Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Back again, New Challenges, New Hurdles, Good Progress and Marvin Gaye

It has been 6 months since my last post. I have been continuing to conduct interviews, follow up on leads all in between day to day struggles of work and survival. The Search for Count Dante continues. Sorting out and vetting delusion accounts of his history is a big part of the job.

Why did I stop blogging. Vetting the delusion was one reason, especially after 3 years of court. Best of all reason - I was shooting and had become more obsessed with the footage I was getting and less inclined to blog. Plus there was work and Lord knows we need that these days. I am now going to make my flute hours blog time. I know I will not be doing my Eric Dolphy recital for some time now. :-)

I have a financial partner, in London.  He showed up right on time. Really good guy with both feet in the Mixed Martial Arts world in the UK.  He is a shrewd business sort. I like this dude. His involvement enabled me to upgrade equipment and get some very important things done. I got a respite and was able to reorganize some thing and get ready for the editor.  I have chosen an editor. I will reveal all at a later date.

After the Fall River/Boston Federal Court runnings got disposed of I thought I was home free. But noooooo...Dealing with the Dante story carries some heavy baggage along with it.  The sharks are gathering. There is a new chapter in the making of the doc and a feature film looms large in a not too distant horizon and . I have had about 5 production companies come to me about the feature film rights.What am I supposed to say?  I got a buy out price, but now of these guys wanted to talk money. Like I am 19 and just anxious to "be there." No, I want to finish this project free of those types.

People are free to do what they want and 2 of the people who approached me decided to do their own Count Dante feature project without me. As if I care. :-)

One guy tried to get someone I know, Bob Calhoun, to write a treatment for him so he could take it to the studios for financing. He declined out of his own sense of loyalty and also because he is a working writer with more than enough on his plate. He was writing his awesome tome, Beer, Blood & Cornmeal: Seven Years of Strange Wrestling. You wanna talk ready for film? There is a book ready for a feature.

Suddenly the new year bring a renewed interest in Dante. I got emails from people when Grindhouse actress Tura Satana (Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill) died. They asked me if I knew of any relationship between her and Dante. It was easily researched. By now I know enough nefarious characters to run this kind of stuff down and get great anecdotes as well.  I get emails from people about magic, and potions, rumors of Dante dying, shot in Florida instead of in his bathroom on North Sheridan in Chicago. I am clear and free of legal threats against my right to make this film as I see fit. I am without the constraints of covetous pretenders.  But I still find myself set upon by another level of sleaziness, that I guess, comes with the territory.

Like a long marching Chinese philosopher said, on a good day, "Let a thousand flowers bloom and a thousand schools of thought contend." I mean there are 4 Marvin Gaye projects going on right now. None are being produced in the US presently. The projects have been struggling. Then, along comes British director Julien Temple (Eternity Man, 2008) and he pulls a Belgian financing tax shelter and Luxembourg’s CIAV(audiovisual investment certificates) rabbit out of a hat, about the size of $8 million dollars, making a film about Gaye's days in Oostende, Belgium. In a self-imposed exile, Gaye made the album, Midnight Love while recovering from the death of Tammy Terrell, tax problems and general disillusionment. I actually ran into him down there on the docks when I got off a ferry one time as I was headed to Amsterdam by bus from London,  I think, in the early 80s. This is where one of the best music docs about him, was made.  Richard Olivier's Marvin Gaye: Transit Oostende, how I treasure that film. What a sublime exile he was able to experience. 




Right now my interest is in finishing this doc. I have the story now. And now that I have the story for the doc, I know what a feature film will look like.  I did not know a year ago, while I was in the middle of court. I had 3 companies hit me up and they all wanted some control over the doc as part of a financing package that has nothing to do with my need to finish the doc itself in order to define a cohesive story and maybe solve some of the mysteries and mythologies of this enigmatic character, Count Dante. Who needs those kinds of headaches, until cash is put to palm. No was forthcoming, only promises of headaches to come. I have seen it all before.

Boxer Johnny Coulon, Keehan/Dante's boxing instructor, looms large with me right now.  What a character. Yet another Chicago character. This is what I love best about what I am doing. It is an investigation into ALL of Chicago through this "ginger-headaed" Irish lad" as author Robert Rankin describes him. I have been unraveling mysteries for sure. Making sense of it all, the structure...the structure...that is what I am struggling with now.

Who knows what the future holds? I know, a completed well executed doc with a great soundtrack.
As for the coming war of the Dante features? Ya just never know what can happen and that is what makes the world an exciting place.  Heh, heh heh!!!