The inimitable Tav Falco has lead the unapproachable Panther Burns since the 1970s. The ditch-diggers of American music, idiosyncratic and effervescent, purveyors of arcane wisdom, Panther Burns have howled their way from Memphis out around the globe through those six decades bewitching, beguiling and sometimes bemusing fans of the blues, old soul and good old rock’n’roll. We’ve checked in with Tav often along the way. We even had a previous Christmas sojourn back in 2016. So of course we were going to ask Tav to join in with our December wide “Bunch of Five” project. Mr Falco went above and beyond and provided us with a mighty missive detailing his recent move out East and laying out his five great things… We’ve split it into 12 parts and we’re sharing it one day at a time to see everybody through into the New Year. It’s the twelve days of Tav-mas! This is part ten… f you’re just joining us you can go right back to the start here ⇒
Film is the vision of Orpheus. Silent moving pictures are pure cinema. In totality moving pictures are visual music, and musical images are the idiom of the unconscious. All that I think and do springs from those dark waters. Monochrome black and white is pure form no matter how literal and chaotic the image. Monochrome is pure dream. You have to wear blinders to see it. While color is always an advertisement – for something. I am drawn to secrets hidden in photographic images. The secrets of a dead thing. For once the image is fixed on the substrate, it becomes immutable, implacable, suspended in time. It cannot go forward, it cannot go back, yet within its micro moment is held both past and future.
Anyone can take a picture or make a film. You just hold up a camera, and the mechanism does the job. Some think of it as an act of creation, but more important is understanding the picture in a non-verbal sense… to find, to uncover a hidden intelligence. This is what I think I learned from my first filmic mentor, William Eggleston.
TF listening to Eggleston improvise on his Bosendorfer, Memphis Oct 2022 by Ross Johnson
From magician Kenneth Anger, I learned how to be a child with the camera. It was in Vienna where I first met Kenneth Anger although I had seen him previously introducing his films, Scorpio Rising and Inauguration Of The Pleasure Dome – Sacred Mushroom Edition, at the Pyramid Club on Ave. A in New York. As Orson Welles had before him, Kenneth was staying at the aforementioned Hotel Orient on Tiefergraben. We just happened to be shooting a short film there ourselves within a couple days. I invited Kenneth to join us with his Tarot deck in a scene at the hotel bar. He protested that he was not an actor and had never appeared in anyone’s films other than his own. At length he finally agreed due largely to his infatuation with the Panther Burns bass player at the time who was playing the role of bartender in the scene. I assured him he could wear his new tuxedo acquired for his upcoming homage at the Barbican Theater.
Masque Of Hotel Orient dir. by Rainer Kirberg with Kenneth Anger, Vienna 1995
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