Summary of the movie
Straight Life: The Stories of Art Pepper
My Straight Life movie is a trilogy.
The first of the three short films (of about one-hour each) is "Diane."
Seven of the nine sequences that comprise this movie are completed.
Some are available on my websites as indicated.
The nine sequences are as follows:
1. The introduction sequence: how the book & my movie came to be. (background music, "The Trip.") This clip can be found at
2. The Terminal Island sequence. At 28, Art is imprisoned at Terminal Island Federal Prison. He reflects on his life so far. We get a sketch of who Art Pepper was when the movie begins: His parents, his childhood, his musical career, his criminal career. (background music, "Lost Life"). The complete sequence -- three clips -- available at site named above.
3. Art gets out of prison in 1954, goes to Jazz City, meets Diane, first day out. Not posted on the net) (music, not set)
4. Diane persuades Art to move in with her. Art starts using heroin again, they fight. (music, "Diane"). The fight is posted as clip #3 ("I would be tearing at the light fixtures") at http://straightlife.org/clips.html.
5. Diane arranges with Les Koenig at Contemporary Records to get Art to the studio to record "Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section. Some is posted on the web as #5., #6., and #7. same page as above. (music. "Straight Life")
6. Diane attempts suicide, and Art feels sorry for her, marries her. Some posted on the web as #8., #9., same page as above. (music, "Diane")
7. Art & Diane go to San Francisco, where Art plays at the famous Black Hawk jazz club. After heckling Art from the audience, a drunken Diane goes back to the hotel. When Art gets to the hotel, she threatens suicide -- having destroyed Art's belongings including his new clarinet by running a hot shower on them. Art stomps out. Comes back. Diane is gone. He goes out on a somewhat surreal hunt, looking for her in San Francisco. Returns. Waits. Diane finally arrives. She has consulted an emergency-room psychiatrist, and has decided that the only way she can be reconciled to Art's addiction is to start using heroin herself. The last part is posted on the http://straightlife.org/clips.html.
site as #4. "And all these things came to pass." (music, "Frisco Blues")
8. They return to L.A. Diane, now a junkie, leaves Art with the dog, Bijou. (we've seen Bijou in the suicide sequence). Art is homeless, living with various friends, going out 'boosting' (stealing), taking the dog along, he explains, because he doesn't want to leave her. He and his friend Rudy go out every day in Rudy's old '37 Plymouth (the year is 1957). They drive through the streets of L.A. with the dog in the back seat. We hear Art's description of his life, the life of a scuffling junkie, as they drive thru '50's Los Angeles. They park in East L.A. (a Mexican neighborhood). Art snatches a heavy hydraulic jack from a service station and starts trying to shove it into the car. Rudy returns, saying he's seen the cops. They get the jack into the back seat, but Bijou has gotten out and wants to play. The two men chase her around the East L.A. neighborhood. People come out on their porches to watch. Art finally catches the dog, and they make their get-away. This sequence is a work-in-progress. Live shooting is completed. What remains to do is editing and animation as well as masking of live footage. Some, thank God, was shot with a green screen. But most of it wasn't. If I had money I would hire people to draw masks in After Effects. But I don't. So this sequence will probably take about a year to complete. (music, a spectacular version of "Make a List (Make a Wish."))
9. Diane is busted. She informs on Art. He goes to San Quentin. (This is not shot, but will be done mainly with existing stills). I do have some great, scenic San Quentin footage I have shot. (Music, probably "Lost Life" again.)
All music, with the exception of "Straight Life" from the Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section album, is previously unreleased, and I own it. I have licensed the "Straight Life" track from Fantasy/Concord.
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