Friday, February 4, 2011

Fade To Black: Pioneers of Cinema-- Part One

Good Day Fuckers! Class is in session. Be seated.

 Hollywoodland. A place of many names: Tinsel Town. Hollyweird. Hollyhood. And my personal favorite Hell's Anus--I coined that one. What's not to love about this entertainment wonderland?  A place where true American dreams can flourish.  H'wood attracts people from all over the world in search of gold.  It's a place where classically trained actors set aside their soul to audition for roles like "Black/Hooker"--there was an actual audition for a film only days ago with this breakdown.  I wish I were kidding.

Lamebrained cum stained princesses, will tell you that Hollywood isn't about who you know, rather who you blow.  I suspect the sale of dental floss spiked as the Thirty Mile Zone expanded.  Grossed out by that? Well Hollywood is a gross place students. In order to survive here, you've got to have the skin of a rhino, and the heart of a butterfly. Heaven forbid you should be a plus sized actress--at best, you'll be cast as the a-sexual best friend.  Mexican? You're cast as a vato/gardener (sort of like Hooker/Black Girl).  Puerto Rican? You're a Mexican.  Dominican? You're too dark to be considered Latino.  Brazilian? Whites only. Asian? Tech geek--or gun wielding shop owner.  Native American?  Well, lets hope you have casino money.

Shit for brains band geeks become powerful men who make all the decisions.  They swing the tipping point in the direction of their choosing.  It adversely affects what you see and don't see.  Enter Donald Bogle:

This buttermilk colored Negro saved my life when I was nineteen years old.  I was a first year acting student at Northern Illinois University.  I was one of five black students in the B.F.A. training program and let me tell you, there wasn't a single day that we were not challenged.  I don't want to make it sound like we were attacked with fire houses every time we recited a soliloquy--but each of us had our challenges laced with bigotry, ignorance, short sightedness, and at times flat out racism.  Most students who study in the College of Visual & Performing Arts don't have to spend much time in the library.  But I did. I've always been a bookworm and I found great comfort roaming the aisles of the library.  One day I stumbled across a book called Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies and Bucks: An Interpretative History of Blacks in Films written by Donald Bogle.  The book is simply magnificent.  It became a holy doctrine to me....a guide to understanding the saints that paved the way for me. That book led me to   scores of actors, directors, writers, producers, distributors that helped me understand film and television in a way I knew that my professors could not.

You all should go home and give thanks to the god you love for such a great fucking teacher Donald Bogle.  His work has greatly contributed to the preservation of Negro Cinema.  

I'd like to conclude my lecture with a snippet from one of my favorite films The Landlord featuring one of the best ensembles in cinema...Diana Sands, Pearl Bailey, Lee Grant, and Bo Bridges. Also a snippet from the original Imitation Of Life starring Fredi Washington.  I thank you for attending class. And as always, keep your pipe loaded, and don't forget to pull out.
Via con dios amigos.



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comrade may wine said...

that book had a huge impact on me too in college. i found it at some second-rate book sale ( along with a whole bunch of other books that no one wanted, and i snatched up)