Walden — Diaries Notes and Sketches

Title: Walden — Diaries Notes and Sketches
Director Jonas Mekas
Music: The Velvet Underground & Nico
Running Time: 180 minutes
Format: 16 mm color sound optics 24 ips 1E
Production Date: 1964-1968 (edited in 1968-1969)
Release Date: 1969-11-00 [US]
Cast: The Velvet Underground & Nico:
Annual Dinner of the New York Society for Clinical Psychiatry at the Delmonico Hotel, 502 Park Avenue, New York City 1966-01-13.
Opening segment taped at the Polish National Hall above the Dom, 23 St. Mark's Place, New York City, with Nico in April 1966 includes I'll Be Your Mirror [1:49] and Untitled (jam track) [24:36] (Reel 2)

Kreeping Kreplachs at The Village Gate, 160 Bleecker Street, New York City, 1966-06-07:
Barbara Rubin, Tuli Kupferberg, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Julius Orlovsky, Ed Sanders, Gerard Malanga, Andy Warhol, Storm de Hirsch, Al G. Aronowitz, Andy Warhol, Ronna, Walter Bowart (Reel 2)

Stephen Shore's party, Stephen Shore's home, New York City, 1966-01-12:
Gerard Malanga dancing, Jack Smith and Mario Montez, Velvet Underground (rearranged), on the floor, Nico, Eddie Sedgwick, etc... (Reel 2-3)
Walden VHS
Walden VHS
FR Re:voir 08
Note: Poet and hero of the American counter-culture, Jonas Mekas, born in Lithuania in 1922, invented the diary form of filmmaking. Walden, his first completed diary film, an epic portrait of the New York avant-garde art scene of the 60s, is also a groundbreaking work of personal cinema.

"Since 1950 I have been keeping a film diary. I have been walking around with my Bolex and reacting to the immediate reality: situations, friends, New York, seasons of the year. On some days I shoot ten frames, on others ten seconds, still on others ten minutes. Or I shoot nothing.... Walden contains material from the years 1964-1968 strung together in chronological order." — Jonas Mekas

Two video cassettes, poster and 150-page book with unpublished texts by 60 authors including the personalities appearing in the film (Jonas Mekas, P. Adams Sitney, Tony Conrad, Beverly Grant, Bibbe Hansen, John Brockman, David Brooks, John Palmer, Harry Smith, Frank Kuentstler; Leo Adams, Algirdas Landsbergis, Gretchen Weinberg, Povilas Mekas, Elzbieta Mekas, Stan Brakhage, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Amy Taubin, Timothy Leary, Shep Sherbell, Dr. Alpert, Dr. Metzner, Baba Ram Dass, Gregory Markopoulos, Lionel Rogosin, Louis Brigante, Mike Jacobson, Jim Kweskin's Jug Band, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Corner, Marty Greenbaum, Andy Warhol, Jerome Hill, John Cavenaugh, Nick Dorsky, Barbet Schroeder, Jack Smith, Edie Minturn Sedgwick, Nico, The Velvet Underground, Ken Jacobs, Hans Richter, Standish D. Lawder, Adolfas Mekas, Shirley Clarke, Jud Yalkut, Peter Kubelka, Michael Snow, Richard Foreman, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Mario Montez, Jack Smith, Naomi Levine ...)
VU & Nico at the Dom April 1966
VU & Nico at the Dom 1966-04-00
Note: Walden includes brief footage from the first public performance of The Velvet Underground playing at the "Annual Dinner of the New York Society for Clinical Psychiatry" at the Delmonico Hotel, 502 Park Avenue, New York City 1966/01/13. A seven minute excerpt was shown at Fondation Cartier exposition in Jouy-en-Josas on 15 June 1990. The opening segment taped the Polish National Hall above the Dom [Polsky Dom Narodowy], 23 St. Mark's Place, New York City, with Nico in April 1966 includes I'll Be Your Mirror [1:49] and Untitled (jam track) [24:36].
VU & Nico at the Dom April 1966 ad
VU & Nico at the Dom 1966-04-00
Note: This film being what it is, i.e. a series of personal notes on events, people (friends) and Nature (Seasons) — the Author won't mind (he is almost encouraging it) if the Viewer will choose to watch only certain parts of the work (film), according to the time available to him, according to his preferences, or any other good reason. To assist the Viewer in this manner, particularly in cases of repeated viewings (forgive the Author this presumption), the following Contents, a list of scenes and their time tables, reel by reel, have been prepared.

A note in the beginning says, that this is the First Draft of the Diaries. Why should the Author permit then, one may ask, the unpolished or half-polished edition to come out ? His answer is, he thought that despite the roughness of sound and some parts of the images, there is still enough in them — he felt — to make them of some interest to some of his friends and a few strangers. In order to go to the next stage of polishing, he felt, he had to look at the footage as it is, many many more times, and gain more perspective to it — that's why this edition. There is another reason. A few months ago, suddenly he saw his room filling up with smoke — he couldn't even see the film cans — and only a very lucky coincidence stopped the fire next door which would have consumed five years of his work. So he gave himself word to bring out as soon as he can this First Draft version, and there he stands, and hopes that some of you will find some enjoyment in what you'll see.

December, 1969 The Author

Order the video:

USA: Arthouse No 10, 1996-00-00
1 VHS NTSC in a kraft paper jacket.

FR: Re:voir 08, 1997-10-17
2 VHS, SECAM/PAL, 180 minutes, in a slipcase with a 152 pages booklet (Text in French.)

DE: Neue Medien k101-385
2 VHS, Pal, 180 minutes, Farbe + Booklet, 152 S., Ppbd., 6 Abb. Text in franz. Sprache.


A "High" School of Music and Art by John Wilcock, in Electric Village Other, Vol. 1, No. 10, 1966-02-15 — 1966-03-01

Jonas Mekas: un Curieux Mélange by Gérard Frot-Coutaz, in Cinéma 74 Numéro 192, 1974-11-00

© 1996-2011
Serge Mironneau