Now that my major law exam is done for the year, I have more time for writing and podcasting on DEETS and GEETS. We’ll kick off the end of the hiatus with a haiku review for the latest in Sony’s Marvel Universe.
EDDIE AND VENOM
IN A BAD, BUT FUN MOVIE
COULD HAVE BEEN MUCH WORSE
Blog and podcast updates have been slow lately due to my law studies. That said, we remain! Deets and Geets will be updated with Episode 7 soon and look out for more writings here in October!
For now, check out two fresh haiku reviews from LRK!
Wife is not having
His Padmansplaining until
Big B and UN
Hindu police state
Near future with nineties tech
Below are a handful of haiku reviews of films LRK and I have seen at the theater earlier this year:
the queen says, “let’s burn!”; Khilji cheats and wins the fight; Rajput honor fail
Black utopia; say Wakanda forever; it is challenge day!
better than the first; more heart and meta-humor; and so much more blood
Lando is the star; but Han and Chewie are cool; the slickest Star Wars
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
a game of gem stones; golden left-handed gauntlet; Thor got a new axe
Told in segments, akin to short films unto themselves, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World hops regionally across the United States to examine Native American influence on American popular music, most notably rock music.
Executive producer Stevie Salas (Apache) said during a 2017 Electric Playground interview that Rumble was conceived while he was playing a gig with Rod Stewart. “I said to myself, there’s not a lot of guitar players that look like me. So, I started to research if there were other, you know, Native American musicians out there, and as I dug in, I started to realize there were a lot, it’s just, people didn’t know it.” He then mentioned being interviewed later by music journalist Brian Wright-McLeod (Dakota-Anishnabe) in Canada during a rock music festival where Wright-McLeod mentioned a research project he was working on, The Encyclopedia of Native Music. “He really turned me on to these guys,” Salas said, “you know, Jesse Ed Davis (Kiowa/Comache) and Link Wray (Shawnee), and that really got the seeds going.”
As the title denotes, Link Wray and his hit rock instrumental, “Rumble,” with its distorted guitar and throbbing bassline, are the launching points and connecting themes of the documentary. The impact of “Rumble” and its reverberating influence throughout American popular music is expounded upon throughout the film’s 143-minute runtime, integrating photographs and archival footage with contemporary interviews from stars, such as Slash of Guns N’ Roses, musician and actor Steven Van Zandt, Wayne Kramer of the MC5, and Rolling Stone editor David Frick.
Directors Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana also feature interviews with Taylor Hawkins, Taj Mahal, John Trudell (Santee Dakota/Mexican Indian), Iggy Pop, Steve Tyler, George Clinton, and Tony Benet, who not only note the influence of Wray, but also of other musicians of Native ancestry, such as jazz pioneer Mildred Bailey (Couer d’Alene) and Delta Blues titan Charlie Patton (African-American/Choctaw), whose segment convincingly illustrates the Indigenous essence of his music. Other segments in the South feature such artists as the Neville Brothers and musician and actress Rhiannon Giddens (Occaneechi) of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and “Nashville” fame, that show not only the influence of Native music in the region, but the shared history and beautiful melding of African and Native cultures.
With a roster of Native musicians similar to that of the 2016 book Indigenous Pop: Native American Music from Jazz to Hip Hop, the documentary also features jazz musician Buffy Sainte Marie (Cree), who speaks about being a target of the FBI due to her music’s activist essence, and other “Native Axmen” besides Link Wray, such as Robbie Robertson (Mohawk), Jimi Hendrix (Cherokee/African-American/Scottish), and Jesse Ed Davis, who formed the Grafitti Man Band with poet and civil rights activist John Trudell in 1985.
While Robertson recalls being told as a youth to “be proud you’re an Indian, but be careful who you tell,” Pat Vegas of Southern California band Redbone, on the other hand, recounts singing traditional songs and wearing regalia in shows, as evidenced during the live 1974 performance of the band’s hit “Come and Get Your Love” on NBC’s “The Midnight Special.” “We used to mic the floor,” Vegas says in the documentary, “so, when we came out, the stomping sounded like a heard of buffalo coming.”
Vegas’ segment blends unexpectedly into a joint segment with Taboo (Shoshone/Mexican-American) of the Black Eyed Peas (BEP). In a music studio, Taboo and Vegas share a moment of camaraderie, due to both having lived in East L.A., while Taboo loops a section of “Come and Get Your Love.” He demonstrates to Vegas how the bassline is similar to the BEP song “Let’s Get It Started.” He then explains how his Indigenous roots inform his musical style, but also how Vegas’ pride and positivity as an Indigenous man continues to inspire him.
Joined by Trudell near the end of film, Salas recounts the time drummer Randy Castillo (Isleta Pueblo), who played with Ozzy Ozborne, took Salas to Indian Country amid Salas’ descent into the darker side of rock star life. Trudell, who passed in 2015, adds, “The secret to Indian Country is, when you’re losing your mind, only lose the parts that need losing.”
Rumble concludes with footage from the Dakota Access pipeline protest in Standing Rock, North Dakota to the tunes of Taboo’s song, “Stand Up for Standing Rock,” and those of several other Native artists, before returning to titular “Rumble” and a reenactment of Wray in a garage, poking holes into a speaker to create the song’s infamous distorted guitar—a sound that contributed to the song being the only instrumental in United States history to be banned for fear it would incite gang violence.
In his 1966 book Chike and the River, renowned Nigerian author Chinua Achebe brings to life the story of eleven-year-old Chike, who struggles to achieve his dream of crossing the Niger River to the city of Asaba. As with many tales, the heart of the story lies within the journey:
“The more Chike saw the ferryboats the more he wanted to make a trip to Asaba. But where would he get the money? He did not know. Still, he hoped. ‘One day is one day,’ he said, meaning that one day he would make the journey, come what may.”
What follows is a series of adventures both humorous and precarious that aid Chike’s personal growth and understanding of the world, from dealing with a money-doubling village magician to being tricked by his headmaster into carrying a missionary’s luggage across a stream. Through perseverance, Chike eventually realizes his dream, but soon finds Asaba is not as he had imagined. The journey home becomes yet another test of wit and bravery.
A great strength of Achebe’s is his ability to tell vivid stories free of dense prose and convoluted plotlines. The power of his sparse language is found in descriptions of key characteristics and motivations. The privileged essence of Chike’s good friend, Samuel Maduka Obi (who nicknamed himself S.M.O.G. for the effect), comes through in S.M.O.G.’s concept of money. After being swindled by the magician recommended by S.M.O.G., Chike returns to his friend to ask, “Has he ever doubled money for you?” to which S.M.O.G. replies “No, I get everything I need from my mother. So I don’t need to have my money doubled.”
Achebe’s skill is also applied to the setting, as seen in Chike’s take on a big city after having left his mother and two sisters to live with his uncle forty-miles away:
“At first Onitsha looked very strange to Chike. He could not say who was a thief or kidnapper and who was not. In Umuofia every thief was known, but here even people who lived under the same roof were strangers to one another. Chike was told by his uncle’s servant that sometimes a man died in one room and his neighbor in the next room would be playing his gramophone. It was all very strange.”
A charming story of the modern versus the traditional, of pushing against and overcoming boundaries, Chike and the River offers enjoyment for readers of any age.