Wild Night in El Reno
Weather Diary 1
Screening on Film
This movie began the weather diary cycle and is the only one in a film format. I shot it with my Bolex camera. I think the filmmaker (and my ex-student) Curt McDowell visited me during this time because there are some stills of me peppered here and there in the movie. The motel I was staying at is the only one that had an underground cellar. This was comforting when twisters threatened but was not well managed as the doors were unhinged making it more like sliding open a lid rather than opening a portal. It eventually became filled with ankle deep mud which for one panicked mother was more terror inducing than a full-fledged tornado. She told me to hand back the baby I was holding as she preferred to ride out the storm above ground and wanted no part of that muck. Luckily for her and little junior, the violent funnel cloud lifted before hitting the town but it was a close call! – GK
This (just about) feature length documentary attempts to capture the feel of the Oklahoma experience as I lived it for about three or four weeks in May at a motel/trailer park. It was entirely edited in camera and shot in a start to finish manner with the time being manipulated and expanded upon by in-camera inserts. You get sneak peaks of the occupants of the facility and glimpses of their lives interspersed with threats of turbulent weather both above our heads and squeezed into a TV tube. There are also four legged mammals hanging around and some bugs here and there. I do my best to connect with them all, socially.
This first video in the series sets the gastric tone of all future visits to Oklahoma and delves into a menu of gassy goodies and gooey deposits. This motel (and the owners) no longer exist as death and the bulldozer have wiped them out. But they live on in this electronic format which has always seemed to shock and outrage viewers on many occasions and has been assigned the dubious distinction of a "dangerous live wire, so beware"! These sentiments (warnings) were issued by Scott McDonald as his screening of the video to his class created an horrendous uproar of disgust. It also shed a new and very unflattering light on the Flaherty Film Seminar in upstate New York as the audience, totally repelled by this white man spending time in Indian territory and exposing his greasy secrets, skin and imperfect teeth was too much to bear for politically correct academia. Since the other documentaries in that venue stressed racial confrontations and territorial hatreds, the fact that they had to endure sitting through this exposition of a Bronx boy's friendly, if somewhat freaky, foray into Americana was too much to tolerate. The prestigious showcase turned into the Jerry Springer Show, and the animosity this video revealed from behind the cloak of academic respectability was truly awesome! I hope you enjoy it. – GK