After our huge Easter lunch we all went out to see Amazing Grace the movie at London's West India Quay. Best place to watch it! West India Quay is one of the first places mentioned in the movie and the scene where much of the slave trade took place in London. About 11 of us went, including our German friend Claudia, and we all enjoyed it.
Here is one of video producer Jason Rey's videos called Swang, which has achieved almost legendary status in the Houston hip-hop scene and is now a standard for other short hip-hop videos. One of the hip-hop artists, Hawk, died tragically from gunshot wounds shortly after this video was taken. Check it out and watch the cars SWANGING down the street. [Did i say that right, Jason?]
Jason Rey [de Leon] has been one of our Christmas guests. His favorite food at our feast, in case you were wondering, was the goose and chestnut/apple stuffing. Despite having his ass kicked by my 7 year old daughter Hannah in last night's karaoke competition, Jason managed to find his groove in one of the hip-hop songs and used his advantage to beat Abigail, who is a few years older than Hannah.
This is Hannah licking a lollipop after humiliating Jason (right) in the Jones's Christmas Karaoke competition, while Jessica plays with our kitten Charlie Chaplin.
I asked Jason about his video "Swang" and what that word means. I have nailed him down to a quasi definition:
Swang is a word given to the sync'd swerving down the street of a groups of "slabs" ie, late 70's/early 80's American big bodied cars. Think 1950's low-rider cruising making it into todays world.
- Rapper Z-Ro from Rap-A-Lot Records uses "swang" in at least one of his songs on Z-Ro vs the World.
- Swang on Wikipedia is not very helpful here, referring to a folk dance from Malwa but the ending sentence alludes to this new word:
"More recently elongated to "Swanging" in the verbal form for a more "hip" and "youthfull" use. For example "I was swanging allnight baby!""
- Swang on Urban Dictionaryoffers some helpful sentences that will help you talk like a native:
"look hear comes some hot whips they'r swang'n"
The Amazing Grace project seems to be picking up speed. Walden's Bob Beltz tells me the official website has been revamped - and it looks really good! A nice trailer is floating around. Its a lot shorter than the trailer Bob showed us earlier this year at Freakstock but it still captures the heart of the movie. Amazing Grace the movie project is now on Wikipedia. The Amazing Change suggests some ways you can get involved. And Erik Lokkesmoe (project manager for Amazing Grace) has started a simple blog called Grace Notes that I expect will keep up with this movie's progress and how people are using it to bring freedom in the various levels of life where slavery and oppression still rule.
I was thinking about throwing some parties and seeing who else wants to throw a party around the release date of the movie (23rd Feb and 23rd March, 2007). These could be coordinated globally with not much effort - a bit like the Firefox 2.0 release parties. Anyone up for that? Now here's that trailer:
I got an email invitation to be in phone chat with Sylvester Stallone last week regarding his new movie, Rocky Balboa. Which I accepted. But I didnt hear from them again. I am guessing they saw that i am now living in UK and decided to GIVE ME THE SHAFT which is fine. . . no hard feelings . .. just means Sly didn't get to say "Yo! . . Tall Skinny Kiwi!" and I didn't get any specific info on his movie that I can share with you.
But let me throw out a Sly quote:
"If you don't have a great relationship with God, you can go off the deep end. The Christian foundation of life is really the perfect ideal which one should base every decision they make on, because it comes from a sense of kindness, a sense of giving, a sense of fairness, and it avoids everything which I'm exposed to every day in my particular industry which is greed, and avarice and jealousy and bitterness . . ." Interview with Catholic Digest
Quite a number of projects heating up as March 2007 gets nearer. March, as you know, is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.
1. The Truth Isnt Sexy Check out these flyers and banners. Its almost enough to get my blogged banned from censoring software programs . . . . AGAIN!
My friend Si Johnston of Protest 4 says The Truth Isnt Sexy Campaign is kicking off. It needs your prayer and support if we are to make a dent in the human trafficking situation by MARCH next year. The beer mats are not available online yet but i have seen the e-versions - really powerful and sad. The front side contains the images like you see above, and the back has the story of abuse and slavery that is connected.
3. Amazing Grace This month I saw a short preview of "Amazing Grace", Walden Media's movie based on the life of William Wilberforce. Really excellent film! The venerable Bob Beltz from Walden Media graced our presence at the Die Gefaehrten Roundtable at Freakstock Festival and showed the preview to about 800 young people who gave enthusiastic approval. Bob's photo was taken by LovingBoy [real name: Emmanuel, and he took lots of great pictures]
There is a lot of possibilities with this movie and the various discussion groups and action groups that could arise from it. Love to hear your thoughts on that.
Further evidence that we value continuity over cut.
"The making of RUSSIAN ARK is a story of records and firsts - the first entirely unedited, single screen, single take, full-length feature film; the longest-ever steadicam sequence, the first ever uncompressed HD Movie, recorded onto a portable hard disk system, rather than 35mm or tape."
Classic quote from filmaker: "I am sick of editing", Sokurov said, "let's not be afraid of time".
I am adding some comments to a friend's book today - a book about emerging church that will come out next year. I was writing about our redefined relationship with media and the Matrix came up as an example. Sure would hate to leave my thought undiscovered and untested for a year, so i will blog it out here. This redefined relationship with media has been . . .
. . . "reflected in the way we experienced the Matrix films.
1999 - Matrix 1: Within a week of its theatrical release, we Emailers had a discussion that continued for 2 months.
2003 - Matrix 2: Within a week of its theatrical release, we Bloggers posted a single weblog entry that added to our interpretation and appreciation of the movie. It lasted a few days.
2003 - Matrix 3: Within a week of its theatrical release, we VJ's had access to enough footage to reuse the video in our own presentations. Even before its release, we could download the movie trailer files, edit, modify, and reuse in totally different ways.
2004 – Matrixonline.com: Within a week of the matrixonline.com game release, we Gamers will have another playground, another world, another community in which we can play and live.
Within 6 years, we have moved from Consumer, to Commentor, to Co-author, to Citizen"