Veneration on the plaza
Tuesday, August 16 on the Santa Fe Plaza, Amp Concerts and The Drum is the Voice of the Trees presented VENERATION: a drumming circle and nature dance with celebrants wearing spirited costumes created by Santa Fe artist, Stryder Simms. Here are the videos from that...
An Interview with Shrubconscious artist, Stryder Simms
“Like the soil in a forest or field, the creative process and creative collaboration is not only about the end product; it’s also about relating with aligned companions in the creative process.”
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Mud was my first love
Pueblo, CO, was built on ancient seabeds of clay and sandstone along the Arkansas River. Easy access to clay supports potters, masons and brickyards. High School provided an intro into ceramics for me, under the tutelage of Lyle Clift, who introduced me to salt-fired...
My first art teacher was my dad, who painted watercolors from the early 1960s to the '90s. Growing up, when one of us kids said we were bored, Dad would say, “paint me a picture.” I would sit down with him and paint, then complain that my painting was inferior to his....
Costume was created by Open Channel Content.
Tea House Shelter
A small and surprising tea house rises from the Southwestern desert.Watch more videos from Open Channel Content on our YouTube page, here.
The Jewelry Business
With but one class in jewelry making under my belt, I began fabricating jewelry for Heather Laurie and her partner Phoenix Sun in 1990. After working for them for three years, I became a full-time designer and partner in the business, “Heather and Phoenix,” a...
In Aspen in 1990-91, I was a part-time assistant director at Grassroots Television. We played over 80 hours of original programming per week, some of it live cast from our studio as well as remote broadcast events. It was just as digital was becoming a consumer...
Dispatches on the Art of Film
Film Commentary has been an absorbing pastime for more than a decade. Since I graduated film school, I’ve posted almost 100 articles on the art of film, filmmaking, mass media, and classic and global cinema. Amid these many dispatches there is an entire series...
I wrote my first screenplay “Uncommon Bonds,” by candlelight, on a battery powered typewriter, while living in a 100- year-old miner’s cabin and being a carpenter during the day. Upon completing my second feature length screenplay, “Coyote Paints the Town,” I...
Honoring the Ainu Ancestors
Ape Huchi Wacka Ush is an original song written and performed by Madi Sato. In it she honors her Ainu ancestors. Her performance, the setting, weather conditions and documentation all come together in this music video, which is the most recent OCC HD project. It has...
Shrubconscious Basket Hut
The basket hut came as a result of my lifelong passion for shelter, beginning with studying adobe building construction after high school. The art of shelter developing more deeply when I was employed full-time in the construction trade for ten years, and also by my...
The Argos Gallery maintained by Eli Levin in Santa Fe, NM is the location where most of these drawings were produced. I attended the life drawing sessions twice weekly, for a number of years beginning in 2003. The management of that drawing group was impeccable. The...
Graphics Lab Showroom
As each project spins off more and more possible outputs, there is no time to bring every new iteration to full fruition, so this gallery documents important watersheds of novel results, framed inside a moment in time in the studio, for potential further examination...
For several years I occupied my studio time making homages of old masterpieces. Most of these were painted between 2003 and 07. This batch of paintings built my confidence. Reinventing a masterwork with modern materials is so much easier than inventing one from...
Dragon carp sculptures
The inspiration for two giant carp sculptures made completely from natural materials came from an ancient Chinese ink brush painting.
•Feature Length Screenplay• Fresh out of the pen, Leo dives, nose-first, into a new deal in this dramatic feature length screenplay by Stryder Simms. Read the entire screenplay at this link.
In “Father’s Failure,” a screenplay by Stryder Simms, meet Rev Billy Pritchard, holding forth in the dingy light of a bad neighborhood.
Pepper Corner is a far-flung outpost of the American westward expansion sitting on the sweet spot of a fertile valley between two such sheltering mesas.
Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen in Santa Fe: “The Way”
If this evening’s event at the Screen hosted by the Santa Fe Film Festival is any indication, we’re in for a great time at the movies this October. I was treated—along with a couple hundred other movie lovers—to an advanced viewing of "The Way," written, directed by,...
Blind Prejudices: A Preview of “Lore”
The U.S. is considered the evil perpetrator in the eyes of the Nazi children fleeing Allied occupation in Aussie director Cate Shortland’s latest film “Lore.” The script is adapted from Rachel Seiffert’s bestselling novel “The Dark Room.” In the aftermath of the this...
Tales of Hoffman: A Preview of “Quartet”
The musical quartet was invented to exploit the fundamental registers of the human voice. Its meaning has morphed to denote any art form where variations can be tried on the theme of four. Four is a tidy number. Like voices in a music composition, an effective quartet...
The Abysmal Gaze: A Preview of “Leviathan”
“Leviathan”, screening at the Santa Fe Film Festival this year, is a highly effective horror film made all the more so without a clear beginning, middle or end, because what we witness goes on in real life, day after day after day. With the preponderance of...
Lies Are Like An Umbrella: A Preview of “In Another Country”
“In Another Country” (2012) by Hong Sang-soo is about the emotions we all share but not exactly in the same native tongue. Through three travelers’ excursions in a picturesque seaside village, it asks if we can ever really be home in the inner landscape of another....
Traversing Life’s Challenges: A Review of “A Useful Life”
“A Useful Life” by Federico Vieroj is a 67 minute mini-feature that focuses on a major turning point in the life of Jorge, the curator of a small art house cinema in Montevideo, Uruguay. Vieroj’s movie is about the fate of film in a digital world and an adoring ode to...
Tough Love: A Review of “Monsieur Lazhar”
Monsieur Lazhar,” Canada’s official entry for the 2011 Best Foreign Film Oscar, concerns an Algerian immigrant that finds work in Montreal standing in for an elementary school teacher who recently committed suicide. It sounds straightforward enough, but nothing is as...
The Joy Is In The Journey: “The Cardboard Bernini”
Chasing virtuosity, the mid-20th Century born illustrator and sculptor, James Grashow, performs a tour de force over the course of 78 breezy minutes of “The Cardboard Bernini.” In this engrossing, feel-good artist bio, satisfaction comes in the living space of...
The Current State of Polish Cinema
I had the pleasure of attending one of the 2011 Santa Fe Film Festival’s panel discussions Friday afternoon at Zane Bennett Gallery. Brent Kliewer, this year’s program director for the festival, hosted the conversation. The audience was made up of hungry local film...
Spotlight on NM Filmmaker’s Shorts
LOBSTERDirector/Screenplay: Jocelyn JansonsCategory: Comedy | 4 minutes A young couple must decide the fate of a lobster they’ve brought home for a special dinner. DELIADirected/Written by: Don GrayCategory: Drama | USA 2011 | 19 minutes When two broken people collide...
Brent Kliewer to Select Films for SFFF
It’s great news that the Santa Fe Film Festival has engaged Brent Kliewer as Director of Programming for this year’s Festival October 20-23. Brent loves the movies and knows more about them than anyone I’ve ever met. He’s the guiding force behind The Screen, Santa...
Art In Film: A 2012 SFFF Panel Review
No less than nine documentary filmmakers and artists offered their first-hand experiences to the audience for the “Art in Film” panel discussion and breakfast kicking off Saturday’s schedule for the 2012 Santa Fe Film Festival. Presenting a range from musicians to...
A new short from Stryder Simms, 2021.
The Gnat that Ate the World
One could not imagine until we lived it, how it felt to enter a town whose entire occupants lay prostrate before an invisible power. When Annabell Trainer and Miguel Vega arrived at the port of Manaus exactly three weeks after Fernando Lollo was expedited to the...
The Shark Council
I’ll tell you exactly what happened. It was a lovely fall day, no fog, clear as glass. The Farallon Islands are twenty-seven miles out. You’d have thought you could swim to them. The Marin headlands, the lighthouse, the defunct windmills, they were all in view that...
On the morning of the feast of St. Nicholas, the edges of Manhattan architecture first glimmered for me in the hard frost of early December. I was about to go ashore after seven miserable days at sea. These last seven days falling at the end of a hundred traveled from...
Shot in Dixon and Taos New Mexico. Enjoy!
BAILOUT was awarded the “Best Picture” award at the Santa Fe Reporter 3 Minute Film Festival, which programmed 30 shorts from as far away as the United Kingdom and Latin America. It is an official selection at the Washington DC Independent Film Festival, and the New...
"Ode d' Brew" with Brendan Wedner, Stephanie Nagler and Matt Sanford. Written and Directed by Stryder Simms for Open Channel Content, with music by Jake Sproul. Special thanks to David Aubrey at Lighteningwood in Santa Fe and Scott Roche at Coupe Studios in Boulder....
90 sec. trailer for the pilot of our current proposed episodic seriesThis month’s post was intended to analyze the movie “12” (2007) from the Russian Federation’s Nikita Mikhalkov. We will push that analysis forward another month so we can dedicate this month to our...
How dare we borrow from Matisse to sell shoes
I would have ensconced this bathing beauty in that shoe whether anyone else had use for her or not, but I was hoping Guadalupe and Paula Goler would take notice. It began with a favorite painting by Matisse. A large, pink nude oil on canvas. The blue squares in back remind me of bath tiles. […]
The Chamisa Creatures are Coming
The likeliest segue that I can summon for this occasion, is to introduce the larger than life fantasy figures that I have been sculpting for the past decade. These sculptures came about out of a need to get rid of some excess boughs. Every year, for fire safety, I trim the Chamisa bush back away from my […]
Know why shoes became such a big deal to me? Me at ten years old cramming my feet into a certain pair of Buster Brown’s long after they were outgrown. I had eight brothers and sisters. The budget didn’t quite keep pace all the time. In this photo, you can see my hammer toes. So […]
The origins of my display work go back to school days when I was first immersed in theater and stagecraft. There I contemplated the possibilities of influencing mood and psychology through the combination of light, sound and visual design. Then, just out of school, I had a magazine route, where I trafficked in print advertisement […]
Will Work for Shoes
After nearly eight years of writing and posting monthly weblogs, featuring in-depth analysis of the greatest works of world cinema, as well as ten years of writing and directing a handful of original films and contributing time and skills to more than a dozen more, I’ve taken a sabbatical. You may have found us […]
Global cinema illuminates the web of the collective imagination
I am confident that the advent of this easily accessed, ever improving tool for multidimensional communication will open up space in our minds for enlightened insights that allow us to outrace our present impasse and relegate its numbing inertia to the past.
Costs of Conformity
“But what can be done when mercy has a greater force than law.” Quote opens the movie “12” (2007) by Nikita Mikhalkov.
Searching for Mercy
It is not as simple as black and white, since we are all composed of some of both, to differing degrees, but justice alone does not wield the sharpest blade. If apathy is the dulling trait we each most need to self negate, mercy is most deserving edge to activate by all peoples, parties and states.
Dark Butterfly of Fate
Film is a migration of light, continually on the move, transforming with the times.
“Through dreaming you have the opportunity to tolerate some of the unchangeable hardships of life.” Abbas Kiarostami
Judging by what we are shown
Politicians and news reporting agencies are just another bunch of storytellers. Cinema makes us a better deal. It provides us the most factual history. Because it doesn’t rely on actual names or accounts to sharpen our sense of what is false and what is real.
Lesson in Leadership
What is the value of community? How is it won? Who benefits most? This film is a primer in grassroots activism. If we focus on the film like a blueprint for organization, it could be used to help talented but underprivileged folk transcend their circumstances everywhere.
Working Class Hero
The opening sequence in “Iron Island” takes place in the dark. A pair of hands lights a match and attempts to light a lamp. But it’s not so easy. The hands are obliged to light a candle first, then find a lamp with some fuel in it. We are watching the passing of flame from one source to another, each one more technical and sophisticated than the previous. It suggests that there are degrees of industrialization that correspond with stages of enlightenment. Multiple levels of evolutionary processes are on parade in this allegory.
Compassion cracks the shell of hand-me-down prejudice
If martyrs are moths, we watch this film to learn what burns one in the flame and the other one not. But this story doesn’t seem to be about some valuable result gained at great cost. It’s more about who gets left behind and what gets lost.
Big Wheels Keep on Turning
Pressure will build, exposing weakness until it reaches critical mass and crashes, causing corrections across the map. No thing is spared accept by luck, chance or happenstance. It is faced with just such a roll of the dice that Said seeks his one-way ticket to paradise.
Seventh Richest Realm Blues
It’s capital, Caracas, as it is exposed in Sequestro Express,” will give many a viewer the impression of a modern gold rush town. Sequestro, better known in the United States as kidnapping, is a common crime in this region. Sequestro Express is kidnapping “light,” you might say. We’re given the impression from watching the movie, this month, that it could happen to almost anyone at any time.
On Keeping Friends Close and Enemies Closer
I was not up to date on which countries in this world my country’s most pissed at, so I scooped up a few low hanging statistics. There are other ways to distinguish a snake from a hiss, but “enemies of America” is something anyone could search the Internet for a list and that’s what I did.
“we may mention or allude to a thing, but not express it.” Jorge Luis Borges
While we watch this excellent, cutting edge work of cinematic fine art, let’s be open to how Iñarratu’s achievement lets us appreciate the entire collective soul and history of Latin America as part of what we call home.
“The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.” What more apt headline for our times?
Fame was something Riggin Thomson leveraged his pop notoriety into an illustrious career in the American theater. Ironically, it turns out, the same trick gets entertainers into to politics.
Mystic Crystal Revelations
More than any other director than I can think of, Tarkovsky’s films could be strung together from first to last and represent a continuous fugue in which the artist’s grappled with the same challenge repeatedly and resolved some different aspect of it, each time, in some fascinating and inventive new way.
Experience accumulates and organizes itself as knowledge along great forked trunks, branched, limbed and twigged networks in our minds. Tarkovsky’s camera conducts itself along similar lines.
To Criticize our Own Judgment
The intention of the filmmaker determines whether what they make will contribute more to culture or commerce. Tarkovsky speaks of art as an act of sacrifice for the sake of love and as a potential unifier of humankind. What a thing to say in a book about filmmaking.
Tarkovsky would say the experience of the present is elusive, a slippery one where anything could yet develop. The past is certain, it is therefore more solid. Evidently even a sculptor in time seeks something substantial for his chisel.
Art and Conscience
In “Andre Rublev”, Tarkovsky’s application of the theater of cruelty is fashioned to nourish pity, tug at the heart and urge us toward compassion and harmony. He intends for me to empathize with his victims.
The Artists Views
…As in a mirror, an icon, a riddle. I see life eternal which is nothing less but that blessed regard, that gaze of love that never ceases to behold me even in the most secret places of my soul.” Cusanus (1401-1464)
If words could say everything, then we would need nothing else.
Art reaches us through our imagination and through our senses. Our senses are all going to have a common reaction to certain stimuli; that’s one thing great art understands. It seems to me an artist depends on the fact that essential associations will carve predictable lines through common precincts in our brains.
Unexplainable But True
He tells her to throw away the book of translated poems she’s reading because “poetry, the whole of art in fact, is untranslatable.” This is Tarkovsky’s retort to the Soviet censors whose state he has fled in his quest for artistic freedom.
Mise en Abyme
It sure seems like it would be a nice time for a poet to make love to the beautiful and intelligent admirer with some of the passion she’s just finished devouring in the pages of his poetry. He takes the book from her, shuts the door again and throws it across the room. It lands in the corner. What is wrong with this guy? I think I know. I can’t answer for his love life, but what’s a piece of art to an artist after it’s made? A former mistress.
Malaise of the Future Past
I should clarify here that it doesn’t seem as though Tarkovsky was much influenced by his critics. His retorts were formal, not personal. They changed nothing of the way he experimented and searched. His films are sincere acts of faith, self-sacrifice even. There’s nothing petty about them. He’s not messing with anybody’s head but his own.
Not a Pipe Dream
Tarkovsky may have known that “The Sacrifice” would be his last film, but it would be trite to say that he was putting himself up on screen as its tragic hero. Certainly the filmmaker would not deny a common bond with that man. Both are confronting the hour of their death.
Edge of Tomorrow
In Tarkovsky’s cinematic language, which he calls sculpting in time, we race to outer space like we we’re surrendering to the pull of greater forces, as the leaf does, but partly also out of sheer exuberance, like the horse does in the opening sequence. But we do so out of fear, as well, like the child sprinting away from the horse in the same sequence. Whatever the motivation for this race, you can’t elude your emotional baggage, on earth or in outer space.
Because What is Hardened Will Never Win
There is hardly a better way, in my opinion, for Americans of average education like myself to obtain an accurate understanding of any foreign culture than by watching world cinema. It gives a far more accurate assessment of our potential relations than the history books or evening news.
“Because weakness is great and strength is nothing”
As a painter does, with darks and lights, or a composer with counterpoint, Tarkovsky amplifies the emotional significance of his subject by portraying it’s polar opposite.
Another Savoy Truffle?
If I had to describe it to someone in a single line I’d say Vol. 2 unspools like one-third act of contrition, another third true confession, shedding light in cracks on his persona, as well as a few embedded in the collective unconscious, and one third of the time jabbing at the eyes of his audience.
The story I watched flat out warns us that violence breeds violence, as we watch Jo seesaw from being the punished to punisher in Volume 2. In the movie I watched, the protagonist finally learns to accept herself for what she is. That was not a predictable ending for me.
“Contempt and Self-Hate”
If we in the audience were, up to this point, able to surf around the unseemly circumstances of the characters in the movie and cling to some shred of erotic stimulus from the earlier setups, both filmmakers rake them out of your fists, unequivocally in their Act III climax when human acts grossly defy common sense.
In direct contrast with mainstream internet adult content, we are shown the dark side of a disease and acquire compassion. The maker of this film is depending on our social corrective instincts to kick in, not to sexually gratify his audience with one more exposé of skin.
Screenplays chosen for wide release on the big screen are selected by the filmmakers for some reason, so lets’ examine why they gambled on an adaptation of Noah’s flood this time. The story of Noah reflects our current existential landscape. Noah’s spirit resides in every person alive today that assists in protecting nature and humanity from obliteration.
As a maker and watcher of motion pictures, it is customary for me to trespass undetected into the private lives of others. They’re only actors, pretending to be real, but my brain hardly notices. The camera leaves it up to me. Artificial access delivers genuine, gratification, I assure you. I lay down an average of ten or twenty bucks a week for it.
Every time his blind heroine comes to an emotional turning point, the filmmaker speed shifts into overdrive, covering the action with no less than 100 cameras at the same time. That’s what he claims, anyway. I find the prospect of looking with that many eyes is intriguing.
Not About Capitol Punishment
Search your conscience, while examining this painting, for a key to the end of “The Ascent,” and “Dancer in the Dark.” What’s wrong with this picture?
A Gift to You
His multi-disciplined voyage of discovery, through art and architecture, philosophy and physics, poetry and music, intertwined throughout this series, present the viewer with an encyclopedia of masterworks, anecdotes, example upon example of the genius of every generation, for all to discover, appreciate and learn from.
Nature and the Machine
Whenever we buy a movie ticket, or click to a live stream we’re asking for the truth. The same thing that keeps us from seeing the truth while it’s happening to us is what makes it plane as day when we watch it replayed on screen.
Man and the Machine
Of course, Dave’s journey is assisted by invisible extraterrestrials, with whom he shares some destiny. We can’t rely on such interventions, at least not yet. That’s where the movies come in.
What Goes in Must Come Out – The Machine as Man
Does the rest of the world comprehend now how random citizens go on killing sprees in my country? The malfunction of the American dream is not part of some twisted conspiracy, but an unfortunate side effect of toxins churned up by our misuse of machines.
Host in the Machine
There is such a thing as mental pollution and that is what our children must be protected from at an early age. Adults are able to filter those toxins but not children. I was kept away from violently gruesome films until after my mid-teens. Maybe that’s why I can keep my peace. Perhaps others can’t because they were exposed too early.
Escaping the Machine
Gilliam’s screenplay descends from last century storytellers, such as Franz Kafka, and George Orwell whose clairvoyant visions gave us today’s headlines fifty to a hundred years in advance.
Fixing the Machine
Sam was not interested in getting out of his situation except in dreams and even that was a selfish scheme. When the woman of his fantasies walks right out of them into real life and she turns out to be a free thinker, Sam never asks her why.
“The Merging of Man and Machine”
Why so many versions? Did the previous cuts ring too false or too true? Is a motion picture as mutable as a melody on which infinite variations can be tried? Or is everything in the man made universe going to be treated like an App, from now on, subjected to continual revision? This question becomes a theme in Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (1982).
“Love of the Machine”
We obviously adore our gadgets. You are most likely gazing into the eyes of one this moment. Some of us adore them a bit too much it seems. The warning the prophet issues here is to forbid machines from ever having the same status as human beings.
If a major goal of democracy is to give everyone a gun, then a major goal of storytelling must be to prevent us from pulling the trigger. The preservation and protection of personal liberties could not be of greater importance in the minds of the great storytellers. The films in this series have that in common.
Better Keep Your Wits About You
Luc Besson’s eleventh movie is an futuristic western adventure comedy with plenty of serious matters addressed. Korbin’s celestial hook-up begins in a cultural melting pot, divisively classed and pressed against the glass of heavy surveillance, suspended between aggressive, armed police and roving, ruthless gangs.
The Machine in My Shadow
These “Prawn,” as they are known, walk on hind legs, like us, but are disgusting to look at and barbaric and kinky besides. Come be a spectator at Alien Relocation Chief Wikus Van de Merwe’s life while it turns to sheer nightmare. His one hope of deliverance comes by looking his enemy in the eye from inside.
“The Mother of All Man and Machine Movies”
With the advent of the personal screen, it’s no longer necessary to think of the audience member furthest back from the action. What becomes the new analogy for sitting in the nosebleed section of a theater is to be the audience member furthest away culturally from the filmmaker’s native orientation.
Before the Deluge
If machines were evil we’d have to condemn the movies as well. And if motion pictures, in the world of automated things, indeed prove to be among the greatest ones ever invented, then we may yet still learn to thrive in a world of machines.
“Resisting Domestication, or the Reclamation of our Wild Nature.”
Most of humankind huddles closely together over the dividing line between poverty and self-sufficiency and Josh Zeitlen’s lens stands squarely over that fulcrum.
Building a Better Venus – Creating Beauty in Our Own Image
Beauty’s story should be interesting to anyone that feels trapped in a man’s world. This should be interesting to all genders when it addresses anxiety generated within our rigidly enforced hierarchy’s dominant sexual codes, and it should be interesting to all humanity in any way it might articulate our frustration when we are confronted with any of life’s polarizing dilemmas.
A Modernist Inversion of a Traditional Theme
…this main character’s goal is not to idealize Venus so much as expose her as–as what? I am not sure. Is she a fraud, a groupie, a mere mortal, or a beast? Though it is obviously clear what has been exposed to all concerned in the story, the audience must decide for itself what the master has laid bare.
Being Venus in a Venus Crazed World
The filmmaker has gradually imposed on his audience a hip cinematic predicament, but it’s not our camera, so we can’t be blamed. We are only watching.Right?
The Cult of Venus in Motion Pictures
Few of her modern adherents still connect with her illustrious lineage. Present day folk place are less superstitious and more literal. She’s morphed from The Morning Star into The Ideal Babe, blown up thirty feet tall at the local movie theater.