Monday, February 25, 2013
Finally Brian's Lindstrom's Alien Boy has hit the screen. The first public viewing was yesterday at Cinema 21. I say "finally" because I have been involved with this film before it was ever a film, from the day Randy Moe told me that the man in the newspaper, painted as a homeless crazy - but otherwise noted for a brutal death at the hands of the police - was our old friend Jim Jim.
A lot has been written about him, the life and the death, the music he inspired, the art that he made. As the film-making gained traction, my job was to organize fundraising parties and track down documents - posters, records, photos. Such a retrieval of the past was glorious and tough, as we all change and all stay the same. This involved countless exorcisms and sometimes with strangers. Many people told their story. By the time this film was released, I wasn't even sure if I could see it.
In this film we see via surveillance tape when the police carry him into a jail cell and when they carry him out, crying, pleading, bleeding. Then one of the participants recounts how Jim stopped breathing in the back of their wagon. He describes the thud, the sound which is his death. The police themselves showed us, via Lindstrom's film, what all the cover-ups and waiting and trials tried to hide or suspend, that moment of death which is heart breaking but necessary to reveal. I could barely stay in my seat.
But the strength of the film is not just the death of course but the life which belonged to Jim. It's the life of an artist. Lindstrom illustrates the illustrator, the man who would write comics, playing with text, Jim Jim's words, scrawls, poetry, drawings - like magic, the fanzines write themselves in the film.
Outside I ran into Randy Moe, who is instrumental in many aspects of the story (he also shot the above Polaroid). Neither of us felt any closure. In fact I felt like I carried a newly opened old wound as I quickly walked home.
This was all strangely magnified by some kind of police action right outside my door about an hour or two later. I heard many loud knocks and insistent shouts for entry. It sounded like a scenario of domestic violence but as I peeped through the blinds, I saw it was actually six policemen at someone's door. I held my breath as I watched them gain entry. When they eventually left, I saw how various neighbors all had the lights out, but peered into the darkness. To be a witness, especially after Alien Boy, can feel uneasy.
at 9:47 AM