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Edouard de Laurot


First meeting with Ken Jacobs
Jonas Mekas Film-maker
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When I lived in Williamsburg, Ken Jacobs lived in Williamsburg also. And we lived right there and maybe even met and passed, you know, each other many times, we don't know. But the first time I met him was around '52 or '53, maybe '52. At the same time as I was connecting with the film community I was connecting with the literary community. And that was a part of, and there was a little literary sort of private home club run by a certain, by a poet, Robert Stock was his name, somewhere around 45th Street and like 10th Avenue, every weekend. So, I went there to listen, you know, Jackson McLow used to hang around there, Frank Kuenstler, a lot of other poets that became very well-known later.

And one day this guy comes and says, 'I will show you, I will show a movie'. And of course, that was Ken Jacobs. And he shows some documentary, some footage unedited but, you know, that's on Orchard Street, Orchard Street, footage that he shot on Orchard Street. And I was there, okay, my brother, no Adolfas was in the army, but I came with this French, Polish guy, Edouard de Laurot, who then jumped on him, he attacked, you know. 'What is some theory, this has no political significance in these footage!' Boy, poor Ken! He was, I don't remember how he defended it, you know, Edouard was very usual, very politically violent and... So, that was our first meeting with Ken Jacobs.

Jonas Mekas (1922-2019), Lithuanian-born poet, philosopher and film-maker, 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.

Listeners: Amy Taubin

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.

Tags: Ken Jacobs, Robert Stock, Jackson McLow, Frank Kuenstler, Edouard de Laurot

Duration: 2 minutes, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008