Category Archives: AUDIO VISUAL TERRORISM

ART WILL BE THE DEATH OF ME


BUk and vagabond

So the rumors of my death or near death have been only slightly exaggerated – but not without cause… Had a traffic jam in my heart and you all know how much i hate traffic… The blockage in my heart gave a me a heart attack… A combo of inheritance (genetics), good eats (but bad for your health) and filmmaker artist blues (stress)…

So Friday December 18th shoulda been on my tombstone but i have cheated death again… temporarily… at least for now… And now Friday December 18th of 2015 is kind of a 2nd birthday… It’s nice having a 2nd birthday but i wouldn’t recommend it… One is enough for all of us…

i’m in the good and very capable hands in the BX at Montefiore and the nurses and docs here are top notch… Whatever they pay these people it’s not enough… The Filipino, Ghanaian, Jamaican, Trinidadian, Italian, Gambian, Indian, Monserratian, Iranian, Korean, Chinese, Dominican, Puerto Rican hospital crew got my back… All smart and compassionate and tough and on message… i can’t tell you how many of them have told me about how much i have to change my eating habits and lifestyle – they don’t want me coming back – at least not under these conditions

i’ll try my best to make changes… no salt, no sugar, no red meat, no fat… my taste palate just went beige, no flavor, no color, no taste… Not a complete ban on that stuff but everything in moderation – very small moderation… Big changes must come and must come soon… It’ll be hard but i’m a do it… There are too many films asking to be made and asking me to make them and too many places i’ve never been on this big blue marble… And way too many people that would be upset if i don’t make some positive health changes…

But the docs say i’m lucky… Dodged a bullet like Neo in The Matrix… They say my echo is good and miniscule damage to the heart because i got in early… Props to the ambulance driver, she can wheel… (must find her and giver her, her propers)… So i’m good… Was Chillin’ in hospital while they made sure i’m good… They say i should be back on the streets soon…

Home now and chillin’ like the villain that i am… thinking about how to balance the idea of getting more done with my renewed lease on life without being consumed by the stress that broke my heart in the first place… i think the artist has the advantage of having the outlet of art but it also comes with the life long constant and ever imposing reality that you will never be free of art… It’s impossible for the artist to turn off their mind, to stop working, to stop being creative… The artist’s mind is constantly working, constantly scrutinizing the world and trying to make sense of what a life that for the most part has no logic…

Artist’s don’t take daze off… They don’t take vacations… Don’t go on holidaze… Don’t know what it is to leave work behind… The artist mind is always racing and between the pressures of making some kind of living (either with or without your art), family, friends, etc… it can be rough to be stress free… The only time we become stress free is when we finish a project… There’s that momentary satisfaction, that peace, that tranquility of purging the idea… And we enjoy it… It’s a rush that purges the stress… But it’s temporary…

The next idea is creepin’ around and rearing up it’s head and asking what about me…? When are you gonna realize me…? And so it begins again… The fever, the anxiety, the stress, the restriction, the pull, the tightening…

Before my heart attack i would often kill many of these ideas in my head in order to shut them up… How many ideas have been killed…? How much blood is on my hands…? i imagine that there is a room in my head  where i keep the dead bodies of ideas… i only open the door to that room to toss the corpses of artistic ideas in… i never look to see how the dead bodies are piled up or how many there are…

For the past year i have been trying to do two documentaries at once… Harlem’s Last Poet on the life of Last Poet Abiodun Oyewole and Six Shooters about six Puerto Rican teenagers from the 70’s and 80’s who chose camera as their weapon of choice… Been working on a sci-fi script that i’m halfway through writing…  Have to edit a short film tentatively entitled Sacred And Profane shot in the deserts of Nevada this past Spring with my Red Epic… Gotta get a short film we made a year ago called Coney Island Dreaming out to some festivals and see what happens… Trying to adapt an Afro-Futurist novel for the big screen as a potential Hollywood franchise… Some time next Spring a book of posts from this blog will be published by 2 Leaf Press under the name NOTHING TO BE GAINED HERE… And there are other ideas other projects in various stages all calling for attention…

This art thing is a lover… and like all lovers we fight and we make love and we fight and we talk and we refuse to talk and we argue and we forgive… It’s a lover, this art thing, and it will kill me… Art will be the death of me (hopefully)… You have to die of something and art is good way to live and i suppose it’s as good way to die… as good as any other way…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1Bb

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STARVING THE ARTIST


Vimeo 1080P

Ok… ok… ok… this is an off the dome rant… One that can be seen as a selfish weak ass piece of shit but it’s how i feel sometimes… A lot of times… Most times… To be honest all the time… For those who give a shit about true politically and artistically radical independent filmmaking the price of my film MACHETERO is dropping on this Grito De Lares from $5.99 for a 48 hour rental to $2… and from $10 to download and own to $5… So now the price should be a smaller hurdle to get over… This is an experiment for me to see if people are actually interested in this kind of filmmaking, story, artistic experimentation, politic, etc… etc…

Maybe the price is a problem… Maybe it’s not… Maybe i’m bad at marketing and promotion… Maybe i need someone who is someone, to say that i am someone, for you to believe that this is something you should watch… Maybe it’s some of those things or a combination of those things or none of those things or all of those things…

If just one person a day rented MACHETERO at the original price of $5.99 i would make $5 a day which is about $150 a month… If one person a day bought MACHETERO at the original price of $10 i would make $9 a day which is about $270 a month… If both those things were to happen a day i would make about $420 a month… $420 a month comes out to about $5000 a year… MACHETERO cost $16,000 to make… A rental and purchase a day at $420 a month comes to about $5000 a year, which means the film can recoup its cost in approximately three years and three months… After another three years at those rates of rentals and purchases i could afford to give $1000 back to all of the key personnel who worked for free to make the film… And none of those people are expecting to get paid… so how nice would it be to get a thousand dollars for a film you worked on six years ago for free…?

Why should i try and make some money off a revolutionary film that calls for the ouster of the us colonial government in Puerto Rico…? Because we live in a capitalist society and as much as i would love to give my film away for free that doesn’t help me survive within this capitalist structure… It doesn’t help me to make another film which i have to make… Why?

Because i didn’t choose to make films or be a filmmaker… Filmmaking chose me… How do i know this…? Because i’ve tried to quit time and time again… Like Michael Corleone said in Godfather III, “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in”, thats me and filmmaking… i love making films… and i could give a shit if anyone likes them or the saw them… But the nature of capitalism is that you need to make money off of what you love and so this is where i fail miserably… And maybe, purposely because i’m an anti-capitalist… So maybe this boo-hoo, woe is me, cry me a fucken river bullshit rant is just all my own fault and has nothing to do with anyone else… i can’t take the blame for it, but i can take the responsibility for it… There’s a difference but i’ll let you tease that out…

Anyway… this is an experiment… Let’s see what happens… It’s obvious i’m not in this for the money… i just dropped the price of the rental and purchase price of the film… No one would do that if i they were in it for the money… Shit with the hours i work making a film i could make more money working minimum wage at Mickey D’s… So let’s see how it all shakes out… Fuck it… if nothing comes of this it won’t be because i tried… and failed… and tired again… and failed… and tried again… and failed… and tried again…

And now a word from our sponsor… This bullshit whine fest is brought to you by MACHETERO on Vimeo On Demand… what’s that mean…? It means Vimeo is available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, Playstation, X-Box and Roku if you want to watch on your TV at home (which as a filmmaker i highly suggest since it’s the closest you’ll come to a theatrical experience)… Vimeo is also available on your phone, tablet and computer…

And to those who have rented or purchased MACHETERO already i thank you for your support… It means more than you can know… And it goes further than you can imagine…

Vimeo Streaming Players & TV

Vimeo Mobile Devices

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1AF

DOIN’ THE NUYORICAN THING


DOIN' THE NUYORICAN THING by vagabond ©
DOIN’ THE NUYORICAN THING by vagabond ©

Last year i shot a book video for Sam Diaz Carrion’s book Our Nuyorican Thing: The Birth Of A Self-Made Identity. i never got around to actually cutting it though and i felt bad because Sam’s an amazing person, a completely underrated poet that could easily be forgotten and this video was my way of making sure that he wasn’t forgotten or cast aside or ignored… Part of the reason i had such a hard time with the edit was because Sam was tackling a huge subject. He was trying to define something that as he says has no borders or flag or definition… He was going toe to toe with the idea or term Nuyorican…

Sam Diaz used to work at the Nuyorican Poets Café in the Lower East Side of NYC. He would often be asked about what a Nuyorican is… In a series of poems and stories from Sam’s new book Our Nuyorican Thing: The Birth of A Self-Made identity, published by 2Leaf Press, Sam explores the self-made identity that is Nuyorican… Both the shooting and the edit were difficult because i was trying to condense Sam’s ideas on the Nuyorican phenomenon and it was difficult to get to the essence of things down to the compact form that it eventually took shape in the final cut… His book is available on Amazon and of course is well worth getting…

Check the video…

OUR NUYORICAN THING COVER

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1xy

MACHETERO Goes To School


BRING MACHETERO TO YOUR CAMPUS

MACHETERO is a film that questions and challenges Puerto Rico’s colonial status in a way that brings post-9/11 definitions, ideas and notions of terrorism into play. Theatrically self-released in 2013, MACHETERO has screened all over the world and won awards in South Africa, Wales, England, Thailand, Ireland and New York. Check out the film in its entirety on Vimeo On Demand to determine if it’s right for your classroom or as a campus activity. MACHETERO is a perfect fit for:

  • Latin American Studies
  • Afro-American Studies
  • Post-Colonial Studies
  • Creative Writing
  • Media Studies
  • Film Studies
  • Music Studies
  • English Literature
  • Political Science Studies
  • Pan African Studies
  • Pan Latino Studies

For more information
Email: machetero.movie@gmail.com
Call: 347-772-9186

Other screening events have been sponsored by Latin American, Black, and Asian student groups as well as various social justice groups.

MACHETERO usually screens with a post screening Q&A with writer, producer and director vagabond (me). The film is a dense and layered mix of poetry, music, text, history and post-colonial theory placed within a fictional narrative framework in a manner never before conceived. The film is not just a film about revolution, but is revolutionary in it’s very form.

MACHETERO has engendered discussion, dialogue and debate on a variety of issues. There have been discussions about anti-colonial Puerto Rican history, the history of US imperialism and Puerto Rico’s global connection to the other anti-imperialist struggles. Dialogues have also incorporated the topics of filmmaking aesthetics, underground guerrilla filmmaking tactics, and the role of art as a tool for social change. The film has also sparked debates around  questioning of the definition and use of the terms “terrorism” and “terrorists” and how those terms are defined and used, who defines them and how they benefit from such definitions and labels.

DYLCIA PAGAN

Dylcia Pagan on the set of MACHETERO
Dylcia Pagan on the set of MACHETERO

There have also been MACHETERO screening events in the past that have included former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner of war Dylcia Pagan. Dylcia served 20 years in prison for fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico. Before she went to prison she was a TV producer, journalist and documentarian and so she has a unique perspective on the film and on the power of media in general. She also plays a pivotal role in MACHETERO. Her history and insights into the struggle against colonialism in Puerto Rico and how it’s connected to other global struggles is invaluable.

WHAT FOLKS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE FILM

Chuck D quote

Bill Quigley QUOTE

TJ ENGLISH QUOTE

SAM GREENLEE QUOTE

For more information
Email: machetero.movie@gmail.com
Call: 347-772-9186

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1vf

MACHETERO PRODUCTION STILLS


If you haven’t seen my film MACHETERO yet, maybe this collection of production stills will pique your interest…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1t4

 

The Liberation Day Tapes


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The genome of my six-time international award-winning feature film MACHETERO can be mapped right back to the NYC hardcore Puerto Rican punk band RICANSTRUCTION and their first album Liberation Day. When i write i often build a soundtrack to use as an emotional roadmap to guide me through the construction of the script. i often see songs as short stories or reinterpret them as short stories and i take those short stories and try to include them in my writing process.

MACHETERO is a film about terrorism and terrorists and how those terms are defined and by whom. The script was written a year after the terrorist events of September 11, 2001. i was waiting for a more nuanced analysis of those events to take place on a larger scale but they never did and so i wrote the script for MACHETERO and decided to explore those issues in a film. The terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 were polarizing and so referencing them in the script seemed counterproductive so i decided to use the struggle for Puerto Rico’s independence and the use of violence in that struggle as a means of liberation to talk about terrorism and terrorists.

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RICANSTRUCTION’s Liberation Day was a concept album based around the Puerto Rican independence struggle. So when i was looking for music to inspire my scriptwriting for MACHETERO i was immediately drawn to Liberation Day. The songs from Liberation Day started to insinuate themselves into the script and they eventually became a part of the structure of the film.

At the end of the final sound mix for MACHETERO my friend and fellow filmmaker Omar came by and brought his camera to interview Arturo and Joseph Rodriguez about how Liberation Day came into being. Artie and Joey talk about how RICANSTRUCTION came about and how the concept for Liberation Day took shape. Arturo and Joseph talk about the ideas and the creation of each song and afterward there is the corresponding scene from MACHETERO.

Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION
Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION

RICANSTRUCTION’s Liberation Day is available on iTunes and i highly recommend picking it up. You can hear all the influences of Jazz, Funk, Salsa, Hip hop, Reggae and Merengue placed into a hardcore punk setting in the music of RICANSTRUCTION. The rest of their catalog – the EP Abu Jamal and their 2nd album Love + Revolution are also on iTunes.

You can watch The Liberation Day Tapes on the Vimeo On Demand page for MACHETERO. The Liberation Day Tapes are part of a collection of extra videos that give some background information on the film and that are free to watch. There is also a radio interview i did with Chuck D about the film and an interview i did with Sam Greenlee the author and co-screenwriter of The Spook Who Sat By The Door. There is also a scene from the film featuring former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner of war Dylcia Pagan who plays a pivotal role in the film.

Six Time International Award Winning Film MACHETERO On Vimeo On Demand
Six Time International Award Winning Film MACHETERO On Vimeo On Demand

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1sT

Come Along


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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 intents and purposes homeless they were happy…

The film was shot on 16mm Kodak film recans and short ends (film that usually comes in 400′ rolls and isn’t completely shot and either re-canned or left un-shot), with a Bolex… It was a kind of musical where no one sang but music helped to tell the story… The music is a song entitled Come Along by the Black Arks which i think was a Lee “Scratch” Perry production since he had a studio called the Black Ark and the production of the track has Scartch’s DNA all over it…

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’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…

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 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