Monday, March 26, 2007

Robert Rankins Reads from the Anti Pope

This is an excerpt from Robert Rankin's interview in Brighton for the film. He reads from the Anti-Pope. It tells of a student who bought Count Dante's book and learned Dimac(Dim Mak). More clips later.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Robert Rankin Interviewed!

The Robert Rankin Interview is done, as of today March 18, 2007, 14:00 gmt. Oscar has done a great job and the weekend is saved. Now if I can just get my passport business dealt with this week I will be batting a thousand.

As you can see from the photo, Robert Rankin exudes eccentricity. I dig it.

I should be be getting the footage from Oscar in a few days do some cutting to my preview and start organizing my first official fundraiser. I even have an offer of 100 t-shirts donated from a local Mixed Martial Arts promoter. More info when I get closer to the organization of the event next week.

Robert Rankin Interview in progress in Brighton

I just got off the phone with Oscar Sharp, presently in the abode of Robert Rankin to conduct the interview I need for the Search for Count Dante. They were just calling to make sure they had all the questions I needed answered; Nature of mythologies, fiction versus real-life how he interprets and perceives these things in his writing. I may do a film enactment of Dante from his books if I can get the proper permissions and I can make it fit and get the right funding.

I sent Robert a copy of The World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets on PDF. He made a very astute observation. On one page Dante breaks a pile of bricks, and on the next he is showing off a hairstyle he did for Barbara Kemp.

This is very traditional in the practice of Dim Mak. To do something very Yin to balance the Yang Chi of such tremendous power. Dante obviously had something. Remember, World Champion Joe Lewis said "he had hands like a woman."

I will get some still images tonite to post and an MP3 audio file of the interview to go over and the tapes or DVD will arrive later in the week.

While I would rather have been there I am happy I was able to solve the problem and get it all covered. Some days I feel like a real professional. (Stop it, i hear the snickering out there!)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I am still in Chicago, but the Count Dante Ball goes on...:

Today, I find myself still in Chicago. I was not able to go leave for London due to a glitch with my passport. I was supposed to attend this event, the Count Dante Ball, tonite and interview Robert Rankin on Sunday. I discovered Rankin while doing my early research on Dante and nI found this quote in Dante's Wikipedia listing:

Count Dante is one of the many eccentric characters referred to in Robert Rankin's Brentford stories. A number of characters in these stories claim to have learned 'dimac'(presumably a corruption of Dim Mak, a legendary martial arts skill) from a manual written by Dante. Dante himself is referred to as wearing a mask and living in hiding to avoid murder by the hidden martial masters whose secrets he has made public.

Check out The Antipope: Brentford Trilogy
This will give you a bit of the flavor he brings to farcical fiction. It is like Ismael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo stylee, I am feeling.

I was then going to leave by National Express-Eurolines Bus (that's right, I said BUS) from Victoria Coach Station and end up in Paris on Monday morning to hunt down a couple of owners of the LES PLUS TERRIBLES SECRETS DE COMBAT DU MONDE, French version of The World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets and try to reignite my freelance working relationship with Sofrecom division of France telecom.

I have four questions I want to ask Robert:

1. What inspired you to use Count Dante as a character in your novels?
2. When did you first see the Comic Book Ad and which one was it.
3. Were you aware that Count Dante was a real man, John Keehan, a red-headed Chicago Irishman?
4. How do you explain the mythological appeal of a personage like Count Dante.
5. What do you think of the reality of the life of John Keehan/Count Dante.

I am really very interested in the nature of mythologies. What makes them spread. What is the source of the appeal. I think I get it. I want to hear it from the insights of someone like Robert.

From there where I was going is nobody's business until I finish the film. Yeah, it's like that. I have to keep some secrets.

Pissed off as I was about this passport problem I was not letting it get me down. It pays to have good friends in foreign places. All that time working abroad has it's advantages and those old relationships still carry weight.

When I found out out about my passport problem at the last minute, as is often the case when you are working on tight budgets with no help, I got on to my good friend at Raindance Film Festival, Elliot Grove to find out if there was someone in or about Brighton I could get for dirt cheap to get down to Ha Ha in Brighton to attend the scaled back "Count Dante Ball", now "Count Dante Dinner."

Elliot hooked me up with an London Independent Filmmaker, Oscar Sharp, who has his own HD camera, a Canon XH A1.

We got together by phone, I directed him to the Count Dante website and he began his research in earnest and came up with ways he wanted to approach the dinner and I am extremely happy to have him as a collaborator. We made a sweet dirt cheap deal suitable to a poor independent like myself and and he will stay overnight to do a great interview with Mr. Rankin tomorrow.

I, being ever frugal, wanted him to try to find a way to interview Rankin at the dinner so I could save money and not have to pay for an overnight stay. But Mr. Rankin insisted on doing the interview as we planned on Sunday. He was right to insist, this adds production value to the film.

I just spoke to Oscar at 20:50(8:50pm), about 2:50 am UK time to get some impressions of the evening. He graciously checked into a cheap hotel to my delight, and I promised him he will be rewarded 8-fold in the future.

We discussed how to proceed with the interview in the morning. I will call to check in to see how things are going and text message anything I think of meantime while he is getting his much needed sleep.

This entire project is possible only because of the internet. It is more and more obvious everyday. The connections, re-connections, distribution of information, rapid communication, ability to share and network information and accumulate data 24 hours a day is invaluable.

Not sure how much usable stuff we got from the evening, but we got something and Oscar may be hooked into some Douglas Adams fanbase event behind this. I hope so. It is great to do a favor and gain a reward.

With that I say goodnite until post-Rankin Interview tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I am presently making preparations to depart for the UK to interview writer Robert Rankin about his use of the Count Dante character in his novels. His fan base is pretty active and have proposed doing the "Count Dante's Ball." This could be a lot of fun. I should get some great footage from it.

"Count Dante's Ball

We will be having a special celebration of Count Danté at
the Hare and hounds pub at Preston Circus, 75
London Road, BN1 4JF.
Starting upstairs at 8pm.

Floyd Webb who is quite possibly the worlds foremost expert on Count Danté (who me?) will be joining us for the whole day. He is making a movie about the Count and wants to feature Robert and the club – and how Dimac has transcended into cult fiction. So you’ll be on film.

At the moment we are hoping to have a live band, a number of talks about Count Dante, some martial demonstrations and the usual Sproutlore raffles and what not, followed by just
drinking into the night.

The Hare and hounds is about 700 yards from Brighton Station. Hopefully people will get some
food in between times.

The theme is martial arts – so get the gear out!

If you wish to purchase a ticket we have set up the facility online, at our Sproutshop,

Send cheques made payable to JAMES BACON to 55 Cromwell Rd.,
Croydon, CR0 2JZ, UK.

As usual we don’t accept any blame if it all goes wrong, there are limited amount of places, so please don’t expect to just get in if you turn up unannounced. Contact us if you have any queries. We have the 1st of March as a cut off date – unless you email us: or call meon 07913 574618."

I will write about how it all goes.

Meanwhile. Ashida Kim has posted a video from an Austrailian TV show of him doing the Dance of Death. I have to say, ole boy is a good showman, and I think the Count himself would be proud of him because he is GOOD at it. Mike Felkoff, perfectionist that he is, says he "almost has it.

Now for a phoney this guy seems to have fully spread the legacy of the Count around the world all by his lonesome. Take a look and tell me what YOU think.

Monday, March 05, 2007

More Footage from 1964 World Karate Tournament

Tom "Tommy Chicago" Palazzolo came through with another 100 feet of film from the 1964 World Karate Tournament. He has been digging through forty years worth of work in his basement to find these clips for me. I am very grateful. (opps I mispelled his name at 1:04 this morning on the film clip, gotta fix that!)

I worked with Tom once covering a Japanese midget wrestler for Japanese television. That was a while back. Filmmaker Allen Ross was with us then. This was right before he left Chicago to shoot a film about UFOs. Click his name for the link to see what happened.

There is footage of women competitors and a karateka squaring off against a quickdraw expert. I will be send the stills from the footage I have around to older martial artists to see if I can find some of these people. It is silent footage, almost abstract in look but I sure I can use it creatively. The archival footage will make this project really compelling if I can keep finding stufff like this and better. It will be great to find someof the people in the footage I have to get their memories.

It is a bit dark online but I will take a chance and let you figure out what it is you are seeing. A quick vision test of sorts. :-)

Master Sensei Hamza Gregory Jaco April 5, 1952-February 26, 2007

I was going to write to describe Sensei's memorial on Friday in Chicago. I have my old camera that has a software problem on my desk, I picked it up and found out it was working again. It went out after I shot the burial on Tuesday. Thought it was finnaly finished. I dropped it into my bag. So I shot it on video and I edited a rough piece together so you can get the flavor of it. It was awesome. I want to share it with the world.