Friday, October 16, 2009

Pics from the 5th Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute

That took place on October 3rd.

The Gall of Gallo

From: Includes information on the plot of his new movie :-)

The gall of Gallo: 'Talking to the press is sort of beneath me now'

His last movie was booed at the Cannes Film Festival and pilloried by the critics. Little wonder that Vincent Gallo is wary of interviewers

By Geoffrey Macnab

Thursday, 15 October 2009

To sceptics, there's a mismatch between the attention Vincent Gallo has attracted over the years and his actual achievements. He has directed a couple of films, worked as a character actor in a number of independent movies and released a handful of albums without becoming a major star in any of the fields in which he has been active. However, critics who try to dismiss or cariciature Gallo are frequently wrong-footed by his humour and his flair for philosophical one-liners. He can even occasionally be mildly self-deprecating.

"I came to New York to be a legend, and within five minutes of realising I was an interesting kid and other people thought so, I had given myself a nervous breakdown. I was 26-years-old before I knew what it was like to have an ordinary day," he once remarked of the journey that took him from his home town of Buffalo to New York City where he became a male model, dancer, hustler and eventually a respected musician and painter.

He gives interviews very rarely, but has agreed to talk to promote the new dystopian sci-fi cartoon feature Metropia, directed by little-known Swede Tarik Saleh, in which he voices the lead character, Roger – a Josef K-like everyman adrift in a grim futuristic world. The film screens this month/week in the London Film Festival where it has been shortlisted for The Sutherland Trophy, the festival's award for "most original and imaginative first feature".

If you are a British journalist, Gallo is likely to eye you with particular suspicion. He remembers vividly just how "mean" the British press have been to him over the years. This reached a nadir with the release of Gallo's 2003 road movie, The Brown Bunny, which was booed during its press preview in Cannes and earned instant notoriety for a graphic scene of Chloe Sevigny's ghost performing fellatio on Gallo.

He re-edited the film after Cannes and received respectful notices from critics who had hated it in its first incarnation. Even so, the filmmaker is still smarting at the British journalists who (he says) twisted and wilfully misinterpreted his words after interviewing him in Cannes – and he makes it clear from the outset that he doesn't have high hopes of how I will treat him in print. "He'll say he will [be friendly] but then he'll turn it around even deeper against me, in the British tradition," Gallo whispers to the publicist as the interview begins. "I don't mean to sound arrogant but [talking to the press] is sort of beneath me now. I am operating in a different frequency now. I am trying to grow in a different way," he declares.

With his lean features, beard and shock of hair, Gallo looks a little like a hunger striker or a martyr from some old Renaissance painting. (It's no surprise, either, that he was once in the running to play Charles Manson.) His old persecution complex hasn't gone away altogether but he is mellower than his reputation suggests.

"A lot of people think I am a lot darker than I really am. I am not a depressive person. I am a little nervous and a little easy to throw into unbalance but I am basically a happy person."

Born in 1961 in Buffalo, New York, Gallo came to prominence in the 1980s. His work philosophy is straightforward – prospective patrons or employers should give him complete creative control or pay him lots of money.

"If you want me to work 20 hours a day, seven days a week for free for you, all you have to do is give me 100 per cent control ... but if you fucking tell me [to do] one thing, you had better fucking pay me up the wazoo, because otherwise there's nothing in it for me! If you pay me up the wazoo, I'll do anything."

One of Gallo's most recent roles is as the star of Francis Ford Coppola's new feature Tetro, a drama about the fraught relationship between two brothers. He doesn't reveal whether or not he was paid up the wazoo for his services but clearly relished working with Coppola.

"If I could wave a wand and have gotten to work with Francis Ford Coppola at any period in his career – it would have been at any period in his career!" Gallo reflects. "I just wanted him to know me. I wanted him to be around me and give me some attention. If I could say I could have been in any Coppola film, I would have probably wanted to star in The Rain People. If I could say the period when I would really have liked to see what he was like, it would have loved to have seen him in his biggest, most powerful Cotton Club, Dracula period."

He suggests that he is even more "stubborn" as a filmmaker than Coppola. He won't make a movie unless he gets his own way. Three features (one as yet unreleased) in 10 years doesn't seem like much of a haul for a director who has been acclaimed as one of the most distinctive independent filmmakers in the US. Yet he seems unbothered by his low productivity.

When he is not discussing his work, Gallo talks in sometimes baffling fashion about transcendence, consciousness and good vibrations. He attributes his new-found openness to his experiences in analysis. "I went for many years to a very classical psychiatrist. Together in that relationship, I had some growth ... not a lot because it's a very slow process, 20th century psychoanalysis. After 12 years, there was some insight, some consciousness, some reflection and some growth."

The psychiatrist died around the time of the premiere of Buffalo '66 (1998), At this point, Gallo's behaviour changed. "I felt I was disconnected again. I didn't have one day a week when I was checking in and reflecting on myself – so I developed a lot of unconsciousness. A lot of that was reflected in my behaviour in the press, socially and with girls."

Unpick the gobbledegook and what Gallo seems to be saying is that this was when he was at his most erratic. He calmed down after beginning to visit another psychiatrist. "He was not so caught up in psychoanalysis. He was connecting in another way. I told him the story of my past. He seemed to have a real compassion."

Six years after The Brown Bunny, Gallo is now close to completing a new film, Promises Written in Water. The work is self-financed. "It's only a few hundred thousand dollars. It's not a lot of money ... it's a lot but it's not unbearable," he says.

The film is about a beautiful young girl who is terminally ill. She decides not to go to the hospital or have treatment but to wait until the pain becomes unbearable – and then to end her life. Her one fear is what is going to happen to her body when she is dead. She wants to be cremated. She reaches out to a photographer she meets, asking him to make sure that her wish is fulfilled. He takes a job in a funeral home so that he has the experience to perform the cremation. It sounds morbid in the extreme. "What I have tried to do in this movie is to make choices as if this was the first movie ever made and not to buy into the story of what cinema should be," explains Gallo. This means making the film on the hoof, without much in the way of preparation.

"I shoot a bunch of stuff – improvs, things when people don't know they're being filmed. I look at the footage and separate it into filters. The first category is anything that is beautiful, photographically ... beautiful could be out of focus, it could be a mistake. Beautiful can be intentional. It can be just luck, it can be because the film is processed a little funnily ... Now, I take the film and start to look at the people in the film and I want them to be beautiful. Again, beauty is relative. Beauty can be beautiful ugly. It can be the back of their heads ... "

Continuity editing is deliberately askance. Characters don't wear the same costumes from scene to scene. The director wanted the film to be "honest". He didn't want his cast to "perform" but instead demanded that they behaved naturally on camera. They are mainly unknowns, although Sylvester Stallone's son, Sage, appears.

"He was awful!" Gallo gasps. "I was off camera, screaming at him at the top of my lungs. Then afterward, I just cut out my voice and what was left was him answering these screaming questions – pick the phone up, put it down! – and what is left is this performance that is number one in cinema history. It opens the movie. It's four minutes long – it's just a miracle I have this scene."

Whether we'll ever get the chance to see Promises Written in Water is a moot point. Gallo made it for himself, not for the world at large. "I have no intention of expecting anyone to see it. I am so tuned into it that I can't imagine if it will have the same impact for someone else who doesn't know all the things I know."

As long as Gallo is satisfied with the film himself, he says that will be enough. "Don't take this the wrong way if you're going to write about it. I am giving zero attention to what the audience thinks. It's not that I resent them or don't care about them. I feel that if I am going to make my best work, I have to take that attitude ... I don't care if it ever gets released, I don't care if anyone ever likes it."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two small tidbits

Thanks to the Anonymous poster, a lovely interview clip about Fashion Shows :-)

And, the "Phone-Number-Scandal" of 2009 ;o)

Can be found here: and in various other sources all over the net.

Downtown filmmaker Vincent Gallo would like the man who has his old phone number to stop impersonating him.

"I had a New York number for years, before 'Buffalo 66' even came out," the often colorful actor/director tells Page Six. "I eventually transferred to a California area code, and the phone company gave someone my old number. When the guy would get calls that were for me, instead of telling them they had the wrong number, he'd play along and pretend to be me."

Gallo says the impostor even set up a Gmail account with his name to further confuse people. "He screwed up a number of business deals for me and also misled girls in certain ways," he says. "He was trying to create intimacy and would say strange things. I figured it would eventually stop, but it hasn't."

Vincent GalloThe last straw came, he says, when a female editor at Vice magazine called his old number to invite Gallo to a screening of "Where the Wild Things Are" at the Tribeca Grand on Thursday night, and the impostor creepily requested her photo.

"She e-mailed me very confused," Gallo relates. "I just want him to stop." E-mails and calls we made to the impostor were, predictably, not returned.

Gallo, who famously had a graphic sex scene with Chloe Sevigny in "The Brown Bunny," is no stranger to controversy. After critic Roger Ebert panned the 2003 film, Gallo called him a "fat pig" and put a hex on Ebert, wishing him colon cancer.

Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, Ebert replied, "Although I am fat, one day I will be thin, but Mr. Gallo will still have been the director of 'The Brown Bunny' . . . The video of my colonoscopy is more entertaining than your movie." The two eventually reconciled.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

F***ing Long Interview from Galore

...which is a German online magazine to be found at

And because I am nice and with LOADS of help, this has been translated to English :) Please don't make a big deal if there are any little spelling mistakes in there or something - I think it works quite well and I also know we might have overlooked something, but you surely get a good idea of what he said in Venice.

09/04/2009, Venice, Villa Foscari. „ Be carful. Vincent Gallo will ask what you want to know from him,“ warns the PR- Lady prior to the Interview. But this is dispensable - the 48- year-old actor, musician, director, photographer and painter with the liabiltiy to the extremes doesnt show any defense, but open minded friendliness. His appearence- deep in the holes set eyes ,mazy hair, airtight beard- reminds of an Old Testament Preacher, and indeed Gallo spins wildly enlaced thought-threads; admittedly without orthodox furor but healthy distance. In between he builds an abstract sculpture out of a napkin. In the heat of the converstation he bursts trough any timelimit. Even as the implied PR-Lady enters the room to pick him up for lunch, he cotinues to sprinkle briskly. Even the topic „food“ encourages surprising considerations, that becomes clear right at the begining of the meeting on account of a plate full of berries on the table.

Mr. Gallo, You look at the berries so scepticly. Don´t you want any?

Vincent Gallo: No, better Not. Since i know what real berries taste like.
I conicidentally know the head of the Dole Food Company. He has the biggest private greenhouse on earth, where the earliest genetic variants of all fruits are cultivated- from seeds that are 10.000 – 100.000 years old. When you eat a berry there- it is truly unbelievable, not to compare to anything else. Even at an organic farmer´s market you can get only modified versions, nothing pristine. But there it is proverbial like in the Garden of Eden- i never had such an intense experience before.

How much time to you spend in this Garden of Eden?

Unfortunatly not as much as i would like. The problem is, that i can only hardly bear the owner.
He is not a bad person, but an extremly agressive businessman like this: „I! I created this!“
When i want to visit him, i have to build a protective barrier around my heart.
Usually i can accomplish that once a year.

What’s it like when it comes to movies? Do you only work with directors you can bear or do you also accept difficult candidates? What was it like when you were shooting “Tetro” with Francis Ford Coppola?

I’ll go the long way round to answer that question. I grew up in a family with a very low income in Buffalo, New York. A very unharmonious home. I went to New York City, out of reasons that i still dont understand, and there i started doing peculiar performance-shows: i pretended crying jags in front of restaurants, i let myself colide with cars, i ran trough the streets screaming.

Why did you do that?

I had told friends to be there at a certain point of time to watch me. I did that for quite a while and one day, a film student asked me to act in his debut as a director. And I said: “How much do you pay?” And he started to explain that the whole things was a very personal art project and that he couldn´t pay anything and i said: „Man, i´ve got my own problems. I’m in it for money though.“
He said: „Fuck you. you´re no artist.“ and off he went. A few months later he came back and paid me $ 500. And since then the first thing I ask when I decide whether to make a movie or not is:
“How much do you pay?” And that also counts for a Francis Ford Coppola.

But there are no typical commercially succesful projects in your filmography. That seems a bit contradictory.

Maybe that’s because, in Hollywood, you’re not alloed to ask for money that open. But I can’t change it. I don’t insist that this is a good attribute of me. I’m not a hero.
This behaviour, this fixation on money, only reflects the narrow minded way of thinking I grew up with. And it's not that I would get a lot of offers. That's why I can't afford to ponder whether I like a certain director or not. I have to take what I get as long as they pay me for it. When I did the synchronization of the Swedish film "Metropia", it was just the same. But as soon as I had accepted the job, I tried hard to deliver the best work possible. I put myself under so much pressure that I'm difficult to work with for my colleagues. And that leads to conflicts.

But your are looking for conflicts with the audience. Your second work as a director, „The Brown Bunny“ got booed by the full audience in cannes.

But it was also funny somehow. Who can make 3.500 people boo? I never had so much attention before. And people didn't do it at the end, they started right away with the opening credits. They hated the film right from the start. As soon as they read "Directed, Written and Produced by Vincent Gallo" they started booing. Because everyone knew: this is the movie, where i get blown.

But you had to know that the explicit blow job would lead to extreme reactions:

I don't like explicit sexuality. In my newest film, there is nothing of that - not even a kissing scene. In "Metroia" I felt slightly uneasy because my character was naked. And when you look at "Buffalo 66" and my photography, everything is really discreet. When it comes to "Brown Bunny", I was confronted with a certain dilemma. I wanted to present a situation I knew way too well from my experience: the breakdown of an intimate relationship and the intense mix of sadness, anger, regret and resentment that you feel when it happens. In this context, the physical contact with your partner becomes really uncomfortable. And that's why I thought: Usually, we do see explicit images in the context of sexual fantasies. But what if I took an icon of erotic and show it in connection with anger and sadness?

But that doesn't mean you are forced to take such extreme measures.

Trust me - it wasn't fun for me. I am very concerned with my private life. I don't even show myself at the pool in bathing clothes, I never even owned any. There are no pictures of me topless. When I had to lie next to my colleague Maribel Verdu in a love scene in "Tetro" I was so tense that Francis Ford Coppola said: "You did 'Brown Bunny' so just kiss her!". But in "Brown Bunny" it was important that I put my dick in ChloƩ Sevigny's mouth. I didn't even think about what that would look like, I only thought about the bigger context of it all. Only when I started cutting the movie, when I saw the images out of context, I thought "Oh God!". But on the other hand it's not erotic at all. The whole thing was no performance stunt, no gag, no act of narcism. I put three years of my life in this movie to achieve the greatest aesthetical perfection possible.

How did you deal with the negativity that hit you afterwards.

I found a simple solution for things like that: Ieliminated my desire for love and accpetance. I don´t need any of that- that way i can deal with rejection and misjudgement towards myself. I am not particularly proud of that, but that is how i am. Probably because of my childhood.

Tell me about it...

Once, my mother did something really evil: I had let my hair grown in a certain way and I was the coolest boy at school. But my mother was a hairdresser and she cut my hair. I told her: "If you destroy this hairstyle, I'll never ever talk to you again." But she didn't listen and cut my hair short. As a consequence I didn't talk to her for three and a half years. Whenever I am confronted with something negative, I stop caring. I don't need anyone.

What is your emotional situation now? Are you still rejecting love and friendship?

I don't find love, but I am happy as ever in my life. Even though I have always been happy - even when I have been fighting with other people on the street. But I am never depressive, I don't ponder negative things. I wake up in the morning, I see something and I think: "What a color! Isn't that great?" I always think in a constructive way. What can I build, organize, create? I love my life, I never want to die. The only thing that irritates me is when things don't work the way I want them to work.

Don't you have any fears?

I used more though. When I was younger, a lot of my actions were driven by fear. Because I was scared to be poor I worked harder. Because I thought women could reject me, I looked for partner I had complete control over. But now I don't think about my fears anymore, I grew as a person.

You want to be immortal - don't you fear death?

The one thing has nothing to do with the other. I said I want to live forever because I reject all kind of prefabricated opinions. When I grew up, people said: "Oh, your uncle, he's 50, he's old now." They believed everything was written down statistically. "This is the average age. When a man is older than 40, he has to have his prostate checked." But nothing is written down! We can choose a totally different point of view. If I die, it doesn't matter. Only the fact that I wanted to live forever is wonderful. I feel free and I am not limited by any kind of prejudices.

Are you religious?

I had an interest in Buddhism, I have been to temples, where 5000 monks were singing - that's an overwhelming experience. But I don't believe in religious enlightenment. The way is a process that never ends. That's why I am not religious. I am rather fascinated by the cosmos.

What exactly?

Once you realize how far away the closest star is, you lose your ego. Alone the fact that we use the word "world" for our earth, which is a tiny planet, seems naiv to me. We have to see our life in a different relation. The death of Julius Ceasar happened 2.000 years ago but what does that mean in relation to the age of humanity? Our history started six million years ago and we have millions ahead of us, hopefully. Everything we consider to be absolute size seems relative.
We'd like to have that a bit more detailed.
For example, was does "poor" mean? Years ago it meant something different than it does now and a hundred years from now it will mean something totally different again. In the early 20th century people worked under conditions we would call slavery now. That was accepted back then. We always see things in the wrong context. But only when you put things in the right relation, you stop taking your position and point of view seriously. And that way you lose your ego.