Thursday, June 15, 2006

Viral marketing???

As I continue production I will be releasing trailers to generate pre-release awareness for The Search for Count Dante. I did a favor for a friend a few weeks back and inadvertently met up with a young man named Seth who wanted to cut a trailer for me. It is good to have collaborative participation so I welcomed his assitance. I had been planning to release some little viral videos.
I started very small with a 3 second clip of Dante stealing a peach. That weas for the pure martial arts aficianados. They get that small one. The general market gets the second one Seth did with me.

You can see the trailer at
It is less than two minutes. Check it out. Bomb it!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

CopyCat Count Copied Big Time

That copycating West Coast sumo, Count Dante, metal band bass player and pretender to the leadership of the Black Dragon Fighting Society, has been throughly ripped off by Jack Black's character in the film "Nacho Libre."

Count Dante plays bass, so does Jack. It gets more wierd. Back in the days of Incredible Strange Wrestling and getting his butt kicked by the Poontangler, the San Francisco Count had to do stuff like fight lions. Well what does Jack Black do in the film? He fights a wild animal also....coincidence you say????? Hell no, straight-up rip off. Intellectual property theft that could use a bit of litigation. I guess that what happens when you rip off people's persona. It just never ends and you create an endless downward spiral of imitation.

The legacy of John Keehan/Count Dante as a culturally pro-creative phenonmenae just keeps going like an everyready energizer bunny rabbit. I am waiting to see if Jack Black takes the essay writing challenge or decide to just see the San Francisco Count in court. Jack Black is a little guy, I don't see him wrestling this sumo sized fella.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Milwaukee: Another John Keehan Student

On Sunday I went to Milwaukee to meet Dr. Art Rapkin a former student of John Keehan. In 1964 Art was a 17 year old kid from Wisconsin who wanted to study with a master karateka, so he sought out John Keehan.

Today Dr. Rapkin is a reknowned healer. Dr. Rapkin runs the Kindo Center in Milwaukee. Meditation and healing is his way of life now. My fear most times is that I am dredging up some memories that people may not want to recall. You never know when you talk to people about John. But the proof of core discipline is in where so many of these man are in their lives now. More than a bump along the road of life John Keehan was in many way an inspiration. Count Dante is where the problems start.

Who we are at 17 and then at 55 is a lifetime away. Who knows what John might have accomplished had he lived.

When he found Keehan, he sent him to Jim Konsevic. Konsevic trained Rapkin and he then went back to John for advanced training. Interesting that John sent him to Tria's school AFTER he had split with the USKA. John also advised him to go to hairdressing school as a way to make money and to meet women. He did both.

I had hoped to speak with Myuang Gyi also. I never knew that Gyi was chief instructor for the USKA for Trias. Gyi was busy today so I did not get a chance to talk to him. I will try again in August. Maybe my son Djibril and I will attend one of his seminars on Letha Yoga.

Art gave me some insight into John and his style of fighting. He talked about John's ange, about how he used anger as a force in his teaching. John even managed to convince the impressionable 17 year old Art he could fight a bull as a demonstration at a tournament. It was really a gimmick. But he was training for it as if it were real. He talked about how John psyched him into believing he could do it. Dan Kelly found the article about him and the bull at the Chicago Historical Society. This was in 1968.

Art talked about John's charisma, his ability to attract and repel. John called him the night of the Dojo war he wanted him to fly out to Chicago from his home in Colorado. He did not.

Art also told me about how he challenged Bill Aguiar Jr from Mexico in 1976. How and why he was there probably had a lot to do with cocky youth, John's crazy influence and his tales of training in the Sierra Maestra with Che Guvera and Raul Castro and providence. I have been wondering if I could get a picture of John to Raul...I am serious.

What he did was not so far fetched. I found myself training with South African ANC Umkhonto we Sizwe, Spear of the Nation, fighters to be on the beaches of Dar Es Salaam in East Africa in 1974 when I was 21, the sensei was Nantambu Bomani. No I was not a guerilla. I was hanging out looking for my mission in life. Some of us got caught up in the times...

He had never heard of Aquiar. He wrote an open letter of challenge to Black Belt Magazine and sent a copy to Aguiar's studio. He never got a reply, he does not know if Black Belt ever printed the letter. That was a lifetime ago and many of change, some don't and some excel, like Dr. Rapkin.

I am not happy with the quality of the interview. But I got the necessary info. I will be interviewing Art again. I tend to feel like an interloper, dropping in on people on Sundays...all in a good me.

Art gave me the views of an impressionable 17 year old who slept on a mat on the dojo floor, felt the power of youthful immortality, almost lost it, was reborn, and unlike so many we know, including John has lived past 60 and tried to do something to heal the world.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Distractions Distractions and Dante Steals a Peach

It's been a few weeks since my last post. I have been about the business of bread and butter funtionality. Not a lot new to report. I keep finding people. Some real, some not. It is always questionable...I talk and listen for unprompted cues, cross references I already know.

One think about John Keehan, he surrounded himself with characters, and people WITH character.

Here is an old picture from the collection of Doug Dwyer. Two Irish guys out for a night on the town. They were bouncers in South Side immigrant bars, best friends for quite awhile.

I did a viral video of a 3 second clip I found of John as "The Count" in action. This simple clip shows who Ashida Kim's and William Aguiar's daddy is. In the classic internet Ashida Kim image, we see a move called "monkey steals peach."When Keehan steals a peach, it looks like it will stay stolen. The short video shows Keehan is very skilled in his movements. It is anticiaptory and reactive outside movement of the incoming attack. All I could say when I first saw it was "OUCH!!!" No wonder people would have been just a little bit leary of tangling with him. Yeah, that is understatment on my part.

Don' take my word for it. Take a look at the quicktime™ video for yourself right here.

John is convincing in these video clips. It scares ME! I looped it on purpose. Great viral image. What do you think??

We have entered a very busy period on my day job. Festivals and events and PODCASTS to plan, produce and publish, advertising sales, graphic design...

Still shooting two interviews lined up this weekend. I wonder what happened with Jack Black and the Count in San Francisco. I will check into that and see if they had their essay writing deathmatch yet. What nuts we all are.