A little more than a week ago, the always innovative Cooper Union played host to Tokion’s 5th annual Creativity Now Conference, a yearly culling of what’s cutting-edge in art, music, film, fashion and comedy. The impressive line up boasted big names such as David Cross as well as indie darlings Harrell Fletcher and David Shrigley. However, one of the most anticipated events of the conference was an appearance by wunderkind filmmaker and screenwriter Harmony Korine (“Gummo”, “Kids”) joined by longtime friend and collaborator Mark Gonzalez, who is often credited as being the man who brought street skateboarding culture into the mainstream. As soon as they took the stage, they proceeded to bring the crowd into a somewhat befuddling verbal punning game playing on famous people’s names (for example : “Fred was dying of Durst” and the less tactful “Heath was hanging off a Ledger”). While this exercise seemed a bit irrelevant, Korine and Gonzalez went on to explain that in their early days as skate punks on the Lower East Side their creativity tended to come from a place of spontaneity, blind passion, and enthusiastic collaboration- often springing from something as mundane as a word exercise. When asked what provided the inspiration behind Mister Lonely, Korine’s latest off kilter gem, the director responded- “Everything. What we just did here, what we were just doing, developing characters from nothing…I’ve always been much more interested in making characters than plots…I don’t like traditional plots in movies, or even in peoples lives.” (And Korine is certainly familiar with the unscripted life- After shooting to cinematic stardom in the mid nineties Korine left Hollywood behind to travel the world and paint eggs.)

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