Fwd: Fw: James Tenney 1934-2006

From: Marilyn Brakhage (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Oct 24 2006 - 13:12:46 PDT

Dear Madison,

I am forwarding an earlier message I sent a couple of months ago about
Jim Tenney's involvement in Brakhage films and others. Re. "level of
involvement" in the Brakhage films: composed the music for "Interim,"
and for "Unglassed Windows Cast A Terrible Reflection," after Stan
directed (in the case of Interim), shot (in the case of Unglassed
Windows), and edited picture. In Desistfilm, he was a participant
("actor") in the filmed 'party'.' In "Cat's Cradle" and "Loving," he
and Carolee allowed Stan to film aspects of their lives -- but the
films were, otherwise, entirely Stan's. For "Christ Mass Sex Dance"
and "Ellipsis # 5," Stan requested permission to use previously
recorded pieces by Jim as soundtracks ("Blue Suede" and "Flocking,"
respectively). Jim gave his permission for their use; nothing else.
Stan then edited his images to the sound in both of those cases. . . .
Jim also composed the sound track for the Jim Shedden documentary on
Stan (in addition to participating as an interviewee). . . . "Matins"
is a little film Stan shot in Jim's Toronto home in 1988, around the
time of his marriage to Lauren Pratt. As with "Cat's Cradle" and
"Loving," his participation was simply one of allowing Stan to film
him/his home. . . . As I mention in the earlier message, below, I can
recall another appearance that Jim made in a Brakhage film, but can't
remember for sure which one it is -- I just have a vague memory of an
image of Jim dancing with Jane Brakhage -- dark room, firelight -- in
the middle of a film from late 60's? early 70's? (Maybe someone else
can recall it.)

Jim was not involved in "Reflections On Black." I spoke with him,
January 2005, about all these films, and he did say that he remembered
improvised sound effects being recorded for Desistfilm (which he may
have helped with, then, though it sounded like a sort of group effort),
and which Stan then edited to his images. And he said he thought the
soundtrack for "Reflections On Black" may have been done similarly, but
that he was not there for that.

Marilyn Brakhage

Begin forwarded message:

> Yes, Jim and Stan both went to South High School in Denver, Colorado
> -- Jim one year later. The filmmaking began the year after Stan
> finished high school, and Jim composed the music (his first
> composition) for Stan's first film, "Interim." He also composed a
> score for another early Brakhage film, "Unglassed Windows Cast A
> Terrible Reflection," however that was a composition for six
> instruments which they were never technically able to perform and
> record. Jim told me last year that he remembered improvised sound
> effects being recorded for "Desistfilm," which Stan then edited to the
> picture. . . . Many years later, of course, Stan used the Tenney
> pieces you mention for "Christ Mass Sex Dance" (1991) and "Ellipsis
> #5" (1998).
> He appears in quite a number of Brakhage films: "Desistfilm" (the
> young man leaning in the doorway with the cigarette in his mouth),
> "Loving" (with Carolee Schneemann), "Cat's Cradle" (with Carolee, Stan
> and Jane Brakhage), "Matins" (with Lauren Pratt) . . . I know there's
> a brief appearance somewhere else . . . as well as in Carolee's
> "Fuses."
> He also created the sound collage for the Carolee Schneemann film,
> "Viet Flakes."
> I understand Jim completed his final composition just a couple of
> weeks before he died.
> Marilyn Brakhage
> Victoria, BC

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