Yet again, I find myself having a class to teach on Halloween. Two years ago, I had to give a midterm exam, but I lightened things up by giving extra credit points to anyone who dressed up for the occasion. Most memorably was one student who dressed up as a midterm exam.
Last year, as we know, there was no class due to a little storm called Sandy. In fact, not only did we not have school, Halloween was basically cancelled in New York. Canceling Halloween in New York almost seems unthinkable, but it happened.
My class tonight is Experimental Film at Pratt Institute. We’re not covering anything particular spooky or related to the dead or undead. We’re just looking at a three postwar avant-garde filmmakers who covered New York as a subject, namely Rudy Burckhardt, Shirley Clarke, and Andy Warhol. While your common New Yorker could not identify the first two filmmakers if he saw either of them, everyone knows what Andy Warhol looked like.
If you don’t know who Andy Warhol was, he was an artist who didn’t actually make any art. Here he is “painting” Debbie Harry with a Commodore Amiga.
To keep the spirit of Halloween alive, I bought a wig.
At least I am acknowledging that I’m wearing a costume and not acting as an impostor as Allen Midgette did at the University of Utah in 1967.
If you’re wondering about the rest of the costume, you’re not missing it. There’s no more to my costume. I’m just wearing a dark t-shirt and black slacks. Because I’m still riding my bike to class, I’m also wearing a pair of Converse high tops, Showers Pass rain jacket (30% of chance of showers, they say), and helmet, all of which is black and keeping with the sullen artist image.
But at least I got the hair right, even if it’s wrong for my skin tone.