Saturday, March 1, 2014

Emailing Metaphysics

Somehow I think I should apologize for the preponderance of metaphysics that I have been posting on FB and emailing but that is my game, my sport, my Super Bowl.  I FaceBooked this:

I have been sharing portions from "The Bowl Of Saki" by Hazrat Inayat Khan, the founder of the Sufi Order of the West because: "A person who, alone, has seen something beautiful, who has heard something harmonious, who has tasted something delicious, who has smelt something fragrant, may have enjoyed it, but not completely. The complete joy is in sharing one's joy with others. For the selfish one who enjoys himself and does not care for others, whether he enjoys things of the earth or things of heaven, his enjoyment is not complete. So it is only in this third stage that the following of the message is fulfilled, when a soul has heard and has pondered upon it, and has passed the same blessing on to others."  HIK

If this stuff bores you, you have my permission to ignore it and you won't hurt my feelings.  s,s

Coming Out

In honor of Ellen Page, Michael Sam and all those others who "came out", known or unknown to the world.


My friend has left the room

To face some possible gloom.

The price One must pay?

What others will say,

But for Those who have courage of thought,

Their actions are what Their minds hath wrought.

Simply, Simon

Email to Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films:

Email to Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films:

Hi Howard,

The last time I saw Steve Sabol in the hall at NFL Films, he greeted me loudly as "THE ORSON WELLES OF FOOTBALL FILMS!"

Just thinking that NFL Films would be remiss not to tell of my contributions to its success by creating "The Football Follies" and the ballet (both in MoMA) cornerstones of NFL Films' reputation that benefitted the whole league by countering public resistance, complaints of excessive violence in this newly emerging favorite sport. There were also other noteworthy pieces, especially the one starring my 6 yr. old son that is also in MoMA.   I sent you my memoir, "Inside The Football Follies", that could be used as a guide.  Then there's some of the work we did at ABC Sports and TWI. 

There is also some real good video in my life outside the NFL: producing and writing multiple Emmy winning hour specials for Post-Newsweek TV on how CBS broadcasts football and Detroit's New Americans, weird TV feature reporter (couple of Redskins players swore they got high to watch my stuff),  Emmy winning film editor at ABC Sports,  Enlightened Poet who spent 7 years as a "homeless guest" in the 80s.  His current "EKLEKTIK ELECTRIK" college radio show ranges from Spike Jones to Beethoven.

I think it's a great story.  You may not and since NFL Films is now your sandbox Howard, I defer to you..

Simply,  Simon

Thursday, May 2, 2013

"The War Follies"

"The War Follies" is my 90 minute satiric documentary on WW II that I made during my 7 years (it was biblical) as a "Homeless Guest".  I fun house mirrored the movie experience of the 40s with a newsreel and a cartoon (music/poems) and a Feature Film featuring the beginning, the fighting and the aftermath of the War stressing equality and forgiveness.  

The picture quality suffers from being many generations away from the original but I never got the money to complete post production.  Some times this video stalled but patiently came around.  Let me know if you have any problems.  The address is for just "The War Follies" but clicking on my name takes you to other stuff, including the hour at MoMA.

The Documentary Poet

The Documentary Poet

Came up with a title, "Documentary Poet", that seems to describe me and separates me from my peers.

There are the wordless visual musical poems: "The Headcracker Suite", "Game Today" (my son at 6 just turned 50), "Aerial Ballet" (Wide World of Sports), "Your Father's Mustache" (Football Anger), and "That Football Thing" (animated football, a la Mondrian);

The game highlights like "The Raven", "The Fairy Tale" and "The Circus";

The poem/essays like "The Football Follies" (PR film satirizes PR films), "Sonny Jurgensom Tribute" (nom for writing Emmy), "Baseball: No Place to Hide",  "Cliff Climbing in Wales" (metaphysical "American Sportsman", Teddy winner), "Gung-Ho Din" parody, "The Joggers" with rock score, and "The School of Dance" (Prez Nixon fave);

The poetic feature reporter:  "Discovering Flowers Jogging", "Breaking Ankle Jogging", "Mass. Ave." (I become street), "Disco Laundromat" (holocaust survivor), "Met Singer Commutes From Detroit", "The Statue" (An amateurs gift of Love) and "Night Mare" (painting explained).

Hosting a Public Access metaphysical show in LA where I translated a dog's lecture, "Honey on Love" and discovered "The Cosmic Orgasm"!

All or most of this stuff will be on my account with

Simply, Simon


Today is Barbra Striesand's 71st birthday and in reading her bio in IMDB was this sentence: "[on Dustin Hoffman] We were in the same acting school when I was sixteen, seventeen years old. I used to baby-sit to get free acting lessons, and he was the janitor."  That is the same time I attended Allan Miller's private classes with Barbra.  That means both Barbra and Dustin were in my fucking class!  I was friendly with Streisand, she dated my best friend and hung out with our gang of Beatnik Actors who worshipped Marlon and studied with Miller.  Miller was a hot-shot teacher at The Actor's Studio but taught the method privately to avoid The Studio's stringent, subjective auditions.

I don't remember Hoffman being in my classes unless he was that skinny, creepy kid who looked like he never bathed and twitched around like a cockroach.  Holy shit!  The real fucking DUSTIN HOFFMAN IS RATZO RIZZO!!!

We did an exercise in class where you had to sing a nursery rhyme, but you could only use one note throughout and not get self-conscious in front of your peers.  It sounded terrible!  If you did it right all your discomfort came out emotionally in your voice.  Barbra nailed it every time because every time she did it, you cried.  I only had that reaction one other time towards another classmate, THE CREEP!  I dismissed it as "even a broken watch is right twice a day" but didn't realize I had a glimpse at a student's emerging greatness.

I should recuse myself because of that much later time at PJ Clarke's when my party was waiting for a table, standing for half an hour; and when one opens up, that great fucking asshole, Dustin Hoffman waltzes in and takes our fucking table! 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Howard Cosell

I was a film editor at ABC Sports, working with Roone Arledge on the Ali fight with Evangelista (an unranked pretender).  Alex Wallou, "The Prince of Promos" (his attribution) and future ABC network el presidente, is sent all around the world to film interviews with knowledgeable fight promoters as to the merit of the challenger.  Alex returns with a load of BS that I screen for Roone, Alex and 2 corporate lawyers on an overtime Sunday afternoon.  Late to the meeting, suffering from jet lag, is Howard Cosell who is the scheduled to host the fight on ABC this week.  There is a couch in the editing room and Howard in his silk silver custom built suit stretches out on the couch, exhausted.

All the VIPs agree that none of the interviews have merit because all the interviewees avoided the central question: Is this "bum of the month" a worthy challenger to the champ?  Roone's gift is to see the obvious; this is a championship fight and we're covering it because every sports journalist in the world will be there.  Forget the big ratings, we're providing a free service to the public for the price of a "few" commercials.  But Howard has to sell this to the public.  Roone asks for a preview of Cosell's opening gambit/speech.

Howard unglues himself from the orange, leatherette couch and walks to the far corner of the room where my close friend and assistant, Wayne Weiss, is guarding the door from any interlopers to this earth shattering discussion.  What I don't see is Howard's face as he walks to the corner but Wayne sees him coming toward him and, just before Cosell turns to face the rest of the room, he gives Wayne a wink.  The exhausted giant turns to face us and all of a sudden, in full throttle,  Howard "the man we love to hate" Cosell with nasal passages whinnying does "his thing":

HOWARD: "AND SO, ..." (we're here because all of sports journalism is here for a championship fight no matter the merits of the contestants.... ).   Roone congratulates him and days later the fight goes on just as rehearsed.  As Howard is delivering his opening, the video switches to all the reporters with pen and tablets poised, and local news crews dutifully blasting away.   The fight was nothing.  Ali danced for a few rounds and then politely finished him off. 

To me, the earth shattering news was to learn that Howard Cosell was an artifice, a face a man put on to face the faces that he met.  Otherwise, he was a regular guy, a bit insecure, that the public and Ali had turned into a god. 

AND SO, he played his part perfectly.

Simon Gribben