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Monthly Archives: May 2014

The warmest day yet yesterday in Surrey.  I am resting and relaxing from editing the Locked Doors video which was made through Nothing About Us Without Us art exhibition.  Here is the link for Locked Doors Vimeo:

Locked Doors was made through Nothing About Us Without Us art exhibition held at Gachet Gallery December 2013-January 2014. Locked Doors screened at Chicago First Nations Film & video Festival in April 2014. I reedited it with 10.1.1 final cut pro at Gachet Gallery during April. During March I fixed and reedited the audio track at First Nations House of Learning with their final cut pro 7 and made a dvd but as much as I tried to turn it into a good dvd copy it did not work because originally the Locked Doors video was shot with a current Canon video still photography camera. Dvd version from the 7 looked regressed. I viewed jagged lines in the face and furniture where the reading of the poem took place. The Locked Doors edited at FNHL uploaded to You Tube. That copy was used as a viewing copy for film video festivals. I promised director Ernest Whiteman if accepted at the Chicago Native film & Video Festival I would obtain a good copy so I worked hard on 10.1.1 fcp to get one. I tried to import the fcp 7 edited file onto 10.1.1 fcp but it would not accept it. All that work to fix it was not useable so I had to redo it again. What was hard was that I did not know 10.1.1 that well. I had to learn as I went along. Fortunately I was not green to work with fcp. I knew how to edit. I know final cut pro 5 & & 7 but they are different than 10.1.1. Needed to know to do 10.1.1’s cuts, transitions, overlays and other things. I do not know everything but enough to basic cut. Learned fcp 10.1.1 has a different terminology to edit but basically editing is editing. Why Apple changed it? I do not know. Saving is automatic. In the fcp 7 & 5, under file, it says save or save file. No longer is that there. What I wanted most was to see the audio file enlarged so I could insert key frames and change the volume. Cecily was able to obtain Issac to give hands on lessons with fcp 10.1. 1. Thanks Issac it helped. It sped up the process. I was reading the manual but sometimes it did not work. Slower to work on it. I had a deadline. Had to e mail files to E Whiteman by May l. So I worked steadily for 2 weeks in April from 12 noonish or a little earlier. Not much earlier and late sometimes depending upon who stayed up late at the gallery. I wanted to work on it in March but I could not. A play played there. It took a lot of time. I never travelled much into Vancouver because of that. So I had to get it done in a month.

I travel all the way into Vancouver from Surrey which is a long way. Rainy days I take the bus to the sky train station. Take sky train to Vancouver. Hop off at Stadium exit and bike to the Gachet gallery which is 10 min.. As I worked it, I felt tired because I could not sleep. It finished Wednesday, April 30 14 around 4 p.m. 2 ½ hours to upload to Vimeo. This copy definitely looks better on Vimeo than You Tube.

Here’s the link for the 64th Year video I made for Anywhere Dance:

64th Year was created for Dance Anywhere Beth Fein’s organization from SF, CA. As participants we danced a dance anywhere worldwide @ 12 noon on March 28 14. It was shot at an elementary school parking lot located nearby. I figured if they did not want me there when I shot it, I would willingly go if they kicked me off their grounds so it was tested that day. I did not find the location until the night before. I biked over there to check it out. Saw a sign at the school, biked closer and it said, Spring Break March 23-30. I said perfect time. The kids will be away. So I appointed Mark J. McLeod to be the videographer. Easy to grab him to help. We set up a tripod quickly and tried not to call attention to us. I tried to do it quickly. Had to work out the outline borders where the camera shot, where and when I moved within the frame of the camera. Best to keep within the frame. I watched the shot right afterwards to see if the shot was okay. Mark in the beginning kept cutting my head off. Then he adjusted to the situation. The shots turned out better. The shot uploaded to Vimeo was the best without any huge errors on my part and Mark’s. I wanted it done in one take. Always it is more complicated to shoot with two cameras, use crew such as videographer and sound recordist.  Also use dancers and coordinate their time schedules with the crew. That is why I only use myself most of time for Anywhere Dance. I have done Dance Anywhere only twice. No big complications. Easy to shoot but it really was not easy to shoot. I had to choreograph the dance too.

Choreography started a month earlier here and there. Got to have room to practice dance steps. Practiced steps in different places. Closer to March 28th I rehearsed dance twice after the Newton Library closed on Sunday in the parking lot. Once on a Sunday I rehearsed close to the Newton Library at a parking lot near the back of the Dairy Queen and the Newton Recreation Hall. I arrived at the parking lot first to rehearse. Then 5-10 minutes later, the cops showed up. They parked their car right in front opposite me literally as I rehearsed. Too bad some other videographer did not show up and videotape us. Cops hang around in Surrey-Newton lately more than usual because a woman was murdered near the Newton Recreation Hall at the end of January. Cops suddenly changed their tactics. They do sweeps, act paranoid and victimize people. That was when and where I expressed at a meeting at Newton Recreation Hall February 15 14 to the cops and public where were you when the Indigenous were missing and murdered when all that happened. The day before I walked the Missing & Murdered Women March, February 2014 in Vancouver. I view a double standard in regards to Indigenous women in treatment of missing and murdered people. Well you know I love cops and love to zap out anyone who asks me what I am doing when I dance on the streets. I have done it many times, dance in the streets. This is not only the only time. So I proceeded to work and make up dance steps by practicing til memorized in my brain. Once I timed the dance: a minute and ½ total. I didn’t not care how long it lasted. At least I created a dance for a minute. Dance steps happen impromptu as well. I tried to perfect my dance in front of the cops. They stayed for almost a l/2 hour just watching. What did they expect.

This one woman friend said they were expecting someone “crazy.” Hey what’s crazy, man. I was practicing turns learned in dance class and experimenting with steps for the dance. I still can do some turn steps okay, but I never get a chance to practice them. In order to do turns okay to real good, a person has to practice steps to work out okay. I out lasted them. I think they became bored with my rehearsal and left. Now that scene makes me laugh. Now they know someone in Surrey who dances in parking lots.

I retorted to that friend about being crazy. “Hey I can dance man!” It’s not just any dance. I do not know how smart those cops are but if I viewed a dancer like that and the dance, I’d know that person had dance training. I usually can tell. It shows upon the person. Personally I do not think many cops are as educated and aware in their lives. They lack information about Indigenous people, women, people of color, what happens in the world, filmmaking, music, art… I never had a cop as a friend so I really do not know but I view and read many articles about corrupt cops. I can tell they victimize by the way they have treated or treat me. I am dark skinned of color. From that I would say they are racist and sexist. Not all but some. I really have no respect for people who are racist and sexist.

Another reason why I made the 64th Year is I have loved dance since I was 12. Once I wanted to be a dancer. When I was fourteen I viewed West Side Story by Robert Wise. Dances were choreographed by Jerome Robbins. Always I liked certain dances from WSS like when the Puerto Rican male gang dances as a trio in the streets. I tried to emulate that. After viewing that film at 14, I asked my mother if I could take dance classes. I called up dance studios in Phoenix to ask about dance lesson fees. I found a place that didn’t seem to charge so high. I asked my mother after I called, may I take this dance class. It costs $4-5 per lesson. My parents paid for dance classes an entire year at 14 years old. I read many books about ballet and ballerinas. As I became older, I learned about modern dance, Martha Graham and all the dancers associated with that. Then there is jazz dance. I use to watch American Band Stand, Where the Action Is, Hullabaloo, Shindig and Soul Train in the U.S. I imitated the dancers and dances. As I said I use to practice dance steps with a girlfriend in elementary school who liked to dance during summer afternoons. That is how we got better. That kind of interest in social dance continued most of my life to the present. At social clubs, if I really liked a song to dance to and no one wanted to dance usually I danced alone. When I lived in LA, I observed a few times a few who were brave and danced intensely by themselves such as an Afro young man. That person wanted to dance so much he danced by himself. I have done that too at clubs. Generally the public is scared in their pants to dance by themselves. I know I am a better than average social dancer.

All my life I have taken various types of dance classes, low cost or free dance classes. At UCLA when I was a graduate film student I took dance classes from their dance department. The dance department had mostly modern dance and other different types such as the Capoeira. I took the Capoeira dance from an Afro young man who knew how to play the gourd instrument. I remember the teacher said he went to Brazil to learn the dance. I have viewed that dance here in Vancouver. Capoeira is a martial arts dance.

From those dance classes I was exposed to, I liked the jazz and Afro jazz dance the best. I have taken some dance workshops in LA & here & there in Vancouver. I have observed hip hop dance. A person has to be trained in gymnastics to do those physical feats.

For example, idealistically I would like to include another dancer in a Dance Anywhere dance. I thought to try it this year but I know only two people who may do it. Their schedules are too hard to deal with than some people. They are not Indigenous either, but that does not matter. I need bodies who will dance this style. I do not know any Indigenous type who would dance this without pay and attend at least one rehearsal. To make that dance among the other things is hard to do. For example during 2013 I could not do it. I did the Cannibal Women Camp Out play. On the day the troupe left for Kelowna for the play, Dance Anywhere happened. I could not ask the driver of the car to stop at least a l/2 hour to video tape dance steps. Too stressful and the van had to make it there.

I know two dancer types. I met a woman from a dance class Move It. I took class with her. I know she could do it. Most likely she could create her own dance. The other is a guy actor. I have an intuition he could do it. Either one could dance with me. They could make up their own dances. Prefer to work with people, who are reliable, do not complain about not being paid and about doing a rehearsal. At least to have a dance rehearsal than none at all. Twice is better though.

But I did not do that this year. The edit of Locked Doors dominated over Dance Anywhere project, but I am glad I created a dance when I had important things to do. I manage myself solo better than to include other dancers. I can yank Mark J. McLeod to shoot the video. I taught him videography and I express what to do.

With these two videos, I worked hard on them. It leads me to express yes, making these videos creates creative satisfaction. Yes I would like to show them in places. Videos and films were meant to be shown to people. Yes I am grateful that First Nations Film & Video Festival in Chicago will screen Locked Doors. I am grateful to First Nations House of Learning and Gachet Gallery for letting me edit Locked Doors there. Many people reject what I have done in the last 15 years. I have observed many kinds of reactions from people; for example about Locked Doors. One guy at Gachet Gallery, said I tried to look at it without the audio. In this case the audio matters to listen to it. What is that? What do I expect? I receive all kinds of reactions. Sometimes it’s disheartening. Sometimes people totally get it.