Beginning with a static-y 1996 AM radio interview during a power outage on the island of Guam Micronesia, then checking in from a goat farm in Japan decades later, then again from tiny isle in Indonesia, Uncle Weed weaves hempen stories and personal anecdotes about life on this remote USA “territory” including: selling hemp bags at Jeff’s Pirate Cove, advocating for legalization of cannabis in all forms, weird jobs (and quitting same), and current situation as Grassroots activists seek to fulfil will of voters for medical and recreational uses.
From SXSW 2008 – amidst sirens and Austin, Texas 6th St. street noise – comes an interview with filmmaker Erich Weiss premièring “Hori Smoku, Sailor Jerry” about the originator of contemporary tattoo-ing – and iconoclastic libertarian American – Norman Collins who combined Japanese technique, Polynesian traditions, and American motifs in Hawaii during WW2.
The interview delves into the the “screwed, boozed (blued), and tattooed” wild culture as a million sailors and soldiers descended upon the idyllic islands (especially Hotel Street), plus Mr. Collins’ complex life, the artistic lineage of Sailor Jerry, rivalries and legacies of various tattoo artists/legends, mentorships of Don Ed Hardy and others, and the remarks about “fad” tattooing and (lack of) regret.
On a forgotten forest walk, Dave riffs a story about first trip to Europe – starting with trying not to puke over an Amsterdam bridge after a meeting new temporary coffee shop pals – with flashback to Mexican desert trips with Grandpa, LSD trips with VW bus-fixing pals, and family Grateful Dead road trip to in Arizona.
Foreshadows future stories of an rapid exit from London to Florida then a (rather dangerous) driveway car to Dallas, bus to SLC, flight to Vancouver, then to Japan…
High in Jamaica, Uncle Weed visits Black Ras’ abundant mountain growfield to discuss “swamp weed” grown in morass versus “hard land weed” grown in volcanic soil with bat guano, plus varieties of ganja strains – both domestic and imported. Plus background about his family teaching him the ways of growing most anything and living an Ital lifestyle.
In-depth discussion with rock art photographer bev. davies including: hippie days with Neil Young and Joan Anderson (Joni Mitchell), shooting punk pioneers DOA and Subhumans, Motörhead in a park, David Bowie in a stadium, Brian Jonestown Massacre flipping off crowd and so many more. Also stories from backstage with Iron Maiden and Twisted Sister, Nardwuar collaborations, Duran Duran posing at soundcheck, and remarks about various Vancouver venues.
Plus insights about role of photographer as artist, conundrums of accreditation and access, reasons for a long hiatus, crafting the perfect shot, shoes versus sneakers, origins of calendars and exhibits, and plans for a book. Recorded August 2010 in Strathcona, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Embarking on meandering natural healing journey around Asia, Indian sub-continent, Arabia, Mediterranean, across Canada, US rocky mountain canyons, and to Grateful Dead anniversary shows while emerging from a fog after chronic and complex illness diagnosis resulting in lost years due to prescription meds.
The things we make in the rapid pace of creativity, often fall judgement to our own perfectionism and subjectivity at the time,… But, one stashed away and preserved, they can become artefacts that show us how we became ourselves. Additionally, by preserving output made by our co-conspirators and collaborators, we can help fill in the gap’s of their stories.
In this case, videos made by my dear pals:
Brandon G Kiggins (Formerly of Utah, now of Brooklyn/NYU) “the environmentalist” (award-winning)
Eiji Masuda #RIP Japan who was my collaborator on the pioneering digital doc Hempen Road (20 years old this year) “Mistaking the shadow” #Experimental
A documentary about the Russian revolution “The beginning of our troubles” made by my Uncle Mark Bannatyne while at USU doing graduate studies
A film by my Mom Lauralee Elliott #RIP with significant assistance from the aforementioned Brandon Kiggins, while at #UVCC “Tattoo”, note: long before everyone had a tattoo :-)
A public TV show which broadcast clips from the previously mentioned Hempen Road on “Master Weed theater”
The one labelled “Giggling Piglet Co-op” features me and the Japanese girl on the island of Guam demonstrating flower sticks and talking about the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia who had recently died on a show called “Buenas”, and might… also contain a similar juggling stick performance from Tottori, Japan which appeared on the nationally broadcast morning show “Zoom in Asa”.
In some cases, these might be the only remaining evidence of these diligent creative endeavors. Eventually they will be digitized and shared an archived so the hours that one into them and the inspiration which comes out of them, can pass on to others.
What do you have in your closet or shoe box which Will surprise and inspire your friends and strangers?
With scant days to go, Uncle Weed reflects on expectations, better realized – plus shares affection for kind people, the important of finding authenticity and supporting local economy– all while embarking on final steps before leaving, including: visiting Mr. Lawrence, the lifeguard; packing up jerk spice and mango chutney; detailing the geometric woodwork in the Queen’s Cottage’s roof; plus mops up a few stories, chats about PM Michael Manley’s Canadian ties, and dives into the sea… before saying good-bye to the Jamaican people by celebrating optimism about the free island’s place in the world.
“Mongooses are like ninja squirrels – stealth, rat-eating machines. They kinda look like squirrels but squirrels are gentle, nut-eating creatures and mongooses (mongeese) are feared sniper killers.”
After more banter about lobsters, reggae and food, Uncle Weed offers observations about music industry, taxi drivers, civic pride, pothole filling, corrupt government and cynicism, devalued currency, human potential, news of the day, Patois remix, ninja squirrel mongoose, Rasta culture, fireflies, coconuts, kids doing homework, bats catching mosquitos, meaning of goats, donkeys strolling, swimming (or lack thereof), varieties of crabs, Prime Minsterial hijinks, calling elections, cruise ships, markets, churches, and Jamaica-Canada connections.