From Stan Brakhage Remembrances:

Paul Arthur

Printed in MFJ No. 41 (Fall 2003) Lesbian and Gay Experimental Cinema/Stan Brakhage Remembrances

On the night I first spoke with Tony Pipolo about putting together this section, I had the following dream: I was visiting Phil Solomon in a distant city, having heard to my surprise that he had become a single dad. He lived in a bland cinderblock building, like a dormitory, in a ramshackle apartment on an upper floor. When I arrived he was carting around a chubby, sweet-faced baby girl in diapers, balanced on his hip as he performed various domestic chores. The place was a mess, there was nowhere to sit, but it had a great view of the water from the widescreen livingroom window, not the ocean but an odd narrow channel that led to a bay rimmed with colorful houses. He was hurrying because he wanted to see a “regatta,” as he put it, that was about to start. As we talked he told me of an epiphany, speaking in a deep sepulchral register: “M___ once told me that when it’s midnight, the films you need are not about accepting or challenging an aesthetic system but parading the gifts of great individual artists.” I wasn’t sure what that meant but it made sense at the time. Phil then asked me to take the baby while he went out and I did so gladly, dandling the kid and talking to her in googoo language. I felt her soft infant skin against my face, which I realized I hadn’t experienced in many years. As I was holding her I happened to look out the window and saw a thin uninhabited ship with a brilliant orange-red hull drifting slowly up the channel in the direction of the bay. The ship had an inscription on its side but I couldn’t read it and although it looked more like a commercial vessel than a leisure boat I wondered if it was the sort of thing Phil had gone out to see. A calm dream, not anxious or fearful, in which sensory impressions combined to somehow verify what Phil had shared about the desideratum of art in the late hours.