Re: Supporting Ann Arbor

From: Ken Bawcom (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jun 13 2006 - 19:00:21 PDT


   Okay, I'm clearer on your intent now. I thought you were including
every recipient, not just the "corporate welfare" angle. I'm sure there
must be businesses receiving tax breaks that would run afoul of such
prohibitions that the AAFF faced with the MCACA grant, if they were
applied to them. I don't personally know of any. Most of the tax breaks
I read about in the press go to the manufacturing industry. Someone
would need to do some research. Still, I'm skeptical of that angle
working well. I don't think businesses are too worried about having
their perks pulled by our Republican dominated legislature. They seem
to live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance anyway.

   I think that the best approach is to show the supporters of more
mainstream arts orgs that this could easily effect them, thus raising
them to protest to the legislature, as I tried to do in my opinion
piece. You're right that the porn angle is just a ploy to try and end
all funding for the arts. LaFaive, of the "Mackinaw Center for Public
Policy," (actually located in Midland, not Mackinaw) stated up front
that this IS his goal, and that he just used the AAFF to stir up the
legislature because it was an easy target, being out of the mainstream,
and having a website with lots of programming info. He said that he was
as opposed to funding for Interlochen, a renowned music school. I can
guarantee you that if Interlochen's funding was threatened, there would
be a major public stink. The real problem is that there are those in
the legislature who think their political fortunes depend on appeasing
people like LaFaive.

Ken Bawcom

Quoting Bernard Roddy <email suppressed>:

> Thanks. I didn't mean to propose "outing" local arts organizations,
> but rather to locate for-profit businesses that should lose
> state-support under the legislation. It sounds like the sex is just
> an excuse to pursue a broader agenda of withdrawing public support of
> the arts. But then public-support of private enterprise should be
> held to the same standard. And not to draw in new victims. This is
> intended to tie the interests of other constituents to those of
> unpopular arts organizations, interests more difficult to ignore
> (joining the fate of "corporate welfare" to that of arts
> appropriation).
> Bernie
> Ken Bawcom <email suppressed> wrote:
> Bernard,
> Thanks for supporting the AAFF, and writing a letter to Taub. As I
> stated in a Viewpoint article, submitted to the local newspaper, the
> Ann Arbor News, and printed by them, which I sent to this list first,
> it is my considered opinion, after viewing the AAFF since 1967, being
> on the screening since 1989, and being involved with programming films
> in competition for several years, the AAFF doesn't show porn. Of
> course, some may disagree, but I think any porn fan would be SURE to
> agree. When you say you want to know the film maker's name, I assume
> you mean the name of the maker of the film deemed to be porn. Well, I
> don't think that anyone of the complainers have said exactly WHICH film
> was pornographic, apart from a Crispin Glover film shown last year, I
> think the title was "What is it?" or something like that. They have
> named several other films shown in previous years, which clearly, to
> most anyone, are NOT pornographic, but sounded as if they might be,
> like "Booby Girl," and "Chests."
> While it is clear that an avant-garde, experimental film festival
> can't abide by such a restriction, the restriction is no "display of
> sex acts." Just what does that mean? Clearly, hard-core porn would
> qualify. How about Hollywood style two people under the sheets, shot
> from the shoulders up, pretending, sort of, to have intercourse? I
> certainly don't think that qualifies, but some might. It IS a sex
> "act." Where would the line be drawn? I can think of three films in
> competition this year that someone might think were proscribed, even
> though I wouldn't. One, "Psychic Driving," was a conventional
> narrative, a bit of a Twilight Zoneish thing, about a guy screwed up by
> the MKULTRA program. It included a simulated sex scene, both clad, her
> on top humping vigorously, much less skin exposed than you would see at
> the beach. Another, a feature length film, sort of a pseudo doc that
> was not my cup of tea, called "Camjackers," had a scene at a party,
> with people eating food off of a nude model. Not a sex act, but
> something with actual full frontal nudity.
> Finally, "The Influence of Ocular Light," by Thomas Draschan and
> Stella Friedriches, an experimental film of the sort I think quite
> appropriate for the AAFF, actually had a short clip of some old Italian
> porn film, which was heavily trashed, and definitely not used as porn.
> But, reasonable people could think it was proscribed by the MCACA grant
> language. As to local institutions that get grants, or tax breaks,
> and might do things proscribed by the restriction in our grant, as I
> said in my editorial piece, most any one that shows a popular Hollywood
> film could be in technical violation. I'm sure there are several, but
> no one with the AAFF that I know of wants any other local arts org to
> suffer a loss, just because we did. I don't think we need to out these
> orgs to the state Reps, but rather point them out to their supporters,
> and use that leverage to get their supporters to lobby against these
> stupid restrictions.
> One irony is that Rep. Shelley Taub went to school at the U of
> Michigan, in Ann Arbor, and was a member of the local film cooperative,
> Cinema Guild. Cinema Guild, when it was thriving, helped in the early
> days of the Festival, and donated money, up until some time in the 80s!
> Ken Bawcom
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