There are memories resurrected with this project. Context. My personal motivations, past actions influenced by contact with John Keehan, needs based on social circumstance.
When I was a child I would travel all over the city with two friends, both now deceased. We had lots of adventures. There was no limit to where we would go. We claimed the city. No cop or individual was going to stop us. We could run fast and seldom got in more than a minor scrap; no one shot, stabbed or jailed.
One of the most memorable adventures I wanted to forget was on August 5, 1966. We were unoffically with a church group and unbeknowst to my family, in a march in Marquette Park with Martin Luther King. Fred and Ed showed up as I was going for comic books and said, let’s go. All I said was where. We ended up way west, somewhere near Kedzie. We hooked up with this Church group and rode with a youg deacon who told us it was gonna be rough. We did not care.
We claimed King, he shook our hands outside Quinn Chapel Church when he spoke there. We were banned from the sanctuary, banished to the basement to allow "guests" to have our seats. We went outside, it was too crowded and hot inside. We moaned and complained about it. But we were there when King came out. He shook all of our hands.
There must have been about 400 of us, maybe more, I am not sure. We were met by about 5000 angry white people. I was too scared to be scared. It was my first confrontation with true unadulterated hatred. No one had ever treated me like this even in Mississippi. I had no dioubt they would, I heard, but never saw THIS!
Marching behind Martin Luther King, I guess me and a lot of my buddies were radicalized. My buddy Eddie kept pushing nme forward, he was laughing at me, but I knew he was scared too. They hit King with a rock that day. A lot of people got hit, and the Marquette Park nazis burned a lot of the cars of people who came to the march. I do not remember how we got out of there. I remember being back on the bus headed home, Walking through Chinatown from Archer on the way home. I was one year into my study of Kyokushinki karate from a book. I felt all this power from punching homemade makiwaras, and I had to hold it in check. I felt like my mae geri and mae washi geri were powerful enough to finish ANYBODY.
There was no way to win. I was becoming. I was being born I guess. When I met these kids from South Africa in Tanzania 7 years later who were banned from their homes for opposing apartheid it was easy for me to understand them and why they were joining the military arm of the ANC.
We stuck to the program, but non-violence as a political tactic was a bit of a stretch to three 13 year old testoserone rich personalities. All hell broke loose, we were pursued by cops and Marquette Parkers alike. I would duck and Eddie would throw hands. Several of my friends swore they were getting guns later, one or two actually did. I was numb that day.
I was silent at home. I saw that picture of King him being shielded and the roar of that hateful crowd came back to me. I seldom realize my the depth of my own experiences. I admired King but abhored his tactics after this...I had power and I wanted to use it in my youthful enthusiasm. I believed in King but not in America after that day. King lead us bravely into the pit of this hatred, raw illogical hatred.
I was practicing everyday at this point. 700 punches first thing in the morning in the bathroom. 300 combinations. This was my secret. Michael Choy a classmate had showed me how to "stick" when I was close in on a boxer, tie 'em up and smack the dookie out of 'em.
We kicked each other in the stomach to get strong and invulnurable. We were brick breaking whenever we found some. My hand still aches from some of that abuse to this day. We wanted the Godhand, like Oyama, the death touch like Count Dante. King proved himself to us being out front like that and we wanted to protect him even if we started not to agree with him.
After the march, on the way home we got challenged and the nonviolence we practiced in the march was long forgotten. I think it was Eddie who jailhouse rocked an Italian catholic school boy yelling "Nigger" at us. He hit him so fast and snatched his feet from under him so hard that is sounded like his back broke. He got right up. The others took off and came back throwing bricks and rocks as we ran down the street. Ed stopped and actually caught a rock and threw it back and made contact. We were soon over several fences, backyards and through alleys, in Chinatown and home.
I forget about the climate I learned martial arts in. That picture of Martin Luther King being his by the rock has brought back those memories. My political consciousness was building.
How do I work this into the film? How strong will my voice be in it? John Keehan in his early day was definitely a radical, given where he came from, whom he went to school with. I for one never associated Keehan with the likes of those deluded clowns in Marquette Park, or when white kids chased us out of neighborhoods.
John was say stuff to us when we saw him, "They touch you, make them bleed, they make you bleed, you brake a bone. Then run, cause I don't want to read about you in jail for killing somebody." Brief encounters. Always funny, kind.
Funding in Air???
I have spent the past few days working up a presentation for a few potential funders. I have had some success at getting logistical support and equipment investments. Now for some cash for travel and crew fees.
The dream of shooting this project HD has come to fruition. I will tell all after I finishing shooting.
I got a great article on documentary lighting for a camera-operating friend of mine. The article quoted the work practice of another friend of mine, Oral User, who has a blog here Foremedia.
I expect to be traveling fast and light. I will list my lighting equipment in future for those who want to know. Oral's lite pack is one to copy.