War Correspondent

My dreams don’t take anything into reality. In the latest dream, I showed up to meet my earliest mentor, Roger Larson, who I met at the Mosholu Center when I was 13. Mosholu Center was off of Gunhill Road, near Montifoire hospital, not that that means anything to anyone who wasn’t going there.

But my mother took pottery classes there, and she was always trying to get me to join some creative group, and this young guy, maybe he was 25 (to me an old adult) with blonde hair and blue eyes, and I never knew where he was from but it had to be the midwest, was starting a group called Young Filmmakers, I think it is now called YFOA Young Filmmakers of America and is fairlywell known.

But before that he had set up a few enlargers, and a darkroom and that was where I first learned and enjoyed the old chemical developing and printing.

But eventually I was invited, I guess, or somehow wound up in the Young Filmmakers group. And when I was 15 or so (GR can give me the exact age I bet) I began going around the city at night with them in a VW bus (you could open the top for the 16mm fil projector to stick out) and put up a sheet or maybe a screen, and it was the hot summer when there seemed to be riots in the bad neighborhoods (ghettoes) and I had to ask my father if it was alright for me to travel the trains at night by myself. Sometimes I wouldn’t get home til 4 in the morning.

I would run the projector. Probably they got money from the city to cool the city down. My mother was against it. My father told me different ways to protect myself. But thought it was a good idea.

He was always trying to get me to join groups, and as you know I was something of an anti-social loner.

So that’s a long preface to the dream where I went out into the jungles, to find Roger Larson. And I found him. It was something like Apocalypse Now (a dumb title if you ask me) and the young Larson had a white beard and hair and looked like a lion.

He was with a group of rebel (no uniform) soldiers, and one moment we were in the Libyan or some desert (you made me look up the spelling, one or two “s”s) and one minute we were inthe jungle.

And I arrived on foot, with my camera telling the comrades around him (he looked like the Lion King, that’s it) and they wouldn’t let me see the boss. I told them to say David Beckerman from YF – from Mosholu was here.

He immediately came out of a tent to see me. Physically changed, but the same warm enthusiastic smile and total surprise. He was very protective of me, telling me to sit in a certain cave that was safer.

He immediately asked about my mother. I had to tell him she had died about 30 years ago of Lupus (which is where I get my creativity and auto-immune diseases from) and that my father had died a few years ago.

I was surprised to see him in such good health. The last time I saw him in NY (my mother was still alive) he was hunched over and walking with a cane. I never knew what he had.

And so know he had recovered, and was making a documentary about some rebel fight that no one else was overing.

I told him about my own diseases and said I could still photograph. That I somehow stumbled across what he was up to, and had this idea of documenting (digital stills) what he was up to.

I tried very hard to convince him that the new electric wheelchair could travel around, and who was going to shoot a photographer in a wheelchair, and he laughed and said just about everyone. I was almost shot just coming up the road in my wheelchair, caught on video surveillance cameras (might be carrying explosives) but he said he kind of recognized me but couldn’t believe his eyes.

We argued for a while. Couldn’t I stay in the camp then and be like the photographer in Lawrence of Arabia?

To make it short, for the argument went on and on in the middle of a battle where the landscape kept changing from sandy dunes to sweltering humid jungles, and finally he convinced me by saying he owed it to my parents to keep me out of danger.

I woke up. Disappointed and thinking of the soldiers with amputated legs who had phantom pains in their legs. And when I dream, it’s still the old vigorous me, climbing up mountains (maybe more vigorous) and rescuing damsels and heroes in distress, and waking up and telling myself wasn’t that silly since I have trouble walking across the room in the Assisted Living Castle.

But that is the guy who got me started with both film and photography: Roger Larson at the Mosholu Community Center.

The first film I made there – later they moved to Rivington Street (Lower East Side) – was shown on Public TV, and I still have the 16mm copy with sound, called Down and Out. Would be fun to see again: mid-60’s on Jerome Avenue.

A pain in the ass to get done from my scooter. Maybe there’s a place around here, or I could get it packaged and sent to GR (who is in it). Who was the love interest (Lorry?) and my cousin Danny doing the sound track on guitar (way before Clapton) Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.

Even my father is in it as a double for GR, beause GR didn’t want to lie down in the gutter, German roots, but my father volunteered to double for him.

Remember that GR?

My friend M. could pack it for me and maybe bring it somewhere in NYC and get a few copies transferred to DVD. That would be a blast to put up on YouTube.

P.S. It sure would be easier if I had learned to spell in elementary school. I fix it seems every other word with spell check. Some times it’s my fingers aren’t working right, trembling and sometimes I just plain never learned the rules of spelling. Oh well.

I tell myself Herman Melville couldn’t spell worth a dime, and his oldest daughter had to proofread every manuscript he submitted. And go back to the spelling of the fathers of the country. Gadzooks.

Okay it’s Rodger Larson (with a “d”) I thought I got it wrong,

https://www.amazon.com/Young-Filmmakers-Rodger-Larson/dp/0525435492