Tag Archives: documentary film

The Unexpected

I did not expect my idea for a book of interviews with DJs and producers to get any kind of serious attention; this was October of 2000. But it did. I did not expect to land any seriously successful interviews: my 1st interview was with Paul van Dyk. I now believe I should have started with some local DJs…PvD was like a god to me. I was terrified. But it went very well.

Johnlee photography © 2013 420_0559v2
Johnlee photography © 2013 420_0559v2

I did not expect that the string of interviews that followed were as good as I thought they were but apparently, they were. And then the whole thing changed when I got an interview I was certain I would not.

Mr. George O’Dowd is often known as the singer for a group but he was a DJ before and a DJ after. The interview went well – enough so that all of a sudden, I began getting calls from record labels and PR firms who sent me bags of promos. This was April/May of 2001.

Fast forward. November 2000 – my attorney and I sent out fifteen proposals…there were at least six rejection letters and then one of the unanswered called me at home to let me know his company was going to pass on the project but he had a friend who might be interested. I was doubtful.

Johnlee photography (c) 2013
Johnlee photography © 2013 0418

I watched all of season one of Game of Throne in two nights, a week before season two started. By the time season three started I had bought all five books. Then I met a girl and things were off for a bit. I thought she was unexpected – what eventually happened was enough to make the relationship emulate any number of (relation)ships that have ever been utterly destroyed. And Truly Unexpected.

Johnlee photography © 2012 1307
Johnlee photography © 2012 1307

 

And so, now I find one of my favorite books has some unsettling parallels to a short story from 1979. George RR Martin.

Last thought for tonight:

“Increasingly, modern science pursues powers traditionally reserved for the Almighty. But those who encroach upon the province of the gods realize too late that the price for entrance…is destruction.”

 

Johnlee photography © 2013_sunset38
Johnlee photography © 2013_sunset38

NYC photography book (intro essay)

 

My 1st photography collection book is complete – I have two designed but may integrate them into one…but, for your consideration, here’s the introduction essay…

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On October 16th, 2012 at approximately 5pm, I arrived at the Jay Street Metrotech station in Brooklyn. The purpose of my trip was to conduct several key interviews for a documentary film project (then titled, ‘The Posthuman Condition’ and focused on Nanotechnology). The documentary’s subtext-point was to pose ethical questions about genetic engineering as presented in “Blackline” a series of feature films set in a dystopian near-future controlled by corporations.

 

Don Henley had forewarned me about everything changing in a New York minute (a lyric specifically referenced in ‘Blackline’) and I love improvisation but its easy to forget that improvising is what happens when something goes wrong. On the 24th, before catching my train back to Union Station in Washington DC, a five minute meet-and-greet at the documentary film department at HBO turned into a pre-production meeting which lasted for well over an hour. 

 

When I left the HBO headquarters, the rain, which had already been falling for a day or so, was coming down noticeably harder. Also, I missed my train back to DC and had to buy another ticket for the return trip (a problem I was destined to encounter again). When I arrived in DC, it was raining, the Metro was closed and there weren’t any affordable hotel rooms.

 

Thanks to a friend, I was able to spend the night on the ceilinged rooftop terrace of a luxurious hotel overlooking NW Washington DC, watching Dexter on my iPad until the Metro opened at 5am. I slept for a day and when I woke up on October 25th, the world had changed.

 

When I returned to New York for re-shoots in August of 2013, there would still be damage from Sandy. I suppose there always will be – but I also recall a conversation from the 23rd at the bar of the “W” hotel, nursing a third Jack and Coke. Don’t precisely recall how I ended up talking with a business consultant but I do recall that he told me the talk of the incoming hurricane was irrelevant because “this is New York.”

 

I didn’t know exactly what he meant but I believed him. We tapped glasses and he ordered another round and a New York minute had occurred. That was the first time I heard about Hurricane Sandy.

 

Like the city that existed before September 11th, the version of New York I experienced that week is a territory no road – or rail – can reach. Post-Sandy New York can be called stronger or taller but my interpretation is simpler. It isn’t that it’s a city capable of being renewed: it is New. 

 

That’s what New York is to me. 

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Hope you like – here’s a link to preview (and if you wish, to purchase) the book…

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/4220039/6c94804b58ddf00665861c6ef8d0fc655461a174

Thanks!

Sincerely,

The Bass Meant Dude