So, it's been a week here in San Jose. Adam and I have about a week remaining while Tony, Alex, Julie and Katie are all planning on departing on Saturday after the final engagement of Blood Car at Cinequest. The festival has slowed down a little, but it continues to pull in respectable crowds. Monday's crowd for the doc, The Third Monday in October, with the filmmakers and subjects in attendance, was excellent.
At the rental car place at the airport, we spotted a red Blood Car. I wonder who drives this thing, and if they know what their engine can really do if they let a vegan tinker under the hood for a few hours.
Today was our trip to Pixar Studios in Emeryville, CA. There was restricted access because they're working on a new film, but Ken Huey, our host, showed us a wonderful time and was quite knowledgeable about all things Pixar. There were beautiful pastels of concept art from past films on the walls. Everything for their films is done in house, from storyboards to striking prints of their films to sound recording. Everything. "It's a movie studio," Alex said, "with no cameras." Pretty extraordinary. Robert Bresson would blow his top. There was a wall next to one of the sound recording studios where actors signed their names. We saw Lindsay Lohan's signature, Owen Wilson's, John Ratzenberger's, Rob Schneider's. Jeremy Piven wrote, "Poll Position Bitch" and signed his name. We ate lunch in the cafeteria, which was delicious. Outside, the grounds smelled of cinnamon. Some say there is a bakery nearby, but we nodded knowingly at each other. They must have some secret, cinnamon fragrance pump that constantly scents the air. As we were leaving, there was some sort of broad sword training session being conducted in the outdoor amphitheater. What an amazing place and an amazing company. If you have any doubt, check out this restroom sign.
Next, since we had rented a minivan for the day, we drove up to San Francisco and headed straight(no pun intended) for Lombard St. We walked around Fisherman's Wharf for a little while, chasing seagulls and playing in The Musee Mecanique, the antiquity of which reminded me of my current favorite book, The Invention of Hugo Cabaret. It's a great big warehouse with arcade machines and games that only cost a quarter. Some work, some don't. Some appeal to the prurient interests and some are just bizarro. You can also play Ms. Pac Man and REAL Skee Ball, not that Ice Ball b******t or whatever they call it now.
Driving around SF, I reenacted some of my favorite scenes from Don Siegel's Dirty Harry. I've been lucky enough to read Mr. Siegel's autobiography and Alex reminds me of him: sarcastic, passionate, objective, knows the business very well and doesn't give or take much bs. Cinequest is a great place for people like that, like us. It's a filmmaker's festival. There are enough industry panels and networking opportunities to sate your appetite, but not overwhelm the purpose of the festival's existence - movies.
We left SF and proceeded into the great green north, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge (a little foggy), snaking through the coastal hills and crags until we reached Muir Woods National Monument. "Here I was born, and here I died." Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton said this to Det. Scottie Ferguson in Vertigo in Muir Woods looking at a cross section of a great redwood. Reading about John Muir, the park's namesake, I think he probably said the same thing sometime in his life. Muir was a die-hard preservationist and Theodore Roosevelt visited him in Yosemite during his presidency in 1903 and asked John to show him the 'real Yosemite.' They split off from the presidential entourage and camped out in the open air for days, talking about nature and enjoying its beauty. The President of the United States of America did this. He slept outside in Yosemite only to be covered by snow when he woke the next morning. When I was walking around the Muir Woods, smelling the aromatic air, I kept wishing to have some revelation about myself and my life. It seemed like the perfect place for epiphanies, but usually mine just come while I'm at home lying in bed or brushing my teeth in my bathroom or something, not in these prehistoric nature preserves. I have so many questions. I just pine for an equal number of epiphanies. Now that I've had time to think, perhaps they will come.
We left Muir Woods regrettably after only a brief stay and paused for a moment of reflection on the road overlooking this beautiful area. We filmed Adam yelling, "Beardman!" into the rolling valley. Alex forgot the beard otherwise we would have shot more Beardman stock footage. We had to get back on the road to make the final showing of our friend Francois's film All the Days Before Tomorrow at Cinequest. On the way back, I tried to nap, but instead we just talked and laughed a lot, which seems to happen quite a bit when a nap tugs at my heels.
Back in San Jose, we walked to our respective theaters to see our respective movies. Adam went to see Zodiac and I went to see The Pacific and Eddy. One of my other favorite things about being here is that when people see us, they don't address us individually with "Hey Alex" or "Hey Adam"; instead, they say, "Hey Blood Car." It's our collective name.
We marked off another piece of our intinerary last night as well: Write graffitti on a bathroom stall. Here is the evidence. The panty hose is supposed to be panty Jose.
Most people are on the world, not in it... - John Muir.