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“There is nothing that ever happens to a woman or a man that he or she doesn’t cause to happen, whether it’s on a mystical level or whether it’s on a spiritual level or whether it’s on a human level.”

“What is good, bad, right and wrong? There are only 1 through 9 numbers. There are no fractions. You either like or dislike, which is weak. You either love or you hate. And if you’re healthy, you try to spend time with people you love rather than people you hate.”

“It has taken me so long to ever direct a movie. I want to do my work. And I want to be allowed to be do my work. But I want to do my work, not their work.”

“I was sleeping on a mattress when I edited Easy Rider and I can sleep on a mattress again.”

“Orson Welles, poor bastard, was turned down by the studio that I’m making this movie for on a half million dollar picture. If there isn’t an audience for Orson Welles in the universities and for the people in this country, then why are we making movies?”

“There’s no way to break my heart. They’re not going to break my heart, man, because I’ve been in prison for a long time and they can’t break me. I’d rather die fighting than die getting fat.

“I’ve got to act in my movies because I love acting, because I’m really good at it and I never really had a chance to show it. I had to take shit and make gold out of it. And now I’ve got gold and they’re trying to make shit out of it.”

“I used to eat peyote with the Indians, years ago when I was a kid. I was 18, 19. And I had a very heavy death trip. I saw charred and dead bodies hanging from trees. I saw human life as the lowest form of life. I saw the earth as being a cancerous growth in a perfect universe. And I saw a Master Surgeon come and just cut us out like you would a piece of cancer out of a healthy body.”

“I can’t hide me from you because I don’t admire that in other people. I like to go right into the eye of the hurricane. I don’t want to be thrown around on the outside.”

“I think that Michelle Phillips is probably the only one that’s really scared me badly… really got to my head. I find that people who play games scare the shit out of me because I’m dealing with a moment-to-moment reality and they’re dealing on a level where they’re planning something to happen.”

“I find that women are much more open with women than men are with men, much more sensual.”

“I do enjoy group sex with women. It’s very seldom a reality but it’s certainly reality occasionally and has always been a fantasy and I assume always will be a fantasy of mine.”

“I watched a fly beat itself to death on a window when, if it settled down on a chair and tried to feel the draft of the wind, it might have had a chance to get outside. I guess really Peter was one who believed in me enough to give me a chance.”

“Lenin believed that the revolution would be fought with the camera and that minds would be won in a theater rather than on a battlefield. When you go to a dark theater, you’re giving yourself to that screen and wanting to believe, and and it’s done well, you do believe.”

“I think that the audience has been terribly underestimated and I think that audiences don’t want to be audiences but to have experiences.”

“People talk about the great individual. Well, there is nothing in this world we do alone.”

“I’m still 34, terribly naive. The whole world of business, the money-mongers, it’s a totally outrageous world to me. I want to make movies and I want to talk about humanity in symbolistic, mystical terms. I have very little to do with business. I’m probably trapped in a world of my own creation.”

“Editing is a very painful experience for me. It’s like having a child and cutting its arms off and putting its eyes out and chopping it up. And the day you’re really happy is also a very sad day, when you sit in a theater and you see it’s finished and you know that it’s no longer yours and that it’s going to go out and do its own thing.”

“I think that, in our lifetime, a man without a gun is a fool.”

“See a movie… be a movie.”

Kenny Wisdom (all quotes from American Dreamer (1971))

Photo “Courtland Meat Market, 4th of July” by Amber Tides, courtesy Caz Dolowicz

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