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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Maynard Dixon and the Golden Gate Bridge

I was looking through some notes today, wonderful stories that weren't included in the documentary that I produced about Maynard Dixon. I came across this image from 1930, it's a design study of the Golden Gate Bridge with a walled tollbooth. The design of the bridge needed an architect, and the chief engineer, Joseph Strauss, asked his public relations counsel Charles Duncan for some suggestions. Duncan was the brother-in-law of Maynard Dixon and remembered the wonderful aerial view canvas that Dixon created for promotion of the bridge bond issue. Maynard recommended Irving Foster Morrow, who began the job despite endless controversy about the design.

Maynard Dixon held a meeting at his studio at 728 Montgomery Street to discuss the design elements with his artist friends, Strauss and Morrow. A design was agreed upon and they proceeded. Daniel Dixon told me that the color of the bridge was also decided in that meeting. Maynard painted a wide, rust-orange colored circle around the light bulb on the ceiling of his studio. He believed that it brought warmth to the cold room, with San Francisco's gray days outside the windows.

All agreed that it worked. The bridge became that rust-orange.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hello? Hello? We are making progress!

  Jayne McKay, Jonathan Spaulding, Neal Brown, filming a Tramp re-enactment- Mojave Desert, 2014
 I'm so grateful for the support and encouragement I get from the film making community. Especially the documentary club, we wacky ones who passionately pursue our topics, knowing that we have months, maybe years of research and fundraising and clearances ahead of us. But we persevere, because we get crazy. We get devoted. It's like a calling, and it's really, really hard to walk away from a calling. Especially, I find, when that calling is coming from Charles Lummis.

If you know anything about Lummis, you know that he was a zealot. He worked round the clock, slept little, wrote copious letters, manuscripts and editorials. He hosted exciting parties and made countless introductions, mentoring talented friends and building their confidence and their fame. He had a tenacity that I envy. I wish I had his stamina most days!

I've had plenty of distractions, including the need for actual income over the past year. But ole Charlie Lummis just won't go away! My co-conspirators, Jonathan Spaulding and Kim Walters, are patiently at the ready for the green light that's entirely up to me at this point. I'm the Director, and all of the planning and writing and gathering of information and images has been progressing well. The hold up is the fund-raising. It turns out that launching an Indiegogo campaign isn't as simple as it sounds. At least, not if you want a very good chance of reaching your goal.

We have a wonderful fiscal sponsor, From The Heart Productions. Founder, Carole Dean, is the most knowledgeable person I've ever met when it comes to creating a campaign that can exceed it's goal. She gave me many assignments, which I am developing carefully. I've learned my lesson about posting target dates none today.

Just rest assured that we haven't abandoned the project, we are quietly completing the behind the scenes work and will let you know when we launch the campaign.

I hope that some of you will be attending the 10th Annual Lummis Day Celebrations. It's great fun, an opportunity to tour El Alisal and see all of the treasures within- and so much more. There's incredible poetry, local musicians take to the stages over at Heritage Square. It's a fun family day, and a chance to catch up with me if you'd like. Please come say hello!

Jayne McKay
A Tramp Across The Continent:
Charles Lummis Discovers America