Today is Monday, March 24, 2014 and I’m in Tucson, Arizona. It has been many years since I’ve been here. Taught high school at Salpointe from 1975-81. Screening tonight at 6:30.
Tomorrow I go up to Phoenix until Friday. One screening at a library tomorrow evening. Will have a couple of days to rest and visit some old friends.
I’ve been on the road since March 4 when I flew to Chicago for the Peace on Earth Film Festival. Great experience, and Ghosts won a major award. Best Expose Documentary.
Joyakgol from Gangjeong Village joined me in Chicago. When the village heard about the film festival they wanted someone to come to Chicago. Money was raised to send Joyakgol and he has been traveling with me on the entire tour. His English is excellent and he is a charismatic and gifted guitarists, so he has added a great deal of energy to the tour. He’s become a great friend and traveling companion.
The film has been received enthusiastically everywhere: Fresno, Santa Rosa, Santa Barbara, Berkeley, LA (twice) and San Diego. One screening in LA was in Korea Town for over 100 Koreans and the other was at UCLA for the faculty and some grad students in the Korean Studies Department.
Had another great screening in San Diego hosted by the VFP…awesome group and very active.
Everywhere, people thanking me for making the film, especially Koreans. There have been several articles and radio interviews that have helped to spread the word in ways that have not happened before.
Ran out of copies of the film! Having Paul Michaud of Patracompany make another 50 and ship them over night for the remainder of the trip: Phoenix, Albuquerque, Taos, and then Austin, Texas. I’ll have four days in Austin to visit with my daughter Ashley and my grandson, Hayden, and younger son, Tanner. Haven’t seen Ashley and Hayden in two years. I think there will be a screening in Austin on April 3rd. I return home to Maine on April 4.
The only bad news to report is that my left knee (the bad one, surgically repaired twice) “popped” yesterday. Excruciating pain. Got some assistance from a sports trainer and am taking Aleve twice a day and Tylenol just to get me through until I can get home. Afraid the day has arrived that my last orthopedic surgeon said would mean a knee replacement.
The pain has subsided and inflammation going down….ok to walk, but can’t twist or making lifting motions. Joyakgol has been helping with my heavy equipment case and large suitcase. I have trouble even pulling them even though they are both roller types. Damn! Getting old isn’t much fun!
We’ve been having every group pose for pictures with the No Naval Base flags and the Pope Francis banner. Big hit everywhere. The above photo was with part of the large Korean community in LA.
The reaction to the film has been identical everywhere: shame, anger, tears….then thanks and they always ask, “what can we do?” Joyakgol brought a stack of pre-printed and pre-addressed postcards with Pope Francis. We ran out of those several stops ago.
Seems like nearly everyone has wanted a copy of the film and all promise to share it widely. I’ve given copies away to folks who can’t afford them and to students who all promise to share them. Along the way, I keep hearing from people that the film has been screened in cities all over the U.S. Amazing how it has taken on a life of its own with grassroots groups and activists.