Disturbances in the Blogosphere

On the plus side, today brought news that Jonathan Rosenbaum’s blog is up and running, though in his introductory entry, Jonathan says that the blog will chiefly consist of two features:  a reprint of an older review, plus a list of Jonathan’s latest publications and upcoming personal appearances.

That’s a disappointment to those of us who’d hoped for something more ambtious, but I certainly understand Jonathan’s decision.  It’s an unfortunate reality that blogging on this scale produces little or no income, and after a couple of years, it becomes hard to justify spending much time maintaining a website, when that time is so obviously better spent on work that contributes to paying the mortgage.  Today, Tim Lucas expresses some similar reservations on his fine site, Video WatchBlog, going far enough to suggest that his days as a pixel-stained wretch are coming to an end.  Coming on the heels of Flickhead’s abrupt retirement from the field, it’s enough to make you wonder if the energy of this particular scene hasn’t begun to burn out — at least, for those of us who aren’t supported by corporate parents.  A wise man wondered some time ago whther blogging was really just the CB radio of the early 21st century — a fad that will inevitably come to an end.  There’s an awful lot of typing going on out there, and not a whole lot of writing.

Undaunted, the gang at The Screengrab is continuing to provide detailed, cleanly-written coverage of the dauntingly huge Tribeca Film Festival, for which this filmgoer is very grateful.  One personal recommendation if you are in the New York area:  don’t miss the repeat screening on Sunday, May 4 at 2 pm of Rene Clair’s 1929 “Two Timid Souls,” an overlooked silent farce from Clair’s most creative period (there are a couple of split screen sequences, perhaps inspired by Gance’s “Napoleon,” that seem years ahead of their time).  Tribeca is presenting the film in an archive print from the Cinematheque Francaise, accompanied by a 30 piece orchestra performing a newly composed score by Jaebon Hwang, Jin Kyung Lee, Jihwan Kim, and Seon Kyong Kim — all students in the Film Scoring Program at NYU Steinhardt.

52 comments to Disturbances in the Blogosphere

  • Just read all these comments, and wanted to add to Kent Jones’s comments about Tom Allen.

    I’d been working for Jonas Mekas for little more than a year as the managing editor of Film Culture (so cash-strapped that we only came out with ONE issue during my tenure); Jonas had just gotten fired from The Village Voice, and would soon set up shop at The Soho Weekly News. The film editor of The Soho Weekly News at the time was Tom Allen, who was taking his first steps to a more independent career (he remained a Sarris loyalist, but also had other ideas). After filing my first two long pieces (one on Ed Emshwiller, the other on some English avantgarde filmmakers, including Peter Gidal), Tom decided to ask me if i’d like to write about other films. (The reason: in my reviews, i frequently tossed in jokes and references to pop culture, so that a review could include a quote from Lacan side-by-side with a quote from THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN’S CREEK.) Soon, i was also writing little blurbs about films in revival in NYC (this was in 1976-77, when NYC was filled with revival houses) as well as covering the avantgarde.

    By the end of 1977, Jonas left The Soho Weekly News, and Tom soon followed (to return to The Village Voice). So i knew my days were numbered, but Tom decided that he wanted to get me on the staff of the Voice. Jim Hoberman was covering experimental films… but Tom knew that, in addition to my devotion to the avantgarde, i loved industry gossip. I always seemed to know the most scaborous rumors about Hollywood. So Tom thought up the idea of an industry column. So that seemed fine, i agreed. In a little while, i met with (i think) David Schneiderman, and it seemed all set.

    Obviously, i did not get the job, even after it was set up: Stuart Byron got the job. The circumstances were horrendous. (Just as Professor Echo had horrible experiences with Roger Ebert, so this was the most traumatic professional experience i ever had, so when i say that i continue to think Andrew Sarris is one of the most important film critics, please believe me when i say i am overlooking my personal feelings. The experience was enough to seriously shake Tom’s belief in Sarris: he couldn’t believe that Sarris would be so unfair.)

    But i kept in touch with Tom, and when he started working for TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, he kept trying to get me to pitch a horror script. (He was hiring a number of off-Hollywood, indie filmmakers for episodes, as well as off-Broadway talent, i know that Charles Ludlum was the star of one episode, and i know Bette Gordon was hired to direct.) But then he died suddenly.

    Tom Allen was a wonderful person and one of the true professional mentors of my life.

  • Kent Jones

    Daryl, I just read your lovely memory of Tom. He was a good and loyal freind to a lot of people. he’s been gone 20 years now. I think of him all the time.