Loyal readers might remember a couple of entries I posted back in 2009 wherein I mentioned discovering Amos Poe's film, "The Foreigner" through Nick Rhombes' excellent book, "A Culture History of Punk." I went into depth about the film on that post, and then returned to it periodically after I was finally able to see it. It's indeed a bizarre cinematic experience, but it really is a must for anyone who shares my fascination with the downtown Manhattan of yesteryear. It can be tough to track down, but seek it out. It's worth it. I don't believe it's available via Netflix, but who knows?
In any case, my fascination for "The Foreigner" was revived somewhat recently when Gallery 98 debuted its exhibition of No Wave and Independent Film, which included Poe's film. Among the items on exhibit were some still photographs from the production of "The Foreigner" taken by one Fernando Natalici, who acted as the art director for the film. That's one of his photos above (click on it to enlarge). In the image you see the protagonist Max walking away from a momentary interaction with Debbie Harry (see the clip below). This scene is one of the more haunting and memorable moments from the film.
As I mentioned back in this post, upon my first discovery of "The Foreigner," I became fixated with pinpointing the exact location of that alley. At first, I wrongly suspected that it was Courtlandt Alley down in TriBeCa, then Shinbone Alley in NoHo before finally figuring out that it is Great Jones Alley, which runs parallel to Broadway in between Bond Street and Great Jones Street.
The alley in question is private and gated-off today, although as I said in this post, I actually attended a children's birthday party there unwittingly back in 2009 (prior to seeing the film, alas). As decrepit and desolate it looks in Poe's film, it's now a very enviable slice of real estate (no surprises there).
Ever since then, of course, I've been smitten with it. Later in 2009, I snapped the picture below of my little son Oliver standing in front of the gate.
This evening, however, after being out with my kids for dinner, we found ourselves walking west on Great Jones street, and I was immediately struck with the idea of replicating the still from the film at the top of this post, with my son Oliver posing as Max and my daughter Charlotte serving as Debbie Harry. Without the photo in front of me, this is as close as we were able to get. The action actually took place deeper into the alley, but the gate prevented that level of authenticity.
For closer reference, here's a clip of the scene in question.
Lastly, speaking of Great Jones Street, my blogging comrade Jeremiah Moss of Vanishing New York put up the video below on Facebook this evening of jazz legend Charles Mingus being evicted from his home on suspicion of drug possession. His home? Right adjacent to Great Jones Alley.