..Yikes! They took away the music. Hear it at http://straightlife.info, at cdbaby.com, at iTunes, and at myspace.com/artpepper.....
School UC Berkeley
Jobs Held or Holding: Photographer, Typesetter, Schoolmarm, Writer, Record Producer, Music Publisher, Editor of "Editing:" inteviews with film and TV editors, File Clerk, Filmmaker.
Favorite Movies: Les Enfants du Paradis, the Jerk, Groundhog Day
Favorite Books: The Adventures of Augie March*****, Anna Karenina, Vanity Fair, Remembrance of Things Past, anything by Charles Dickens or Anthony Trollope, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Kidnapped, anything by Elmore Leonard
Favorite radio shows:This American Life, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me
Favorite Music: Art Pepper, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Erik Satie, Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Sam Cook & The Soul Stirrers -- And Stevie Ray Vaughan
Who I'd like to meet:
..A new video has been added!
Watch and listen at MY MOVIE LINK
the Story of Art Pepper..."
...Was published in November 1979. Since then, people have wanted to make it into a movie. As co-author, as art's wife and then as his widow, I had my own ideas about how he should be portrayed, how his story should be told (with humor and a sense of fantasy and a lot of voice-over; I loved Art's words). And it was important to me that his own musical performances be used.
So I wrote a script with Don McGlynn, (who made the documentary, "Art Pepper notes from a jazz survivor"). For more than ten years we shopped the script. Eventually, I even met with the star I wanted, Johnny Depp, who agreed to play Art. But during this long process I learned that none of my original concerns were answered by any of these efforts, and, from would-be producers, I experienced the gamut of movie lies, promises, and betrayals. Disgusted, I decided to give up. Then I decided to do it myself with my own money using my mini dv camera and Macintosh computer.
I realized right away that my lack of experience and resources would doom any attempt to create a slick product. I would make an amateurish movie. I hoped it would be charming. I would make the fascinating and ridiculous process of making the movie a part of the movie -- as a bid for the love and tolerance of the audience. .. And my conversations with the actors were a great way of sneaking in information about Art Pepper (and our relationship; always an ingredient of the story).
I took a filmmaking class at UCLA. We studied story-telling, lighting, camera angles, blocked scenes and made storyboards. We shot two of my scenes from Straightlife. I directed those and a third I wrote was directed by another student who used a gorgeous and delightful Italian model who couldn't manage to speak one coherent line of dialogue in her heavily accented English. It was hysterically funny and I may still use it. The sound on all the scenes was very bad. I considered using subtitles. In Italian. Or Korean, the language of many of my classmates.
I found my stars: James Intveld as Art,(click pic)
Tracy Middendorf as Laurie, ..
Lisa Joffrey as Diane. All are working actors. Jimmy is also a musician, singer, and songwriter; Director, Michael Rymer recommended him. Tracy (the ex-girlfriend of my son-in-law's school chum) won Ovation awards for her roles in "Summer and Smoke" and "After the Fall" in Los Angeles. Lisa was one of a small crew I employed to help me care for my mother who lived with me and was suffering from Alzheimers during her last years. Lisa's primarily a comedienne and does standup. Without Lisa's wit and willingness to go anywhere and try anything, Diane would be a big drag.
In the middle of all this I got another call from yet another producer who begged me to meet with him. He was a sweet, enthusiastic guy who said he'd read the book on the plane over here from Europe. Well, not the whole book, but, "Wow, the table of contents!!" I let him persuade me to meet with him, and I walked in shooting. I shot the interview which lasted two hours. This dear man listened and asked good questions as I told him all about Art, our marriage, and my misadventures in movieland. Almost all of that is on tape and some will be used.
Things were coming together nicely. I made up storyboards, persuaded a passing motorist to let me use his '53 cadillac (I jumped out of my car, ran up to his in the rain, and asked, "Do you like jazz?"). The owner of a nearby house let me use his lawn and doorway. I talked director Michael Hacker into shooting using a borrowed 3 chip Canon. I glued a week's growth of beard onto Jimmy, who brought along his friends with their equipment to shoot and light and mic some scenes, and I shot some, too, using my little one-chip Sony.
I was grateful for the help, but found working with a mini army exhausting, all that scheduling and coordinating and buying of sandwiches. And as my computer skills increased I found my tastes taking me further and further away from any semblance of reality - so hard to recreate on a budget, especially the reality of the 1950's, which was the period I was working on at that time. But we did manage to recreate a key event, Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section. My heartfelt thanks to Joey Altruda (for the use of his studio),Tom Geagan, Harry Goldsborough, Henry Kuan (crew),John Koenig (He plays his father, the great Lester Koenig of Contemporary Records, and he supplied the vintage microphone & tech advice), Wendell Williams, Gerryck King, Mark Gaillard, Scott Baldwin McKay (musicians/actors), and David Quillen<> without whom it couldn't have been done.
By this time I'd decided to let Art tell the story, in his own words, which I'd recorded in the 1970's on cheap cassettes. (click pic)The tapes were noisy and difficult to clean up, but he was so eloquent and funny and his words with his music were the perfect narration. And we'd always had serious problems with the actors' audio. Art's voice inspired me. It took me even further into his hallucinatory worldview which was where I'd always wanted to go with this movie, anyway.
There are three movies. The clips above are all from Part II, "Diane." (Terminal Island to San Quentin.) Part I: "Patti." Will include Art's childhood, Central Avenue, Kenton, the army, heroin. Part III, "Daphne:" San Quentin, illness, madness, LSD, The Return of Art Pepper (this section is dark but whimsical and ends happily).
I've completed six of the short films which comprise part II. They run from 3 to 15 minutes in length. I'm in the process of completing two or three more. Each can stand alone, complete, as a little story with narrative, music, and enacted sequences and/or animated images. By the end of 2009, I'll be able to link them all together with the "making of the movie" segments. And then I'll try to get them to the public somehow...
- Status: In a Relationship
- Here for: Networking
- Ethnicity: Other
- Zodiac Sign: Leo
- Children: Proud parent
- Smoke / Drink: No / No