I must confess that I haven't been a big Jason Schwartzman fan. He was good in Rushmore, but I wasn't convinced. And I sort of liked his band Phantom Planet, but not enough to ever listen to it on my own. Now I have had a change of heart. I loved him in Marie Antoinette and I love his new song called "West Coast" out on the label Young Baby Records. Most of all I love the video of a performance by the Nijinsky of skateboarding Mark Gonzales. The video was originally shot by Cheryl Dunn in 1988 at the Stadisches Museum Abtelberg in Monchengladbach, Germany. So when I called Dunn for the backstory you can imagine how surprised I was to discover that this was all news to her.
Spinner, where I first saw the video, says Schwartzman just released a solo album under the alias Coconut Records called Nighttiming. It goes on to say that "For the disc's first video, 'West Coast,' Schwartzman tapped his pal Cheryl Dunn for directorial duties and pro-skater Mark Gonzales as the subject. Since Schwartzman is currently off shooting the Ben Stiller film The Marc Pease Experience, Gonzales crafted the video with rare skateboarding footage from an exhibit in Germany."
Well, for starters Dunn has never met her "pal" Schwartzman. She found out about the video, which she made 10 years ago, through friends who began sending her emails. Another unfortunate consequence of this is that people tend to jump to all kinds of wrong conclusions like this one at obtusity.
"Compiling obscure footage surrounding an art exhibit in Germany, director Cheryl Dunn puts together a compelling video without any appearance from the singer or a massive narrative. She simply captures the excitement and beauty of a moment in 1998 from beginning to end -- culminating in an amazing performance of athleticism and grace by pro-skater Mark Gonzales. This arc is perfectly matched to the rising and falling of the song, making for a surprisingly thrilling experience."
While we agree that the video works beautifully, Cheryl didn't merely assemble the piece, she shot it, too. So Jason (or Jason's people) would you please get in touch with Cheryl Dunn. She's not by nature litigious, but she would at least like to find out more about how the video came about. And so would we.