Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Francis Coppola is 70

I heard on the radio today that Francis Ford Coppola was 70. Made me think back to this party I got to go to 30 years ago for his 40th. My friend Diana Pellegrini got me invited, because she was working for him as an assistant sound editor. The guy with the flat rear end in khakis is Francis. I'm the one about to say, "Um,... interesting..", "Weally?" or something... The guy talking to Francis is Robert DeNiro, who was incredibly handsome with pale skin and red hair.

It was a party at his casa grande in the wine country, at the time he was at his financial peak I think, and all sorts of famous people were wandering around eating the free food and drinks and enjoying amazing entertainment, like a Japanese drumming band all sumo wrestler size. I wish I could remember other acts performing, but it was a long time ago. The hospitality was truly amazing. It lasted a whole weekend.


A Wanderer said...

A sumo-wrestler band...wow.

This was quite a party (que the Sesame Street music)! Very cool.

You know, as famous and well-respected as he is, to this day I don't think I've ever seen a Coppola film. Shame on me. My greatest exposure to his life and work was in the biography of Tom Waits I read last year, referencing Waits' appearances in Coppola's films and their relationship.

Once again, I'm sorry I haven't been able to keep up with this blog more regularly due to my previous wacky schedule. From what I can tell I've been missing much, as I expected.

Though not relevant to this post, I wanted to share with you something I recently discovered in my wanderings.

Have you heard of a recent animated film called "Sita Sings the Blues?" From what I've had time to watch of it so far, it's really excellent. It's based on an ancient Indian story, the Ramayana. The film-maker, Nita Paley, put the movie under a Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike License, which means, if you don't know, anyone can reproduce it, even for profit, as long as she's given credit, and if they incorporate the movie into a new work, they have to put the new work under the same license.
You can watch it on Youtube or archive.org. There's also a really interesting interview with her on archive.org.
Being an animator/artist, plus someone who I've spoken with before regarding your thoughts on the modern state of copyright, I thought this might be right up your alley, Sally. Have you ever heard of Creative Commons before? I've been very interested in the idea, lately, as well as the idea of dedicating works right into the public domain (I recently discovered a band which dedicated a really excellent 4-song EP into the public domain).

Namowal said...

Dang, Sally,
A party with Francis Ford Coppola and Robert DiNero? Wow!
I work in show biz but I'm certainly not partying with the stars!

stray said...

Sally, you are absolutely gorgeous in the picture.

Mean Jean said...

What a great picture and story. I'm a big fan of GF I, II.

Linda said...

I put my headphones on and could actually hear (only for a split second, since this is a still.) You're saying: "Which way to the refweshments?"

(This is really incredible to see...from the little I know, what a story that man's life is)

Sally said...

A Wanderer, the Godfather movies are really great.

I've seen clips from "Sita Sings the Blues" and thought they were wonderful. It seemed like a weird and drastic move to me to release it under Creative Commons. It takes so much work to make a feature, and you would have thought it could get released on Slum Dog's coat tails.

Even though I feel very ambivalent about copyright these days, I find it kind of shocking that she wouldn't make more effort to recoup some money. I haven't downloaded it yet.

I've heard of Creative Commons in regard to code before.

Thanks for the compliment, stray!

Amazing to think back that he was inviting "the little people" as well as the stars to his birthday party.

I remember Wim Wenders was riding in the back of a truck with us, and was dizzy in love with a country singer named Ronee Blakely.

Linda said...

off the wall: Do you remember Until the End of the World? I thought it was so great. I have the music. But I've been afraid to watch it again--was it really that good? Would it be really dated? Did you like it?

I remember hounding Stray and Ebbie to see Swept Away, the Lina Wertmuller one, and when they saw it they said, "Linda!!! It is so dated!" They must have seen it about the same time you were at the birthday party.

A Wanderer said...

I'll have to check "The Godfather" out sometime soon. The first time I saw a Brando movie at all was late last year - "On The Waterfront."

It does seem a drastic move, quite incredible, especially in regards to the reasons you said. It's one thing to release a song or album this way (though still nothing to scoff at even then), but a full feature-film takes it to a whole other level. The interview with features her talking about her reasons for doing it; it's worth watching if you have the time. I admire her drive immensely.

As I said, I've been interested in all this stuff lately, and nontraditional methods of getting one's work out there. Writers are definitely influenced by these changes too, and I wonder what it will be like for me a few years down the road, trying to make any profit from fiction.

On a side note, feeling inspired by all of this, I just posted the first in the series of short videos my friends and I have been making since 2007 on the Internet Archive under a CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. That's the one where anybody can reproduce it as long as they credit my friends and I, even for profit, and it also allows derivative works (again, even commercial) as long as those works are released under the same license.

Especially with our early videos, our amateurishness is obvious; they're essentially just us playing in the back yard. But that's what I love about the internet and the free sharing of things: through the magic of internet alchemy, even crap can turn into gold.

stray said...

I love Wim Wenders! Wings of Desire! Buena Vista Socia Club! Until the End of the World!

Just found wim-wenders.com site: intense design!

Sally said...

A Wanderer, apologies, forgot to check those links, will do , will do. (A lot of family stuff overwhelming me here.)

Stray and Linda, Wim Wenders was born in 1945 and has been married five times, latest wife 21 years younger. How do you tell Ms. #5, "This is different from the others, this time it's real."?