Monday, September 22, 2008

Jerry Garcia and The Sirens of Titan

Dark Star. Space/Drums. The Sirens of Titan ...
Here’s a beautiful excerpt from a lengthy 1987 interview with the late Jerry Garcia, guitarist and vocalist for the band The Grateful Dead, in which he discussed his desire to turn one of his favorite books and a classic of Martian SF, Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan (1959), into a film:
Mary Eisenhart: Why that book of all the ones Vonnegut ever wrote?

Jerry Garcia: Well, it's very simple. For me, when I read it, it was a movie in my head. All the others are novels in my head. This one, when I read it -- every time I read it -- boom! -- it plays like a movie in my head. If it wasn't a movie I never would've taken it on.

For me, the ideas come the way they come. Sometimes I have ideas about plumbing, you know what I mean?

I mean, just because you're a musician doesn't mean all your ideas are about music. So every once in a while I get an idea about plumbing, I get an idea about city government, and they come the way they come.

In this case,
Sirens of Titan, when I read it, it's a movie. It plays like a movie, so it's a movie idea. If I didn't see it as a movie I'd have no faith in doing it. I feel it's a movie; I feel enough confidence in my own vision of the movie of Sirens of Titan that I feel I could direct it, no problem. I see it. It's that simple. If I didn't see it, I never would have taken it on. It plays in my head -- I see the blocking, I see the action, I see the camera moves. I see -- it just plays. And that's one of those things -- I didn't ask for that, that's just the way it hit me back when I first read it in '61 or something. It's been that way every time I've read it since then ...
While various online sources tell different versions of "Jerry Garcia and The Sirens of Titan," they all seem to agree that Garcia, an avid reader and student of cinematography, once owned the film rights to Kurt Vonnegut's novel.

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