Edge

Weber’s ‘Chop Suey ‘ a tasty dish

Bruce Weber’s documentary Chop Suey was on the menu last Wednesday at the Cosford Cinema as audiences were served up this intricate medley of sight and sound that offers an intimate view into the renowned photographer’s soul.
“There are two ways to go through life,” said Weber, sporting a navy blue bandana around his graying head. “You can live your life or you can see it through the lens of a camera. I chose the second.”
There really is no way to sum up Chop Suey but to say that it is truly an experience of the senses. Where a typical autobiographical approach would be to tell a story, Weber chooses instead to weave a tapestry of his artistic, childhood, and emotional experiences using his photos and videos as the key elements. Accompanying the visuals are Weber’s narration, relevant quotations from books and people, and vibrant music, mostly the work of legendary singer/songwriter Frances Faye.
One of the main threads used to weave this story together is Peter Johnson, whom Weber plucked out of a crowd of high school wrestlers and took to New York to become a highly paid model. The camera, along with Johnson’s and Weber’s voiceover narrations, tracks the life of Johnson from his high school days to fatherhood, and from the shy, insecure rookie model he once was, to the professional muse he becomes to Weber.
As Weber acknowledged, the main theme of Chop Suey is that of the journey. Johnson’s journey from innocence mirrors Weber’s, as do all aspects of the film.
Another dominant thread was that of Faye, an influential performer whose characteristic high-strung, wild style led her to success throughout most of the twentieth century. Weber grew up listening to Faye’s music, and he presents her music almost as if it were the soundtrack to his life. Weber gives it a prominent role in his autobiographical work, so much so that he lists Faye as the star of the film in the credits.
“Chop Suey is a celebration of life, but there is also a sad quality to it all,” said freshman Tarah Rogowski as she was walking out of Cosford. “He captures so much beauty in his work, but he knows he will never be like the muses in his photographs, so he’s always on the outside, looking in.”
Weber has been a leader in the world of photography and film for decades. Along with Chop Suey, Weber has produced seven short and feature-length documentaries, two of which were named Best Documentary at the International Documentary Association, and his Let’s Get Lost was nominated for an academy award. His work has been published in 16 books and almost every magazine, and he has even directed music videos for Chris Issac and the Pet Shop Boys.
With a documentary featuring the late Robert Mitchum still in production, Chop Suey will be a hard act to follow, leaving high expectations for those who tasted the delight, the sorrow, and the wonder of Weber’s latest dish.

January 29, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

They were way below the radar coming into the 1983 season. And after their 28-3 opening-game loss to ...

In the opening eight minutes on Saturday — and the final seven minutes — FIU looked like a team that ...

The N’Kosi Perry era is here. Whether it’s here to stay is yet to be seen. The fans got what they wa ...

Ten takeaways from UM’s 31-17 win against FIU on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium: ▪ Credit Mark Richt ...

As the Miami Hurricanes started their third series against the FIU Panthers on Saturday afternoon, t ...

Get Out The Vote, a nonpartisan initiative headed by the Division of Student Affairs and the Butler ...

University of Miami Libraries commemorates Banned Books Week with a special event and display. ...

A year after UPup’s founding father met his match, the service club is realizing its goal of becomin ...

UM students, faculty and staff commemorated the five-year anniversary of the Donna E. Shalala Studen ...

Miami’s Turnover Chain inspires copycats, but the U’s turnover prop has a ‘cool factor.’ ...

N'Kosi Perry and a dominant Miami defense led the Hurricanes to a 31-17 victory over the Panthe ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team is headed to the championship one of th ...

The Miami women's tennis team posted a 5-2 mark in official matches on the second day of the Mi ...

Freshman Riley Howard continued her incredible start as a Canes cross country runner setting another ...

The University of Miami soccer team is set to host Virginia Tech Sunday at noon at Cobb Stadium. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.