Episode 027
New Tires

A podcast about movie making and the scifi featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Freedom.

Howdy! OMG, this podcast is happening more! Thousands of listens now, more groovy people finding each other every week. Seems like yesterday when we settled into the sound booth for Episode 001 and spoke our first spells into the shotgun mic, when we played and sang the theme song and said hey, good enough for our first episode.

Then a few weeks later Melonie was like, "That theme song is creepy, gross old guys spying on teens." No duh, Melonie it's pre-adolescent boys spying on older high school girls. That's acceptable, right? Maybe not? Shouldn't go there? Wait, let me add a few sound effects of young boys playing soccer in Latvia to provide context. But not until Episode 004.1, tho, so new listeners have to brave 4 episodes of theoretical smarm. Just doing the best I can here folks... which is pretty freaking awesome! and just getting better. Or at least different.

Yah, definitely better, because now there's 27 episodes and that's better than 26. The Public Podcasting Service hasn't canceled our show yet! and according to Joe Cissel, pretty much anything tolerated by the establishment must be some form of insidious indoctrination. I can shamelessly misquote Joe without fear of reprisal because he gave up on this podcast after episode 001. So I have to do all my brainwashing of Joe one on one, which is not the most effective use of my time. By the way, if it's Friday around 7 pm eastern standard time and you happen to be eating at the Excellent Dumpling house on Lafayette and Canal in NYC's Chinatown, your brain is sparkling.

Welcome back to the Daughter of Godcast.

Episode 027, New Tires.

The last couple of weeks, signals from a nearby now has been exploring communication, how modernity on alter-earth in the universe next door fell apart because their basis for communication was whacked.

a need for this, or a desire for that
if I'm a dog, doesn't matter if you're a cat
just deal with a canine agenda
what equals doggy splendor?

Dog says, "I have a need for barking
and romping in the grass
I notice you're a cat
bet you can run pretty fast."

Dog continues, "Would you be willing
to run in front of me?
if I promise there be no killing
or maiming with sharp teeth?"

Dog concludes, "I have need to chase
and run around in circles
you'll always win the race
would that for you, be workable?"

the Cat might reply
"So Dog, what I hear you saying
is you're wanting me to try
a decisive non-staying?"

again, Cat "You want me to run
as if I were fleeing
I hear you're wanting fun
is that right, are you agreeing?

Dog, "Oh yes, that's what I'm feeling
a need for roundabout, reeling!
You heard me, friend cat
That's totally where I'm at!"

Cat, "Dog, your needs I've received deeply
and in response I'd say
I have a need for sleeping.
Could we play chase, a little later today?"

Dog, "Yes, that would be fine
I'm glad we've had this chat
Celebrating! This is my first time
sharing rapport with a cat."

Cute verses between a dog and a cat sketch out a tiny fable. A dog who wants to play chase is negotiating with a cat. In the real world, it's a cinch for dogs and cats to live together in harmony. Anyone with access to the internet can find proof. For some reason, dogs and cats have been presented to us as iconic enemies. In the verses, a dog and cat seek to meet each others' needs, without trying to evaluate whether their desires are right or wrong. They could be placeholders for Tutsis and Hutus, for Palestinians and Israelis, for Republicats and Democrins.

This is an example of Marshall Rosenbergs NVC or non violent communication. I've invented a synonym, free talking, because NVC is a language of freedom.

Now I don't want to go all Patrick Henry on you, but current events beg the question, what is a free country and was America ever free or can it ever be free? What is freedom anyway?

Freedom is a personal choice that every person can make. So what's that mean? Freedom is about feeling easy with who I am, about deciding to experience myself fully. Who are YOU, really? Freedom is the decision to experience yourself, fully alive and wide open.

Are Americans truly easy with who they are? Are they feeling alive and wide open? If Americans are looking for freedom outside of themselves, making requests of supposed authority, accepting placeholders, that's not freedom, oh best beloved. Here's my short list of other things that aren't freedom.

  • Shopping at Walmart or Amazon is not freedom
  • Gasoline under $2/gallon is not freedom
  • 100 cable channels is not freedom
  • Posting on Facebook and Twitter is not freedom
  • Voting is not freedom
  • Safety is not freedom

Let's dig deeper on that last one. How can we be free if we're not safe? If an enemy wants to take away our freedoms, then we must fight! Only when we are safe from aggression and oppression, only then can we be free. Freedom requires security. We need to protect our borders, we need to defend against a common threat, we must guard or home against invasion. We must identify and punish the subversives and terrorists among us!

And we all can see where that goes. Show me your papers, please.

Likewise, there's no power that can threaten our freedom, because freedom isn't external. You are free when you choose to be.

So what is freedom again? Try this - self awareness, a decision to establish self rapport. That's the pre-requisite for deep rapport with our fellow beings. Feeling fully alive means making a decision to exhilarate in my experience, my intensity, my exploration, my diversity, my discovery, my adventure.

Now you can ask yourself, is freedom what you really want? Because that's the question right now, America. I can't be free if I'm practicing fear. Freedom is a decision to be who I am, with gumption, enthusiasm even. We are only free on the inside.

Is freedom scary? For me, getting free has been scary, hell yes. Because when I really look at my desires I realize that I am not conventional and therefor might be shunned... by people who are fixated on external authority or pushing placeholder around. I'm a freak in a white male mostly straight body. My very definition of freedom flies in the face of a cozy police state.

More intense than that, way more - I have to look inside and feel ok about who I am. Unconditionally. Who do you know that's done that, could even imagine doing that? That's what I know freedom to be, looking inside and just saying, yes. AOK. Most excellent even.

Fear comes from going too fast maybe. Getting freedom doesn't have to be scary, just be gentle with yourself, take your time. I guess I've yearned for freedom so fiercely, getting my freedom's been way intense, at times 🙂

When Americans swing up on this freedom, sustainability will follow, maybe we'll be beyond government by then. Ha, I'm an incorrigible utopian.

When I'm free from within, I resonate with thriving wilds, the wilderness. Each of us is a walking wilderness, our internal emotion-scape is gorgeous, mighty. There's power and vitality breathing, being, resplendent are we in our nature. So I'm a big fan of letting Earth's wilds be what they are too, without management, resource harvesting, exploitation or any human impact. Expanding those wilds even. Freedom, yeah.

Yada yada, Getting back to the diverse needs of dogs and cats, there is a language of freedom. How two free beings communicate. Free talking could be just a hack that makes existing languages freedom friendly, or a complete revision of my prior paradigm.

Now, aside from watching Marshall on YouTube and reading his books, learning non violent communication has been tricky. I was raised in captivity by slaves for 40 or so years. I've been to official NVC training but didn't really come away with much more than I went in with. Just gotta decide and practice.

That's what Signals from a Nearby Now has been broadcasting. Their parallel reality apocalypse had a lot to do with not having access to a language of freedom. When a sustainable presence on their version of the planet was catastrophically reasserted, free talking just showed up, naturally. Maybe we can remember how to speak the language of freedom right now. Because we are born free. As free as the wind blows.

This episode mostly covers the first 6 months of 2011, with some tipsy staggering about, from the rolltop desk to the sofa and then over to the fireplace. Here's a quick map of the furniture. Looking for work, throwing parties, new alliances, physicality and dead cats. Duck your head under the swinging boom sailors, we're coming about.

Looking for Work

By the end of 2010 I had re-established myself in beautiful Benzie County. Having focused on dance and film for six years in New York, I was flabbergasted to discover robust communities for dance and film thriving in tiny Traverse City, Michigan. My long time friend Mykl Werth had developed a form of partner dancing that fostered a connection similar my Tai Chi practice. My brother and nephew had gotten sucked into his circle and I eventually took one of Mykl's classes too. I met James and Jamaica there and a host of other radiant beauties.

In the fall of 2010 Mykl, James, Jamaica and I started exploring the possibility of creating videos to teach Mykl's technique, but after months of negotiation we couldn't agree on a profit sharing strategy, and so we dropped the project.

I was scoping around for revenue streams, either doing production work for hire or launching content. Concurrent with Mykl's project, my nephews and I explored forming a VFX company to support the regional indy production eco-system.

VFX means visual effects - 3D models, compositing and digital tricks to repair and enhance live action footage. A high end VFX company IE Effects had moved to Traverse City in late 2010 and they were looking for rotoscopers to handle conversion of 2D movies to 3D. Jonathan and I had both had roto experience and I tried to get us jobs there.

IE Effects had a net 30 policy for their contractors and I annoyed the principle David Kenneth by requesting a modest advance to establish our relationship. He terminated negotiations, rather abruptly IMHO. This was a bit of a strategic loss, as Jonathan and I could have gotten paid to get some professional expertise. The rumor was that IE later brought in roto contractors from Cali.

IE Effects didn't last very long. Because of apocalyptic politics in Lansing, changes to Michigan's film incentive spooked the money folks in Hollywood, and IE Effects lost major clients. I later became friends with the fabulous Clover Keys Roy who had managed the IE Effects studio and she gave me the skinny.

Clearly, not hiring Jonathan and I was an affront to the cosmos. Not only did Kenneth miss out on top drawer roto monkeys and hilarious collaborators but we probably could have saved the day in Lansing, popping down for another high profile, media savvy arrest chained to the doors of the Capitol building's Senate Chamber! I get goose bumps just thinking about this.

Trickster Pictures Version .9
Demo Reel

Our family demo reel was intended to land us roto and composite work with the plethora of indy studios popping up around the state. We recycled a couple of scenes from DOG and produced three new short vignettes. Version .9 was launched on May 10 of 2011.

Jonathan wrote a parody of Detroit's hidebound auto industry. A haggard marketing executive gives an uninspired presentation about the company's latest vehicle, the iCar, clearly a rip off of Apple Computer's i-franchise. Aside from the live action shot of the executive, played by Jonathan's father (my brother) Steve, and the foley, everything else in the shot is fake. The minimal aesthetic was intended to suggest rather than reveal. Lighting on the actor match the changes on the presentation screen, marrying diverse elements together.

Climate Change features a live action shot of a private jet taking off from Traverse ity airport, stabilized, rotoscoped and placed into a hurricane. The jet is struck by lightning and is sucked into the swirling vortex of the storm. Another fusion of live action and fabricated elements.

Commando Kill features Patrick on the hydraulic lift of a Penske moving truck, rotoscoped into a industrial background suggestive of an chinese military installation. He is heavily armed with conventional and futuristic weapons and is smoking a rather frazzled cigar. A prominent sign in the background reads no smoking in both English and Chinese. Dense smoke from what we can only assume to be his earlier mayhem swirls and billows around him as he steps off the platform to continue his rampage.

Uturnpike features a scene from DOG on the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike. Shaky live action highway footage was tracked to accommodate columns of snowed in 3D cars, built and rendered by Jonathan. The tracking was incomplete, so the cars and highway movement are poorly matched, which is a significant flaw. The plan was to correct this in the next version.

Canyon Princess is another scene from DOG shot on the San Juan river. Jonathan's 3D cruise ship rests incongrously at the rim of a canyon, as if flying in the sky. How the cruise ship came to rest in this unlikely spot is not obvious, perhaps some incomprehensible cataclysm or distortion of the time space continuum.

After each scene, a brief making of sequence hints at how the scenes were constructed. These are followed by production credits. My youngest nephew Luke, wrote the music theme, "Apprehension Revisited."

The closing tagline reads, "we elegantly implement subtle changes and major fixes for savvy independent filmmakers."

Always learning

“Perfection is the enemy of the (pretty) good” – Voltaire
oops, out of our minds once again. I watched version .9 of the SFX reel and was fairly happy with it as it is. I mean .9, c’mon! This is not the last word in reels, we just want it to be an example of what’s possible – to give other film makers an idea of what the lads and I can do right now. the problem clearly is that we haven’t clarified our goals, which is why were still tweaking this and that. Ok, so what’s the goal for version .9 of the sfx reel? possible goals

1) to show the inner circle of collaborators what’s possible – jeff gibbs, james weston, chris carden, faisal azam etc.
2) to put us on the map with regional film makers and establish for our friends (who we may want to recruit) what SFX actually is, what we actually are doing.
3) to bring some projects to a natural conclusion, so they can be advanced or archived
4) to show all filmmakers everywhere, even those with access to top FX artists and equipment, what we can do with our limited means and experience
5) to just launch an awareness building project (and community calling card) that I am not totally embarrassed about. what’s the follow up?

Let’s have a peek at the Trickster Pictures Collaboratory and blog history to see if there’s anything about objectives for the reel. Here’s an excerpt from a planning post from Holy Boners.

“expansion of post production team with dynamic and effective work approach, tuned workflow, ideal gear mix and just enough knowledge”

How will we handle SFX, what about these guys up by Traverse City?

James Weston

Meanwhile, my friendship with James Weston Lynn, later to become James Schaberg bloomed. He and Jamaica Lynn Weston had gone off to do their African free trade / school building documentary without my blessing and returned with gobs of footage and some pretty wild stories.

I had shot a dance experiment with Gretchen on frozen Crystal Lake. James and I did two more partner dances explorations with Erin Louise Hoagg and Tiffany Ingals from Mykl's dance group.

Michigan Movie Makers

We revived the affinity group James had launched a few years before, the Michigan Movie Makers. By spring we were having monthly meetings of all the key players in the regional indy cinema scene, mostly from Grand Traverse and Benzie Counties.

The Party People Who Love to Movie

I amped up the parties, throwing the Chinese Year of the Rabbit Party in February, the Not So Good Friday party in April with co-host Dede Alder and the Secret Party in May. For the Secret Party, James and I flew down to pick up Anastasia at the Amtrak station in Indiana with his client's four seater prop plane. As well as being a genius dancer and cinematographer, James is also a commercial pilot and flight instructor.

The Daughter of Godcast featured Anastasia in Episode 017. She was off and on my roomie in Brooklyn and for a time up my faithful ward, the Dick Grayson to my Bruce Wayne.

On the way back from Indianapolis James flew some parabolas to simulate weightlessness for us. Zany! A first for me, at least in an airplane. Always get a little parabolic action when sailing big waves.

At the Secret Party, Anastasia and I wagered who could make out with Jenny the languid brunette first. Of course Anastasia won. We also had a fierce sparring match, which is when I found out she was no longer my ward, but a bad ass in her own right. The beautiful Belarussian badass. Someone's grinning past a mouthful of dumpling right now.

For the parties, Patrick and I had been whipping up homemade fireworks with Estes D engines and black powder payloads, kind of oversized bottle rockets. We used environmentally friendly colorants like fine grade steel wool. In late February we took a field trip with his dad to the Michigan Pyrotechnic Arts Guild to see what the big boys were doing. A gang of pyro professionals and hobbyists put on one of the most kick ass fireworks shows ever, just for each other and their families. I wanted my brother Steve to catch the bug, and he almost did, but not quite.

Party theory

What is a party anyway and Why do I keep having them?  These questions are surprisingly sticky, fraught with dangerous revelations and dark discoveries. With not a little trepidation I turn my attention to look, to document, to understand. Though there be dragons here, certainly treasures too.
For What, I’ll start with a broad sweep of the brush. Party : a gathering of people whose only agenda is to be, together.  Note that punctuation. Since this definition suits both mystic and fascist it’s really no definition at all. The trick is to forget about meaning and just feel it’s flow and rhythm, beat style. Parties are subtle and wonderful phenomena, too slippery for pointy fingers. To name it is to miss it, methinks.
As we turn to Why, remember – no matter how filthy pedants might scribble and peck, a thousand answers to Why doesn’t tell us anything about What. The Whys are worthy of review, so here’s a few.

 Introducing Dan Kelly

I left Michigan in 2003 to level up from mere traitor to full on terrorist. After a year wandering in the wilderness, I perched in Brooklyn, New York until the summer of 2010. After busting Hello World 30 miles north of Chicago during Expedition 2 of the Search for Sustainable Civilizations, I decided to pull a prodigal and return to Michigan full time. Mostly I wanted my trees, sunny dunes and snowy frozen lake back. Who could’ve guessed that while I was elsewhere, the north woods would sprout a thick and mossy mat of arts, (specifically dance + movies), to rival what I’d been soaking up out east? And even more painters!
Inexorable awakening had swept the scene. Kids who were just 13 in 2003 are now legal to drink and debauch. The hoary exploits of Dan Kelly are half remembered myths, fables to keep naughty children in check, dreams of a bygone age. I am a stranger to this tribe.May I introduce myself? Party’s are one method of milieu re-entry, a way to take the stage and give the gift of my heretical healing. Say ‘hey’ to a more hep and perhaps humbler Dan Kelly, one of the hero’s thousand faces. I’m back and ready to boogie shoes with u.

Reason to Clean

Having the house clean and organized feels wonderful, but I don’t always give that gift to myself. Since I’m obsessed with wrapping legacy movie projects, domestic messes get deferred until visitors show up.  Messes range from routine maintenance (like dishes, laundry) to ineffective resources (enigmatic pantry, disheveled library).
Major infrastructure issues (busted furnace, foundation failure) always take priority over mere messes. The house has several infrastructure vulnerability stop gaps in process, (bare wallboard, untrimmed skylights) so an immaculate environment is not possible, the best I can do is an uncluttered, cozy and hygienic space. If guests get the impression that I am not a total slob, that’s a win.
When parties loom, I can usually handle all the routine maintenance and at least one inefficiency. The pantry was the Rabbit Party’s achievement (February 5, 2011), there was an extensive library purge for the Lunar Eclipse and Winter Solstice gathering (December 20, 2010) and for the American Document Afterglow (August 28, 2010) I built lofts. Maybe I’ll handle the killer robot that lurks in the garage next.

Community building

We are cruising into some seriously strange times. With luck the American empire will drift off in a delicious plume of feathery dust, as opposed to crashing down in a cascade of tumbling concrete and jagged rebar. In any case, the coherency of the tribe will see us through.  By playing together we become aware of the robust inventory of capabilities, experience and knowledge available in our local community. We flash on the possibilities offered by creative recombination of our diverse powers and gifts. We understand who is a facilitator and who needs a pinch of catalyst.
Parties are driven by the innovators, the adventurers, the dreamers of dreams and the makers, the manifestors. There’s a couple or three sweet utopias sparkling among the razor black shards of apocalypse, and parties point a path through. Amidst the multiplicitous futurez, party people stride towards bright survival. We practice sticking together and improvising on the edge of experience.

Parties as Production

The Trickster Pictures blog is subtitled, “the party people who love to movie.”  Both parties and movie productions require organization, preparation, an awesome cast/crew and superb locations. The main players’ competency, personal charisma and panache support everyone involved/attending. The gathered gestalt must be able to flow and flex with improvisational aplomb. Throwing parties is useful not only as a exercise of logistical fortes, but as a practice of the subtle social dynamics essential to excellence in movie making.

Parties as Art

The juicy stuff. Dancing and live music can happen in both parties and works of theater. Party people might even be performers – either professionally or by inclination. Unlike theater, a party doesn’t distinguish between performers and audience. Everyone shows off, pulls a boner, gets a surprise, is enchanted, falls in love, pratfalls. Probably the most intriguing and generally appealing of my personal Whys, certainly deserving of it’s very own post.
“Did you have fun?” “It was the partyest!”

“No he’s not an artist, he’s a partyst.

Combat Mime

Along with partner dancing in Mykl's tribe, I had been teaching Tai Chi once a week in a studio in Frankfort. By March Joe Cissel, Patrick and I were also in the studio teaching ourselves combat mime, which is a technique used by stunt people to simulate fights and falls. Mostly it's about learning how to roll out after a vertical drop.

Joe is pretty good at flying horizontal, and Patrick was fierce about trying to learn kip ups, which is a move seen often in martial arts movies where the fighter pops onto their feet from a prone position. He beat himself up pretty well that night.

I had bought Dollamur judo mattes for this purpose. The idea was to train ourselves to do our own stunts for upcoming movie projects. This was also complementary to general badassery. Full circle.

Around Lake Michigan

The Fukishima Daiichi plant melted down on March 11. I had passed several nuclear power plants during my sail round the big lake. perhaps this could be a focus for the next expedition of a revised ALM.


My last cat, Tordie started dying in March. She had been living with Cynthia in my old apartment in Prospect Height but they had both moved down to Savannah, Georgia. Mr Fuzzy Boy had disappeared while staying with Melonie on the 2009 ALM expedition, perhaps gobbled by coyotes. XY died peacefully of old age in the back of the extended cab of the Toyota Tundra truck as we drove back to Michigan on Christmas eve of 2005. And Peanut had gone feral among pythons and alligators in the swamps of Bonita Springs, FL. Tortie was the last of a great fleet of cats.

From: cps <cpselfpossessed@>
Subject: what do you think of tortie's memorial tribute?
Date: March 21, 2011 at 2:41:44 PM EDT
To: Dan Kelly <nomad@>

tortie, hailing from artist house in beulah, michigan, passed to the other realm from this plane on sunday evening, march 21, 2011.  she went peacefully at home with her mama. she is survived by her father, dan kelly of artist house, beulah, michigan, her mama, cynthia palmer stevenson of savannah, georgia, and her step-sister, moonstar.  there is also a possibility her sister, the missing peanut who went her own way in florida, may still be here on planet earth.  if not, tortie was the oldest member of the artist house cat colony and community. tortie was 21 and had an exhilarating, exciting and exotic life.  experiences include traveling across the country visiting strange and new places, living with up to 7 other sibling cats as well as 2 large dogs, lounging and frolicking on the sandy beaches of artist house at crystal lake.  she has met some of the most extraordinary people on the planet, from all over the world.  she has observed some wild gatherings, strange but wonderful creatures of humanity, and was found to have a fondness of voyeurism. she witnessed the creation of great art pieces, films and performances of all sorts.  being the extraordinary cat she was, she actually received a love letter from a dear friend before her passing. she enjoyed being vacuumed as her primary mode of grooming and being spanked by jack, her former uncle.  she of course thrived with energy medicine her mama gave, massages, and ancient secret, exclusive healing treatments from her father. tortie had a unique and very singular greeting meow from birth.  her calico fur coat was admired by all.  it was being considered as design for a hat, ear muffs and a stole. She was a queen b, short for queen bitch.  she knew what she wanted, and she was relentless in asking for it. she spent her last several years in 250 st marks ave in brooklyn, new york, where she humored and/or annoyed the neighbors, and sunbathing in the community garden.  she made the move to savannah and survived for a little over a week, waiting for her mama to get settled. due to the miraculous fact that tortie was up to 15 lives, instead of the unusual but not unheard of 9 lives, she is being considered for cat canonization by the universal church of feline goddesses.  also, due to the testimony of her mama, she is being considered for sainthood because it appears she burned all the karma she had to in this lifetime. she gracefully embraced a most beautiful brave battle with cancer and kidney failure.  up to her last days on planet earth, she continued to exhibit bravery, courage and graceful dignity as she prepared to die. as contracted with tortie, since she no longer needs her body, it will be laid to rest within the lands of artist house. no flowers please.  instead tortie would have wanted you to get something decadent for your own pleasure.  she was that way. you will be missed my sweet sweet old lady cat. rest in the greatest peace. Attached is the cutest ever tortie photo.  the song listed is what was playing as she left her body, in freedom. Her mama attested to her release being nothing short of a joy filled expansiveness as she hovered with great love and gratitude. Suzanne Ciani Sargasso Sea

A podcast about movie making and the scifi featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Freedom. Tordie croaked in 2011, the last of a great fleet of cats.

Cyn and I both agreed that she should come home to Michigan, so I asked Cyn to put Tortie in a cooler with dry ice and fedex her back. Cyn had her in her freezer waiting for the right moment for weeks.  The dry ice was still frozen when she showed up on May 2. Strangely tho, her frail little body was warm to my touch, except her ears which were chilled. Almost like she kept a little life heat going until she made it home. I kept her in my freezer for months, intending to shoot a scene with her for Daughter of God, but eventually I just buried her in the back yard with her relatives.

You've been listening to the Daughter of Godcast, episode 027, New Tires. The title is of course a metaphor, but also refers to the new Nokia snow tires I bought for the Odyssey in 2011, which made navigating Michigan's winters much less dramatic. I could actually get out of my driveway no problem. Now here in 2017, the ice is already off the lake and the snow is shy. Thanks for dropping another 30 minutes with me. We're halfway through 2011 and the momentum is kicking. Love all around, where ever you are out there.

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