16 Nov Raging around New York
I am exhausted today; just totally wiped out. I just got back from New York where we premiered our new film “All The Rage (saved by sarno)” at the DocNYC film festival. When I travel I do a lot of photographing- mostly with my phone- and the energy that I expend “noticing” the world is enormous. When I first moved to NY in 1987 I was exhausted all the time because I notices everything. After a few months I started to unconsciously shut out the details because I had to.
Shortly after arriving my wife and I were on 23rd St, where most of the festival took place, when we passed the Chelsea Hotel. There was an impromptu shrine to Leonard Cohen there and I stopped to take a few pictures. I miss that about living in New York; being connected to the larger world, as well as to so many people. I was glad that I could share the image with friends who were not in New York. One of the doctors who helped us with the film commented that he had just been by the Chelsea as well.
A couple of days later we went to a big anti-Trump march. In addition to my phone I brought my small camera which has a very wide lens. I quickly realized that I wanted to photograph the signs that people were carrying. After about two hours the march had pretty much petered out and we were getting ready to leave. Just then another major wave of people came and I pulled out the camera again. After a few minutes of shooting a guy approached with a sign that read “Rage Rage against the dying of light.”
For the most part that day I was shooting on the run. I didn’t stop anyone until I saw that sign. I asked him to stop because those words were incredibly meaningful to me. When I was in high school my father helped me to write a paper about the Dylan Thomas poem that these words come from. I can remember sitting in the yard with him as he tried to push me to do my own thinking, as I tried to cajole him into just feeding me some good answers. He also helped me to write a paper on “Ode to a Grecian Urn”. I can recall him reading the poem in a stage voice, with pauses for emphasis. He died 10 years ago. Hit by a car as he was crossing the street, he had ceased to rage. I sometimes wonder if he was hit because he had given up.
Since he passed away there have been countless strange occurrences that have felt like communications from him, many of which that were not so nice. I wrote about some of those here. A few hours after seeing the sign we premiered the film, which is very personal, and has a lot to do with my relationship to him. Last night I was telling a friend about the screening and mentioned how strange it was that I had seen the rage sign that day- especially since the film is all about rage. I went on to explain all of the strange occurrences involving my father and went to grab the post I had written to send to her. That’s when I realized that this post begins with a discussion of the Dylan Thomas poem.
I then re-sent the piece to the doctor who had helped so much with the film. He wrote back explaining to me that he had read it when i posted it 2 years ago, and at the time he wondered if I felt that my father had taken his own life. He also pointed out that Dylan Thomas had died at the Chelsea hotel.