Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Roger Patterson Tribute

Back in March of this year {2008} MK Davis contacted me with an idea. He was going to speak at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference and he wanted a video tribute to Roger Patterson. He had a concept, some footage and a song. To him, this song represented the turmoil Roger had endured in life and after death because of the famous film he shot in 1967.
MK Davis had heard the song "The Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance, an American rock band and was inspired by it to make the tribute to Roger. His original concept would only have footage from the film, making up the entire video. He had put a lot of thought into this idea, even explaining where he believed certain parts of the film would match up with the music.
MK brought me a CD of the song, some footage he acquired from Patricia Patterson and his idea. He asked if I would "get creative" and make the tribute for him. His plan was to show the tribute video after his talk at the end of the conference. It would be a finale tribute to Roger and the famous film. The video would be a mash up for tribute rather than parody in this case. Though parody is evident in the work.
I agreed and set out to produce the video. For me the video appeared to be more than just a tribute, it was an analogy of how people are treated in this field. Enter the parody. I got creative and added some marching band elements and a boy to represent Roger.
MK wanted to convey a specific sentiment, that the man who shot the film was not a hero but just a man. And the film was not something to be revered, but a chance encounter that lead to Roger being tied to that moment in time forever. How people have placed the film on such a high pedestal that no one can see it for what it is. He wanted to lead Roger to the "Black Parade" so he could rest. I agreed because indeed I feel this film needs a rest!

I'm just a man,
I'm not a hero
Just a boy, who had to sing this song
I'm just a man,
I'm not a hero

Much has been written and said about Roger Patterson and the events of that fall day in 1967. To this day the film and anyone who is associated with it is either revered or despised, depending on what their opinion of the subject is. And as fate would have it, MK Davis himself met with disdain after the conference over talk of manusia and conjecture discussed after the event.
video
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Mr. Davis went to the conference to pay tribute to the man and the legend, he paid for it with his career, reputation, and sanity. People can be cruel, Bigfooters can be downright evil.

Ironically when I was making the video Mr. Davis contacted me and wanted some text added to the end of the film. He wanted it to say that Roger entered documentary "hell" on the film date and to add the 'release' date of the video. I tagged the text onto the end of the video. Looking back it would appear Mr Davis indeed walked Roger to the Black Parade, then took his place among the tormented.

Today while purging several files from my computer I came across the video. It occurred to me that I had never read the lyrics of the song, only matching video elements to the beat and certain verbiage I could make out from the singer. I Googled the song and found the lyrics.

This tribute then took on a whole new meaning, at least for me. This may not be a video about Roger at all. Not now. To me it seemed the video and the lyrics spoke more to MK Davis than Roger. And a warning to those who berate and jest, lest they join the black parade themselves. It seemed almost prophetic.

When I was
A young boy,
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band.

He said,
"Son when you grow up
Will you be the saviour of the broken,
The beaten and the damned?"

He said
"Will you defeat them,
your demons, and all the non believers,
the plans that they have made?"

Because one day I'll leave you,
A phantom to lead you in the summer,
To join the black parade."

When I was a young boy,
My father
took me into the city
To see a marching band.
He said, "Son when you grow up
Would you be the saviour of the broken,
The beaten and the damned?"

Sometimes I get the feeling
She's watching over me.
And other times I feel like I should go.

Through it all,
The rise and fall,
The bodies in the streets.
And when you're gone we want you all to know

We'll Carry on,
We'll Carry on
Though your dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We'll carry on

And in my heart I cant contain it
The anthem wont explain it.

A world that sends you reeling
From decimated dreams
Your misery and hate will kill us all

So paint it black
And take it back
Lets shout it loud and clear
Defiant to the end we hear the call

To carry on
We'll carry on
Though your dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're broken and defeated
You're weary widow marches

And on we carry through the fears
Ooh oh ohhhh
Disappointed faces of your peers
Ooh oh ohhhh
Take a look at me
Cause I could not care at
All

Do or die
You'll never make me
Because the world,
Will never take my heart
Go and try,
You'll never break me
We want it all,
We want to play this part

I won't explain
Or say I'm sorry
I'm unashamed I'm gonna show my scar
Give a cheer
For all the broken
Listen here
Because it's who we are


I'm just a man,
I'm not a hero
Just a boy, who had to sing this song
I'm just a man,
I'm not a hero
I
don't
care

We'll carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're dead and gone believe me
You're memory will carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're broken and defeated
Your weary widow marches on

We'll carry on

In retrospect I wonder who the video may be for? Roger, the community at large, or MK himself? It would appear to fit all three.

We want it all,
We want to play this part

No matter what you think the Patterson film depicts, it is a piece of Americana. Legendary in it's own right. An almost reverent icon that represents the core of a belief in something as yet unknown. It is the symbolic effigy of a passion in ones own opinion of it's subject. One cannot blaspheme that opinion or concept. The results of such have been seen many times in the forty plus years the film has existed.

When MK brought me the footage and concept I asked him what his plans were after the conference. He indicated that this was something of a final tribute and he wanted to leave the community. Though he did have an August engagement. He wanted to leave the conference with something that was inspiring. I believe he wanted to make a point then exit stage left with grace. Unfortunately that would not be the case.

Sometimes I get the feeling
She's watching over me.
And other times I feel like I should go.

Instead other people who have chosen to speak for him and about him have thrust a little regarded theory and open discussion into a major political issue. Like the proverbial Hotel California, "you can check out any time you like but you can never leave." MK Davis retires leaving a legacy of his own.

Disappointed faces of your peers
Ooh oh ohhhh
Take a look at me
Cause I could not care at All

In many ways he was a pioneer, taking a fresh new approach to a film that most would never dare touch. Or for various financial reasons, couldn't. His enhancements gleaned additional knowledge from the film regarding the walk, gait and perhaps even nature of the subject. Others have built on his work with their own enhancements and analysis of the film. Indeed many of the aspects of the film never seen before are now considered common reference. Such as the bulge on the leg and other artifacts brought forth from the emulsion.

Before MK Davis no one thought to animate frames to study the movement of the creature. No one used computer software to bring out details in the cellulose. It's common practice now.
Some say his work means nothing because we still know little more about the subject than before. Be that as it may, the work still stands as an effort to coax some truth from the material.

A world that sends you reeling
From decimated dreams
Your misery and hate will kill us all

Prior to MK Davis's appearance at the Ohio Conference, a sensationalist blog began publishing rumors and innuendo of claims made by Mr. Davis. Perhaps setting the stage for dissent. After the conference daily posts continued to ravage an already overblown theory. Mr Davis never denied things he had said but questioned the context whereby they were being presented. He appeared on National and Internet radio stations but only furthered the controversy.
During the height of the controversy he was removed from the lineup of guests at the aforementioned August engagement. He has now been effectively blackballed from any further speaking. Individuals who have come to his aid have also been met with resistance and are now becoming quite aware of the "guilt by association" aspect of the community.

Perhaps this video will stand as a testament to him and his devotion to a controversial film?

I won't explain
Or say I'm sorry
I'm unashamed I'm gonna show my scar
Give a cheer
For all the broken
Listen here
Because it's who we are

In this phenomenon there are no absolutes. Until a body is brought forth to identify what a Bigfoot is, or a Patterson creature is, we have no right to justify defending one concept over another. Mr. Davis has the right to his opinion and his theory is no more far fetched than many others presented in the past. If indeed he truly believes a gunfight and "massacre" occurred at Bluff Creek is that any more bizarre than Sasquatch being presented as an alien, spirit or psychic individual? Or Bigfoot as a relic prehistoric ape still living today?
The Bigfoot Community is replete with many such notions. Perhaps certain individuals have ulterior motives for selecting this instance to chastise?

Should not any researcher or investigator be able to entertain any theory regardless of where it may lead, or should all theories remain within the status quo lest you be chastised for it?

The worst and perhaps most unfortunate aspect to this whole mess is that Mr. Bob Gimlin, the other participant in the filming of the 1967 event has been brought into the theory. As the only living witness to the event, Mr. Gimlin would have to know if any shots were fired. He denies any armed conflict during the incident. He has been personally hurt and offended by the accusation that himself or Roger participated in the killing of these creatures. Since Mr. Gimlin has over the years never portrayed himself any less than an honorable man, his honor should be addressed. Mr. Davis owes him* a public and very vocal apology, regardless of whether he intended to include Mr. Gimlin in the theory. What has happened is what it is, and that responsibility now falls to Mr. Davis.
*The same can be said for Mrs. Patterson who holds the legacy of her deceased husband.

And though you're broken and defeated
Your weary widow marches on

Mr. Davis went to Ohio to pay tribute to these individuals, indeed why commission a video if not? The video was supposed to be shown at the end of the conference as a way to pay homage to Roger. It is my understanding it was met with great applause! This does not sound like someone who intended to defame or disrespect the participants of the original film. MK was very specific about the nature and tribute aspect of the video. He honored Roger and all the people associated with this film. I believe he still does.

In the meantime I find myself holding this little video. I must admit I considered deleting it and simply moving on. But I didn't for various reasons.
One, it was hard work making it and I was proud of it when it was completed. Two, it was shown at a national conference and I'm proud of that. Three, it is after all a tribute to a man (men) who in my opinion deserves the accolade. And fourth, I believe it of itself makes a statement and therefore in perhaps some small way, is art. Like any art it is open to interpretation.
And I considered the backlash from people for even writing this blog entry, adding fodder to an already exhausted subject. But people will talk smack no matter what you do.

We'll carry on
And though you're dead and gone believe me
You're memory will carry on
We'll carry on

Perhaps individuals who missed the Ohio conference and didn't get to see it would appreciate the opportunity to view it here before I burn it to disk and file it away with my other projects.
Therefore it is presented here for your edification and enjoyment. For a limited time only. I take credit only for it's assembly. Though it was not my concept I did take creative license and add elements such as the parades and marching band images and other aspects that I felt contributed to the idea. It is a fair use effort to make tribute to a historical event and those witnesses to it. I hope I have honored them and you with it's presentation. Frankly I think it ROCKS!
But that, and this whole blog is just my humble opinion.
:-D
~*~
PS: Over the years MK Davis and I have remained friends. We have collaborated on some video projects and researched together. I must admit I am personally offended by the way many in this community have chosen to treat Mr. Davis. I do not believe Bigfoot is human in nature, but I cannot disregard the idea. I do not think any massacre occurred at the 1967 film site, but again I was not there. If evidence of such does exist in the film then it should be brought to light.

MK Davis has been accused of being crazy, insane and too obsessed with the film. Though he is passionate about his work, I don't believe for a minute he is insane. I'm sure this fiasco has challenged his sanity though.
I am not here to defend Mr. Davis, he is quite capable of doing that himself. And if people choose to berate me for supporting a friend, then that is their prerogative.

However if speculation on the subject of the Patterson Film or Bigfoot is not to be allowed because it upsets everyones established belief systems or challenges someones political or financial agenda, then it may be time to quit and go home. I doubt anyone reading this blog hasn't speculated, even wildly about the nature of this beast or events concerning it. After all, until we actually have a Bigfoot to study, it's all speculation.

J.
Some Notes: The video above and this article represents some hard work, I would appreciate it if you didn't steal it or misrepresent it somewhere else. I make no money off the work, nor do I intend to. This article is my opinion based on how I perceive the events that proceeded it.

4 comments:

Belle said...

Awesome, Jay!!! I hope MK gets the chance to read it...

INDY said...

You know are feelings J. We're glad you did it. Love the video and if you talk to MK tell him we're thinking about him and wishing him well in whatever it is he decides to do. He's a value to this community and his leaving will be a great loss.

Indy and Robin

La Mexicana said...

You did a great job with MK's ideas for the video. Excellent execution of the concept! It rocks. Wish MK gets a chance to read it.

bf2006 said...

How the heck did I miss this blog post? I don't know, but I am just now seeing it, and I have to say you hit the nail on the head, Jay!!! Having been at the conference myself and witnessing his presentation, I can say that M.K. has done valuable work on this film, whether we agree with his findings or not. Like you, Jay, I do not agree with any massacre having happened there at Bluff Creek, but doesn't mean there is not a possibility, and it certainly does not mean we should make M.K. out to be a target of ridicule or mockery as much of the Bigfoot Community did. The problem was, there were a lot of those people who were against M.K. and his theories from Day 1, especially from late-2006 when he announced "Patty" was human. I feel the treatment of M.K. was quite unfair and should never have taken place. But, unfortunately, what's done is done, we can't change it, but we can support M.K. now and in the future regardless of whether we agree or disagree. Great post, Jay!!! Oh, and the video is TERRIFIC!!!

Henry May