Wrote and Directed a Short Comedy Film

We shot our short comedy film last Wednesday night for the February 2, Iron Mule Festival. The title, Spork Wars, was shouted from the audience. A spork, of course, is a spoon and fork.

Spork Wars is a silly story of a spork salesman, played by Michael Martin, who tries to sell sporks and connect with diner owner, Jay Fortunato, only to discover a familial bond from the old country.

While I had hoped the shoot would take an hour, it took three.

The secrets of my recent filmmaking productivity?

1. a deadline.. there is nothing better than having to finish something by a drop-dead date. A deadline is a line in the sand and I’m pretty good about not crossing.

2. a crew… one of my seven secrets to success is to “Pile on the People.” In filmmaking, you get to work with awesome, funny, creative people. It’s been superfun to make new friends, like Ryan Decker, Ali Mao, Michael Martin, as well as work with old friends, like Pat Bishow and Jay Fortunato!

Don't you love a good diner? Gee Whiz Diner!
Don’t you love a good diner? Gee Whiz Diner!

3. a location… The peeps at the Gee Whiz Diner were super-nice. And in exchange for free use of their lovely diner space, I promised to promote them! They are located on 295 Greenwich Street, right near the Chambers Street subway. Try the Greek salad.

4. a sense of humor (and flexibility)… Of course I wanted my actors to speak the lines exactly as I wrote them. But Jay and Michael are improv geniuses. Naturally, they strayed. It was cool. In fact, I was laughing so hard, especially at their improved bit about gyros, that I feared my convulsive laughter would ruin the sound track.

5. a letting go… I really don’t know what the credits should look like or how the background music should sound. I forget to call, “Action!” I don’t know all the filmmaking nomenclature, but I did my best. And done is always better than perfect. And very good is a nice place to start.

Alison sent me the RC (rough cut!) last night. And I have to admit, I found it pretty funny. I showed it to my 15-year old who chuckled, which is a pretty good response from a 15-year old.

Let me know what you think. Come to The Iron Mule Short Comedy Film Festival, 8 pm on Saturday night, February 2.

I won’t be there. I’ll be in in Charlotte, NC, co-leading a memoir writing workshop with Ms. Cynthia Sloan. If you’re nearby, please join us. When she and I get together, there’s always laughter (and tears)! There’s still room for a few more at the story of your life, memoir.


George Condo

One performance artist was painting, the other was ironing; they wore crochet.

We met our guide, a curator and art dealer, Jonathan, at the New Museum on the Bowery.

From the museum’s top floor, there are fantastic views — in the distance, the bridges and buildings of Lower Manhattan and right beneath us, the Festival of Ideas for the New City — sidewalk exhibits on community supported agriculture, art in the parks, children’s centers, new kinds of energy, just way cool stuff.

My Number One Son and I were at the museum for the last day of the George Condo exhibit, Mental States. Jonathan knew a lot about Condo. He showed us Condo’s work from the early days — when he hung with graffitti artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. His work was displayed vertically, as in a salon.

Jonathan told us that Condo is prolific. He is both derivative and original. His work is an homage to art history and a contemporary take on cartooning and art on the streets.

This is the clean version of Condo's art for the album cover.

My son said one painting reminded him of the Kanye West album cover, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Jonathan was impressed. “Yes, that was his work.”

Just then, a guy who looked like a handsome version of Al Pacino, slapped Jonathan and hugged him.

“Hey man.”

“Hey man.” They hugged in that downtown-cool-guy kind of way. It was George Condo, the great man himself. He smelled of cigarettes. He was with his wife, a gorgeous filmmaker. We chatted a bit. They wandered off.

We were impressed. But no one in the big gallery paid the artist any mind.

“They don’t know it’s him,” Jonathan told us.

But we did. And it was cool. Just way cool stuff. Hey man.

I got this guided tour of contemporary art through the school auction. I was glad that I redeemed it and that H. joined me on the outing. We left the museum and headed to Astor Place.