Sunday, August 24, 2008

With The Bunnie, After the Hutch

John Keehan/Count Danté, John Danté? Another mystery arises, maybe not. Are Count Dante and John Danté 2 people or 1 person of many personas? He was was known in the hutch, His Bunny Mother girlfriend, Patty Kobe, may have fired one of the women I spoke with. The woman above thinks John Keehan Dante was the one who chose her as a Playboy Bunny when she was 17, in very creepy circumstances. There was a club on Rush Street's called Dante's Inferno, it burned down. It was owned by a this John Dante. No sign of Barbara Kemp. No sjgn of her companion Antinie.

I got some supportive research to do befoe I post anything more. Plus I have convention work due for tomorrow and Wednesday. I am hustlin'.

More later.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Playboy Bunny Reunion 2008

What makes the story of the John Keehan/Count Danté's life so intriguing is the variety of experiences he managed to cram into 35 years of living.

When Keehan returned to Chicago after being in the military in the early 60s, he decided to go to beauty school to become a hairdresser. Art Rapkin explained to me that John chose hairdressing for two reasons. It gave him the freedom to work whatever hours he wanted to, leaving free to train as much as he liked. With few men working as hairdressers it also gave one the advantage of meeting as many women under intimate circumstances as possible for a young man. This was another activity among innumerable business ventures he was already involved in as well as his emerging realtionship with members of the Chicago Outfit.

Keehan's identity change to Count Danté seems to have been a catch-all business decision. For his hairdressing business, it signified the romance of European nobility, classic style. In martial arts it was a way to romanticize his image with a name that spoke of adventure, daring and epic battle. Like the Count of Monte Cristo, and other daring mythical and real characters of Europe's past, he chise a persona through which he could become larger than life.

It has been said he wa a hairdresser for Playboy Bunnies. I have heard it from everyone but an actual Playboy Bunyy whose hair he did. This weekend I will be attending the International Playboy Bunny Reunion 2008 in Chicago looking for Bunnies from that era who might have know him. "Bunny Monique," on of the organizers, has been very courteous and has been nice about me and a camera person attending.

My strategy is to get to registration early and pass out the flyer you see above. Hopefully we will find out what level his hairdressing skills were like and get a few choice anecdotes along the way. I may even have the pleasure of seeing Barbara Kemp while I am there.

Yes there will be pictures. Just don't expect anything racy from this weekend's reunion, this is alllllllllll biznizzzzzzz!!! :-)
I spoke with Bob Wall today at World Black Belt. He has completed his Illustrated History of Martial Arts in America: 1900 to Present. It is a coffee table sized book that covers the entire history of martial arts in America with photos. Chicago gets firmly rooted in that history with photos of Bruce Tegner's judo instructor mom and dad in the 1920s. I helped him located images for the book while I was doing research for the film. World Black Belt is a great site for the marketing of my film. They have about 400,000 members and schools, they offer the kinds of services that professional associations really need. Bob Wall has been very supportive of the film, he has opened doors for me with people he knows and is one of my great encouragers. He also has some GREAT stories from the days of point fighting. I got really impressed with Bob when he flew out the evening of Ken Knudson's memorial and flew right back out that evening. That was the tribute of a true friend.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

In Nashville this past weekend...

I was in Nashville this weekend at the 2008 National Training Camp and United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame to interview Joe Dodaro, Woody Edgell and Tayari Casel. Family issues prevented Sam Lonewolf and Victor Moore from attending.

To talk to all three masters at once was really interting to me in that I saw before me a the net total effect of the teaching and influence of John Keehan. Greatness can be passed on without the baggage. Now don't get me wrong, I don't know enough about any of these guys to talk about baggage or their lack of it. What I do know is that they are all alive, have not robbed any vaults lately and remain atv the top of their game.
Like Dante, they are consumate individuals who march to the beat of their own drum. There is no greater legacy to have that that in my opinion.

This was a stellar event of which I missed too much of, having arrived on Saturday morning due to my work schedule. The IMAC training camp featured 8 hours of workshops a day for three days.

I hear that Prof. Marty Cale, organizer of the event, gave an excellent workshop on Jujitsu Ground fighting and I am sorry I missed that.

Son of the legendary Jame M. Mitose, Grand Master Thomas Mitose of the Kosho-Ryu was there along with Grandmasters Gary Jameson, Pat Hutton, Sifu Jerry Cook, Clarence Smith, Don Wilhelm, Sifu Oj Guerra, Dan Semeraro, Dr. Gary Jameson, Ron Pierce and Katherine Wieczerza.

The awards ceremony that Saturday Evening marked the end of the Training Camp. It was well attended and events like these are important to sustaining local and regional martial arts community. Here in Chicago know how fruitless it can be to wait for recognition from elsewhere based upon criterion that is sometimes, uninformed, fleeting, and vacuous. We need to support our communiites where we are and these events appalud the dedication, work and sweat that people put unto the martial arts.

So I am back. I have been quiet for awhile.The tit for tat reponses to my blog by others does not really bother me personally. But what does bother me is their petty attempts to slander and involve others in an issue that has nothing to do with the lawsuit. It is petty and immature to strike out as others, constanly question credibility just because you can hide behind an internet connection.

In the end it really does not matter what is said. Time has proven the mud-slinging to be ineffectual, it has proven the mud-slingers to be impotent. The attack on Marty Cale and others was unnecessary and all that was accomplished was showing how classless these guys from Fall River can continue to be.

Marty Cale gave a wonderful even this weekend. There are about 5oo people who will attest to that. What did you guys do?

Sorry y'all...I got carried away. I have been holding my tongue for awhile and I guess it just got the best of me. I hate to see good people who are really doing thing get more stress on top of thestress they already have because doing something positive with your life has it own set of obstacles already built in.

I will get back to talking about the interviews I did with Woody Edgell, Joe Dodaro and Tayari Casel later this evening.