Amor Y Rabia - photo by Sam Lahoz design by vagabond

Come Along


These are scenes from AMOR Y RABIA an unfinished and incomplete film i began shooting in 1999 and 2000 … i’ve posted  a few other scenes from the film… Don’t Want Your Authority and God Is An Anarchist… It was a pre-apocalyptic film about three anarchists who are dissatisfied with the world they live in so they go on a road trip to find a better place. When they don’t find one they decide to start a revolution in order to create a space that will allow them to live in peace. in essence they help to bring about the apocalypse, which seems like a bad thing but when you see the state of the world an apocalypse could be just what we need to turn everything around…

In this scene from the film two of the main characters, Rudeboy (played by me) and Flea (played by my girlfriend Resister) are struggling to live outside of the system. They have set-up home in an abandon factory. i wanted the scene to show that even though they were living hard and for all intent and purposes homeless they were happy…

The film was shot on 16mm Kodak film recans and short ends, with a Bolex… It was a kind of musical where no one sang but music helped to tell the story… It’s sad to know that this film will never be completed, it would have been interesting to see how it turned out in the end…

The film was never completed because due to a lack of funds… And finding the money to make this film was going to be more than difficult because the way that the three anarchists start the revolution is by killing cops. It was an artistic response to the police brutality NYC was experiencing during the mayoral years of Adolf Ghouliani… A piece of cinematic resistance… A push back against the shitstem and its ongoing violence…

It would have been good to see this film come to fruition because there were so many ideas that i was experimenting with that i really believed wholeheartedly would work. i was trying to create a new cinematic language by incorporating silent era film storytelling techniques and mixing that with music video like units strung together as a kind of musical to allow the story to be told as much as possible through music…

There were other ideas i had i wanted to take a risk with, such as shooting all the scenes that had cops in them in video and blurring their faces out like an inverted episode of COPS… Amor Y Rabia never happened… And the chances of it happening in the future are slim to none…  It’s difficult when a project never comes to fruition… like watching a child never grow up… Sometimes being an artist is the best thing in the world… other times it just heart breaking…

Amor Y Rabia - photo by Sam Lahoz design by vagabond
Amor Y Rabia – photo by Sam Lahoz design by vagabond

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1sH

Clandestine Filiberto by vagabond ©

COMANDANTE FILIBERTO


COMANDANTE FILIBERTO
CLANDESTINA CLANDESTINE

In honor of El Grito De lares an interview by Puerto Rican journalist Daisy Sanchez circa 1990 with the FBI’s #1 most wanted man at the time, Puerto Rican revolutionary Comandante Filiberto Ojdea Rios is live and available for rental on Vimeo On Demand. Watch it on your TV, Desktop, Laptop, Tablet or Phone.

The island nation of Puerto Rico has been a colony for over 500 years. It went from being a colony of Spain for 400 years to being a colony of the US in 1898. The US is still to this day a colonial power in Puerto Rico. Throughout that time there has been a long and rich history of resistance to colonialism in Puerto Rico. Filiberto Ojeda Rios figures prominently as one of the great leaders for independence in Puerto Rico.

Comandante Filiberto who was the father of the underground armed resistance movement in Puerto Rico and in the United States. In 1967 he founded MIRA, Movimento Independetista Revolucionario Armado (Armed Revolutionary Independence Movement). Shortly after that he had a hand in forming the FALN, Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nationalista (Armed Forces for National Liberation) in the United States. He also founded the EPB, Ejercito Popular Boricua (Popular Puerto Rican Army) affectionately known as Los Macheteros. All of these groups used clandestine guerilla warfare tactics against the United States in an effort to free Puerto Rico from colonial rule and all of the groups were considered terrorist organizations by the United States.

On September 23, 1990 while awaiting trial for a 1983 Wells Fargo depot robbery Filiberto cut off his electronic shackle and went underground in Puerto Rico. September 23rd is a date significant importance in Puerto Rico. In 1868 there was a violent rebellion against Spanish colonial rule in a mountain town called Lares and though the attempt at liberation did not succeed it brought about an end to slavery in Puerto Rico. Filiberto taking his electronic shackle off on that particular day in 1990 was more than a coincidence.

On September 23rd, 2005 Filiberto was assassinated by the FBI after they attempted to arrest him by surrounding his house in Puerto Rico. He was shot and wounded but left to bleed to death for over 24 hours. His assassination on that particular day was an attempt to kill the spirit of the independence movement.

This television interview was conducted while Filiberto was living clandestinely. From the information that we have gathered the interview took place sometime around 1990, a few months after Filiberto went underground and was the most watched television program in the history of Puerto Rico. At the time of this interview Filiberto was #1 on the top ten list of the FBI’s most wanted. His most wanted status remained until September 11, 2001. The interview was conducted with Daisy Sanchez, a courageous journalist who endured her own trials and tribulations when she refused to give up her sources on how she got the interview with Filiberto,  to the FBI.

COMANDANTE FILIBERTO
CLANDESTINA CLANDESTINE
You can rent and watch the interview on Vimeo On Demand for $2.50 and you have 48 hours to watch it. That’s plenty of time to watch it, digest it, watch it again, think on it and even get a third screening in. Watch it on your TV, Desktop, Laptop, Tablet or Phone.

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/comandantefiliberto

COMANDANTE FILIBERTO by vagabond ©
COMANDANTE FILIBERTO by vagabond ©

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1sw

A Link Between Struggles by vagabond ©

The Rebel History Kept Hidden From You


“In this great future, you can’t forget your past.” – Bob Marley

“Puerto Rico has a history that is very heroic and prolific. Naturally, as a colony, there exists a history of double interpretation; the colony, and the history of the anti-colonial struggle. In reality, the colonial history does not apply to us. It is more fitting for the colonizer. Ours, the only one, is the anti-colonial history because it is the history of our native people who survived and are in constant battle to defeat the powerful colonial forces. It is the history of our Puertorriqueñidad.” – Comandante Filiberto Ojeda Ríos

On September 23rd of 1868 a few hundred Puerto Ricans marched into the Puerto Rican mountain town of Lares waving a flag with a white cross in the center dividing four rectangles, two blue rectangles on the top and two red rectangles on the bottom with a star in the left hand top blue rectangle. They marched into Lares with weapons and took over the municipality and declared Puerto Rico free and independent from Spanish colonial rule. That flag and the rebellion that carried it was designed by Ramon Emeterio Betances and sown by Marianna Bracetti and would become know as the flag of Lares and the rebellion that took Lares would become known as El Grito De Lares, The Cry of Lares.

This uprising was 12 years in the planning and was initially planned for September 29th, but had to be pushed up due to a betrayal the rebel forces suffered. However Lares was taken by these Puerto Rican revolutionaries without resistance and before the Spanish even knew there was a revolt. The Puerto Ricans immediately set up a provisional government with a President, Government Minister, Justice Minister, Minister of Treasury and Secretary of State.

Betances who was born in Cabo Rojo to a Dominican father and Puerto Rican mother planned the revolt in exile from the Dominican Republic and was struggling to get arms and ammunition to Puerto Rico in time. On the next day, September 24th the Puerto Rican revolutionaries marched into the town of San Sebastiàn where the Spanish were prepared for them. The Puerto Ricans were defeated in San Sebastiàn. The betrayal which had pushed the attack on Lares up by six days prevented Betances from getting his shipment of arms and ammunition to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic in time to support the ongoing revolt.

Although the Puerto Ricans lost the battle they did not lose the war. Puerto Ricans continued to organize and fight for their freedom. In the following year slavery was abolished in Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans were eventually able able to negotiate their autonomy from Spain. In November of 1897 Spain granted Puerto Rico it’s autonomy only to have it revoked in July of 1898 when the United States invaded Puerto Rico during the Spanish American War. On December 10th of 1898 the Treaty of Paris was signed between the United States and Spain and Puerto Rico was handed over to the United States as war reparations.

El GRITO CREW This design is available as a T-shirt from RICANSTRUCTED http://ricanstructed.spreadshirt.com
El GRITO CREW
This design is available as a T-shirt from RICANSTRUCTED
http://ricanstructed.spreadshirt.com

The United States is still a colonial power in Puerto Rico and the struggle that began with the father of Puerto Rican independence, Ramon Emeterio Betances, still continues. In the late 1960’s Comandante Filiberto Ojeda Rios took the battle for Puerto Rico’s independence into a new stage. It was Comandante Filiberto who was the father of the underground armed resistance movement in Puerto Rico and in the United States. In 1967 he founded MIRA, Movimento Independetista Revolucionario Armado (Armed Revolutionary Independence Movement). Shortly after that he had a hand in forming the FALN, Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nationalista (Armed Forces for National Liberation) in the United States. He also founded the EPB, Ejercito Popular Boricua (Popular Puerto Rican Army) affectionately known as Los Macheteros. All of these groups used clandestine guerilla warfare tactics against the United States in an effort to free Puerto Rico from colonial rule and all of the groups were considered terrorist organizations by the United States.

All of this activity made FIliberto a target for the FBI.  When the FBI raided his home, he was put on trial for shooting and wounding an FBI officer in 1985. An all Puerto Rican jury found him not guilty by reason of self defense. In 1988 he was put on trial again, this time for the 1983 Wells Fargo Armored Car Robbery in Hartford Connecticut that netted $7 million for the Macheteros. On September 23rd of 1990, while out on bail and awaiting trial, Filiberto cut off the electronic shackle that monitored his movements and went into clandestinity. Until September 12th of 2001, Filiberto Ojeda Rios was the FBI’s most wanted man. On September 23rd of 2005 the FBI surrounded Filiberto’s home in Hormigueros a short ride from Lares where thousands of Puerto Ricans were celebrating El Grito De Lares and listening to a speech that FIliberto had recorded for the occasion. As Filiberto’s speech played in Lares the FBI shot and wounded Filiberto Ojeda Rios at his home in Hormigueros. The wound was not fatal but the FBI refused to approach his body for over 24 hours and Filiberto bled to death

If you didn’t know the history of El Grito de Lares it’s through no fault of your own. This history has been kept from you so that you’re separated from your past. If you’re separated from your past then your future can belong to anyone who lays claim to it. If our colonizers can erase our past then they can re-write our future. Knowledge of the past is a means of securing the future. Knowing the secret rebel history kept hidden from you is a weapon that can be used to reclaim a future that is and has always been rightfully yours…

A Link Between Struggles by vagabond ©
A Link Between Struggles by vagabond ©

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-dO

Los Gritos by vagabond ©

The Birth And Attempted Assassination Of A Nation


Los Gritos by vagabond ©
Los Gritos by vagabond ©

“While thousands of Puerto Ricans on the island/nation of Puerto Rico were commemorating El Grito de Lares, our national day of revolutionary struggle against Spanish colonialism, and were listening to the annual message of our Comandante Filiberto Ojeda Rios, the feds chose to begin their attack on his home. This was not a routine arrest of a “criminal”. On the contrary, it was a planned military assassination of one of our most important leaders in the struggle for Puerto Rican independence.”
- Dylcia Pagan former Puerto Rican political prisoner & prisoner of war

On September 23rd of 1868 in a mountain town of Lares in the center of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico a few hundred men and women led a revolt for independence against Spanish colonial rule. Since Columbus first landed on the island and “claimed” it as a possession of Spain in 1493 there has been a resistance to imperialism. The first struggles were waged by indigenous Taino populations and as the Spanish brought African slaves to the island they joined the Tainos and built communities around their resistance that were known as Cimarones or Maroon communities.

The mixture of Taino, African and European blood and culture had created something new and in the 1850’s Puerto Ricans began to act on seeing themselves as a distinct nation. The man who was known to have been the catalyst for this new paradigm shift into nationhood was Ramon Emeterio Betances. He planned and led the revolt on Spain in September of 1868 and because he did, he’s known as the father of the Puerto Rican nation. Although the revolt of September 23rd of 1868 better known as El Grito de Lares (the Cry of Lares), failed at it’s goal of achieving independence, in the short term, it galvanized support for independence and in the long run put Puerto Rico on the road to autonomy and independence from Spain. The failed uprising inspired other Puerto Ricans to organize for their independence and to protest against . There were times when the protests escalated into battles as was the case in Las Marias , Adjuntas, Utado, Vieques, Bayamon, CIeles and Toa Baja. And it’s for this reason that September 23rd of 1868, El Grito de Lares, will forever be known as the birth of the Puerto Rican nation.

El Grito 143 by vagabond © for RICANSTRUCTED
Betances El Grito 143 by vagabond © for RICANSTRUCTED

Over time the Spanish were forced to make concessions and give Puerto Rico more and more autonomy. In 1898 just as Puerto Ricans were on the verge of negotiating their complete autonomy from Spain the Spanish-American War broke out and Puerto Rico went from being a colony of Spain to being a colony of the US.

In December 1898 the US took control of Puerto Rico and has since then been trying to justify the colonization to Puerto Rican’s, the world and itself. The resistance to Puerto Rico’s colonization that began with Spain continued with the US. In the 1960’s Puerto Rican independence leader Comandante Filiberto Ojeda Rios began organizing clandestine armed organizations like MIRA, Movimiento Independentista Revolucionario Armado the Armed Revolutionary Independence Movement and the FALN, Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional the Armed Forces Of National Liberation and the EPB Ejercito Popular Boricua the Puerto Rican Popular Army that would use military means to fight for Puerto Rico’s independence. Filiberto was the father of the clandestine armed movement for the liberation of Puerto Rico. All of these groups were considered terrorist groups by the US and Filiberto was a fugitive of US law enforcement and one of the top most wanted men by the FBI.

El Grito 6 by vagabond © for RICANSTRUCTED
FIliberto’s El Grito 6 by vagabond © for RICANSTRUCTED

In 2005 on the 137th anniversary of El Grito de Lares while Puerto Ricans gathered to commemorate the birth of their nation (albeit one still struggling with colonialism) the FBI had found Filiberto. He had been living clandestinity in Puerto Rico for 15 years and throughout those 15 years he frustrated US law enforcement by giving radio and television interviews and writing articles for the newspapers and magazines about the colonial situation in Puerto Rico. On every Grito de Lares, Filiberto would send a message to the crowds that gathered to commemorate El Grito in Lares. While the crowd gathered to hear speakers and poets and musicians in Lares the FBI had Filiberto’s home in the small mountain town of Homigueros just a few miles away, surrounded.

The FBI started a shootout and Filiberto defended himself by returning fire. In the gun battle Filiberto shot and wounded an FBI agent. It was one man against 300 FBI agents. The FBI brought in a special sniper team that shot and wounded Filiberto. The FBI refused to give him medical attention and as he bled the pre-recorded speech he sent to Lares played. The FBI waited over 24 hours to approach Filiberto and as they waited the 73 year old man bled to death.

Filiberto’s assassination outraged Puerto Ricans. Even Puerto Ricans who didn’t believe in independence or didn’t agree with Filiberto’s decision to use violence in furtherance of independence were outraged by the circumstances of his death. Filiberto’s funeral was the largest funeral in Puerto Rican history. The route from the church to the cemetery was lined with Puerto Rican men, women and children every step of the way waiting to catch one last glimpse of him, yelling slogans of support for Puerto Rican independence and accusing the FBI of assassination. The trip from the church to the cemetery should have been 25 to 30 minutes but it took ten times that amount of time, it took five hours because the streets were clogged with people paying their last respects to a hero who had sacrificed everything for his people and their freedom.

Dylcia Pagan, herself a former member of the FALN and former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner and prisoner of war noted that the assassination of Filiberto on El Grito de Lares, a national Puerto Rican holiday, was not just an attempt to assassinate Filiberto but an attempt to destroy the spirit of the Puerto Rican independence movement. Filiberto’s assassination by the FBI was a message meant to discourage those who fought for Puerto Rico’s independence but it backfired. Instead of discouraging the Puerto Rican people they created another martyr to the cause of Puerto Rican liberation and what began with a birth on September 23rd of 1868 and survived an assassination attempt on September 23rd of 2005, continues today. Instead of destroying everything that El Grito de Lares stood for, the US government created it’s own Grito de Lares.

¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre y Soberana! ¡Filiberto Vive!

The designs above are Limited Editions that were for done for RICANSTRUCTED, a design company that’s dedicated to supporting Puerto Rican independence. The designs were done to commemorate both El Grito of 1868 and El Grito of 2005. The first design is of Ramon Emeterio Betances marks the 143rd anniversary of the uprising and the birth of the nation. The second design is of Comandante Filiberto Ojeda Rios who was assassinated by the FBI in an attempt to destroy the idea of nationhood for Puerto Rico and it marks the 6th anniversary of his death. The designs are limited to 25 each and are available on Men’s and Women’s standard weight T-shirts and on organic unisex T-shirts. On September 23rd people will gather in Lares once again to renew their resistance and to remember the sacrifices made for a nation that still seeks it’s freedom, get a shirt, plan a trip to Puerto Rico and join Puerto Ricans and other freedom loving supporters of Puerto Rican independence and let your voice be heard.

RICANSTRUCTED
RICANSTRUCTED

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-dQ

In A Yellow Moon

Bleeding Acrylic


Very few people know that i’m also a painter and so i thought i’d toss that out there for what it’s worth… Most of these were done in the 1990’s, a few in the 2000’s… i paint on un-stretched canvas with acrylic… i roll them up after i paint them in bunches and stand them up in a corner…

i paint the same two characters over and over again… A male and a female… And i paint to music (who doesn’t)… i can name the soundtrack to each and every painting i’ve ever done… i had a one man show of paintings and sketches and scarps of poems at Long Island University at the Brooklyn campus called Sketches Of Pain in 1993… Two more solo paintings in group shows at Clemente Soto Velez in the Lower East Side of NYC… And that’s the extent of my painting CV… And unless you know me personally (and even if you do) you’ve never seen most of these paintings…

i like to think of the paint as my blood and the canvas as a killing floor… Painting is emotionally exhausting for me, so i don’t paint as often as i’d like or as often as i should… There are more paintings rolled up somewhere… But this is what i have on hand in a digital format… Again for what it’s worth…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1sc

Lit-by-lighter by vagabond ©

The Morning Side Of The Hill


Just wanted to give folks a heads up about the latest book cover i did for a new release for 2Leaf Press titled Morning Side Of The Hill by Ezra E Fitz. In a previous post i talked about how we shot this cover called Successful Guerrilla Filmmaking. i shot this on my new Red Epic in 5K video and pulled a still out of the video to create the cover… Look for Morning Side Of The Hill to be out soon… Check out 2LeafPress for more info…

Morning Side Of The Hill by Ezra E Fitz cover by vagabond ©
Morning Side Of The Hill by Ezra E Fitz cover by vagabond ©

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1s6

Amina Baraka by vagabond ©

I GOT PEOPLE IN ME


Last week i had the honor and pleasure of doing both a film interview and photo shoot with Amina Baraka in NewArk New Jersey. If her name sounds familiar it may be because she is the widow of Amiri Baraka and the mother of the mayor of NewArk Ras Baraka. What you probably aren’t familiar with is that she is a poet in her own right and she has a new collection of poems coming out soon on 2Leaf Press who are turning out an amazing roster of writers who have been ignored by the publishing world for far too long. Original Nuyorican poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez, Shirley Bradley Leflore of the Black Arts movement and Abiodun Oyewole of the incredibly influential Last Poets, just to name a few of the older poets who made an impact and continue to shape how we see the world, all have books out on 2Leaf Press.

And that’s the reason i was out in NewArk doing a film shoot and photo shoot. Amina was talking about her new book of poetry Blues In All Hues due out soon. When i got to her home in she was sitting in a room listening to John Coltrane and Billie Holiday. i took a few shots of her as she meditated to ‘Trane and Holiday.

Jeff “AK” my DP set up the new Red Epic we are shooting with i took Amina outside on the stoop of her home in NewArk and shot these portraits of her. A few of these will be used as press photos for her book. i don’t pose my subjects when i shoot. i put them in a place and try to get them to relax and we shoot the shit as i shoot the pix. i try to keep it relaxed and informal. Joking around brings genuine smiles and laughter but i like to leave room for spaces of silence and contemplation and seriousness.

As i shot her i kept seeing so many people in her face and in the way she moved and in the way she carried herself. She look like my  grandmother, my mother, who are from Puerto Rico, and she moved and carried herself in ways that reminded me of my other grandmother born in Panama to Irish and Scottish parents, raised in Nicaragua and settled in Jamaica. i told Amina this and she said ‘I got people in me’. That phrase really struck me, ‘I got people in me’ and Amina told me that it came a song by Abbey Lincoln. She told me of her Native American roots intertwined with her African roots and i think you can clearly see the people in her in these photos…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1rq

Last shot photo by Omar

Death Art And Taxes


IMG_0998

“We have art in order not to die.”
– Nietzsche

i’ve come to understand that filmmaking for me is not something i do or something that i want to do… It’s not some hobby or a means to making a living (i definitely am not making money with filmmaking).. Filmmaking for me is survival… If i go long periods where i don’t make a film my soul literally gets sick… i feel uneasy with myself and with the world…

For a long time i was afraid of admitting to myself that this was the case because being a filmmaker reeks of privilege… It’s an expensive art and to say that you need it to live seemed pretentious, seemed abusive in some way… Abusive because filmmaking requires so much of me and by making demands on my time and energy and finances and it also has the potential to take away from those who love and support me in the form of time and energy and finances… And if they are to continue loving and supporting me they have to accept that i need to make films…

It seems completely unfair… Having me in your life means understanding that i need to make films in order to be sane… That understanding carries with it some level of time and energy and sacrifice on that persons part… In some cases it may even require you to understand that i may hit you up financially to get my next film fix on…

That seems to me to be completely unfair to loved ones… i feel as though my whole life is going to be lived in debt… Not just a financial debt… (i’m an anti-capitalist… i don’t give a fuck about money…) But a physical debt, a spiritual debt, a debt of time and energy that i feel can never be repaid in full… i’m always surprised when friends and family continue to stand by me while i go off into the next project… i live in a kind of low-level constant fear that if i don’t “make it” (whatever that means) that they will abandon me…

To make matters worse the films i make are probably not commercially viable… i’m not in control of my filmmaking… i didn’t choose to be a filmmaker… When i was younger i thought i had chosen to do film… But i didn’t… Filmmaking chose me… i know this because i’ve tried to quit and painfully realized over the years that quitting it means quitting on a huge part of myself… Letting go of that large a part of myself would just mean being someone else… And how can you be someone else…?

Not being in control of my filmmaking means that the films take hold of me and use me to bring them into creation… More often than not that means i’m not making a film that has some financial reward attached to it… Which means that i’m forced to try to find some other value for those who contribute their time and energy and life force to my films… They need something in return, after all it’s only fair…

“Nobody rides for free… motherfucker.”
– King Of New York

The 800 pound gorilla that lives in a room inside my head is the financial hardships my filmmaking brings not just on me but on the ones who love and support me and it’s something i don’t take lightly because it wears on me more than i can ever express… The financial burden of it all envelopes my existence on a daily basis… There’s not a single day that goes by that i am not searching in my mind for a way to lift the friends and family who have donated their time and energy (and yes even money) to my films with some kind of financial remuneration…

It’s gotten to the point where i feel like that 800 pound gorilla has taken my head as collateral and is demanding payment for every film i want to make… Demanding some kind of potential financial reward for every project i embark on… The more i try to put it off the more collateral it takes in the form of space in my head… The more it tries to crowd out any other thoughts, the more it demands a larger sum for the space it claims in my thought process… The financial aspects of filmmaking are like a virus that’s overtaking my system and only “making it”, only making money will cure the disease… My mind is literally being colonized by the idea that i must monetize the thing that helps keep me sane, that keeps me able to deal with the world…

Capitalism sucks… The problem with living within a capitalist society is that everything must be monetized… Including art…  Its taken me all these years to become mildly comfortable with the idea that art and money are two separate things. If i said i was a writer and i needed to write in order to stay sane and alive it would be understood. If i said i was a painter and i needed to paint in order to stay sane and alive it would be understood. If i was a singer or a musician and needed to my make music in order to keep me sane and alive it would be understood.

However when it comes to filmmaking the idea of needing to make a film in order to stay sane and alive seems a harder concept to grasp because it requires so much capital to make a film… And that idea isn’t just harder to grasp for everyone else but for me as well… Becoming comfortable with the idea that my sanity and my life depends on making films is difficult for me to process, difficult for me to swallow… Even a no budget film requires some capital even if that capital is the time and energy it takes to make it. And if that capital of time and energy is being spent on making a film then it’s not being spent on creating capital for myself or others… And so i have struggled with the elitism of needing to make a film in order to stay sane and alive…

“And to all my friends
who’ve been the best to me
Soon will be the day
I’ll repay you handsomely”
– Big Audio Dynamite

It’s all coming to a head though… i’m maturing enough to understand that being an anti-capitalist in this capitalist world means being forced into living the contradiction… It means learning to balance the idea of doing something for love without abusing the ones who support you… It means learning to weigh your idealism against your reality… It means walking the tight rope of keeping your options open to selling your art to keep your soul and your self intact and in doing so maybe on a certain level keeping the soul and self of everyone who supported you along the way intact as well…

They say only two things in life are unavoidable – death and taxes… But for artist’s it’s much more complicated… For artists it’s death, art and taxes… Usually when people say taxes they mean paying the state a portion of your “earned” wages… But it’s all taxes to me… The concern for me as to how i will make a living is taxing… The concern of my friends and how they will make “a living” is taxing… The idea of “making it” so that my friends and my family don’t ever have to explain why they stand by me (not that i know if they do have to explain or not but i imagine that they do) is taxing… The 800 pound gorilla in my head collateralizing more and more of my thoughts and energies is a tax…

i’m finding it hard to find a way to end this little essay of self-indulgence… It was not my intent when i started writing this to say any of what i have said… My intent was to write about the joy of making another film with a new camera and how much it pushed away all the sorrow and hurt and depression and bad feelings i have been living with for so long since i was last shooting a film… i guess it’s difficult to write about the joy filmmaking brings me without talking about the pain it also brings…

Look at the picture at the top… That smile is me at my happiest… me at my most joyful… Look at the crew… Jeff “AK” my DP with the long board that double as our dolly, Omar’s daughter Mo, on my right shoulder (who is the star of this latest short film) seeing her work for the first time that night… Joe my producer who doubled as the sound man with his daughter Soliann finally seeing the fruits of our insanity… And Omar who is also a filmmaker and took the production stills, who i know is feeling good because he has a camera in his hands… Even the strangers – the woman looking over my head and the young girl in the background with the baseball hat on – are curious about what could be so important and what could be making so many people happy to on that little screen…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1pz

THE FUTURE IS WRITTEN by vagabond ©

THE FUTURE IS WRITTEN


i’ve never been one to shoot stuff i don’t really intend to use so when i wanted to shoot another test for the Red Epic i had to come up with something that could have a life beyond being simply a camera test. For a while now i’ve wanted to shoot a time-lapse of an art project that i thought would be fun and interesting to do. It entailed some posters i had silkscreen years ago from some designs i did for my company Audio Visual Terrorism. So i combined that idea of making this art piece with the camera test and voila… the future is written…

Jeff “AK” Akers my cinematographer on MACHETERO (go see that film – it kicks ass and not just because i made but just because it does) and co-conspirator on more than a few other films. Jeff not only handled the cinematography duties but he also literally jumped into the film. My pit bull Mya makes a short cameo at the end because who doesn’t love adorable pit bulls?

vagabond on stage
vagabond on stage
vagabond doing his best Ivan from The Harder They Come
vagabond doing his best Ivan from The Harder They Come
Jumping Jeff's
Jumping Jeff’s
vagabond & Mya
vagabond & Mya

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1p8

less than ideal art and ideas for a less than ideal world…

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