanted to love this film – as most of you know, I have written eight books, most of which take place in LA, a city I know intimately and that I love. All of it – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I don’t love it so much now, of course, but anyone who’s read the Kritzer books knows how much I loved it then. There’s a great documentary to be made about this city, and I hope someday someone makes it. Unfortunately, this filmmaker has taken a great idea and ruined it for anyone else who would like to do this idea correctly. He has had this film shown at festivals and repeatedly at the Egyptian and the Aero and frankly I’d like to know how. He has not cleared one clip or note of music for this movie. Obviously, that’s why it’s never had and never will have a DVD release – those costs would be prohibitive. But it’s playing festivals and the American Cinematheque and people are being charged money to see it, and I don’t quite understand how he’s getting away with this. He doesn’t even credit the clips or music in the end credits. Well, more power to him. A major disappointment, although there were a handful of clips I’d never seen, so that part was fun. But this lumpen proletariat was mostly annoyed.

Prior to seeing the film, I’d had an uneven day, health-wise. Whatever it is I’ve had has traveled up into my nose and I’m sneezing and my nose is running and the phlegm in the throat box is the worst it’s ever been. I’m trying not to clear my throat too much but sometimes I have no choice because I cough and the phlegm is so thick I think I’m going to choke to death. It’s all quite disgusting, and I wish it would stop already, because it’s really tiresome. I did get a good night’s sleep the night before, and I had a nice long jog, and some more orders came in, and I took some packages and dropped them off at the postal office. I did end up going to the Shrine for the once a month comic book convention. The economy must really be hurting, because there were not many people there – the special guest, Brent Spiner, had all of about six people in line to get his autograph. Other dealers were offering all sorts of discounts. I visited with my dealer friend and delivered to him an item I had that he wanted. In return, I got some CDs. I came home and made ham and eggs and an English muffin and then I went to the movie and now I’m home coughing and hacking and hacking and coughing. I’m out of Ny-Quil but have taken the Mucinex and the Alavert.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because, after all, we are the lumpen proletariats and that’s what lumpen proletariats do.

Today, once again I shall try to sleep in, I shall do the long jog, I shall do errands and whatnot, and mostly I shall hang around the home environment and try to get better. Tuesday I have a work session, and the rest of the week is unknown at this time.

Lumpen proletariats of the world unite! Now is the time for all good lumpen proletariats to come to the aid of their country. The Lumpen Proletariat – that’s the title of my next novel.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, sleep in, do the long jog, do some errands and whatnot, do some writing, eat something fun, and then sit on my couch like so much fish. Today’s topic of discussion: The city you grew up in – what were your favorite parts of the city – the stores, the restaurants, the theaters – which were magical, which were staples of your childhood? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, as we lumpen proletariats eat some kishka and tell tales of the good old days.

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