Jonas Mekas, poet, philosopher and film-maker, has set up film collectives, the Anthology Film Archive, published filmzines and made hundreds of films, all contributing to his title as ‘the godfather of American avant-garde cinema’. He emigrated to America after escaping from a forced labour camp in Germany in 1945.
My typical day would be, okay, starting from the, you see it changed through the different periods of my life. At seven, when Sebastian was growing up, or Oona, it was a completely different schedule because I had to get up very early, make breakfast, take to school, you know. But since they sort of went on their own practically I can tell you that my present schedule of my, would be like, I get up around eight o'clock, I have my breakfast which is always the same for now, for many years, oats, my, my oatmeal, oats, it changes only during the weekends when I have eggs or something else and I have more time, but oats have everything that you need for the first part of the day and then I walk to Anthology Film Archives. First thing actually I feed the cats when I get up. To Anthology Film Archives, and I take care, sort of, of the first part until usually the Anthology is very active in the evening, so Anthology staff leaves very late and they appear only very seldom before 11 o'clock so until between I arrive at Anthology around nine something, I stop at Gitano for the best espresso in the neighbourhood, on my way, on Mott Street and Prince, and I take care of this, because its in the morning that many of the deliveries are there. I, I seldom answer calls unless I expect, I don't pick up calls. But all my international calls I make then because we have to do it before 11 or something because of the time difference. Then others begin to arrive, but there are all kinds of challenges every, because, okay Sarah from the Filmmakers Cooperative will call and say you have to replace print of Barbara Rubin's film. So I have to deal with the lapse, we have to check what we have and so it goes. Then visitors, there is no day that somebody some, from some country somewhere wouldn't come and take some time because they want, they have questions they have to do research and if Hiller is not there then I have to get the files and, because the library, paper materials, library. But otherwise I tell the visitors to come only like around one or 1:30 and, ah, at 11 I go for an espresso, another espresso. Most really 11:30. Then I at 1:30 I go to Creme Cafe or some place and I eat and usually somebody, some visitors, friends join me. They always know that I'm there and they will find me there.
Amy Taubin is a contributing editor for "Film Comment" magazine and "Sight and Sound" magazine. Her book, "Taxi Driver", was published in 2000 in the British Film Institute's Film Classics series. Her chapter on "America: The Modern Era" is part of "The Critics Choice" published by Billboard Press, 2001, and her critical essays are included in many anthologies, mostly recently in "Frank Films: The Film and Video Work of Robert Frank" published by Scalo.
She wrote for "The Village Voice" weekly from 1987 into 2001 both as a film and a television critic. She also wrote a column for the "Village Voice" titled "Art and Industry" which covered American independent filmmaking. Her first weekly film criticism job was at the "SoHo Weekly News". Her writing has also appeared in "Art Forum", the "New York Times", the "New York Daily News", the "LA Weekly", "Millennium Film Journal", "US Harpers Bazaar" and many other magazines. She is a member of the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Online.
She started her professional life as an actress, appearing most notably on Broadway in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie", and in avant-garde films, among them Michael Snow's "Wavelength", Andy Warhol's "Couch", and Jonas Mekas' "Diaries, Notebooks and Sketches".
Her own avant-garde film, "In the Bag" (1981) is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Friends of Young Cinema Archives in Berlin.
She was the video and film curator of "The Kitchen" from 1983-1987.
She has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from N.Y.U. in cinema studies. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts in both the undergraduate and the MFA graduate programs, and lectures frequently at museums, media centers, and academic institutions. In 2003, she received the School of Visual Arts' art historian teaching award.