Zeke Parade
Sadie Schweitzer: Pioneer Lesbian––Martyr––Closeted Mother

originally published in Savage Henry Independent Times

Sadie Schweitzer (1899-1968) had her daughter, Lisa, in 1924. Now 89 years old, Lisa Schweitzer graciously sat down with me to discuss having such a prominent mother and how she continues the legacy.

SH: Sadie Schweitzer famously died in 1968, engulfed in flames intended for bras and other feminine products. Upon her death several leading feminists declared her a martyr, stating her death was an intentional act of defiance à la a famous Vietnamese monk. When did you realize you had such an important mother?
LS: I’d see her come home very very early in the morning, her slacks all covered in grass stains and dirt like she’d spent her night crawling around outside, hiding under a bush somewhere. I didn’t know. I was so young. My father always said, “Oh, she’s too important to pack her own daughter a lunch!” ––– “Oh, she’s too important to sit down with her family for dinner!” She’d wear a dress around the house, but only at father’s insistence.

SH: Your mother wasn’t much of a feminist. In fact, she tried her hardest to be perceived as a man. Would you say your mother was a trailblazing transgender?
LS: She was always very calculated. Anytime she thought she had just been too dainty she’d –––ZOOP–––change face completely. She’d start to spit and holler and drink beer, or if we didn’t have any beer she’d go out to buy some, and come back in the next day or two. It was only so many years later that I put this all together. But no I don’t think she ever wanted a penis.

SH: Do you ever resent your mother? She forsook quality time with you to be with lovers and conspirators. She never publicly acknowledged you–––never.
LS: I didn’t know, I was a kid! It wasn’t until after she died that I sat down with some of the women who were at the protest with her that I found out about her originating the lesbian traveling orgy or inventing anonymous sex. The way they explained it made me feel proud, and then I thought about it some more–––

SH: You’re shivering. Would you like my coat? No?
LS: But I never resented her. She had her image to uphold. If they knew she was married with a kid, they would have never let her hang out in her old haunts, strip clubs and car dealerships.

SH: Would you say she was obsessed with her image?
LS: She always dressed just so. If she had been at the printing press, self publishing her pamphlets then she made sure you knew. Ink stains here. Ink stains there. The one time she brought somebody home she said her guest was there to check to see if the ink leached through her clothes.

SH: How would you say you best carry on the legacy?
LS: Well. Let me think about it. [She tilted her head thoughtfully] My breasts are very small, too small, you know, to warrant a bra.

Review: Faint Music//Ordinary Light

by Zeke Greenwald originally on Sonic Eclectic

Faint Music//Ordinary Light is the third album from San Francisco DIY royalty, the Yellow Dress. It isn’t twee; after a cursory listen one might be ensnared by certain positive phrases or, hung up on the triumphant texture of many of the tracks, perceive a humorous nostalgia for Bruce Springsteen anthems. But it is not so, these songs can only be compared to Springsteen in that they are positive and triumphant in the way that Born in the USA is patriotic. Just such contrapuntal structures propagate and allude to the deeper and more elaborate contradiction inherent in the lyrics.

Against a back drop of mounting hope, the lyrics are not only mottled by chagrin and impotence, but also incessant planning and lists of theoretical self improvements–––the infernal self-preserving thing that quickly supersedes a suicidal notion. And songs that sound as if they contained an abject confession of love, a “let me count the ways”, in fact contain pleas to a lover, all too aware of the artifice of a devotion of everything from temporal commitments to material things in contrast to the debilitating search for answers to questions ethereal yet more pertinent. Thus it is nothing to give “everything” because the actuality trying to be realized is what disappoints the lover time and again. Consternation engendered by this twofold failure again induces planning and listing self improvement.

“Art is deception,” the dictum that old Nabokov harps on is presented in all its glory on this album. The lattice work of structures and themes offers a cohesion equal to any true work of art. After all this album was composed with an eye on literature.

The album gets it’s name from a poem called “Faint Music”. The poem starts with a description of a scrupulous self-examination for to find flaws and follow them to their origin hoping that in recognizing them, the flaws will resolve, and how in spite of it, the flaws persist through manner and impulse. “Tummy in the Blood”, the first song on the album, starts with the lines, “There is a note; there is one perfect way of being and I know that I will find it out someday. And there are times when I find myself repeating the thing I swore I’d never say.”

The poem ends, “First an ego, and then pain, and then singing.”  In execution we find the ego of Faint Music//Ordinary Light. “FatherSunFunRun/Walk Towardson/Daniel Pennypacker”, a song replete with the album’s characteristic planning–––”live my life with a new urgency”––––presents itself with such bravado. We can be swept up in the planning for feeling on the verge of change is the most exciting part. “Follow Through” captures pain. Being one of the “I’d give you everything” songs includes pleas, such as “I’ve got my share of problems till you know there’s nothing I won’t do,” and then the requisite contemplation of intangibles and their consequences of inaction which only create more pleas. After pain gives us no choice but to jump from its final ledge, we wind up in the water, singing. “A Complete Lists of Fears Ages 5-28 (aprox)” holds none of the shame of discovery or malice of denial. It transcends the torpid cycles.

It’s an album that lends itself easily to infatuation, so call it twee because The Yellow Dress will just laugh and become crippled with shame.

Buy Faint Music//Ordinary Light on vinyl or digital download from their Bandcamp page:http://theyellowdress.bandcamp.com/

What a card. What a piece of work. A body of work. 

A film by Zeke Greenwald. Original Music by Ashley Skye Clayton. Starring Ashley Skye Clayton, Zeke Greenwald, and Clare O’Kane. Cinematography by Vincent Tamer

A short stop motion movie by Zeke Greenwald with music by Lucas Shiller. Museum installations here I come! 

Brian Eno’s Rejected Oblique Strategies
by Zeke Greenwald
  • You hit a child with your car. Let necessity be the decider. 
  • What makes you feel small? Let it cripple you.
  • Ideas can be farmed like fish. 
  • Wine can be made in an oaken barrel or a prison toilet. Let the flavor speak for itself. 
Future Commentary: Michael Bay

Michael Bay, now respected auteur filmmaker, started his career as a commercial Hollywood director making iconic summer blockbusters. He sat down to record a video introduction to the 25th Anniversary DVD of Transformers.

I can’t believe it! Has it really been 25 years since the first Transformers was released? I guess I’ve been so caught up in preparing my new film, Paul’s Senses, for the festivals that I forgot about this big anniversary! It really is amazing to see how far I’ve come. Transformers astounds me to this day, no matter how I feel like I’ve evolved, artistically.

I’ve read Kubrick got to burn much of his early work. For some reason I took it for granted thatTransformers would endure. There are a lot of universal themes, allusions, leitmotifs, et cetera, in the film, and looking back with kinder eyes I definitely see some of the forerunners of my career as a realauteur. Themes I cling to to this day, such as loss of innocence and the dynamic nature of the parent-child relationship. In the scene where Sam, Shia’s character, is confronted by his parents about masturbating, that’s a great example. And much like TransformersPaul’s Senses deals a lot with race. In Tranformers I had the opportunity to shove the White man’s stereotype of Black America into their faces and make them witness their crimes. In Paul’s Senses a lot of the racial tension comes, actually, from the interesting casting decisions I made. Since Mos Def’s hair started going grey I saw an opportunity to make him a contemporary Morgan Freeman figure. These Transformers films were integral to my development, you see. There was a lot of to psychic issues I had to wade through before I could move on to something like Paul’s Senses.

Around the the time I was making the film Transformers, I’d say my biggest influence was my dreams. I had just seen a special on PBS about Jung and how important dreams were to the way he treated his patients. His conviction in dreams made me turn to my own dreams when I envisioned this film and its successors. There was a better part of a decade that I dreamt, almost every night, of those celestial Hasbro toys. But I was translating my dreams too literally. That was my problem for so long. Something that fantastical has a way of stretching celluloid’s ability to reproduce it, and can’t help but look a little cheesy on screen. I know this now. If I dreamt, now, of a secret government testing facility in the Hoover Damn, maybe I would look for the Hoover Dam within and inform my films in that way. Maybe the Allspark isn’t a literal cube so much as a part of my unconscious. After so many years, I think Paul’s Senses finally takes a look into that Allspark, that inscrutable part of the psyche that compels you toward evil. Paul’s Senses is my most personal, definitely my most internal film to date.

I’m going to Telluride with the film so I made a visit to my scarf merchant. I’ve got a scarf merchant now and little else. Where those first scarves I bought are I cannot say. But a man is entitled to a few scarves after he realizes that he doesn’t need to destroy a city to create real fear on screen. Films about humans facing themselves, that is what the public wants. That is what I want. Pain and Gainrevolutionized my whole philosophy. The perfect admixture of comedy, action, and internal drama has made it the film that even if the Library of Congress doesn’t deem it as culturally significant, will always be significant to culture. I bought my first scarves after Pain and Gain. They were well deserved.

So cheers to Transormers, the film that made Paul’s Senses possible and, dammit, quite frankly, madePain and Gain possible too.

-Michael Bay

originally published on filmdrunk.uproxx.com

Heroin Pigeon by Zeke Greenwald

Heroin Pigeon by Zeke Greenwald


Sketch Saturday: “Killing It David” by Day Old Bagels. Featuring David Gborie, Clare O’Kane and Andrew Moore. Directed by Zeke Greenwald. Written by David Gborie. 


Silliness by Day Old Bagels