Sunday, January 24, 2010

My night at the local Rodeo!

So my education in the local culture continued this weekend when I attended a local rodeo. A few miles from my home is the awesome Texas Rose Horse Park where this weekend it was rodeo time!

Okay, so I went with the pre-conceived notion that because it was local it was going to be pokey and very, very cheesy, but hey, it was quite entertaining and fun! Somehow I found it to be earthy, honest, local competition between serious local followers of the sport.

Needless to say I enjoyed it very much! Boy, do I love and appreciate Texas!

So, clutching a (very good) chicken fried steak sandwich, this is what I observed...

Rough Stock - Bronco riding!

Each competitor climbs onto a horse, which is held in a small pipe enclosure called a bucking chute. When the rider is ready, the gate of the bucking chute is opened and the horse bursts out and begins to buck. The rider attempts to stay on the horse for eight seconds without touching the horse with his free hand. On the first jump out of the chute, the rider must "mark the horse out." This means he must have the heels of his boots in contact with the horse above the point of the shoulders before the horse's front legs hit the ground. The rider that manages to complete a ride is scored on a scale of 0-50 and the horse is also scored on a scale of 0-50. Scores in the 80s are very good, and in the 90s, are exceptional. A horse who bucks in a spectacular and effective manner will score more points than a horse who bucks in a straight line with no significant changes of direction.

Calf Roping!

Calf Roping, also called Tie-down roping, is based on ranch work in which calves are roped for branding, medical treatment, or other purposes. It is the oldest of rodeo's timed events. The cowboy ropes a running calf around the neck with a lariat, and his horse stops and sets back on the rope while the cowboy dismounts, runs to the calf, throws it to the ground and ties three feet together. (If the calf falls when roped, the cowboy must lose time waiting for the calf to get back to its feet so that the cowboy can do the work. The job of the horse is to hold the calf steady on the rope. A well-trained calf-roping horse will slowly back up while the cowboy ties the calf, to help keep the lariat snug.

Bullriding! (with one angry bull!)

Bull riding involves a rider getting on a large bull and attempting to stay mounted for at least 8 seconds while the animal attempts to buck off the rider. The rider tightly fastens one hand to the bull with a long braided rope. It is a risky sport and has been called "the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.

Video and photo is mine but the facts is thanks to Wikipedia.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Peace All Over The World

From Playing for Change...
We met Robert Bradley while shooting our first film, "Playing for Change: A Cinematic Discovery of Street Music." Robert is originally from Detroit, Michigan, but we filmed this song in Los Angeles in front of a Playing For Change graffiti wall painted by a local artist. We had just finished a take of Robert singing "Playing For Change Blues," a song we created while filming across America, and were beginning to interview him. All of a sudden he started speaking the lyrics to this song... We immediately grabbed another mic for his guitar, plugged it directly into the camera and asked him to perform it for us. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What the heck...

Noodling: How to fish without using fishing poles...

How do you get rich quick? Meet a man with the answer to the 360 Billion Dollar Question.

And my favourite..

A robber hands a threatening note to the bank teller. Trouble is , it has his name on it...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Living the dream...

As a thankful foreigner legally living in America I got another glimpse of how life here do portray reality TV! So, last weekend I was driving from Dallas towards Hawkins in East Texas to attend a friends birthday party when somewhere on Highway 69 near Emory I spotted flashing police car lights in front of me. At first I thought it a bit weird as it didn't seem to be stopping at all but slowly moving along with the traffic. I reasoned it away that it must have been the angle that I was seeing it, being about half a mile behind them.

Eventually I saw the lights take an exit off the highway and carrying on along the parallel frontage road. A few minutes later I finally got a close-up of all the commotion and it was indeed a high speed chase going on, well, make that a 'low' speed chase. As I passed the cop car, I swear the trooper had a positively bored look about him as he was slouched low in his seat keeping a safe distance behind the mid eighties looking car (here I safely slowed down to figure out the 'perp' was white knuckling it at about 50 mph) driven by a well groomed looking lady in her mid fifties. There was nothing in that glance of her that portrayed a life in crime as she was hunched over the steering wheel totally focused on the road in front of her. She drove straight down the middle of the narrow road, not giving the trooper any space to overtake her. Okay, the whole scenario was a bit whack but oh boy, it was totally fascinating. She must have known the police was behind her! Yet, something about her looked like she was hightailing it home and it was as if the trooper was herding her there all along.

So as I passed them I kept looking in the rear view mirror as the chase continued. A few minutes later the Calvary, in the form of another trooper, came absolutely flying down the frontage road towards the merry chase raising a tiny dust cloud behind him! This dude was the complete opposite of the original trooper, young, cowboy hat drawn low over the forehead... focused. I would have paid money to see the finale play out! Did she make it home? Did the original trooper fall asleep eventually? What did she have in the car that she didn't want the troopers to find? What was she on! Did she lead the troopers straight to her meth lab/trailer? I am pretty sure it moved on from a simple ticket when the chase started, what ever happened to her? What set the chase off, I am pretty sure it was not speeding! So many questions unanswered that I spend the rest of my trip playing through all the scenarios.

All to come to the solution that they are right, crack is whack!

Ah... I love America.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Low Anthem

Okay, if you know me at all, you will know that I am an intelligent music nut, if you don't... shame on you for not knowing me well enough! Hands down, I LOVE this band. In these Britney Spears days, how gut wrenchingly refreshing does this beautiful band not sound.

The Low Anthem's trio met at university in Rhode Island and have won fans with their fragile Americana. Their instruments include a WWI portable pump organ, a rusty saw, a nipple gong, a "gut-strung parlor axe" and "enough harmonicas to summon a swarm of locusts".

Leonie Cooper, music journalist, NME & The Guardian:

With a former Nasa employee among their ranks, it was surprising that The Low Anthem's glorious brand of moonshine folk shimmered with an otherworldly brilliance. One of the few albums to lead me to tears in '09 (in the best possible way, of course), this was a delicate, graceful addition to the host of records by the plaid shirts'n'beard brigade headed up by Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear.

With my birthday coming up... PLEASE dear Jesus, could I have one of their albums available from their website at :-)

With thanks to the BBC for putting me on to The Low Anthem. Photo Willa Mamot Photography