Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"CHAOS in Chicago"

August 11, 2008



Hi all, I have a confession to make, I am a bit of a hyppocrite. My last post here about the Chaos Magik shoot we did in Chicago ended up looking a bit disrespectful to the kind people who allowed us to film them in their sacred space. I alway talk about respect, and honoring other people's beliefs and rituals. I have been on the road ALOT lately filming alot of interesting things and I am honored to do this. I took down the blog post becasue it was riddled with wrong information and a tone of sarcasm which I feel is not respectful.

Many apologies for anyone who i offended. I am going to re write this post because it is still worthy of writing about. I have left Becky's comments below as she clears up a lot of things that I wrote about that where not correct.



August 11, 2008

“Chaos in Chicago”

Steve and I are sitting at Chicago O’Hare airport discussing our “chaotic” shoot experience in Chicago. To start this blog I will transcribe what Steve just reminisced to me as we wait for another hour and a half to fly to Detroit and then to Buffalo…

“ha, Greg, did you film the part when the possession through Tom on the floor as he writhed and foamed? He ripped off his black wings in a hellish fury and nearly ripped the lav mic into pieces!”

Yes I did film it, I filmed every angle, every puff of smoke from the smoke machine, every stick of incense, every hooded ceremonial possession ritualist, everything.

How did we get here? We flew from Halifax to Detroit then to Chicago. We rented our ride and drove to downtown and checked into the Crown Plaza. We met up with Jeremy our host from Newfoundland. He is such a chill cat, great guy to work with and to travel with (very important in my books). Check Jeremy out at www.jeremeybennett.com , man can that guy pull some great magic tricks! Anyway we pretty much chilled the first night. Jen and I had dinner then crashed. The next morning we arrived at the studio that we would be filming a Chaos Majik ritualistic possession later in the night. We hit the roof of the studio and had an incredible view of the windy city’s skyline; trains, bricks, sky scrapers, the Sears Tower. This takes me back to when Jess and I came here a few years ago, I remember totally digging this town, the architecture is amazing, the water front at Navy Pier is busy and exciting, museums everywhere.

We filmed an interview with a chaos magician named Tom (a.k.a. Andrieh Vitimus) is a member of the I.O.C. a society of Chaos Magicians. We sat Jeremy down with Andrieh on the roof and filmed the interview; it ended up looking really cool. The guy is kind of interesting, a larger set guy in a suit, big personality, lots of freckles, very well spoken with a sense of humor. He explained to Jeremy more clearly what Chaos Magik is and how it can positively affect your life as you can make the changes in your life by manifesting the future. He also explained what sex magic rituals where. The part that was interesting to me is the concept of living in the NOW. This is what a lot of this magik is based around. For example, think about how many experiences you go through in life when you mind is completely blank, when you are thinking about nothing but what is going on in the immediate present. They use the example of orgasm, I can think of being in the zone in sports, arts, sex. I don’t consider this magik, this is just logical to me, but the basis of Chaos and Sex magic is the manipulation of the now, and the manifestation of the future through will. Not sure if I am explaining it very well, because I am still at a loss at what this is all about, hey I’m just a camera guy right?

After a real big fat Greek meal for lunch and a siesta, we cruised back to the studio, now it was filled with red lights, smoke machines, an alter, devilish symbology, people in robes, hoods and masks, incense, and magical liquid elixirs and potions that where filled with things like mugwort, wormwood, damiana and alcohol (see Becky’s comments below). They started the ritual, the hoodies, including Jeremy, surrounded Andrieh who was now completely painted black, and animal fur legs with a tail, big black wings on his back, horns on his head. Anyway they turned on the creepy “soundtrack” on the ghetto blaster; heavy distorted electric guitars and low pitched backwards chanting dialogue that completely took me into the orgy scene of Eyes Wide Shut. Everyone started chanting and moving their arms and hands in unison, they all drank the elixirs; speaking in tongues, falling down, getting up, waving knives, flailing, drooling, sweating. It was pretty intense. A spirit named Baphomet (see Becky’s comments below) possessed Andrieh. Later that night when listening to the audio back on the head phones, I heard amongst his tongues and random slurrings and yelps the spirit “demon” inside of Andrea proclaiming himself as the devil…“I am Baphomet, I am the Devil!”, and “Zesus, Zesus, ZESUS!”.

Funny though as I look at the ceremony and ritual of this night, I in no way scoff or make fun, I really think this is serious stuff. I believe that he was possessed and that there where demonic entities floating all over that room. The tongues and falling to the floor and such is nothing new to me as I’ve seen it millions of times at spiritual Christian events. What’s the difference? I’d like to know. Kind of confuses me actually, all I need to do however is not look too deeply into the ceremony, the ritual, the politic of my own “religion”, and just know that I am alive, living in faith, and hoping to do God’s will on earth, innocently and free like a child. I feel protected in that.

When it was done, we got the heck outta dodge and went to the hotel bar and drank double scotches, Jeremy showed us some cool card tricks, and another producer from the UK, who is the executive producer of one of Animal Planet’s popular show, joined us for a night of chatting and story telling. I brushed off the experience of earlier in the night and moved on.

Yesterday was a day off, they all went downtown, Jen and Steve did the Architectural boat tour through downtown Chicago, Jeremy checked out some magic shops, and I spent the day doing the fine edit of the JSB concert DVD, it looks awesome! I can’t wait to release it! It's gonna rock. That is the production I love doing, music is where it’s at. I also spent some time prepping for the Chris Cummings music video coming up in 2 weeks, that’s going to be a stellar experience as well.

I’m now off to Buffalo to interview a guy named Pastor Harry who claims he knows who the Antichrist is. All I can say is “here we go again”.

NOTE: The first time I posted the last post I wrote it in a slightly sarcastic tone; I did not mean to disrespect the people who allowed us into their sacred area. I am glad that Becky made a comment that opened my eyes to that fact that I wrote the post with a spirit of hypocrisy, I try to profess respect and love, writing things that downplay other people’s spiritual experience is not my style. Anyway the spirit realm is real, the chaos magik is real, the Holy Spirit is real, Demonic and Angelic entities are real and there are many doors that open one to this reality. The fact that I enter into the spirit world differently then the people I just wrote about does not give me the right to be disrespectful. With permission, I have included Tom (Andrieh), and Becky’s comments to my original blog post. This clears up some of the misunderstandings I had about what they are all about, and it also keeps me in check. Both Tom and Becky treated me with far more respect then I gave them in releasing me from the guilt I gave myself for being a sarcastic bastard…J


“I as not offended at all, and Becky's response was very right on, from what we are going for. Jeremy actually had the benefit of reading about Baphomet before we started. In hindsight, it probably would have been a good idea all around.

She’s also absolutely right, usually we just get into trance states and do magic for what we want in black jeans ( I don’t personally like blue pants, she can wear those). A could portion of that was part of the show to really help people get over the influence of the camera, and the fact that we were treating the camera as a participant.
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No one can tell anyone how to interpret an experience and if you ever get to spend some time with me outside of when the pressure is on for an interview :) I am pretty well a sarcastic bastard, my self. It’s kinda like sour apples, man they bite, but it tastes so good. I thought the blog was funny, and If I can't laugh at myself dressed up in a Pan/Baphomet outfit dancing around... well damn, I need to laugh and enjoy the situation more. Of course, if I did have a couple thousand dollars to really make this a theatrical experience, with professionals, it could have been quite a show. That is on my to do list, btw, and I did warn the sound guy, I would be moving around a lot. One of the best things about chaos magic in general, is we don't take much seriously :) You know the phrase, f$%@ em if they can’t take a joke. :P

Makeup and costuming are not really my strong suite ( I need to bring some art majors into my life), I tend to channel that artistic talent into the dramatic tension in the ritual itself, and writing. To us, that was a tremendous amount of work, but getting dressed up like that was fun. In the same way that putting a play on for friends is fun. It was an act of artistic expression, albeit a slightly darker aesthetic, but I have never really gotten out of my love of the Gothic/Industrial aesthetic, even though I wear suit coats for interviews.

Now, sometimes as it was in that ritual, magicians will do a ritual that is shocking not in the traditional Hollywood garbage,... zombie, demon.. whatever... but in a shock to the system using symbols, mood and ambience to create transformative experiences within the set of symbols, information, and energy we are projecting. Fortunately for me, Chaos magic, and my personal practice is all over the map, so it’s never ever boring. The next day, I will be doing a healing ritual in a white room, calling down the angels to help.... That’s a set of symbols. It has a certain meaning. And when you apply "trance" and energy... those symbols can create a different reality ( aka the person receives healing or a blessing).

When your blog pointed out, that your mind went right to the orgy scene of Eyes Wide Shut, that is exactly the kinda of Provocative, Sexual, Forbidden and Primal mood we were trying to Evoke into the space. So even without knowing what we were going for, it was clearly there and made me feel really good to see that echoed in someone who didn’t get the pre-talk. Likewise, I was very appreciative of the fact that you called it a "real possession". There are a lot of frauds out there, even doing books and even doing presentations, I really have more pride in myself to not be one of those people. I really do practice what I talk about, and while I am not a rich "millionaire" yet, I certainly have come a long way from being homeless and an abused child.

We were not offended, mostly just had to put the extra information out there, if people were interested. So all in all, I WANT to thank you all for the fantastic opportunity... you guys treated us great... and I hope that there is another opportunity to do more of this kinda work.

-Andrieh Vitimus.Tom


Hi there Greg! This is Becky, the redheaded 'hoodie' from the shoot (LOL- love the term) ;)

I stumbled across your blog after looking up Jeremy's website and thought I'd send off a 'hey how are ya' and to clarify a few points that I think are in need of clarification. Hopefully after this post things will make a little bit more sense for you. :)

I also wanted to tell you what a pleasure it was working with you and the crew- it was certainly an interesting experience for us as well :) You all were great. :)

First point I would like to clarify- in relation to the transcribed discussion (smile)- at the point in the ritual of which you speak- Andrieh's guardians were removing the wings from him as part of the process to end the possession. The action was essentially over at that point- but removing the trappings/props/costuming allows the mind to make the mental separation from the entity. The feel is akin to waking from a dream- the dream is over- you're awake- but it takes a minute to get your bearings and be functional. That's where Andrieh was at that point. The equipment was as safe as equipment can be given the circumstances it was placed into- as both the guardians and myself as well as you all were trying to keep an eye on it and keep it safe. But yes- way to go on the speed- it was much appreciated! :)

Second point- the sacrament (the drink that we 'hoodies' were given) was a tincture made of mugwort, wormwood and damiana in a clear alcohol (the alcohol being used to more fully extract the herbs). Mugwort and wormwood are commonly used to facilitate psychic sensitivity and awareness, while damiana is used to create a more relaxed feeling. (Which- no offense- is a very good thing when a camera and crew are in the room *chuckle*) To be very clear- there were no illegal substances used by participants of this ritual. (Lather, read, repeat. ;)

The overall atmosphere was created essentially for two purposes- first being for the camera- because it's more visually interesting for you guys and the viewers- (who wants a video of a ritual with people in jeans and t-shirts? ;) secondly because more sensory detail helps to quiet the conscious mind (aka: the censor) and allows the subconscious to more actively function. (OK- and third because sometimes it's just plain fun to get all dressed up and play with lights and smoke costumes and all that jazz ;) No- we don't usually dress up in furry pants and body paint ;)

Now- as to the main point I'd like to clarify- that being the purpose and symbology of the ritual itself. Let's start with symbology...

Baphomet is a complex egregore- a compilation of all that is- the primal creative/psychic/life force 'personified'. Typical depictions of Baphomet show a goat headed figure with prominent phallus and breasts (combining human reproductive forces, in celebration of LIFE.) There is also a goat’s head- symbolizing the ancient primal 'Horned God' (one aspect of which you may be familiar being that of Pan). If you recall there was also a representation of a snake painted on Andrieh- this represents kundalini energy- kundalini is symbolized as a snake coiled at the base of the spine that makes its way up through the chakra system and emerges through the crown chakra.

Historically there is a progression- Baphomet begins as the 'Great Spirit' of the Native Americans, in classical mythology Baphomet becomes Pan- the Horned God... At the onset of the Christian era- there is the idea that the earth and the things therein are 'bad' and so the old Gods and ideas become demonized as "the devil"- and the darker imagery is born (where do you think the cloven hooved, horned 'devil' comes from? ;). In the scientific age- the age of technology- a more 'atheistic' age- this force became the 'hidden God' since overall, man did not tend to recognize magic or spiritual entities/deities. In the dawning age- the fifth age- this force has re-emerged and revealed itself as Baphomet.

The symbology and feel was very dark and very primal because Baphomet is a duality that harnesses the sex and death currants- one cannot fully celebrate life without also acknowledging and respecting death. The frenzied energy harnesses the spark of life- and, for some of us that night, we experienced the gift of death- the results of which being that some were immediately relieved of personal burdens that were holding them back in their magical potential or growth. So- at least from our angle- it was a very effective ritual (as far as magical results are concerned).

The hand gestures were part of the evocation process- we were tracing out chaos stars above Andrieh and pushing energy toward him to help facilitate the possession. While not necessary- again- they're fun and flashy- they also help to bypass *our* inner censors and by using such gestures etc. helped us to effectively "forget" that there were cameras and others in the room ;) (In other words- keeping the conscious mind occupied and not focused on you all LOL ;)

The intent of the ritual was to invoke Baphomet (or- the energy of that primal creative/psychic/life force egregore) to facilitate the birth or growth of the magical potential of the participants of the ritual. Once possessed, Andrieh/Baphomet was given the second sacrament (red bottle) and took the energy from the evocations, and the energy of the egregore and charged the liquid with that energy- the energy of magical potential- to be given to the ritual participants. It was then consumed and that energy absorbed and used by those in attendance who had consumed it.

I hope this clarifies a few points and makes a little bit more sense for you. If you or the crew have any questions, please feel free to reply- either here or via email (mine- redvixenwitch@gmail.com) or to Andrieh himself at www.andriehvitimus.com (web) or andrieh_vitimus@prismaticvortex.com (email)

Many blessings!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Life on Other Planets"

July 27, 2008

Halifax to Denver

I had 1 day at home, saw Jessica for 2 hours, had dinner with Cindy and Al, and am now back on the plane. We are flying through a crazy bumpy cloud, I think I am going to loose my computer it is so rough…Better go…will write more when it’s less bummdlskjkjpofv[pller/

LONG DRAMATIC PAUSE….are we alive?........

August 1, 2008

Denver to Laramie to Madison to Milwaukee to Toronto to Ottawa to home

There is something amazingly annoying about flying, especially for this show! We are all over the place! Ok, this past week has been SUPER intense and hilarious. There really is so much to write, but I only have a small amount of time before we land so I will try to summarize it…truly like all of my blog posts I will not be able to do any of this trip justice by words, partly because I am not a very good writer, but secondly because there are just some experience you can’t write about!

After the sketchy flight into Denver, we met our new host for the show, Mac Tonnies. This episode is about life on other planets. Mac Tonnies was picked to be our man, well because he bridges the gap between traditional science and UFOs unlike anyone you have ever met before…seriously this guys is all over it! Mac is a brilliant mind, a blogger and an author. Check out his very popular blog to read his perspective on our trip at www.mactonnies.com, you can also find him on Facebook and blogger. I will try to link to his blog when I get an internet connection. Anyway Mac probably had no idea what he was getting himself into, our crew (Mike, Steve, Jenn and I) are probably the most bizarre, crude and un-politically correct group of television producer this side of the Great Divide. After meeting him for 5 minutes we where on the rental car bus, my shirt was off and we where shooting Ooglie photographs with my new mustache. My new mustache has to be the creepiest thing I have ever worn…but man does it ever look great in ooglies! Jenn was cursing and swearing as she does, I will write this again, she is the most fowl mouth woman I have ever met, she’s great. We where drawing pictures over her legs with a sharpie, and Mike was chatting him up wearing his Sarong…I’m sure Mac was curious to say the least. We have been on the road a lot together recently, and it would take a lot to make us act like civil people at this point, being on the road does that to ya! Mac got used to it pretty quick…I hope.

We drove out of the bizarrely demonic airport of Denver (lots of occult symbology, and statues of hellish horses with blood red glowing eyes, makes you wonder about the architects!). On another note the airport at Denver is really beautiful, the coolest one I have been to. Tidby and I got stuck in Denver once en-route to film the Marty Smith Motocross DVD in Santiago a few years ago. I remember remarking on its strange and interesting qualities back then as well. We drove a couple hours along t he plains below the huge Colorado Rocky Mountains. This place was very similar to Alberta, lots of cows, rolling hills, weird rock formations, with a bit of mars thrown in for good measure. The clouds where amazing, thunder storms in the distance, huge cumulous clouds, the true old west.

We arrived in the strange little town called Laramie Wyoming. Laramie is this little quiet town with a main street that was probably at one time a busy spot but now absolutely empty. It felt like a ghost town to me, there where just no humans anywhere to be seen. Many relics of the wild old west still remain, a cowboy hat store, gun shop, brothel, you know, the usual. This quiet sleepy town would be our home away from home for 3 days. We drove into the mountains, plenty of snow still on the peaks. We saw a dead cow on the side of the road, that was kind of weird, I wanted to get out and film it but for some reason no one agreed that it would make a great cutaway in our “Life From Other Planets” episode…I thought it would set the tone just brilliantly, “Welcome to the old West…here is a rotting cow….”

We climbed a huge mountain to film up an observatory. In fact it was an infrared telescope that could see a quintillion miles away. Mac did his first bit of b roll filming, checking out the scope, looking over the cliffs, running into guy wires. It was horribly funny actually, I was doing a hand held tracking shot of Mac walking around the observatory, I had asked him to look to the side as if he where walking and admiring at the same time, then WHAMMO! One of the electrical pole guy wires nailed him in the face! He was lucky it didn’t slice his face right off his head. We all had a chuckle, Mac laughed.

That night we went to a pretty cool restaurant and realized that people did live here, in fact it was a real happening town, just not out on the streets. In the school season apparently it’s a real hot spot as it is a college town, and college towns are all crazy, I know I saw Revenge of the Nerds and the new Dukes of Hazard. I have a good handle on what an American college town is capable of. Nothing really to mention of the night besides a ton of great pictures where taken of us posing our best ooglies and drooling water on $100 dollar bills and such.

We woke up nice and early the next day and interviewed a professor and some students at the university on the roof at yet another telescopic observatory. The course that the professor has is a creative writing course aimed specifically at communicating with potential life on other planets. Pretty cool concept with lots of interesting angles, such as, do other living entities care what humans have to say? Do they read? If they hear from us will they zap us? These are the things that are debated in this creative writing course, I thought it was pretty cool. I am sitting beside Jenn right now on the plane from Ottawa and she is watching Ali G and Borat episodes…too much, I’m having a hard time concentrating on my blog because I keep watching at the same time, Borat is hilarious. Life from other planets will be very disappointed when they are finally able to communicate with us. We are not very intelligent people, but gosh darn we love bad comedy!!!

Because Mac (from now on we call hi THE KNIFE) is a blogger with a HUGE readership, he made mention in his blog (don’t forget to check it out at www.mactonnies.com) that he was filming with us in Laramie, and minutes later one of his loyal readers made mention that THE DR. LEO SPRINKLE also lived in Laramie! DR SPRINKLE!!! Dr. Sprinkle is a world famous hypnosis therapist who specifically works with people who have been abducted by aliens. We looked him up in the phone book, and as sure as Saturn’s rings, there he was…Dr. Sprinkle, right there in the phone book! So we went to interview him, he was great, real nice man, a gentleman for sure. His stature and wise ways reminded me a lot of my grandfather Hemmings, in fact there was a lot of similarities with them, their convictions in their faith, their grandfatherly ways, their sternness, and their curious sense of humor, the big difference is that Granddad Hemmings believed that Jesus came from the virgin Mary as the true son of God and the Messiah, where Dr. Sprinkle told us that he believes that Jesus came here on a space ship. He truly was a lovely man, and I am very lucky to be able to meet people like this, I really love this job, except for the travelling in airplanes bit, but what the hell, I get to write this blog on planes, it’s not all that bad.

Beatport Burners episode 55 is on my ITunes right now, truly good electronic and house music is some of the best writing music, especially when writing topics surrounding life from other planets etc.

After Sprinkle’s interview we hit the brew pub for dinner. I, like usual, ordered a flight of their own beer samples, I love microbrew.. The airline host just ragged me out because I am typing with my Bluetooth light on, I had no idea what he was talking about, then he turned off the switch and made me look like a dummy, but I then made him think I didn’t know what Bluetooth was, then he felt like a dummy. Anyway back to the blog.

What happens next in this trip I can’t write about. Why? Because I can’t remember. I think I was abducted, immediately AFTER Mike and I threw down some double scotches and some single dollars into the jukebox at this cool little pub…the second we played the Allman Brother’s classic “Whipping Post” Everything went black. I was gone, Jenn told me I was probed, I don’t want to believe that. I will write no more about this night, maybe Mac Tonnies did (Don’t forget to read his blog at www.mactonnies.com) Maybe ask Jenn, Mike or Steve what happened, all I know is Mike and Steve last saw me giving away popcorn at another establishment called Mingles. Then I disappeared, literally, and woke up fresh eyed and bushy tailed the next morning in my hotel room having NO IDEA HOW I GOT THERE.

1 week later

I am now in Detroit airport looking back to last week where I finished the last paragraph. The next day after my abduction we drove back to Colorado, what a beautiful drive, the mountains are incredible with snow, the weird rock formations, the dead cows laying upside down on the side of the road, its all good in the hood, just not that good in the head. Anyway we travelled somewhat painlessly from Denver to Madison Wisconsin, you know I have never even heard of this town, well I probably have, but I can’t believe that such a cool town exists in the mid west! We flew in and from the air the city sits in the small land mass that is surrounded by 3 large lakes, lots of boats, lots of water, lots of green forest, man it was a real trip flying into this little Midwestern secret! We went out that night to walk the car-free pedestrian streets, very European, great restaurants, some head shops, I bought a sweet Bob Marley T Shirt for myself, a miniature version of the same shirt for my niece Aren, and a Beatles Yellow Submarine for my niece Adrian…gotta get them into the right musical vibes from an early age ya know? We had a pretty good Nepalese dinner outside on a patio, horrible service, but good food. I felt good that night, I was encouraged to be reminded that there are some cool towns in the US that I haven’t explored yet, not that I have been all over the US, but I’ve been South of the border enough times to have the same strange feeling every time I enter the Republican sanctuary.

The next morning we went down to the waterfront at the university to film this incredible girl named Maggie Turnbull, why was she incredible? Well, probably because she is really intelligent, cool and quite attractive, hot smart women are a lovely addition to any of my days I would say! I think I’m pretty lucky because I have married who in my mind is the hottest and smartest cool chick this side of the Pacific! Ummm, off track again, sorry, I have Beastie Boys’ “Girls” in my head right now…

Have you ever seen the movie contact? Remember Jodie Foster? Well Maggie is a real life version of Foster’s character in that movie. Maggie works with SETI on projects that will prepare us to have 2 way communication with life on other planets. She’s a full on trekki as well, she told us that watching Star Trek when she was younger really got her interested in the universe and space, and now she is following those dreams….and as Steve just said as he watched me type this in the airport terminal, “don’t forget to say she’s bangin’ too”…thanks Steve.

Mac Tonnies I think was in love, he was interviewing a beautiful girl who seemingly knew more than he does about space and aliens etc….he was glowing! GO MAC GO!!! Anyway Mac told me about a website that some other blogger guy put together referencing the 6000 people that you HAVE to meet in your lifetime, Mac says Maggie needs to be on that list. He also says that the list is pretty much comprised of really hot, smart fill-ees. Hey Mac, if you are reading this blog, make a comment and let our readers know about your blog and the list of 6000…cool? And hey Mac…see you in Arizona in 2 weeks boyeeeee.

We dropped old Mac off at his hotel and I drove the van to Milwaukee. That was a heck of a drive, god thing that we have a GPS…that city is nuts, Lake Michigan is pretty nice though, if you are into that sort of thing….lakes and what not. That night Jenn and Steve had horrible haunting in their rooms, no kidding, they both had haunted hotel rooms. I slept like a baby, they laid awake terrified as stuff moved around their rooms, Steve's toilet flushed on its own even though the chain was disconnected and Jenn was “paralyzed in fear”. I expected as much doing a show with such thin ice spiritual themes…speaking of which, the stuff I filmed yesterday in my living room was a bit much.

I will quickly run the last week…we got home Friday night, Jenn’s husband Drew (used to play in the Superfriendz) was playing an outdoor show with Joel Plaskett, it was thundering out but they stayed dry. Steve drove up to his camp to hang with his family and go into a drunken stupor, Mike ended up cruising down to Shag Harbor to screen one of his alien films, and Jessica and I hosted our friends Monica and Steve for a couple nights and we went out for dinner and had a few. The weekend was great, Jessica and I drove down to Pleasantville for 2 nights, that was great, it poured rain and thundered the whole time, very relaxing actually, I filmed a bit on the beach, down at the Lahave Bakery and then down at the Mahone Bay wooden boat festival. It was just what I / we needed, no internet, no work, just chill.

Monday came quickly and my father in law Lawrence showed up to build Jessica and I a back deck for our wedding present, he is still there (its now Friday) cranking it together, it looks great! My buddy Raj and Glynnis came down to stay fir a couple nights as well, Jessica and I have been taking care of Al and Cindy’s house so we had a sweet BBQ at their place last night for Lawrence’s great deck work, and also for the welcome of Raj and Glynnis. You may remember Raj from my MIP and NSI posts. He is also the producer of Showcase’s “Rent-a-Goalie”. We had a nice night drinking local wines and local beers, brother and law Adam rocked the BBQ. I listened to DJ Jazzie Jeff and the Fresh Prince on the Hi Fi stereo connected to Alistair’s Apple TV. And that pretty much sums it up. I flew out this afternoon and now I'm in Detroit en-route to Chicago to film some other whacko scene, oh speaking of which, I forgot to mention yesterday and the day before’s shoots.

We flew a guy named Len in from California, he is an old hippie who loved to tell stories about his days dropping LSD and living the free love, sex drugs and rock and roll bit, he played in a psychedelic band as well, he also just happens to be a black magician and an authority and author of Alistair Crowly.

The next day we shot our Magic host Jeremy do some magic bits on a Halifax pier, the last of Barrett’s privateers. He did well. But then Jenn grabbed a bunch of religious paraphernalia, like crucifixes, Mother Mary statues with blood running down her eyes, etc…we had to film these images in my living room as she dripped fake blood over the objects. It was not the coolest shooting day of my life. Kind of a creepy thing to do ya know? Anyway, like Mike I very much believe in the world of the spiritual, and I feel that playing around with things like this can open me up to sketchy experiences. I will try to remember to look for my journal I wrote the first time I got really high on mushrooms, man it was the most spiritual experiences of my life. Demons, Angels, revelations, God, love, fear, everything…I had opened a door into a realm that should be carefully tread upon, this series is one of those. But alas I feel properly covered…see Ephesians 6.

Outta here!

"Starwood Festival-Chaos Magik and Naked Twister"

July 23, 2008

Halifax to Buffalo

I am writing from New York City’s LaGuardia airport. We left Halifax this morning to get to Buffalo NY for the next shoot for the “Do You Believe In” series. This episode is about what is called “chaos magic”. I will tell you more after I experience the magic festival that we are attending in upstate, I’m sure by then I will fully understand what chaos magic is. As far as I can tell at this point, it is the “real” magic, or black magic. The use of the mind and spirit to influence things. Not quite sure what we are getting ourselves into but like I said I will update on my flight back. We have a new member of our team on this trip, a very cool cat named Jeremy Bennett who is a magician from Newfoundland. This guy is pretty right on, he performs some pretty amazing tricks. He is very much into the power of the mind. He is pretty stoked to check the festival out that we are filming.

It was nice to be home for a few days, Jess and I drove back to Saint John for my grandmother’s 90th birthday. After the party my folks through Jess and I a big party complete with bbq, friends, family and drinks. We had a great time actually; it’s always so nice to hang at my folks place on the deck. Its has more than nostalgia attached to it, its just a real great place to be, my parents have always been very open for good times at heir house…wow they have been patient with me! Ha ha. I have had so many bands play in the basement, random VW vans torn apart in the driveway, large motor homes, motorbikes, parties, you know, the typical! Anyway, thanks mom and dad! Next morning I played bass at SJ Vineyard, Jess went to Fredericton for a 21 leaders meeting, then we drove home! We got in Sunday night, it was pouring rain in Halifax, and the Summer Sonic concert at Citadel Hill was going on…in the drenching storm. Summer Sonic had a bunch of great bands, including Hey Rosetta, Wintersleep and my favorite The Stars. My buddy Jay Vautour and I fought the rain and walked down to the concert and watched the Stars play in the pouring rain to 5000 soaking wet fans. We watched it from the top of Citadel and it was beautiful! The rain and the fog made the concert lights looks amazing as they cut through the haze to the beat and vocals of one of my favorite bands.

The Stars are part of the Arts & Craft label in Toronto which is the collective of Broken Social Scene, Most Serene Republic, Metric, Feist etc. First time I saw the Stars was in Saint John at a very small little pub called Callahan’s. I had no idea who the band was but I was hired to film them. I interviewed one of the lead singers Amy and I learned a lot about them and instantly became a huge fan. Amy told me that our interview was one of her favorite ones that she ever had! I was honored, I think it’s because I really didn’t know the band, or anything about them, but I was genuinely very interested. I learned a lot from that interview about how to bring things out of people in an interview. For me, I just engage people in conversation, if you make them feel comfortable and just talk to them, you get gold every time! I have used written questions on certain shoots, but those interviews always feel contrived and I never get the emotion that I would if I used my more human technique.


July 25, 2008

Buffalo to Halifax

Starwood Festival

“The Dark Meat of the Turkey

It’s too early to be travelling…we had to wake up this morning at 4:30, it’s now 7ish and we just flew out of Buffalo. Hey Rosetta! Is in my headphones keeping me from drifting to sleep. Travel is such an important part of my life, but man it’s exhausting. 2 nights ago we waited for 3 hours for our flight to Buffalo. It, along with almost every other flight out of LaGuardia was cancelled because of tropical storm Dolly. We where to shoot the next morning at the Starwood Festival so we had to get there…we decided to rent a car and brave the 7 hour drive from New York City to a small town and hour outside of Buffalo called Sherwood Lake. We arrived at 2 in the morning exhausted, but had a helluva fun road trip. You know when everything goes wrong and you are at that point when you can either be pissed off and be miserable, or just completely loose your mind and go nuts? Well we did the go nuts part, we cranked the tunes, yelled out the window, yelled at the girl in the GPS machine, had yelling time trial contests, and then starting turkey gobbling…um, yeah….I guess you would have to be there to really understand the relevance of that, none the less we made it and we ended the night listening to the Dub Side of the Moon by the Easy Dub Allstars, they cover Pink Floyd’s / my favorite album of all time Dark Side of the Moon in reggae and dub, its killer. They also recently released a dub version of OK computer, Radio Dread, JAH! Anyway, in the spirit of the turkey gobble we dubbed our trip “The Dark Meat of the Turkey”


After the last paragraph we landed in Brooklyn at JFK airport, as predicted we couldn’t get on to the next flight to Halifax? WHY? Because American Airlines over booked the plane and we where the 4 poor suckers that got bumped. Literally every leg of this trip has been cursed, and I mean that literally. There is a real spirit about this show we are producing that I feel is tampering with our travels, but I’m keeping it on the level, the sense of mad humor we as a crew have is really keeping us together…we are now at LaGuardia waiting for a flight to Montreal, then to Halifax and get in at 9pm. Tomorrow we have off, the Sunday off again for a week to Arizona. Anyway, this weekend is Evolve, I should be there filming but alas here we are stuck in an airport again. Lauchlan and one of our interns Steve Belyea and our new man on the HHP scene Matt Webber are filming it for us this time. This is the first Evolve in 8 years that I haven’t attended crazy. Anyway, the film shoot yesterday was a similar vibe as Evolve anyway so I guess I got it out of my system. So back to the shoot…

We are shooting this episode on magic. There is a festival in upstate New York called the Starwood Festival. They describe it as a mix of a dead head festival and a Pagan spiritual witchcraft thingie. The deadhead side of it I could relate to, unfortunately that only represented 5% of what the festival was all about. The festival was exactly what you would imagine a pagan festival to look like. Lots of old hippies, lots of pentagrams, huge bonfires, magic, and a hundred naked people, or as our director Jenn says “Lots of shlorts and shlongs, feps and jubblies”… yeah, Jenn is the most fowl mouthed female I have ever met, I mean that in the nicest way possible of course!


Finally, back on the plane, 5 hours later, there will be one more travel intermission at Montreal before we get home to Halifax. Today we will have visited 5 airports. Heineken and “jet fuel” snacks for dinner as a write with Beatport Burners episode 63 on the phones. So back to the bizarre pagan festival. I forgot to mention the naked twister game they had, I really felt like I was on more of a nudist colony then anything else. Yeah it was pretty interesting to say the least. It’s funny because this environment is nothing new to me. I have been on the road for so many years traveling to music festivals all over the place, it’s very old hat. This festival was a bit different however as it wasn’t focused on music, it was just focused on the raw carnal pleasures and self worship. The spiritual climate there wasn’t intense or anything when we where there, but I am sure at night if we where to stay we would have seen some interesting things.

We filmed this real interesting cat named Phil who is a magician, he was clear that he wasn’t a “chaos magician” but that there where many parallels. It was pretty cool actually, he did a workshop for us exemplifying the powers of the mind and will, and how thought energies can actually affect the physical. He showed us on camera how you can change how heavy you are if 2 people try to pick you up depending on where your thought energies are. We filmed our host Jeremy experience the workshop and interview Phil about this form of Magic. Jeremy was in his prime. We filmed for 2 hours, then took our shirts off and hung out the rest of the day drinking local wine slushies and getting sun burnt.

I feel really good technically about what we have been shooting. The Letus lens adapter is great, except there are limitations with me only having a 50mm and an 85mm to play with, whenever I need a wide I need to derig. This needs to change; I will have to get some more Nikon lenses when I get a chance. The images look great though with this set up. I want to buy a handheld kit for this as well, speaking of that a remote head would be nice too, and a dolly, and a jib, and a…..

Spiritually this project has been interesting. It’s funny because our other producer / host / director Mike, who is currently still stuck in New York, and I both share the same viewpoints and beliefs in the spirit world. Mike comes from a spiritual Catholic background and is very aware of the angelic and the demonic. Ever since we started this series we both have prepared ourselves for some sort of spiritual attacks. He has been hit with some very intense and destructive dreams; I have been attacked with real shitty travel fuck ups. But like I mentioned early I am not sweating it, I am alive, my legs work, I have an amazing woman waiting for me when I get home (if I get home) and in the end, its just TV…right? I have long ago given up freak outs when this sort of thing happens. Flying sucks, end of story. Mind you the road trip 2 nights ago to Buffalo was a lot of fun; I forgot how much fun it was to travel with a group for a long distance. I used to do the trip through New England from the east coast all the time back in the day to see shows, criss crossing the country to festivals and concerts. It was a nice blast to the past driving West through the Appalachians. Speaking of which, I should write sometime about climbing Mount Kathadan, which is the last stop of the Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia up to the Maine Canadian border. Random though there, worth writing about sometime, I’ll use this as a reminder to get back to it sometime!

We are almost in Montreal, I’m not even finished my beer yet, that was a quick flight. Tomorrow I have some work at the office to do, I might go visit dad in Pleasantville, then Cindy, Alistair, Jess and I are going to dinner and then after a few hours of sleep I will be on a plane again to Arizona I think. Ill touch base again in a few days.

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