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Refusal to salute the American flag from a very early age


Story about Iphigene Sulzberger
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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I've gotten so interested in other peoples' stories that I've come up with an idea to do a film or films- to do an unlimited number of films of people telling stories; ordinary people but with extraordinary stories and with extraordinary abilities to tell these stories. And in that proposal I came up with some 40 story ideas. My favorite one would be stories of acts of kindness- and I remember going to see a Shakespearean play. And as my wife and I approached our seats we came across an old friend of ours who said oh, the curtain is about to go up but I think I have enough time to tell you my Iphigenia story. And of course there's an Iphigenia character in this Shakespearean play but also there's an Iphigenia Sulzberger of the New York Times and she, he told us, used to, in her 80s, she used to walk along Madison Avenue in the 70s and 80s and one time as she- as she walked along, she had already set it up so that if she had to use the John at any particular moment she could go into the drugstore or a flower shop or the grocery store, whatever. And being in her 80s and not having full, full control of her bladder, one day as she was passing the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home she rushed in, used the facility, and as she came out a man with a book asked her for her name and address and she didn't know what it was for but gave it. And then a week later she got a letter from the estate of a Mrs. Jackson, and this letter stated that it was the desire of Mrs. Jackson that anyone kind enough to attend memorial services be rewarded, and enclosed a cheque for $25,000- not exactly that she needed it but certainly this was an extraordinary act of kindness. And so I intended that if I got the okay to make this series, that I would go to Madison Avenue in a taxi and film the route of this woman as she walked along the street and, and telling that story as that visual would be taken, finally arriving at the, the funeral home in the conclusion of the story. Lots of stories that I put in this proposal, stories from my own experience, and most of them stories that Sara and Rebekah know very well, not because they read the proposal but because when they were very, very young I would tell them stories from my childhood- stories that crossed into these various subject matters.

Albert Maysles (1926-2015) known for his important documentaries on Muhammad Ali, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, pioneered the documentary style known as Direct Cinema. He helped create techniques still widely used in modern documentary production, as well as many of the techniques used in reality TV.

Listeners: Sara Maysles Rebekah Maysles Tamara Tracz

Sara Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is currently doing her BA in East Asian Studies at Columbia University, and working as an Archivist of the photographs and photographic material at Maysles Films Inc., Albert‚s film production company. She spent ten months out of two years working with Tibetan refugees at a center in Nepal, and continues to travel back and forth between America and Asia.

Rebekah Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is an artist living between New York and Philadelphia. She has her own line of clothing, Blackberryrose, and co-runs the store Sodafine in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York, a vintage and handmade store that sells clothing, books and other products made by artists.

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Tags: New York TimesMadison Avenue, Iphigene Sulzberger

Duration: 4 minutes, 4 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008