John Lurie Goes Fishing & Lori Miller Learns A Thing Or Two

One of Mr. Lurie's fishin' partners is none other than Tom Waits. Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

ATN New York correspondent Lori Miller clearly knew

nothing about fishing before researching this review. Here is her report: I've

never really been a fan of televised fishing or even fishing on video. But when

I read that John Lurie, one of my favorite actors and the composer &

saxophonist behind the Lounge Lizards, had a "Fishing With John" video show at

The Knitting Factory the other week, I thought watchin' fishin' could be fun.

Especially John fishing with friends like Matt Dillon and Willem Dafoe. How

hard on the eyes could that be -- assuming they wouldn't include scenes of live

bait (or chum, like they used in Jaws) and eviscerated fish.

The

first video was a fishin' trip with Matt to Costa Rica. There was a theme song

and opening montage, which was the first clue I had that this wasn't John's

first celebrity fishing expedition. Later in the evening I found out this was

the third and final night of the series. I'd missed John fishing in Jamaica

with Tom Waits and in Montauk (LI) with Jim Jarmusch.

The video opened with

John and Matt in the plane, and a narrator told us where they were headed. The

narrator had the perfect Discovery-Channel type of voice. I thought I might

actually learn about nature whenever he spoke. Like when the plane landed and

John & Matt got their first look at Costa Rica. The camera focused on some

horses and the narrator announced, "These are horses." Here was a man who knew

a thing or two about a thing or two.

Right away John & Matt were taken to

meet with Don Marino, the fishing guru of Costa Rica. As the camera focused on

Matt listening to Sr. Marino speaking Spanish, there it was: the

blank-but-beautiful Matt Dillon stare. I honestly couldn't tell if he

understood Don Marino or not. Not that I don't respect Matt. His chewing scenes

in The Flamingo Kid show true comedic genius. To be fair, John had the

same look on his face too. Thank goodness for the narrator. Don Marino was

telling John and Matt to go see Tacho, and learn the fish dance.

Then it

was off to "the beautiful Rio Colorado." Once they'd stopped the boat to start

fishing, the narrator told us that no white man had ever been that far. Clearly

John is no amateur fisherman.

Nor an amateur filmmaker. I think he wrote

and directed all four segments, and recorded the soundtrack. The theme song was

kind of slow and silly, but I found myself humming it the next day. The

stuttering reed sound I've always enjoyed in the Lounge Lizard's music fit with

scenes of wildlife on the beautiful Rio Colorado, like a twangy guitar goes

with scenes of the open range.

In the second video John & Willem went

ice-fishing in Maine. Once again, the narrator let the audience know just how

dangerous and rough a fishing expedition can be. When Willem went into the

woods to get supplies to build a hut, and came out with actual planks of wood

instead of logs, the narrator said, "These are real men .... doing real

things."

This trip was much more dramatic than the trip to Costa Rica. The

two fishermen were on the ice the entire time. The narrator told us that the

average temperature there is minus 18 degrees! And since John is such an honest

filmmaker, we were allowed to witness the conflict at night, when the two men

thought about sharing a sleeping bag to stay warm. When Willem told John that

he gets "kinda sweet at bedtime," that ended the debate.

There weren't many

fish in Maine. John & Willem had several traps set up on the ice, but never any

luck. John didn't make it easy on his audience. We watched as their spirits

deteriorated; as they survived eating only cheese and crackers and

hallucinating about fish. In the end we're left wondering why the cameramen

hadn't shared their food and shelter.

"Fishing With John" was a lot of fun

for filmed fishing. John showed, with unswerving irony, what happens when a

Lounge Lizard with city survival skills tries to live off the wilds of the

land. If ESPN weren't interested in the fishin' musician, maybe The Independent

Film Channel or Bravo or MTV could run the videos. They're definitely worthy of

a wider

audience.