sing it as you please

My friend Evan Carpenter made a documentary this summer about musician Gabe Dominguez, a really great American folk singer/songwriter who is from Utah. It's still in production, but I got to see a fairly recent cut and was really impressed by it. It still needs a bit of cleaning up, but the message of the film was really impressive to me. My only experience with Gabe was seeing him play a really cold live show in April up near Sundance, and while I enjoyed the music, I didn't know much about the guy other than anecdotes here and there from some friends who were acquainted with him. The movie is called Sing it as you Please.

The whole film, at least for me, made it really easy to identify with Gabe as a person, and though the premise of a bike tour is a little wacky at first, you quickly get used to the setting and it seems both romantic and ordinary at the same time. I thought the tone of the rest of the movie followed that, I was surprised at the ease with which Gabe made things that might sound strange, wacky, or depressing (e.g. the story about being arrested for protesting) into more easily digested anecdotes that, while not initially shocking, were thought-provoking.

What struck me the most about the movie is that over the course of the film, I felt more and more empathy with Gabe. His friends, in a non-derogatory way, are a bit stranger than he is, and somewhat more difficult to identify with. This lead me to see Gabe, even as stranger information was revealed about him, as the most like me. What hit home at the end of the movie, in a shot of Gabe in a U-haul that they had rented, talking about the way that people see him from outside, and listing things like plowing up part of the yard to make a garden, or riding your bike more, or going to teach in inner city schools, as impetus for those that call him and others "crazy." As he talked about that it dawned on me that the film made me see his way as so natural that it was frustrating to think of those people that would derogate it without understanding the love that he puts into his decisions. The last exchange is Gabe saying "Just like Gandhi said, 'First they call you crazy,'" and at that moment, you feel that you'd much rather be called crazy with Gabe than be doing the calling.

Maybe I'm especially vulnerable because I sold all of my motorized vehicles in favor of bikes, but I really think that the movie can go a long way toward helping people understand that Gabe's lifestyle isn't just interesting or different, but desirable, even if they are not ready to do quite so much.

In any case, I loved it. Keep it up Gabe, and keep it up Evan. You guys are doing good things.

1 comment:

CHUNTZ said...

Umm did you know I grew up with both these boys! Speaking of great music Im due for a new cd from you!