Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Global Groove Network - Journal entry #5

September 18th

This particular portion of the journey is something I’ve been looking forward to but at the same time avoiding in my mind. The first time experience of going to a ‘POW WOW’ at an Indian reservation is something I can’t wait to do… revisiting my home town… I’m avoiding it a little bit mentally. I haven’t been to my hometown in almost ten years and it’s been really put as a distant memory in my mind. It’s not to say I had a bad childhood but the tail end of my time before I left, my parents finally separated after 25 years. This experience was the last taste in my mouth before I went to university and it really was sour. My folks had what you could say a rocky break up. My dad was the support beam for me my whole life while my mom was like a storm always spreading strong negative energy all our ways. She wasn’t a bad person per say but she was really selfish and thoughtless sometimes on her decisions and emotional out bursts. It really took its toll on all of us. I couldn’t wait to leave and when I did I haven’t been back since… until now.

It’s the 16th… I’ve rented a car for me and my crew and we were off to Lakefield Ontario, my old hometown. The purpose of this piece is to give the viewer some background on why this story means what it means to me. The beats of choice for this trip are mixed tunes from The Greenskeepers, Theivery Corporation, Kruder and Dorfmeister, and so on… so if you know these bands you’re getting a sense of the mood. I’m relaxed and ready to absorb the moment; Nothing like a little highway driving in to cottage country to start the day right.

We arrive in Lakefield and some things have changed but there is certainly a lot that hasn’t. I see a skeletal of the past with the present popping through. It certainly would have been nice if McDonalds existed during my childhood days. Nothing beats the quarter pounder combo… oh yeah. As we ventured through the village the memories just came and went as we continued to the destination that was still to come. The school sign was freshly painted but the driveway to the campus was the same… as we drove in I was getting a real sense of déjà vu which was really cool. I grew up at a private school out in the middle of nowhere. Lakefield has a population of 2300 people and is smack dab in the middle of farms, woods, lakes, and anything else you might think of as country surroundings. My dad was a teacher at this rich kid school where we lived as a family. Our house had a living residence for students attached and my father would play surrogate dad for about 50 teenagers. To give you an idea of what kind of teenagers he had to deal with lets just say Prince Andrew was included in the mix. It was really weird as a middle class family living there having to share your dad with rich kids and growing up with an assortment of people who had traveled half way around the world to go to school here. It was truly a unique and eye opening experience with pros and cons.

As we set up the cameras and took a stroll around the campus I opened up about my early days and it ended up being really rewarding dealing with things I hadn’t thought about in a while. A new appreciation for my childhood came to the surface and even though not every memory was a positive one I feel it’s good to reflect on your up bringing. The themes covered in this project are about connection and family. As I track down my surrogate restaurant family from ten years ago it’s nice to understand and bring to the surface my blood relations in order to really appreciate the journey I’m going on. This trip meant a lot to me and it even gives me the courage to reconcile with my mom… soon. I won’t lie to you… I went to my old house and saw the car in the driveway but my mom and I are not there yet… but I feel after this project I will be able to tell her everything that I feel and I’m hoping this one time she listens.

The second day to the weekend involved a couple of things that I really looked forward to. First was the experience of a culture that I grew up around but didn’t appreciate at the time and the second was getting to see one of my biggest role models in my life, my dad. The POW WOW was in the middle of bush out by the Curve Lake reservation about 30 minutes outside my hometown. The Ojibwa people do an annual celebration of their culture which kind of culminates other Indian cultures into one 2 Day celebration. For the course of two full days, led only by the drums of the elders, the celebration flows to a rhythm of beats and chants that have been carried down from generation to generation. People from the surrounding areas come and watch and participate as the dances and beats of the drum continue from the early morning until it’s time for bed… then it begins all over again. The similarities to the dance culture in terms of the celebration of music within a community are very much the same. You could compare the different drummers and chanters that participated as the d-jays while the community that embraced and took part from a dancing and spiritual sense is where a lot of us feel when we go to a party. It’s about expression which dancing is… communication stems from this expression and even though you can be strangers with the people you participate with at first, it’s really easy to come together when you’re involved in something like this. The footage we got will really knock this point out of the park… I look forward to bringing this chapter of the story to the screen.

The second thing that really made this day special was seeing my dad again. He came out to the POW WOW to say hi and actually help in communicating the Native message and purpose to the viewers on film. You see my father is a retired professor who has his masters in Native studies. He actually was the first white guy to graduate Trent University with a Masters in this field and he was kind enough to share his thoughts to myself, the crew, and the audience. He really shed some light on the parallels of the two cultures and their connection to music and performer as a guide to its community. I’m really excited to share it with you the viewer and I promise a new perspective will come from listening and seeing it for yourself.

Overall another great success; the stars seem to be in alignment and I’m really looking forward to the editing room as well as ironing out the details for the next trip. I’m off to LA again and possibly Vegas pending on the d-jays schedules. I plan on reconnecting with Mike in LA, one of my old friends from the East Side days, also I plan on going and doing some studio time with the artist Rithma in order to show the audience what goes in to making the music we love to shake our asses too, but as for the profiles I’m doing next… it’s a surprise.

Let’s just say it’s a big one and I can’t wait!!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Global Groove Network - Journal entry #4

July 24th

On the road once again… it’s a beautiful day and as I drive from Toronto to Montreal I can’t help but get excited as each kilometer ticks away. I have about five hours before I reach my destination but to keep me company is the new compilation Heather and Colette have put together. This Chicago bred duo has put together I think their best set to date on CD and I’m ready to enjoy…

You know what’s interesting to me is somewhere in the world someone is probably going to be doing the same thing I’m about to do in terms of listening to these discs…

Connections… we all have them and today for me is a day of reflection before I meet and interview the ladies.

The interviews happen at midnight once the ladies settle in from there cross country trek from the west coast. My crew and I are anticipating some great conversation and performances tonight at Stereo in Montreal. I'm pumped...

The travel… It’s fun but it truly becomes tiring and I have to say this because the ladies are in full tour mode around the world and I have to give the gals props… just to give you a sense of what they are doing in the next 30 hours it’s quite amazing. They left Chicago, they leave Los Angeles, they arrive in Montreal to perform at 5am for a crowd of excited followers and newbie’s, and they leave in the afternoon as they continue on to Dallas and continue their tour throughout the world. The love of the music and the love of performing and uniting the global community is the gas that keeps these music machines going… I love it!

The sun has gone down and the streets are alive here in Montreal… I've always liked coming back to this city because it’s like experiencing European culture and lifestyle with a twist of Canadian. My mom’s side of the family originated from here when my grandmother moved with my grandfather from France after the war. I was born in Ontario but my Quebec and European roots mean something to me and this city always brings it to the surface. It’s a perfect setting and great energy to capture the ladies in action.

The midnight hour is upon us and the interviews are about to begin…

The set begins at 5am and it’s full house here at Stereo…

All I can say as I walk into the hotel at 8am is that I have just experienced another chapter of new perspective and connection to both my fellow community brothers and sisters and the two ladies I counted the days to see… Miss Colette and Heather you are truly unique ladies of knowledge and talent and I thank you for sharing your thoughts and performances.

I won’t say any more but all you need to know is that when you see the footage put together in the finished film you will agree…

The next month I plan to edit my footage to date but I’m on the road again in September and through the winter as I profile more great names and reunite with old friends. I go next to an Indian reservation to film and study the true tribal sensibilities of an ancient race of people. The people I speak of are the Ojibwa natives. They are unique subjects that reflect the underbelly of what our connections through music and community stem from… I will witness a POW WOW and get perspective and history on what music means to them.

So stay tuned and turn up the volume… I want to dance beeeeatch!!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Global Groove Network - Journal entry #3

June 26th

The festival has just ended and it was a hell of a weekend. To give you an idea of how big this thing is I’m going to throw you some numbers. They estimate the city of Toronto basically doubles in size during the 3 day weekend. About 2 million people from around the world come in to show off their pride and lets just say due to our Canadian ways we let the city be as loose as they want to be… don’t be surprised by the visuals lets leave it at that. The one thing that is really cool though about the festivities is how all cultures both hetero and homo come together and accept one another as who we are... people. There is no crimes, no issues, nothing; it really is nice to see and it really reflects the message of my film because the dance culture has such a big impact and use during the festival. There are several stages set up in parking lots along Church Street that feature d-jays from early day into the evening. Along with that there are several parties throughout the city that have guest d-jays and dance floors that stay alive until the next day with patrons. The tribal sensibilities are in full force and to see people of all nationalities and sexes dancing together and celebrating is truly an amazing thing to see.

What excited me the most during this weekend was the chance to get to know a d-jay I’ve admired and enjoyed watching over the past ten -years. His name is David Morales… he’s from Brooklyn New York originally, has a Grammy award under his belt, and has played all over the world for the past 20 years. He just recently opened a club called Sonic in Toronto and is trying to redefine the dance scene here in the city. From experience we have a great crowd of people who appreciate this medium of music but lately we have lost our way a bit… I look forward to the direction and venue he brings.

So the interview… Let’s just say it was an amazing 40 minutes and you’ll have to wait. He had so much to say and he was an interesting person to get to know… I look forward to highlighting it for you the audience along with the parties he plays.

Along with that interview I got to see Eric again. He’s just as I remembered him but grown up with responsibilities. One of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and the first gay friend I ever had. What was cool about our crew at East Sides was the acceptance; we never judged and we embraced the differences that everyone had. The time at East Sides was a big deal to Eric because he still hadn’t come out to his parents. He moved from a small town to the city and it was the first time in his life where he felt he didn’t need to pretend. During the time he spent at East Sides he came out to his parents and we got the moment and story on tape… again to see it you’ll have to stay tuned but I can say one thing it is moving and I know people out there have had similar struggles… I always enjoyed going out to the clubs and dancing with Eric and the others… Eric’s energy was great and it really contributed to the family.

The weekend was a success… Montreal is next where were going to be featuring some female D-jays from the San Francisco label OM records. These two ladies DJ Heather and DJ Collette are an amazing powerhouse behind the wheels and the voice on Miss Collette as she does vocals over her mixes is to die for… these gals are sexy and stylish and know how to get a crowd going… should be fun.

Global Groove Network - Journal entry #2

May 28th

I just got back from my weekend excursion from LA and it was successful from some points but it was a dead end from others. Knowing I was only going to be down for a few days on this particular trip I wanted my focus to be on tracking down a couple of particular people from my old days at East Side Mario’s. I knew I would be back later in the fall to do some interviews and studio and club time with some d-jays but it was more important that I find these people. The two individuals in question were Shaun and Mike…

Shaun is one of my best friends from those days and he has grown to be an accomplished actor over the years. With two series leads in Canada and a stint on General Hospital he has worked constantly in the film and television industry which is a major thing because it’s so hard to crack the barrier of wannabe and professional. We have been good friends from the beginning and even though we might not see one another as much as we like we are able to pick up where we left off every time… we had such good times at some of those parties as well as the work environment in the past… he also was one of the guys who introduced me to Drum and Bass which was a another fascinating genre of music within the community we belonged. I remember when he would freestyle vocals at people’s parties with another friend you’ll get to meet Robby… or as he likes to me known in that world DJ Wigs. He was the easy person to connect with… we had some good stories and I look forward to sharing them with all of you.

Now Mike is another story… we used to be super close until an incident happened that put a divider between us. The incident in question won’t be revealed yet… you’ll have to watch it when the film comes out. Mike and I used to do every thing together and I met him at East Sides. The raves and the parties were a big thing and we loved getting the group together and going out to dance the night away after work. I haven’t seen him in years and now he’s all grown up, married, and a chiropractor for the rich folk of Orange County. It doesn’t surprise me though… he’s a good guy and I’m sure the female clientele must be piling up due to his blond ken doll perfection.

Was I able to track him down? Not yet… My info wasn’t reliable so I have to go back to the drawing board… I have another source to find his number so it shouldn’t be to hard… I can’t wait until I see his face when I knock on that door… it will be interesting. I look forward to it.

Anyways journal… I will be in touch. The PRIDE festival in Toronto is next… one of my buddies Eric from the East Side crew I’m meeting with as well as David Morales. I’m filming a promotional video for one of the sponsors but this will truly be more then just that… the Morales interview and parties… this man has truly seen it all in the underground scene as well as commercial spectrum... I'm sure he has some great perspective on the community... I can’t wait!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Global Groove Network - Journal entry #1

March 28th

It’s been a hell of ride down here in South Beach. The world music conference was amazing. It showcased some of the best talent in the world behind the decks but there was something more to see and experience. The music, the energy, the emotional high that people were on, and the multi-cultural community that made up this infectious crowd spoke to me… and sure enough we were able to capture some of it on film.

This journey so far which takes me to LA next then around the world has opened my eyes. Of course you have vision going into a project but the way a documentary plays out the unexpected is something I enjoy embracing as a piece of the story. I have certainly had some good experiences and bad experiences on this trip but overall it’s been a great chapter in my life. You find who you are and who other people can be and that’s what gives us sensibility in life and helps us grow.

As an independent film maker with credit cards and a dream I look forward to the next year of filming. This story and the people it involves is about to begin and I hope to do them justice.

So long for now journal … I will be talking to you soon.