Anyone within 50 miles of NYC should consider spending a half hour to see an absolutely new style documentary by Alan and Wendy Kaplan. It’s not same old same old. It’s a new vision straight out of one of the finest photographers I know and anyone who knows Wendy will tell you she’s an extremely shy, caring loving person and but you get her on film watch out! She becomes a tornado! I loved the film I’m sure you will too. Joe D
To All the Ships at Sea –
After the last half a century I’ve spent several days with Jake LaMotta. He was kind enough to give me an exclusive interview for my documentary film “In This Corner.” Before agreeing to this interview, he turned me down many times. My dear friend Bert Sugar, suggested that I offer him a bottle of wine, a $25 cigar, an autographed photo, and dedicate the film to his two sons that passed, that might work. Well Bert, was right and Jake agreed to the interview. JoAnne and I met Jake at nearby P.J. Clarke’s where we spent the entire afternoon. During the interview Jake was extremely intense and honest. Honest to a point, that I was not comfortable using the whole interview!
I would like to give you a short excerpt from my recent book FILL THE FRAME. Jake and I happened to be sitting together in first class and in front of us was Boxing Promoter Bob Arum and his beautiful wife. As we sat down Jake looked at me and said, “you have a lot of nerve sitting here. You #$@&%* my wife!” He went on to a point where I was getting genuinely concerned. He was deep into his 70’s but probably still could take my head off. I’m a lover not a fighter! Uh oh, I think Jake, would have taken this the wrong way! Luckily Bob Arum turned around in his seat and said, “Jake, Joe D did not screw your wife, he was not old enough to screw your wife and didn’t even know her!” We all laughed and proceed to have our martinis and champagne. That was when first class was first class! Now you’re lucky if you get a warm coke and some dry roasted peanuts. When things finally calmed down I asked him who the greatest fighter was of all time? He looked at me like I had no brain in my head and said, “You have to be kidding, what planet do you live on? There was only one and it was Sugar Ray Robinson.”
Jake had over 100 fights. His career spanned over 13 years. He fought the greatest boxer of all times Sugar Ray Robinson, six times and beat him once. I strongly recommend if anyone in heaven, runs into Jake you treat him with the utmost respect. Stay far enough away so that he can’t hit you with a combination because if he hits you, you will wind up in hell!
To All the Ships At Sea –
Pretty sure most of you read Joseph Heller’s book CATCH-22. Well today I had a Catch-28! Called Amazon and explained my name was spelled wrong in my Amazon book listing and the publisher’s name was wrong. They said no problem…please hold. I was on hold for four minutes and decided I should water my basil…which I did…still on hold. With that Peter Poremba, the CEO of Dynalite called and I abruptly told him, I’d call him back. Seven minutes into my hold, Al Stegmeyer from Upstrap called. I also blew him off. Their music was starting to drive me crazy so I decided to go brush my teeth. Still waiting… I gargled. We are now 12 minutes into the hold and I figured well… I’m in the bathroom…. Now 15 minutes into it, I decided to take a quick shower. I quickly, jumped out of the tub and wrapped a towel around me and my friend Sam Garcia called. Also blew him off and said I’d get back. Went outside, still waiting, I watered my tomatoes, and went back into the studio. With that JoAnne asked me where I had been? I simply said I’ve been on hold. Twenty four minutes later, the lovely lady told me there was nothing they could do about it and to call the Publisher and tell them to make the changes. She said it would probably take till July to implement them. The first line in my new book FILL THE FRAME is six months ago, I was 20 years old. That’s how fast life is…light speed plus. Time is like gold – more valuable than material things.
If you want to read a great book (FILL THE FRAME) – see reviews. Attached link to short video – http://FILL THE FRAME https://vimeo.com/220041332
Live, Love, Laugh & be Happy – hold on a minute I will get back to you. film is 28 seconds… time is very valuable…
There’s no doubt that Neil Leifer is one of the all time great sports photographers. I’m pretty sure he has at least half a million Sports Illustrated covers alone, and I think it’s fair to say that there aren’t any weak ones. Neil came up with what I consider a great documentary on four photographers who have photographed every super bowl. Photographers and filmmakers should have great hand-eye coordination and should always be in the right place at the right time. Neil knows how to do that, but he goes one step further, he’s a visionary. I would imagine hundreds of photographers would have said, “Wow, I wish I would have thought of that.” He thought of that and made it happen. His film is called Keepers of the Streak features the only four photographers in the world that have covered all 48 Super Bowls, starting from one in 1967 to 2014. It stars Walter Iooss, Mickey Palmer, Tony Tomsic, and John Biever.
I remember the day, the time, and exactly where I was the day JFK was killed. I remember the day, the time, and exactly where I was when W. Gene Smith passed away. Well, I’m sitting in my studio and it’s 3:25 PM, the first sunny day in weeks – a blistering 34 degrees and I just found out that Albert Maysles passed away.
In my humble opinion Albert Maysles was the father of modern documentary film along with his talented brother David. They did some amazing films over an illustrious career that spanned six plus decades. My son Dylan interned with Al. We attended a cocktail party and Dylan introduced me to him. It was like meeting royalty. It never ceases to amaze me the greatest talents can also be warm, lovely, not pretentious people. I asked Al for some advice on my film “In This Corner” and he became a technical adviser for me . He was kind enough to invite us to his home where we did a short interview and a few still photographs which I will share with you.
The world has lost a great filmmaker and a great man! There is no doubt in my mind that Al is now shooting a documentary with another great director.
Everyday of our lives, is an important day. Six months ago I made a decision to teach a work shop at Gleason’s Gym. When my studio manager reminded me that it was my birthday I said great. I consider work a privilege and what better to do then teach photography at Glesons’ Gym. Its just does not get better then that. I knew it was going to a very special and an amazing eclectic group. From Brazil, Chili, Colombia, England, Norway, and all over the east coast. A great balance between men and women, and great help from JoAnne Kalish, Larry Malang, Peter Poremba. It was a hell of a great day. Life is funny, I was on a great natural high, and I got back to the studio. Did not check my voice mail, did not check my email, downloaded the cards, checked facebook. I don’t check it that often and I find one of my close friend died of a heart attack. It was Bert Sugar. On Wednesday, I called Bert, he answered me as usual “Uncle Joe.” I always call him the “Bertster”. I asked him how he was feeling, and he said” I have lung cancer, and have internal bleeding but that’s not the problem.” Then I asked him what the big problem was? He said, “I have F@$!#ing terminal acne.” Thats the Bertster, no matter what the dialogue is he always finds humor in it. He was loved by millions, hated by thousands, he was a true Damon Runyon character and a great friend. I will miss him, yes I will miss him… Off the record, he suffered “Cuttysheimers”, his words not mine. RIP Bert Sugar.
Bert Sugar, Playwright Budd Schulberg, and son Benn Schulberg
Captain Lou Albano, Bert Sugar
All photos copyright Joe DiMaggio