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Jonas Mekas: Recent Work

Filmmaker Jonas Mekas strutting with the word "terrorist" superimposed over him

GreenCine Daily notes that legendary film diarist Jonas Mekas has a new gallery showing of 40 of his short films at the Maya Stendhal Gallery in New York (545 West 20th St.). Those of you who can’t make it to NYC, but would like to purchase all of the shorts, you can do that at Jonas’s website. Some of the more interesting titles are: Warhol and Maciunas, Nam June Paik’s Piano Piece, End of the Millennium Espresso, Destruction of the Berlin Wall, Award Presentation to Andy Warhol, Visit to Timothy Leary, Letter To Penny Arcade and, well, there’s 33 more others for you to browse through. I’m curious as to how the gallery show is laid out and wish there were an image of it online. Can’t find one, though.

To promote the show, Jonas — who’s about to turn 85 — has done an interview for Wired. What’s most interesting is that he’s no stickler for old-fashioned film formats and is genuinely enthusiastic about new digital technology getting into the hands, and eyes, of audiences:

WN: Do you think digital video and the internet can fulfill that promise from the 1960s? Can innovative films lure audiences from Hollywood to independent cinema?

Mekas: Yes, they are already doing that. Not necessarily on their iPods yet, but on DVDs. The edition of [Stan] Brakhage films that was brought out by Criterion sells very well, thousands of copies. It’s maybe not the way he wanted to have them seen, but the quality is good.

Before, through the Film-Makers Co-op, you might show something in the three places where they show independent film in New York and reach 50 people or 300 people. That’s it. Now you can make an exchange with everyone.

Jonas is also planning to post a film a day all through 2007 on his website. And how come there’s no Criterion collection of Jonas’s work yet? Some limited edition DVDs of his work are available for purchase on his site, but they’re, uh, a little out of my price range, however the signed IPOD with the 40 short films on it sounds pretty cool.

I’ll close out with the same video that Wired embedded in their interview: It’s an excerpt from the film “John’s Birthday” and the John here is Lennon hanging out with Ringo, Allen Ginsberg, Paul Krassner and other guests. And if you’ve ever wanted to see Yoko in hot pants, then this is the film for you: