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.

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