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The passion seemed misplaced, but with horns and piano behind him, Bloedow picked up speed, adding to the lyrics, throwing in Sepulveda and Pico on top of Crescent and changing La Brea to the Tar Pits. The excitement and terror of the XKE chasing the Stingray came across; you held your breath. Somewhere Bloedow pulled in the end of Bob Seger's "Night Moves," but hysterically, like Kevin McCarthy staring at the loads of giant seed pods in the trucks on the highway at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers--in other words, trying to convince whoever's listening of something he knows they'll never believe: I remember, I remember!

And then the killer: "Well, the last thing I remember, Doc, the exit polls said that we were ahead/So I went to bed and woke up dead/The provisional ballots couldn't meet our needs/And at two o'clock we went on the news to concede...." The Shangri-Las flew in: "LOOK OUT LOOK OUT LOOK OUT LOOK OUT!" "I know I'll never forget that horrible night," the song ends: "I guess I found out that everyone was right/Won't come back from..."

Suddenly, it was the whole nation that had plowed into Dead Man's Curve and wasn't coming back. The reality was one thing; the performance was shocking. Watching, you weren't sure if what seemed to have happened had happened at all: onstage, or offstage.

Greil Marcus's book Like a Rolling Stone--Bob Dylan at the Crossroads will be published in April by PublicAffairs. He lives in Berkeley.

 

John Cassavetes
by Alan Zweig

John Cassavetes haunts my life. His name came up in conversation three times last weekend. I won an argument I really wanted to win just by uttering his name. This year the Criterion Collection released a DVD box set of five Cassavetes films; it's sitting on the shelf above me right now. Ever since I got a DVD player, I've been waiting for Criterion to release Cassavetes's 1970 film Husbands. Somehow they must have known that, because it's not in the box set. They know how to squeeze the money out of me, those DVD reissuers.

There's a poetic justice in that denial: They're taunting me just as the memory of Cassavetes has taunted me consistently ever since the day I found out he had died. Cassavetes was the filmmaker most responsible for my wanting to make films. The first film I made that was any good was called The Boys, and it was a pretty direct rip-off of Husbands. I met him once. Okay--that's an exaggeration. He shook my hand, though.

I don't want to waste my word count on telling the whole story, but suffice it to say that if I did tell the story, you'd probably think it sounded more like a dream. And I wouldn't blame you. He shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said to me, not with words, but his expression: "Go forth and make the kind of films I've inspired you to make."

I'm not sure if it was a blessing or a curse. A bit of both, I guess. I've tried to honor him, but as far as I can tell, there's very little evidence of it in my work. I can talk about him, though, and mention his name and win arguments with it. This most recent one was something about whether or not fiction films can remind you of real life or whether they even should. I'm tired of that argument, so I mentioned Cassavetes and it was all over.

Alan Zweig is the Toronto-based director of I, Curmudgeon.

 

Shane Carruth
by Amy Taubin

Bored with a succession of software-engineering jobs, Shane Carruth taught himself everything he needed to know about filmmaking in three years. Then he wrote, directed, edited, scored, and co-starred in Primer, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and garnered reviews ranging from ecstatic to testy when it opened a couple of months ago.

Primer involves two engineers who attempt to break out of their tedious jobs by building a time machine in their garage. Since film itself is essentially a time machine, Primer's premise is not only somewhat autobiographical; it's also a metaphor for the film's own making, all the more so because Carruth's method of production mirrors the DIY ingenuity of the characters onscreen. The 32-year-old filmmaker got his debut feature in the can for a frugal $7,000--remarkable because he didn't shoot on digital video, but on old-fashioned Super 16. Blown up to 35mm, the image is dense and mysterious--even when it depicts the

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