A COMPILATION OF FILM DESCRIPTIONS/I HAVE RETIRED FROM MAKING VIDEOS; 2016
by LINDA MARY MONTANO
In the snowy winter of 2015, a brilliant angel woman appeared at THE SAUGERTIES ART LIFE INSTITUTE/TRANSFIGURATION HOSPITAL. Her name is Ryan Baltor and we dug deeply together into 40 years of my films with the intention of bringing order, description, and celebration to a career that my good inner-voices told me to end in 2015. Verbally communicating the story of each video to Ryan has been not only confession but a kind of summation of my ART/LIFE history, and a chance to re-live and re-love my process. Ryan became an Art Dula, compassionately birthing from my mouth, my life, and as a result, clearing the way by celebrating my Film Children. There are many of them, and we generously give them all to you now. They are on their own, they’ve graduated, they’ve paid off their debts, their college tuitions, and are free (via you tube), having decided after Occupy Wall Street that the new currency is not money but compassion, and that the most compassionate thing I could do with my work, after having spent blood, sweat, and tears is to give it to you, free of charge. Included in this compilation are seven videos by other artists: Denali Abrams, Tobe Carey, Maida Barbour, Nancy Donskoj, Diane Dwyer and Goddard College at Port Townsend.
Dear Ryan, when you are 99 years old, make sure you show your friends one of your favorite videos from our collaboration together, the snowy winter of 2015.
TRIBUTE TO TOBE AND MEG CAREY:
I would like to thank my collaborator of 20 years, the incredibly gentle, patient, intelligent, generous and creative video artist Tobe Carey for allowing me to come into his home studio and co-produce probably over 35 films via his willingness to share his creative and technological brilliance. Almost everything in this compilation of films is the result of our time together. When I stand publicly next to a projection of a film, Tobe Carey is standing next to me, literally or figuratively. Whatever it is karmically that brought us together, whatever it is aesthetically that allowed us to think together, whatever it is non-competitively that showed us how to create together, I thank. With all due gratitude to him, I also extend warm applause to his wife, Meg Carey, who greeted me at the door for 20 years and allowed me into their home. It takes giants of Love, Art and Life to allow this kind of sharing. As my film career comes to a transformative flowering, I use the Zen folded hands of Gasho, the Hindu Namaste and non-hidden smiles as I bow to the God within the three of us.
FILMS by LINDA MARY MONTANO
IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
1. TITLE: ALWAYS CREATIVE by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: Upstate New York always seemed to me to be like a British village in a 1500's historical novel, filled with fantastical elders whose bravado, courage, outrageous-ness, creativity, fearless appetite for life, stunned me with its mentoring. You must remember that all of the 12 elders in this film were born before-computer, before-television, before-internet, before-facebook, before-twitter. These phenomenal storytellers give facetime with gusto, with proverbs, with expression, with generosity. These 12 elders shared outrageous opinions, phenomenal stories, helpful advice, and allowed me to glimpse their past as if walking backwards through time. Maybe it’s because I grew up with daily visits to my outrageous outsider-artist grandmother, and wanted to continue learning from ancient wisdom, maybe that’s why I found these women and men of courage, wanting to continue grandmother-time. I invite you to do the same and interview your great-grandmother. She will show you the way.
CREDITS: With gratitude to all who shared their unique creativity in this video: Dr. Herman Ashe, Holly Beye, Andy Buzzanco, Tony Buzzanco, Luba Donskoj, Dr. Dolores Hull, Vera Jacobs, Dr. Marie Louise Johnson, Dr. Aruna Mehta, Flo Monroe, Irma Sagazie, Agnes Sheff, Cecilia Waage. Special thanks to Anthony and Cindy Montano and Steven Kolpan for their support in making this film possible. Always creative is dedicated to Henry J. Montano, father of Linda M. Montano, and to Bess Allentuch, Mother of Tobe Carey.
2. TITLE: ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: When I was 20 I was in a convent and after two years, I realized that I was not emotionally mature enough to be a nun. It's not that I didn't love everything about the life, it's just that I had some unfinished business that needed cleaning up and I was not able to ask for help there so that I could heal and stay. The way I expressed my confusion was to take control of food intake. It seems this is not possible to do while in a convent, sitting at a table along with eight different nuns-in-training, silently watching every move that everyone made. Forks hitting against plates and a voice reading about the lives of the saints and martyrs were the only other totally frightening meal-time sounds. To fix it all, my inventive mind decided to control my food intake and I went from a hefty 135 lbs to 80 lbs. Anorexia became a side job which kept me quite busy... learning how to hide from my mates the fact that I was eating nothing and then doing my chores with great vigor because of the adrenaline high from starving. About 15 years after leaving, I sought out other women with the same issue and made ANOREXIA NERVOSA, seeking explanation and comradeship in a community of like-mindedness which has the power to heal. This not an art film, but a raw, uncut, unedited look at life.
CREDITS: Christine Barnum, Diane Bass, Vicky Sutherland, Kelly Doyle.
2.A TITLE : ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO:
DESCRIPTION: This is a 12 minute selection from the one hour film of the same name. I talk about my own anorexia story, a story that never really ever ends. Once an an anorexic always an anorexic.
CREDITS: David Wagner, Editing; Camera, One of the women I interviewed. Further Editing, Tobe Carey
3. TITLE: ARCHIVE FOR SALE by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: Luckily we are all offspring of social media which links us to the superhighway which is global in scope. I took to it easily and hungrily, finding a Facebook community, an email family and way to see/talk with, show work/share with this virtual family of colleagues in a manner perfectly suited to my non-verbal, intuitive personality! So when I need something, I Facebook, when I am doing a performance I advertise on Facebook and email about it. There, things get seen and expressed and the invitations are sent out sans stamps, sans trips to post offices, sans worrying that I am not honoring my work with "exposure." I hear good voices and one said one day, "Sell your archive because you are getting old and all of that work will end up in landfill when you die." That's a great message for a woman artist in her seventies to hear and act on immediately. At about that time, archivists began coming to the attic at THE ART LIFE INSTITUTE in Kingston NY and showing me how to safely "throw" papers, books, PR and videos into appropriate boxes. ORDER WAS APPEARING. The resulting document of the process is: ARCHIVE FOR SALE which is not a film but an advertisement for a product: MY ARCHIVE. I put out to the universe that I wanted to sell it and it happened. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, Fales Library heard my call: wanted the archive, drove up in a big truck, twice, and took away 150 boxes of my life-art. How the hell did I magnetize so much stuff to myself? All I know is that I want to pass it on. COME, READ, LOOK, and wear white gloves!
Go to Youtube to access 3 more chapters of this film.
3a. TITLE: ARCHIVE LULLABY by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: When a baby is tired or when a lover is stressed and needs comforting, we sing/think "lullabies." Very excited about the thousands of papers and remnants from 50 years of my art-life going to Fales NYU Library & Special Collections, I made a video outlining the numbered boxes and mentioned almost all of the contents of each box but made sure that I deflected the jealous eyes/gaze and thoughts of any colleagues, friends and detractors who might cast negative eyes my way . How did I do that? I made a lullaby-goodbye video and used a computer device which tefloned my accomplishments so that aire-bourne jealousy didn't stick on my archive or my newly won euphoria. What I did was to make the video robotically humorous, animating my face via CRAZY TALK, a computer program that makes mouths and faces and bodies move via technology and not cellular propelling. By adding images of a nursing mother and a brood of hungry, pecking chickens eating in a barnyard, I created an atmosphere of unbridled , celebratory fun.
After a tribute to my work via a panel of speakers: Kathy Brew, Linda Weintraub, Martha Wilson ( Britta Wheeler& Miss Toni Silver as Wilson) and Karen Finley, I showed this tape and at the end appeared along with Bob Dylan's FOREVER YOUNG You Tube, doppleganging his brooding beauty and hoping that I could approximate the bard's brilliance.
By sending off my papers and ephemera to sleep in the vault and storage bins of research-heaven, NYU, I got to say, Good Night, my art. I love you . Sleep tight!
CREDITS: Marvin Taylor, Lisa Darms, Emily King and the Panelists. Tobe Carey video editing/animation.
4. TITLE: A STORY OF ANGEL LOVE by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: This film is the result of my friendship with outsider artist, Gene Loeb, who said he needed a prompt to inspire him to paint something. Fairy tales have always been easy vehicles for my message, and so I wrote one for him about two children, Samantha and Miguel, who survive bullying, bad treatment at school, and humiliating dismissal by their supposed friends. Talking Angels led them out of big trouble and trees provide solace and places to safely hide their distress. A series of fanciful paintings by Loeb successfully marry and accompany my words, and create an experience for the outer/inner child of 8 or 80.
CREDITS: STORY by LINDA MARY MONTANO, DRAWINGS by GENE LOEB, EDITING/ANIMATION by TOBE CAREY
5. TITLE: BENARES by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: In the late 1990’s, I was a professor of performance art, at the University of Texas, Austin. Luckily, one of the perks of professorship is a travel grant which I used to visit India with my mentor and friend Dr. Aruna Mehta. Also, luckily, the University had a medical clinic that had superior travel information. So I did all of that, made sure I knew how to keep myself physically safe, and set out for one of the most transforming experiences of my life. Although I had not completely made arrangements for places to stay in Benares, they magically came together, and a very learned Brahman scholar in India, made sure that I was able to participate in Varanasi’s theological culture. Please watch this film because I cannot begin to describe the floating dead bodies in the Ganges. I cannot begin to describe the 24/7 burning ghats. I cannot begin to describe the senior citizens waiting to die in the most holy city in the world ; the place where their Moksha/liberation from rebirth is guaranteed. I cannot begin to describe (in words), the evolution from my own Western fear, voyeurism, culture appropriation, to an Eastern understanding of the divine both in Life and Death. This sophomoric attempt to move myself from tourist to one-who-belongs marks the beginning of a journey that is not so much now about death but about Love.
YEAR: 1998 & 2008
CREDITS: For my friends Dr. Aruna Mehta, Dr. A.L. Mehta. Consultant in Benares: Ratnesesh Pathak. Videographer in Benares: Daffodils Videotec. Sound Design: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain, Austin, Texas. Video Design: Andy Cockrum, 501 Group Austin, Texas. Re-Edited 2007, Tobe Carey, Willow Mixed Media Glenford, CT. Special Thanks to University of Texas, Austin, Department of Art.
6. TITLE: BOOKS BY MONTANO by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: My already published books are: ART IN EVERYDAY LIFE; BEFORE AND AFTER ART/LIFE COUNSELING; THE ART/LIFE INSTITUTE HANDBOOK; MILDRED'S DEATH; PERFORMANCE ARTISTS TALKING IN THE 80'S; LETTERS FROM LINDA M MONTANO ; LOVE SEX , 14 YEARS OF LIVING ART; and YOU TOO ARE A PERFORMANCE ARTIST . The book titled; MY LAST BOOK: THE SCULPTURES/INSTALLATIONS/PERFORMANCE OBJECTS AND FILMS OF LINDA MARY MONTANO even though it is my unwritten last book, I know exactly what will be included in it and I believe that by putting out to the Great Space what I intend/want, that it is already completed at least energetically . Why do I think that this will be my last book? Because when I receive an inner prompt/voice/suggestion, I LISTEN and that voice said inside me, more than once, "It's time to stop making videos and stop writing books." This makes me sad but I WILL OBEY.
See my archive at Fales Library to read/research these books.
7. TITLE: BREATHING EXERCISES by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: When I was living part time at Ananda Ashram in the 80's and 90's, my guru Sri Brahmananda Saraswati would offer us the opportunity to practice his breathing exercises with him one day a week (I think it was Sunday). I always sat as close as possible to his chair - magnetically drawn by Love. Because he communicated heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind, there were a few of these breathing exercises that he told me I would need later on in my life (although he never spoke that verbally). His message was correct. Twenty years after his death, I developed cervical dystonia in my neck, and when I am attentive to my self-healing, I use many of these breathing exercises, and I thank my teacher for his continued care. In the mid-90’s, I made this film, so that these breathing exercises would be forever documented. I must both warn and suggest that you proceed with caution. This film is only a document, and not a medical necessity. Know your own body, and please obtain your doctors permission to perform the breathing exercises that you observe in this film. As my beyond wise father used to say as I left the house, “Linda, be careful,” and I say to you: " Don’t hurt yourself. Be careful!"
CREDITS: Breathing Exercises as Taught by Sri Brahmananda Saraswati, Linda Mary Montano.
8. TITLE: COMPILATION LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: A few years ago I was watching a TV show of compiled Saturday Night Live comedy sketches. It was brilliant. Laugh after laugh after laugh. Although their takes were quick and finely honed and edited - my version of compiled films is a bit less neat because I linger on some things and rush through others. During OCCUPY WALLSTREET, I decided to distribute all of my work for free on youtube and when I went through the list of things that I had done, I was amazed at the fecundedness of my fertile brain. I made film after film after film and not because I expected anyone to view them, but because my practice is my healing, and they're all about me, for me, by me. So the compilation is a series of short trailers and chance for the viewer to edit their desire to see more. Check it out. You might later want to choose one of my four dozen films on youtube, and watch it in the privacy of your life.
CREDITS: Edited by Tobe Carey. Special Thanks: Tobe Carey, Meg Carey, Mitchell Payne, Jim Barbero, Mildred Montano, Henry Montano, Martha Wilson, Paul McMahon, Diane Teramana, Laura Biagi, Lisa B Kelley, Elders of Ulster County, Mother Teresa’s Guardians, Marc Rabinovic, Joshua, Father Lebar, All Contributors to this Art/Life.
9. TITLE: CHAKRAPHONICS by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: One of the most stunning explorations of my work is the film I made titled CHAKRAPHONICS. It is the culmination of the 14 years that I immersed myself in the Hindu Chakra energy systems as taught by my Guru Shri Brahmanada Saraswati. This hypnotically jewelled film includes the drawings I made, one a year for 14 years...the first 7 with my right hand, the second 7 years, I drew the descending Chakra, the same image only with my left, non-dominant hand. I assume the pose of the drawing as photographed by Annie Sprinkle and Katherine Gates superimposed my drawings on top of the photo images, enliviening each permutation, especially since, in the film, the mouths were computer animated and I seem to be speaking as a live " CHAKRA WOMAN". This rich collage of Chakra information, images and magical color washes along with real-life interpretations of the quality of the Chakra is "offset" by the fact that Jackie Gleason's romantic dating music washes over the entire vision, allowing for an East-West confusion that teases the mind from settling on anything at all! How perfect!
YEAR: 1998 - 2012
CREDITS: Video Editing - Andy Cockrum, Re-Edit - Tobe Carey, Audio - Chris Erlon, Computer Image Collage - Katherine Gates, Chakra Photos - Annie Sprinkle, Camera - Venae Rodriguez. Tantra Video from Rites of Passage: In Search of the Ultimate Sexual Experience - produced by Candida Royalle, Directed by Annie Sprinkle. India Video - Daffodil Studio. Birth Video - Tobe Carey. Nursing Baby - Prelinger Archive.
10. TITLE: CHICKEN LINDA SINGS or LINDA MARY MONTANO SINGS by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: In the mid-90’s, I was teaching at the University of Texas, Austin and deep in the second seven years of 14 YEARS OF LIVING ART. The CHAKRAS became my food, my language, my night-dreams, my color schemes, my clothing, and my inner ladder to understanding. Jan Mattox and Lauren Rush are probably the most hermetically pure sound-artists that I know, and they invited me to their almost-literal tree-house in the Redwoods of California to rehearse and later perform in San Francisco my composition titled THE SEVEN CHAKRAS. Eight of us: Jan Mattox, Lauren Rush, Constance Natvig, John English, Timothy White, George Marsh, Jennifer Wilsey, and I bathed in Chakra Sound and approached each Chakra/Gland uniquely and with sonic surprise, allowing me to shine like a star, and sing like an angel, because of their advanced, professional, Good Sound virtual acoustic technology developed by Composer Lauren Rush. This film is from one of the chakras, probably the heart chakra, because I am singing MY FUNNY VALENTINE, which the whole Universe associates with Love. Chickens and Flowers are super-imposed over each other, blending with the love of valentines and life. I am extremely grateful to Jan and Lauren and the Good Sound Band for letting me sing my heart in. I also want to say goodbye to Barbara Lehmann who collaborated with us in THE SEVEN CHAKRAS. This was her last performance.
CREDITS: Video Editing by Tobe Carey at Willow Mixed Media. Chicken Footage: Fred’s Fine Fowl. Sound: Good Sound Band 1992-present. With: Constance Natvig, John English, Timothy White, Linda Mary Montano, George Marsh, Jennifer Wilsey, Loren Rush, Janis Mattox, Sound Producer: Janis Mattox. Good Sound Virtual Acoustics: Loren Rush.
11. TITLE: CHICKENARAMA by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: This film is not Art but a filler to accompany me when I torch-song-sing seven songs for the seven glands. Because I grew up on the American Standards from the 30’s and 40’s, for example, My Funny Valentine and Someone to Love, I have incorporated them into my work for the last 20 years. For this performance, I will disguise myself as Bob Dylan or Paul McMahon and hide behind these great male artists so that I can appear comfortable singing songs from my broken heart, as a woman, but also in a kind of gender-bending atmosphere of mystery. The chicken images/sounds take the burden from my having to have perfect pitch, perfect notes, perfect memory of each word of the song, and comedically fills in that quadrant of the brain that needs relief from the bogus romance suggested by American Standard Songs. I filmed Chickens at two different sites in New York State, but the chicken clucking sounds come from the University of Wisconsin Agricultural Department where I visited chickens in 1966 and was inspired to present nine of them in fabulous cages in a gallery for my Master of Fine Arts final show, 1969. Since then, chickens have become my signature. In fact, I titled myself Chicken Woman after my MFA Show, where I placed chickens so THEY could perform live in outsized, large, conceptual art structure diagonal cages. I continue to work with feathers, live chickens, chicken beds, chicken night lights, angel wings and performances of myself as CHICKEN/ANGEL WOMAN. Problem is, once an artist latches on to a theme, a favorite word, an Yves Klein-ish color, (his was blue), it’s hard to move over, and allow oneself to not be identified as CHICKEN LINDA, having stolen, grabbed, run off with a genius-like solution to finding ones place/fame in an ever-changing art world. So that is my self-critical response to “why chickens?” A kinder, more shamanic take might be to play with the metaphor of chickens as stunted angels, harbingers of new beginnings or as evolved-down dinosaurs, but this is not the place or time for that discourse. GABAWKKKK. GABAWKKKKKKKKKKKK.
CREDITS:CAMERA: LINDA MARY MONTANO; EDITING: TOBE CAREY
12. TITLE: DAD ART PERFORMANCE by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: When I arrived back to New York State from Texas, having been denied tenure, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. That is, I was able to be with my father and get to re-know him for the last seven years of his life. He allowed me to collaborate with him on video, and we filmed while watching Wheel of Fortune together; we filmed eating linguini and clams together; we filmed him meeting his beautiful woman friend as she picked him up to take him out to dinner. I’m editing out his unspeakable head accident at physical therapy, his fall at home and rush to the hospital with a stroke. But I’m not denying that I hid behind the camera using it as a shield as I became manager of his care at home 24/7 for three years. 400,000 care-givers came through the front door, day and night, and I filmed it all. Not sneakily, not as a thief, but as a frightened bird behind a branch disguised-as-tripod. DAD ART was the result of my father’s original generosity of sharing LIFE/ART with me and the result of my continuing that process as I watched a kind of transcendence overcome him. No, it wasn't pretty or wonderful but during his illness he exuded the same beauty that he exhibited when he sat in church in meditation. Friends would come into the house at 9 John Street and cry because of the atmosphere that he created: a high-level intensity and vibrational frequency. One of the care-givers was smart enough to remind me to encourage him to paint and he became an abstract expressionist painter who for 1-2 hours a day, sat transfixed as red or orange or black or yellow appeared on the paper in front of him via his Zenned-paintbrush which moved so slowly that I would almost faint with the beauty of his focus. Some of these paintings are incorporated into the film DAD ART which premiered once or twice publicly and once with close friends as a funeral memorial service. During the performance of DAD ART, I sing the seven songs he and my mother would play in their band during the 30’s and 40’s. Also on stage during the memorial-performance there are many different activities and "stations" of symbolic actions: one of artists as counselors, talking to people about death which invites participants to enter the performance space to become co-performers in a collaborative group process. At another station, a collaborator pours glasses of water and hands them out, since water became such an important vehicle of life/not life for my father as he stopped eating and drinking. At the third station, audience members are invited to come to the “stage” and dictate a letter to death who is a collaborator, wearing a death mask. A vibrant, breath of fresh air, exuberant MC keeps everything moving, invites people to the stage, and blows a whistle when it’s my time to sing one of my seven songs. DAD ART Performance/Film is an invitation to anyone who would like me to come and mourn with you publicly as art. I promise, this will not be easy. The DAD ART VIDEO-PERFORMANCE is not available except for when I perform it publically. Please contact me privately
CREDITS: Thanks to Steve Barry and Students, University of New Mexico. Edited by Tobe Carey, Willow Mixed Media. DAD ART Performance Requires: 7 Volunteer Performers, Video Projector, Keyboard, Lighting and Audio.
12.A TITLE: DAD ART PAINTINGS by LINDA MARY MONTANO
DESCRIPTION: Everyday my father would paint one painting using slow motion , intense focus and great concentration. It was like sitting next to a Zen Master I, being with him at this time and actually many other times during the day because of the deep love and peace that surrounded him. The paintings were like abstract expressionistic studies of life force and exuberant color. Dad was communicating from inside his silent self. May his work inspire others. He was always courage in action, even until the end of his life.