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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Broken Rainbow

There are so many documentaries made every year and few receive the attention they truly deserve. From my experience most documentary filmmakers work with virtually no budget. Passion and dedication is the driving force that gets their projects completed. Unfortunately after the film is edited and ready to be seen, the opportunities for distribution are commonly a dead end.

When was the last time you went to the cinema and paid to see a documentary? I’m ashamed to say for me it’s been a while.

With that said I urge everyone to make an effort to seek out documentaries either at the art houses or through their DVD rental store. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Yesterday I received via Netflix the Native American documentary “Broken Rainbow.” It’s an Oscar-winning documentary that I never knew existed, until now.
Made in 1985 it tells the story of the forced relocation of Navajo Indians in Arizona that started in the mid 1970s and sadly continues today. Though made in 1985, on the DVD there’s a special update called “2006: The Struggle Continues.” There’s no other word to describe what has happened to the Native Americans but genocide.

Why are the Navajo’s being relocated? Greed. The energy companies and government continually rape Mother Earth for money and power. Oil, gas, uranium, and coal are more important than preserving the sacred earth and indigenous people.

I would love to believe that corporate America and government will come to their senses but I know and you know that’s not true. Because they don’t have a conscience they are able to justify their egregious behavior.

Interspersed throughout the film are compelling interviews with various Navajo who give insight into their rich culture, their history, and the sacrifices they have been forced to make.

The closing song, “Broken Rainbow,” was written and sung by Laura Nyro:

The old people of the earth
Tell stories
An old woman
Of the old ways
She said -
"I recall my joy
In better days"
The young warriors
Of the open rainbow
Said "Tell me is it true?
Tell me, do some live
out of bags and rags
In the cities too?
Is it true?"
At the edge where I live
Home sweet home
America

Native American Nation
Caught in the devastation
An endless situation
What can I do?
The ghost of prejudice
Cuts thru the moonglow
Poet on a crying page -
Broken Rainbow

Broken Rainbow
Home sweet home
America

Monday, January 14, 2008

Oh Crap...

American Idol starts its new season.

Is our hunger for cheap entertainment so strong that we'll digest yet another season of train wreck Paula Abdul, and get excited watching people make complete fools of themselves?

Sadly I think the answer is yes.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Moment In Time

I have always had a fascination with photography, both color and black and white. Unfortunately I have always been a horrible photographer. Many of my photos are either out of focus or end up with my fat little fingers across the intended shot.

Once I thought I'd captured some mystical beings, orbs floating around the landscape, but upon closer inspection it was my very own fingers. Luckily I saw the error of my fingers before showing the photos to friends and associates with claims of my magical powers with a camera.

With my lack of photographic talent, and believe me when I say I've tried to develop my photographer skills to no avail, I have a deep appreciation for those who not only can take fingerless photos, but can capture the essence of what they see. I guess you can call it the photographer's "it." Sadly, I don't have "it."

For the holidays a photographer friend of mine gave me a framed photograph that I absolutely love.


In the hands of an inferior photographer this would have been just an empty pool surrounded by chain link fence and woods, but photographer Mark Indig really captures something here. It's desolate, haunting, and intriguing.

Sometimes I find myself staring at it and creating stories about the pool's existence when it was full of chlorinated water, blow up floats, and happy little families on vacation from the blandness that is suburbia. I imagine the fun they have splashing water at each other, and doing belly flops into the deep end. I yearn to be part of that family’s vacation.

But then I imagine I’m one of the kids dog paddling my way across the shallow end, and I look beyond the pool to see that the pool is actually in the back parking lot of a rundown motel on the interstate with the sounds of trucks passing by drowning out the birds chirping in the trees behind me.

Aah, the power of imagination…