I have no idea if Woody Allen ever studied Aleister Crowley, however I now strongly suspect he has after watching his most recent film, Midnight in Paris a few times. It comes across as a Crowley tale par excellence, a story about a writer, played by Owen Wilson - the Woody Allen character in this film - trying to connect with his true voice and live the life he feels most drawn to and aligned with. Through his good fortune and/or ability to enter into Parallel Worlds, Alternate Realities of different time frames, Wilson's character receives knowledge and conversation with Higher Intelligence, who take on the forms of his literary heros, and gets useful, practical information about his current work in progress.
The film begins with a 5 minute musical and visual love letter to the people and places, sights and jazz of Paris; then Wilson's voice in classic Woody Allen stutter opens with:
"This, is ..., is ..., unbelievable. Look at this, there's no city in the World like this, there never was..."
You soon discover he's talking about Paris yet those opening lines appear general enough to apply to the same archetypal city Crowley writes about in The City of God, A Rhapsody. It's a favorite of mine. The same archetypal City also showed up for me at the beginning of Thomas Pynchon's, Against the Day.
Some more opening dialog:
"... What did Hemingway call it, a malleable feast..." - referring to the City of Paris
"... Following down the rabbit's hole..." conjures the Qabalistic classic, Alice in Wonderland, a Crowley favorite, and presages events to follow, journeys to take in the film.
There's a mention of a James Joyce sighting and what he was eating that night. Crowley called Joyce a genius.
Later, there's a truly incredible and enlightening, slightly over the top, rap about love and death given by the Ernest Hemingway character, one of Gil's (Owen Wilson's character) bardo guides. I would post it in it's entirety if I didn't respect the Gods of Copywrite. This film is worth seeing by anyone who is a transit practitioner just for that speech.
Further on, Gertrude Stein gives some great advice to Gil about his writing, "The artist's job is not to sucumb to despair but to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence. You have a clear and lively voice, don't be such a defeatist..."
Gil's adventure's with Parallel Worlds finally gives him the knowledge, experience and Will he needs to live his life genuinely as he wishes to do.
The opening of the time travel portal in this film always occurs just after midnight. I was doing some timed breathing using the second hand of a clock while watching Midnight in Paris for the third time in preparation for this blog. One of the midnight chiming, time portal openings in the film happened exactly as my clock reached midnight. As mentioned earlier, I'm in an online group reading Pynchon's Against the Day at a rate of 4 pages/day. I just reached a part where they go into a Time Machine then attend a Time Travel Convention.
One of the most brilliant, surrealistic examples of guerilla ontology resides in the pages of God, a one-act play written by Woody Allen circa 1975. In it you'll find a line towards the end of the play that closely correspond with Crowley's statement: " There is no god but man." A subtext in that play illustrates another famous Crowley statement about God. It also cites goals of Buddhism, Qabala and some conclusions of theoretical physics. Densely information rich and extremely funny. It was meant to accompany two other one-act plays, Sex, and Death. If Allen could only refrain from writing about such trivial subjects he might have a career for himself!
Yesterday I mixed an instrumental track called City of Joy by a band from Australia and San Francisco called Beaten By Them. It was the final song of their project, Kinder Machines that combined and contrasted the organic sound of a harmonically rich and sweet acoustic guitar with electronic drum machine samples, a grand piano, cello, synthesizers,and a solid rhythm section - drums, bass, and guest percussion. After we finished, Max McCormick relayed quite an interesting story regarding the genesis of the album. He was in the Honduras some time back walking in a town when he noticed a black dog following him. This went on for an unusally long time, wherever Max went, this black dog followed even when leaving town to go hiking up a nearby hill. The dog started to follow Max up the hill until he yelled at it to shoo it away, and it stopped following him. Max went for his hike. When he returned, the black dog was waiting for him at the same spot and resumed following him back into town. As they were about to reach the town, Max looked back to see if the dog was still there and was startled to see a man where the dog had been. The black dog was nowhere to be seen, Max never saw him again. Max had the shocking impression that the black dog had shapeshifted into a man. He acknowledges the possibility that the dog took off at the same time a man quietly slipped in behind him, nonetheless the perception occurred so sudden and shocking to the point of making him want to jump out of his skin. It does sound like something a trickster or teacher would do. The next day Max saw the name "Crowley" on a shipping crate. It made him think of Aleister Crowley whom he said he knew nothing about, but he then immediately had a vision of what his next album would be - the one we just finished, and how he would go about doing it. Max said that he saw the whole thing in detail right after seeing Crowley's name on a shipping crate. He said it turned out pretty much as he envisioned it. He had no idea that I had any interest in Crowley until after he contacted me and I sent him The Oz Mix link. That was a coincidence, he said.