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I toured Jonathan Rosenbaum's childhood home today

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I toured Jonathan Rosenbaum's childhood home today

#1

Post by timmy_501 » March 26th, 2017, 6:48 am

My lady recently discovered that there is a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house open to the public in nearby (about 1 hour drive) Florence Alabama. So, today (well, Saturday) we drove down there to check it out. I thought nothing of the fact that it's called the Rosenbaum house after the people who lived there, after all that's a fairly common last name. Anyway, everything was quite impressive, this was my first time seeing a Wright house and I quite liked it. Near the end, the tour guide was talking about the children of the people that it was built for and mentioned that one of the sons is a film critic in Chicago. I blurted out "Jonathan Rosenbaum!" and the tour guide confirmed that was him. I actually had no idea that JRo grew up in a famous house or even that he was from the area. Plus I found out that his mother was a model and his paternal grandfather owned several theaters in Florence among other things. So, that was pretty cool, thought you guys might be interested. It's kind of like the time I realized I was teaching the grandchildren of Stan Brakhage in a middle school in small town Tennessee...just a weird, random way that my knowledge of film has dovetailed with my life experiences I guess.

Anything like this ever happened to any of you all?

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#2

Post by PeacefulAnarchy » March 26th, 2017, 7:11 am

timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 12:48:36 AM wrote:It's kind of like the time I realized I was teaching the grandchildren of Stan Brakhage in a middle school in small town Tennessee
This seems like an interesting anecdote. Were they aware of who grandpa was?

I don't have any stories of this sort.

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#3

Post by timmy_501 » March 26th, 2017, 7:22 am

Haha, yeah. So I was teaching 5th grade at the time and I had this Brakhage girl in class. So, I was thinking this can't be too common a last name but I didn't really think it could be a relative of hers. I barely knew who Brakhage was at the time (I think this was right before the second By Brakhage Criterion came out). So, I asked her if she ever heard of the famous director with the same last name as her and she said he wasn't exactly a director, that he made experimental films. My mind was blown, of course. Anyway, she went on to tell me that he was her grandfather. I can't remember if she said she had met him or not, probably not considering she was only a toddler when he died.

I've since taught two of her younger brothers and even met their dad (Brakhage's son). Unusual bunch, as you might expect, but good kids. I understand that an older sibling that I haven't met went to film school somewhere. Also that there's a writer of some sort in the family as well, perhaps on the other side. I talked to the kids about his films a little before but didn't get too deep in it. I didn't want to pry, sounded like maybe they have some of his work that isn't commercially available though. I'm always trying to get the other teachers to understand how famous Stan Brakhage is, they never seem too impressed though.

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#4

Post by joachimt » March 26th, 2017, 9:17 am

timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 01:22:59 AM wrote:I'm always trying to get the other teachers to understand how famous Stan Brakhage is, they never seem too impressed though.
Not surprised by this.

Have you tried showing them some of his work? Maybe they understand then how famous he is. tehe
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#5

Post by Lammetje » March 26th, 2017, 9:43 am

timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 12:48:36 AM wrote:I blurted out "Jonathan Rosenbaum!"
This made me laugh.
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#6

Post by timmy_501 » March 26th, 2017, 4:15 pm

joachimt on Mar 26 2017, 03:17:38 AM wrote:
timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 01:22:59 AM wrote:I'm always trying to get the other teachers to understand how famous Stan Brakhage is, they never seem too impressed though.
Not surprised by this.

Have you tried showing them some of his work? Maybe they understand then how famous he is. tehe
Well, I usually describe The Text of Light and Mothlight...

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#7

Post by timmy_501 » March 26th, 2017, 4:15 pm

Lammetje on Mar 26 2017, 03:43:11 AM wrote:
timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 12:48:36 AM wrote:I blurted out "Jonathan Rosenbaum!"
This made me laugh.
Haha, yeah, it was an awkward moment.

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#8

Post by Dolwphin » March 26th, 2017, 4:18 pm

timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 12:48:36 AM wrote:My lady recently discovered that there is a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house open to the public in nearby (about 1 hour drive) Florence Alabama. So, today (well, Saturday) we drove down there to check it out. I thought nothing of the fact that it's called the Rosenbaum house after the people who lived there, after all that's a fairly common last name. Anyway, everything was quite impressive, this was my first time seeing a Wright house and I quite liked it. Near the end, the tour guide was talking about the children of the people that it was built for and mentioned that one of the sons is a film critic in Chicago. I blurted out "Jonathan Rosenbaum!" and the tour guide confirmed that was him. I actually had no idea that JRo grew up in a famous house or even that he was from the area. Plus I found out that his mother was a model and his paternal grandfather owned several theaters in Florence among other things. So, that was pretty cool, thought you guys might be interested. It's kind of like the time I realized I was teaching the grandchildren of Stan Brakhage in a middle school in small town Tennessee...just a weird, random way that my knowledge of film has dovetailed with my life experiences I guess.

Anything like this ever happened to any of you all?
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#9

Post by Knaldskalle » March 26th, 2017, 10:02 pm

I think the only thing I have that comes even close to this was when I (literally) bumped into Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth at JFK in New York.
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#10

Post by max-scl » March 27th, 2017, 4:17 am

timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 12:48:36 AM wrote:So, that was pretty cool, thought you guys might be interested.
Yes, very interested.

And the house is quite beautiful from what one can see in pictures.

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#11

Post by timmy_501 » March 27th, 2017, 4:22 am

Knaldskalle on Mar 26 2017, 04:02:25 PM wrote:I think the only thing I have that comes even close to this was when I (literally) bumped into Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth at JFK in New York.
That's really cool, did you have a chat?

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#12

Post by timmy_501 » March 27th, 2017, 4:26 am

max-scl on Mar 26 2017, 10:17:49 PM wrote:
timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 12:48:36 AM wrote:So, that was pretty cool, thought you guys might be interested.
Yes, very interested.

And the house is quite beautiful from what one can see in pictures.
It really is, I like how Wright worked hard to incorporate natural environments, there were lots of windows / doors everywhere and it's set up in such a way to encourage you to go outside to get from one part of the house to the other instead of using the interior hallways. The cedar wood used there is really beautiful. I can't imagine living in a place like that, or especially growing up there.

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#13

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » March 27th, 2017, 6:41 am

timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 01:22:59 AM wrote:So, I asked her if she ever heard of the famous director with the same last name as her and she said he wasn't exactly a director, that he made experimental films.
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"Yes, my child, you are right, of course. Not exactly a director, more of a...fumbler."

I'll try to use this line from the granddaughter as a quote the next time I write something about Brakhage.
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#14

Post by Knaldskalle » March 28th, 2017, 2:30 am

timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 10:22:54 PM wrote:
Knaldskalle on Mar 26 2017, 04:02:25 PM wrote:I think the only thing I have that comes even close to this was when I (literally) bumped into Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth at JFK in New York.
That's really cool, did you have a chat?
No, we didn't. That would've been nice, though, but I was getting onto the train shuttle that goes between terminals and he was getting off (hence the "bump into").
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#15

Post by OldAle1 » March 28th, 2017, 4:07 am

I can't offhand remember a story like that - finding out that somebody famous was associated with me in some small way - but I have been in that house, in fact I was given an (informal) tour by Mrs. Rosenbaum herself, in the fall of 1994. My friends and I were passing through Florence on our way between Memphis and Birmingham, or Birmingham and somewhere else, I forget exactly, between Grateful Dead shows, and we were friends with Jonathan so he told us to visit his mom and see the house. Yeah, it was pretty cool - my most distinct memory is that there was a shelf of Oz books, first or early editions, which I salivated over. Also all the horribly uncomfortable-looking furniture.
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#16

Post by matthewscott8 » March 28th, 2017, 3:25 pm

My only random encounter was I realised, when I went to see The Lord's Lantern in Budapest (a more recent Miklos Jancso film) in London, that I was sat next to one of the Quay Brothers in the cinema. Can't tell them apart so no idea which.

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#17

Post by PeacefulAnarchy » March 28th, 2017, 7:35 pm

OldAle1 on Mar 27 2017, 10:07:15 PM wrote:I can't offhand remember a story like that - finding out that somebody famous was associated with me in some small way

we were friends with Jonathan so he told us to visit his mom and see the house.
Ummm, sounds like you have a bigger story there than visiting his house.

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#18

Post by OldAle1 » March 28th, 2017, 7:43 pm

PeacefulAnarchy on Mar 28 2017, 01:35:33 PM wrote:
OldAle1 on Mar 27 2017, 10:07:15 PM wrote:I can't offhand remember a story like that - finding out that somebody famous was associated with me in some small way

we were friends with Jonathan so he told us to visit his mom and see the house.
Ummm, sounds like you have a bigger story there than visiting his house.
Not really. I wasn't really particularly close friends with him; I knew him from roughly '93-'00 or so but it was always a group of us; one of my other friends was sort of an "acolyte" and he had other friends who worked at The Reader and that's how we all connected. Mostly we met and had dinner together once or twice a year and traded tapes (yes, the tape-trading era!) - which was mostly JR trading with another friend because they were the only two with access to rare stuff, and the rest of us getting dupes of some of their finds. We all went to a few movies together too (Peggy and Fred in Hell being a standout which was one of Jonathan's favorites but which the rest of us got very little out of at the time), and he was at the last Grateful Dead show with several of us, but really it was just a group thing, I doubt he'd remember me now.
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#19

Post by timmy_501 » March 29th, 2017, 4:57 am

Perception de Ambiguity on Mar 27 2017, 12:41:38 AM wrote:
timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 01:22:59 AM wrote:So, I asked her if she ever heard of the famous director with the same last name as her and she said he wasn't exactly a director, that he made experimental films.
Image

"Yes, my child, you are right, of course. Not exactly a director, more of a...fumbler."

I'll try to use this line from the granddaughter as a quote the next time I write something about Brakhage.
Haha, would be hilarious if she eventually saw that review and realized I was the source.

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#20

Post by timmy_501 » March 29th, 2017, 4:59 am

OldAle1 on Mar 27 2017, 10:07:15 PM wrote:I can't offhand remember a story like that - finding out that somebody famous was associated with me in some small way - but I have been in that house, in fact I was given an (informal) tour by Mrs. Rosenbaum herself, in the fall of 1994. My friends and I were passing through Florence on our way between Memphis and Birmingham, or Birmingham and somewhere else, I forget exactly, between Grateful Dead shows, and we were friends with Jonathan so he told us to visit his mom and see the house. Yeah, it was pretty cool - my most distinct memory is that there was a shelf of Oz books, first or early editions, which I salivated over. Also all the horribly uncomfortable-looking furniture.
Very nice. Of course we weren't supposed to touch anything but I looked at the books with some interest. Evidently most of the books were destroyed by termites though, Rosenbaum senior owned thousands of them at one time.

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#21

Post by timmy_501 » March 29th, 2017, 5:00 am

matthewscott8 on Mar 28 2017, 09:25:47 AM wrote:My only random encounter was I realised, when I went to see The Lord's Lantern in Budapest (a more recent Miklos Jancso film) in London, that I was sat next to one of the Quay Brothers in the cinema. Can't tell them apart so no idea which.
Good one, I guess I'm probably not as good at recognizing film directors on sight as some of you all. No way I would have recognized that he was even a Quay.

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#22

Post by avid » June 7th, 2017, 2:55 am

Photos?

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#23

Post by WalterNeff » June 19th, 2017, 5:01 am

I recently met my state assemblywoman, whose last name is Schepisi. I asked her if she was related to Fred, and lo and behold, her grandfather is cousins with Fred's father.

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#24

Post by St. Gloede » June 19th, 2017, 6:40 am

Haha, yet another great coincidence. I do remember the Brakhage story from FG, and it's get even better now that you have met almost the entire clan.

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#25

Post by St. Gloede » June 19th, 2017, 6:48 am

My only real random encounter was briefly after moving to Oslo and trying to find the National Theater where I was meeting a friend. After walking for quite some time (and seeing surprisingly few people) I rushed up to a man and stopped him to ask for directions. He seemed quite befuddled by my request and I quickly realized it was Per Christian Ellefsen, one of Norway's most famous actors (mostly known for Elling internationally), and more so a decade ago when this happened. He probably thought I was going to ask for his autograph, and seemed utterly confused throughout our chat. I thanked him and walked in the direction he pointed me in.

I was also almost run over by the woman who is currently Norway's finance minister. She gave me a very mean stare until I got out of her way.

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#26

Post by Lammetje » October 16th, 2020, 10:02 pm

Lammetje wrote:
March 26th, 2017, 9:43 am
timmy_501 on Mar 26 2017, 12:48:36 AM wrote:I blurted out "Jonathan Rosenbaum!"
This made me laugh.
After checking off a film from the big Rosenbaum list I thought of this thread again - the quoted sentence in particular. :) I wonder what ever happened to Timmy.
Last edited by Lammetje on October 17th, 2020, 6:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#27

Post by sebby » October 17th, 2020, 5:46 am

I'll add that when i met Rosenbaum at a screening of Nostalghia the first thing I noticed was how strangely silky his hair was.

That is all.

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#28

Post by 3eyes » October 17th, 2020, 3:38 pm

I really enjoyed this thread. I don't recall any surprise encounters with people in filmdom, but I knew the teenage Kevin Bacon from church and the Canadian actress Madeleine Sherwood (mother superior in The Flying nun, also stage and screen roles in Tennessee Williams plays) in Quaker circles after she lost her hearing and retired from acting.
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#29

Post by blocho » October 17th, 2020, 11:56 pm

3eyes wrote:
October 17th, 2020, 3:38 pm
I really enjoyed this thread. I don't recall any surprise encounters with people in filmdom, but I knew the teenage Kevin Bacon from church and the Canadian actress Madeleine Sherwood (mother superior in The Flying nun, also stage and screen roles in Tennessee Williams plays) in Quaker circles after she lost her hearing and retired from acting.
Kevin Bacon stepped into my classroom once when I was in the seventh grade. It turns out he was thinking of sending his kid to my school and was touring the place. I think that was also the year I ran into Mariah Carey on a school field trip.

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