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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Flesh and the World: making plans with Nigel

I’ve read too much during and after Sundance and still have a wrap-up piece I want to write; in the weekend FT, Nigel Andrews does a bang-up job considering the omniporn omnibus Destricted and Kirby Dick‘s This Film Is Not Yet Rated and then a casual run-in sends him another way: “The most educative encounter I had in Park City—simultaneously charming and chastening—summed up the whole business. For whom should I run into near the festival’s close but Harry Reems. The Deep Throat star, once the biggest male porn actor in the world, is now a Park City realtor…. parkcitywood.jpg“I’m married now, I own my own business, I converted to Christianity. I’m a trustee of my church, I’m seventeen-and-a-half years clean and sober of alcohol, and it’s not a part of my life to speak now and I don’t think I have anything of value to add to what you’re doing… I’ve stepped back from that, it’s been good for me to retreat into a private life.” He adds that he didn’t settle in Park City… in order to be near a film festival. “I first came up here with skiing friends. It seemed such a quiet, quaint little town 30 years ago. I said to myself, this is the place I’d like to hang my hat and live the rest of my life. And I’ve made my dream come true.” As he says, he also found God, conquered alcoholism and settled into family life. For half a second I almost envy him. He makes me wonder why I spend half my life gallivanting around film festivals courting encounters with the world, the flesh and the devil. Then I come to my senses. I realise that chaos is where I want to be and where every self-respecting film critic should be. Not for the first time I think of St Augustine’s prayer and offer up my own paraphrase. Give me a chaste and contrite life, Lord, away from the feverish task of monitoring screen freedom. But not yet.” [Photo: Ray Pride]

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“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch

To me, Hunter S. Thompson was a hero. His early books were great, but in many ways, his life and career post–Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail is a cautionary tale for authors. People expected him to be high and drunk all the time and play that persona, and he stuck with that to the end, and I don’t think it was good for him. I always sort of feel mixed emotions when I hear that people went and hung out with Hunter and how great it was to get high with Hunter. The fact is the guy was having difficulty doing any sustained writing at all for years probably because so many quote, unquote, “friends” wanted to get high with him … There was a badly disappointed romantic there. I mean, that great line, “This is where the wave broke, the tide rolled back … ” This was a guy that was hurt and disappointed and very bitter about things, and it made his writing beautiful, and also with that came a lot of pain.
~ Anthony Bourdain