LIFE WITH STAN #3: PANELS FOR THE WALLS OF HEAVEN
Recorded on the last Fourth of July that I spent with Stan and the family Brakhage at their apartment house on Canyon. At this point, they were packing up and getting ready to move up north to Victoria in September and Stan had already cleaned out his office at school (which also served as his editing space) - but there was no slowing him down. Here you see him editing Panels in his bedroom, without rewinds or a bin (”this is how I began”), using pens stuck through reels as his mode of transport, the floor and bed as the bins, along with his always well maintained Zeiss Moviscop viewer and Meyer Hancock hot splicer (in this case used for tape splicing Kodak presstapes).
Panels for the Walls of Heaven was to be his last major hand-painted work (note the odd misspelling on the film can). Part of its unique aesthetic is that he (purposely) flipped the double-sprocketed film every now and then (by intercutting already printed painted material with original painted footage) so that the alternating emulsion/base relationships would cause an occasional softening of the focal plane, often creating a unique tension with the texture of the painting (on both sides of the strip). I have been thinking about Cy Twombly this week which inspired me to post this just now.
I cut in a little of my projectionist’s vantage point while premiering Panels in Gordon Rosenbloom’s home theater on the last day that we all had to share with Stan, Marilyn and the boys in Boulder. Right after the screening, the Brakhages said their farewells to friends and family and began their journey north.I end this entry with a little moment taken on the ferry as I left Victoria in late February, 2003, just before he died. I was graced with a chance to privately say goodbye (a moment that I will never forget) and my heart was breaking in two.
I miss him every day here on earth.