April 17, 2015

Guess who got fired up for shooting a guerrilla-style documentary last weekend? [Rim shot] Or Who's Your Tailor?

About a month or two ago, I had an epiphany. It coincided with a computer failure and it wasn't so much an epiphany as it was a throw-down-the-gauntlet-Howard Beale-inspired move. Long story short, I invested in an NLE system suitable for doing grass-roots documentary work and remembered I was a film editor that could cut a story. It was like coming to after a bout of amnesia and remembering I was fluent in a foreign language. So in addition to painting, I'm officially back in business as a film editor.

More on that later on, but for now, just know that I had a vision and that I stopped short of making an advent calendar leading up to last weekend's NRA convention in Nashville, Tennessee, aka Music City, USA, aka Nashvegas, aka Athens of the South, and so on.

Nashville, you may recall was dubbed the "It" city by the New York Times not too long ago. It was also listed as the second-most vibrant arts community in the United States. I'm not making this up—it ranked ahead of New York. Those losers in my former home town of Los Angeles, didn't even place in the top ten.

In fact, we are so vibrant that we welcomed the 2015 National Rifle Association with all guns blazing. We are an ethical city if nothing else. And speaking of ethical,  knowing where one's bread is buttered, I was fascinated that nearly every Republican candidate to date would be sequestered in one room at a "Leadership Panel." Realistically I knew it would be a bigger issue than I could cover solo in one down-and-dirty day of shooting, but I packed my camera and mic and did my best to grab some on-the-fly interviews and stills.

NRA program highlights included the "2nd Women's New Energy Breakfast," a "Prayer Breakfast," and an artillery of other events suitable for the entire family. And yes, I even talked to a priest packing heat. (Don't they all?)

Who needs a gun** when you can slap this calendar on your front door?  
Or better yet, put it in your daughter's bedroom so she can count the days
 until she turns into a torso. 

Adorable, no? Target practice at the "Freedom Festival."

Maybe it's just me, but, this reads a little awkward given 
what's been going down lately.

Finally...a display targeted to the cultured elite. 
For moment I thought I was at Art Basel again.

Just when I thought everyone and their mother was making an easy buck off the NRA, I saw one woman with a hand-made sign. Thank you, lady, you made a difference. 

At times it was heart-breaking and emotionally tough to witness an industry thriving on violence, paranoia, sexism, ignorance and indifference. At street level, what I gathered was that everyone feels need to protect themselves from the proverbial, "Other" or that they like to kills things as sport. As a practicing buddhist, the whole thing goes against my idea of right livelihood. I understand the economics. And that's part of the problem. 

Meanwhile, judging by the suits manning the booths inside, the real question should be, "Who's your tailor?" and "Cash or Credit?"

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In full disclosure, the author inherited a pearl-handled .38 special with her grandfather's name engraved on the handle and has been known to hit a bulls-eye.