A George Kuchar Celebration
I owe my love of the movies to my mom, Stella Kuchar. She took me and my twin brother, Mike, to Frankenstein pictures, Spencer Tracy and Barbara Stanwyk vehicles, and action movies starring John Payne. My dad, George Sr., mainly slept during the day because he was a truck driver and mainly hauled goods at night. But dad had a wonderful collection of soft cover pocket books that were dramatically illustrated with film noir-looking artwork on the covers. The rendering of semi-clad men and women, in various modes of social and spiritual decay, inflamed my imagination because of the depth of emotions depicted. Also the grungy and deeply shadowed settings, made slightly luminous by cigarette smoke, excited me visually and made the world of “the big people” appear quite enticing.
My young life was also a haze of church incense and the flickering candles of Catholic devotions. I suppose this dichotomy fed an energy to make moving pictures from start to finish. And I always made sure to finish them, even if a wayward and lurid lifestyle threatened to redirect that energy. I just cleaned up and resumed good work habits. Unfortunately those habits weren’t always so good as you never knew when to stop, etc. I suppose like the shadow side, it’s just another obsession you have to deal with. But at least it featured finished, crafted expressions, and not just a head of filthy memoires. I always felt comfortable working in the shadows, in the closet, in the night because then when you come out in the light it’s like a stage appearance: you can be a clown or a saint and maybe even a rarely seen ghost. Meanwhile the magic made in the dark weaves its own spell to speak to people you may never get to meet. Like an elephant trodding to that legendary burial ground, I head back to the dark places too; the hidden places. That’s where you can find all the valuable ivory among all that rot and bones. – George Kuchar