Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

December 2, 2012

Gary Farmer: The blues and the power of media and theater

Gary Farmer: The power of media and theater

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

TUCSON -- Onstage at the Loft Cinema, Gary Farmer has a story to tell. Its not just that his blues band, Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers, is the hottest Native blues band out there, it is the collection of stories that Gary has to tell.
Gary speaks of the power of the media, and the power of theater. Weaving songs and memories during the evening he makes it clear that he is neither Canadian, nor US, he is Cayuga. He is Haudenosaunee. He makes another fact clear: Most Native governments are like the US government -- corrupt -- and the last thing they want is freedom of the press.
Native people want to tell their own stories, and the media, particularly radio, is a powerful means of doing this. Onstage, in theater Gary found a platform that worked for him, particularly the rituals of theater.
During tonight's incredible program, Gary joined Pomo filmmaker Timothy Ramos at the screening of California Indian, which features Pomo of Clear Lake, Calif.
Gary also introduced the film 'Dead Man,' which Gary starred in with Johnny Depp. Dead Man was never released in the US, but won the European Best Foreign Film Award, which Gary accepted in Berlin.

Gary Farmer, on left, and Stanlie Kee, Navajo, on right,
incredible blues in Tucson tonight. Photo Brenda Norrell
As for Depp, Gary said they share a lot of love, but he never saw Depp after the film. He said it was sort of like he married his wife or something, just didn't see him again.
"We have this distant love, haven't seen him since," Gary said. "He's a great guy." Gary said he was glad the Comanche sort of adopted him.
When asked about Indian stereotypes, he said, "Well they're not ever going to hire me to be Geronimo. You've always got to be a starving Indian, I'm never going to get that work."
With joking aside, Gary talked of materialism, and said it was good that some still have their ceremonies.
Born on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, and raised in Buffalo, New York, Gary later found that being on stage was a way to tell stories. "I realized I had power, especially on the stage."
"I'm still working at it."
Receiving laughter and applause, Gary received special thanks from the audience for his support of those resisting at the border, and those protecting Mother Earth.
Gary sang, "We're all equal, no matter what color you are. We got to look to the south man, we gotta help that out. Three quarters of the world starving to death, man, come on. We gotta make a change."

Read more: 
Gary Farmer empowering authentic Native media
Navajos' Hot Blues Man Stanlie Kee with Gary Farmer

Watch for video clips and stories this week in Censored News, sharing the words of Gary Farmer, California Indian director Timothy Ramos, Pomo, and the Troublemakers hot blues guitar player Stanlie Kee, Navajo, from Gallup, N.M.
The Perfect Mix, Native Eyes Film Showcase
California Indian
In Person: Writer/Director Tim Ramos and star Gary Farmer
Nick Thomas (Tim Ramos), a Pomo Indian and a successful Los Angeles radio host, is forced back to the reservation to help his brother Chi (Gil Birmingham), and tribal leader Rich Knight (Gary Farmer, Smoke Signals) lead the Tule Lake Rancheria out of danger from a seedy casino investor (Mark Boone Jr.), ultimately claiming sovereignty of their Native American rights. The struggles inherent on reservations today are depicted in this day-in-the-life drama based on true characters and events. (Dir. by Tim Ramos, produced by Chris Eyre, 90 mins., Rated R)
Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers, direct from Santa Fe.
Dead Man
Film Introduction by Gary Farmer
On the run after murdering a man, accountant William Blake (Johnny Depp) encounters a strange Indian named “Nobody” (Gary Farmer) who prepares him for his journey into the spiritual world. (Dir. by Jim Jarmusch, 121 mins., Rated R)


No comments: