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vol 3 • iss 6 – nov - dec 06
Jon Keegan Tyler Shields Schuyler McFerran Ziggy Marley Imogen Heap
Jonathan Davis Daniel Dae Kim
Elvis’s winding path to Graceland
Features 16 Xzibit :: Love the Struggle
Hosting Pimp My Ride on MTV didn’t change Xzibit’s life as dramatically as becoming a dad. See why fatherhood means everything to America’s most unlikely actor/rapper/TV star.
24 Jonathan Davis :: Family Values The death of his grandfather and birth of his son sent Korn’s lead singer into a tailspin. On August 22, 1998, he dropped alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes cold turkey. In the meantime, he gained his sanity along with his sobriety.
30 Schuyler McFerran :: Antidisestablishmentarianist Good luck in finding any dirt on Schuyler McFerran, the 2006 Women’s World Longboard Surfing Champion. In an era of scandalized sports figures, that makes her absolutely countercultural, and we find that kind of refreshing.
36 Imogen Heap :: Hide and Seek The willowy and radiant singer/songwriter Imogen Heap originally planned on traveling the globe conducting orchestras. Her eclectic mix of fans are collectively breathing a sigh of relief that her plan never came to fruition.
40 Daniel Dae Kim :: Typecast This TV’s Lost is a brainy show dealing with strange number sequences, inexplicable supernatural powers, and the looming possibility of life after death. Perhaps that’s why cast member Daniel Dae Kim is such a perfect fit on the set.
44 Ziggy Marley :: The Greatest of These Following in the footsteps of his legendary father, Ziggy Marley preaches hope and love in his music. Can love change the world? Marley is banking on it.
6 :RISEN MAGAZINE
photo: Devin Dehaven
EXPRESSIONS 50 Jon Keegan :: Dreaming Reality There’s a realism to Jon Keegan’s art that extends beyond its human cast of characters. Something about it draws you in, both literally and figuratively. Find out why.
54 Tyler Shields :: Don’t Blink Tyler Shields can stop the world’s rotation with the click of a shutter. See how his perception influences yours.
SCREEN 62 DVD Reviews
Jeffrey Overstreet recommends some of the movies that you may have overlooked and shouldn’t have.
SOUND 64 CD Reviews
RISEN lays out the low-down on a stack of new musical offerings.
UP TO SPEED 66 Sonny Sandoval, Citizen Cope, Q’orianka Kilcher Those who have been featured in RISEN are on the move. Find out where they are headed.
END NOTE 68 Elvis Presley :: The Winding Path to Graceland 8 :RISEN MAGAZINE
november/december Contributors EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF :: Steve Beard MANAGING EDITOR :: Regina Goodman FOUNDING EDITOR :: Chris Ahrens COPY EDITOR :: Dane Wilkins CONTRIBUTING WRITERS :: Corey Moss, Ashley Bovensiep, Trish Teves, Jeffrey Overstreet, Jared Cohen, Jessie Duquette, Mr. Otis
ART DIRECTOR :: Rob Springer PHOTO EDITOR :: Bob Stevens CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS :: Aaron Chang, Estevan Oriol, Mike Owens, Michael Crook, Devin Dehaven, Tyler Shields PHOTO STAFF :: Zack Keenan ILLUSTRATION :: Dushan Milic WEB/MULTIMEDIA :: Andrew Harrill
FASHION FASHION EDITOR :: Mona Van Cleve
CONTRIBUTING STYLISTS :: Derek Van Cleve, Arturo D. Chavez
PUBLISHER :: Michael Sherman ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER :: Dan Alpern ACCOUNTING :: Cynthia Beth THANK YOU :: Soul Assassins RISEN Magazine is a subsidiary of RISEN Media, LLC. The views expressed by the subjects interviewed in RISEN Magazine are not necessarily those shared by the staff or publishers of RISEN Media, LLC.
6 1 Estevan Oriol - Photographer Ziggy and Jonathan Davis (Ziggy page 44, Jonathan Davis page 24) Me and Ziggy have a little history. I met him on Smoking Grooves Tour in '96. Being around the Marleys is always a good vibe. I had just shot Rohan 2 weeks before he was coaching the Tuff Gong soccer team. I've been listening to Marley music for over 25 years and always will till I die. 2 Devin Dehaven - Photographer Xzibit (page 16) Shooting on the beach at sunrise gave the shoot its own magic. Between the early morning light and the delirium of a 4am call time the images had a very cool texture and a new look and feel for Mr. X To The Z’s photos. www.devindehaven.com 3 Mr. Otis - Writer Xzibit (page 16) Xzibit is a man of many talents. But he's only got one necklace, and it's a sweet one. A big ole' diamond encrusted medallion with an X in the middle. I called it the uni-bling. 12 :RISEN MAGAZINE
7 4 Corey Moss - Writer Jonathan Davis (page 24) I've interviewed Jonathan several times and it's always intrigued me how warm and well-spoken he is compared to the angst-fueled singer he becomes on stage. When I saw him this summer, he was recovering from an illness that nearly killed him and it was obvious the whole thing had an enormous impact on him. I thought, 'What better time to talk about life and death with this man,' who has essentially obsessed over death since he was a kid. And perhaps it was the timing, but he opened more than I've ever heard him.
spontaneously drawn with conceptual overtones, including portraits that capture subjects with a sensibilty hinting at their very essence. www.dushanmilic.com 7 Ashley Bovensiep - Writer Imogen Heap (page 36) It was as hot as the dickens the day I met up with Immi. Somehow, she managed to endure the entire interview without producing a drop of sweat. Then there was me, melting away under the blazing sun.
6 Dushan Milic - Illustrator Elvis (page 68) Dushan Milic is an international award winning Canadian illustrator and art director whose work is
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5 Trish Teves - Writer Daniel Dae Kim (page 40) You bet I asked Daniel Dae Kim to spill beans about Lost. And like a young politician, he opened up about the hit show and his beef with Asians.
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RISEN Media, LLC Our apologies that the Julez Bryant jewelry worn on KT Tunstall in our Jul/Aug issue was erroneously credited in the Leigh Nash feature. For more information about Julez Bryant jewelry, including where to buy, visit www.julez.com.
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november/december:Letter From The Editor
14 :RISEN MAGAZINE
Catherine Hardwicke told me in Matera. “But I really try to get into the flesh and blood. What was she like? How would I feel if it happened to me? Would I have enough faith?” Hardwicke was one of the key elements that drew me to Nativity. From her directing work on Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown, I knew that she would take this story beyond mere Precious Moments sentimentality. In reality, it is difficult to downplay the seemingly raw scandal involved with the birth of Christ; but somehow we have managed. Perhaps we have anesthetized the story’s sting since it took place long ago and far away. At Christmas, we properly celebrate the birth of Jesus. What we don’t dwell on is the Christmas conflict. No matter how elaborate our nativity scenes may be, they seem to have the antiseptic cleanliness of the crosses that we wear as necklaces. Just like you don’t see blood stains on sterling silver jewelry, you don’t really get a sense of how Christmas may have been tense, unsanitized, and vile—a little like real life. We don’t think about Herod ordering the infanticide of all little boys 2 years old and under after the Magi asked him about Jesus. With the slaughter of the innocent, Christmas ends up as gruesome as Good Friday. We don’t think about Joseph’s dilemma in discovering that his fiancée was pregnant. Would she be stoned, as was the common practice? Would he divorce her? According to the law of that day, he would have been within his rights. We don’t think about a frightened, unmarried teenage girl who has been told she will carry the son of God in her belly. How could she explain that to her family and friends—let alone to the man to whom she pledged her faithfulness? We don’t think about an elderly man telling Mary, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34–35). That’s a pretty heavy gothic trip for a young girl.
Nativity is Hardwicke’s third teenage comingof-age film. In Thirteen, she explored a teenage girl’s destructive delinquency. In Lords of Dogtown, she profiled the skateboarding creativity of a gang of teenage boys. Nativity offers yet a different perspective—the slightly offbeat response of righteous obedience and devotion. “If you think about it, those teenage years, coming of age, are when the most romantic stuff happens to anyone in their life. That’s why I think that it makes a good story,” Hardwicke told me. “Your life turns upside down. It is the most volatile time. Every wild thing happens at that age—both good and bad.” When I asked her if she was worried she would lose street cred for doing a film about Jesus, Hardwicke’s response surprised me. “One of the cool things about this movie is that it is not cynical,” she said. “In a world of cynical films where everyone is an adulterer or has drug problems— and there is room for all those movies—this is something that is pure and inspiring. That is kind of the radical part of this movie. It isn’t cynical, and I think that’s refreshing. I get mountains of scripts that are similar to the other kinds of movies—serial killers and horror movies. I love this film because it is totally different from all the other movies that are out there.” She’s right. Even though a snake may slither through the manger, Christmas remains the only light sparked in a cave that can illuminate the human soul. photo: Kenny Wilson
One of the memorable scenes in the quirky British comedy Love Actually is where Daisy (Lulu Popplewell) proudly tells her mother Karen (Emma Thompson) about her role in the Christmas play at school. Daisy: I’m the lobster. Karen: The lobster? Daisy: Yeah. Karen: In the nativity play? Daisy: Yeah, “first” lobster. Karen: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus? Daisy: Duh! The nativity play ends up being the climactic conclusion to the film. Not only is the lobster on stage, but she is joined by an octopus, a few penguins, Spiderman, and an assortment of other peculiar creatures. That scene came to mind last May while I was visiting the set of The Nativity Story—an epic film exploring the anxiety and romance of Mary and Joseph leading up to the birth of Christ. As we were checking out the cave-like location in Matera, Italy, for the manger scene, a five-foot black snake slithered through as though he owned the place. As alarming as it seemed, it should not have been terribly shocking. Matera is an ancient city known for its neighborhoods that are literally carved out of rock. It is an ideal home for slinky, slithering, and creepy animals of all varieties—perhaps a little like Bethlehem. Like a lobster (or Spiderman), a snake is an unlikely character for a nativity scene. Nevertheless, I found its appearance strangely fitting to the incarnational reality of Christmas. After all, at the precipice of hope and redemption, evil lingers and looks for a way to corrupt. Sometimes we lose sight of that reality when we watch our cute Christmas pageants with shepherds wearing bathrobes, the Three Wisemen draped in silk kimonos, and the Virgin Mary lugging around a Cabbage Patch doll. “You normally think of Mary as this beautiful figure or this special, amazing person,” director
Steve Beard Editor in Chief
Writer: Mr. Otis Photographer: Devin Dehaven
to the Z, Xzibit, or just X for short. Detroit native Alvin Joiner will answer to them all. He’s been turning out underground hip-hop classics for more than a decade under those names, but most people know him for his automotive antics as the host of one of MTV’s most prolific, popular, and positive reality shows, Pimp My Ride. Before all the hip-hop hype and twenty-two-inch chromes, X was like a lot of kids these days: moving around, at odds with his folks and the law, and just trying to figure out what in the world he was gonna do with his life. Now that he’s breaking into his third decade with a new movie role and album—and having spent the last decade as a father—he’s got some words to the wise. Interviewed exclusively for RISEN Magazine in North Hollywood, California. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2006 - Feature 17
RISEN Magazine: What’s your best memory of being a kid in Detroit? Xzibit: Oh, there’s several memories. Running up and down the street. Riding my Big Wheel. There were snowdrifts when I was walking to school that were taller than me. Just fond memories, man. Things that people in the Midwest really hold onto. All those fads and the way they dress, and the way they talk, it’s just different. RM: How did you start writing down rhymes and raps? X: My parents hated rap music. When I was 13 and I first started writing, it was because my parents would confiscate all of my [rap music]. They thought it was bad for me. So the next best thing to listening to it was writing it. I started writing my own raps and saying them at lunchtime. That’s how I started. RM: You moved down to New Mexico at some point. X: Right, I was in New Mexico at that time. My mother passed when I was 9 and my dad got remarried and that’s where we went to live. RM: Who did you bounce things off of in New Mexico? Were the kids into hip-hop there? X: Well, you know, there were cats who were into it. Mostly they had moved there from somewhere else. Same circumstances. And we got to listen to whatever fell through. It was on cassettes at the time— there really wasn’t any hip-hop station—so you had to get mixtapes and what not. There were cats there, but it was nothing like a metropolis. I had to leave in order to get into a scene. RM: Is that why you took off to Los Angeles? X: No. I went out to Los Angeles because I definitely wanted to make music, but I didn’t come here [to get into a scene]. I was in Albuquerque and I was getting into a lot of trouble and just needed to change scenery. RM: You thought you could get out of trouble by going to Los Angeles? X: Well, I thought I would just try it. You can stay where you are and be like those guys who were the s—t in high school but stay around that town for their whole damn life. You can be that guy, or you can venture out and try something else. I wasn’t going to college and I wanted to take a shot. So I came here. I knew I didn’t want to do anything illegal anymore. RM: Why did you draw that line for yourself? X: Well, I came to a couple of close calls during my time on the street; where I really knew I was being protected for some reason. So I wasn't gonna try to push my luck any more than I had to. So it was just a conscious decision. I was tired of getting the same results every time I tried to move forward by doing something illegal. You know, I move a lot by faith. I have a good relationship with my creator, so I trust in Him. I feel like, if this is Your will and this is what You wanna do, then I trust You. And I’ve been blessed a hundred times over. RM: Did you come to that faith as a result of some catastrophe? Did you make a deal with God? X: No, that’s when you’re not listening. See, you always know when
a person isn’t really based on faith when the only reason he says “oh my God” is when something drastic happens to them. I try to humble myself and pray every day. I realize that I’m here for a reason, so I’m just enjoying myself while I’m here. RM: Did that come to you when you were young, or is it something you’ve developed in looking back? X: It’s just as I mature, man. My son had a lot to do with that. I had my son when I was 19 or 20 years old. So I came to Los Angeles
when I was 17, shortly after that I met my son’s mother. We had [the baby, and] when that guy came my life was over. It was all about him. You’ve got to make a lot of conscious decisions and a lot of selfimprovements going into that responsibility. My fatherhood is everything to me. So going through that transformation as a father led to a lot of the decision-making that brought me to this place. RM: I once heard you say that Shaq could walk into the room and your son would be distracted for maybe 30 seconds, but he would always come back to you in the end. Do you think every dad has that kind of importance to their kids? X: If you make it important. If you’re very aggressive and intense with the relationship that you have with your children, of course they’re gonna respect that, because you’re taking the time out to give them the information that’s helping them and not hurting them. It’s not about achievement monetarily; it’s about spending that time. Money can never replace time. So it’s not about being the richest dad, or going out there and hustling for your family. The simplest things can make their day, because they don’t understand the concept or power of the dollar like we do as adults. They just want the time and energy. You gotta be the main one building your children up. Because you don’t want to tear them down and have them go seek that camaraderie and that information somewhere else, from somebody who really doesn’t care for them like you do. RM: A lot of kids don’t have that sort of relationship with their dads. So who do you think is raising those kids today? X: The television. You know, a lot of people rely on the TV, music, and entertainment to raise their kids—Tickle-Me-Elmo and Power Rangers—it’s crazy. A lot of people just need to realize that kids will listen to them if you talk to them. RM: You come from the West Coast underground hip-hop scene, not too well known to the general public. How does someone from that scene get to be the host of one of the most popular shows on television? X: Actually, I never thought television was going to be an avenue for me whatsoever. But Rick Horowitz, who created the show along with his partner Bruce, approached me and they were like, “Yo, you’ve got to be the host of this show.” I told them I didn’t really know anything
about TV and they told me it was all right, just talk to the kids and be yourself. And so I did the pilot episode. I didn’t audition for it, I didn’t come up with the idea. They approached me and asked me if I wanted to do it. So we were over at Rick’s house, we’ve got one boom mic and a camera and this kid drives up and I talk to him, we crack a couple jokes with him, they fixed the car, gave it back to him, and that’s that. It takes about two or three days. We sent it out to MTV and they bought 15 episodes the first season. They put us on in a time slot called the Sunday Stew and we had 89 million viewers the first season. We’re on season seven right now. And I couldn’t tell you how many people watch the show because it’s translated into a hundred and some countries. So it was crazy the platform and visibility that it gave.
RM: Did you ever worry that fans of the TV show might get upset if they ever came across your rap records, which can be pretty rough? X: Nah, I think it’s great. I can’t change that. The music has been the catalyst for everything. It lends credibility to everything else I put my name on. So I can’t be ashamed of where I came from. This is the music that propelled me to be interesting enough to do this and why it’s such a sharp contrast from Pimp My Ride and I think it’s great. People have to understand that even though I have music, film, and television, that they can complement each other, but they don’t have to control each other. RM: How do you deal with it when your son [who is 11] asks you about some of your older records? Do you let him listen to those or do you talk about what you were going through at the time you were writing them? X: He knows how I feel about my family. He also knows, you know, curse words, and he knows not to say them. I have really intense conversations with my son. He will hear something at school, like a dirty slang word. He’ll come home and ask me what it means. Now that he’s heard that information, you educate him. You explain it so he has no illusion of what it is. Next time he hears something he may not understand, he won’t just roll along with it. It starts there. Small steps that lead into larger decisions that he’s gonna be faced with later on in life. So you start there man. You don’t hide it or cushion it or anything, you just give him the right information. RM: As he asks for it? X: As he asks! You don’t volunteer this s—t. [laughter] I don’t know about that, man. It’s all in perception and common sense too. You can’t dictate this to every kid, it’s just how I raise my son. RM: Weapons of Mass Destruction is your first record since the show. Have your expectations changed? X: I’m not nervous, I’m excited. I don’t have any expectations because when you have expectations you have a propensity to get disappointed. I let it live how it’s gonna live. I feel like I put a lot of myself into these records. I haven’t felt the desire to do that in a long time because of the situation dealing with a major record label. [Now] 20 :RISEN MAGAZINE
I get to put the music out that I feel, the singles that I like, what I want, when I want, you know, put the records out that I love. It feels better like that. If it was about money, I would have quit a long time ago. RM: I’m sure you’ve had a lot of movie offers over the last few years from people with dollar signs in their eyes. Why did you choose Gridiron Gang as your first major movie role? X: It’s a true story that’s dealing with actually helping kids, and pointing out a very sensitive problem and a delicate situation, and actually going beyond just pointing out the problem, but it gives an answer. First of all, you’re dealing with eight kids who have put themselves in a very intense difficulty by going into this facility and being away from their friends, families, and homes for very violent crimes. And secondly, you have people that are going to see this film and their prejudices will be questioned. Usually you look at these kids who have done something violent and think they should be locked away, shoved away because that’s all they’re gonna be for the rest of their life. But even though they’re criminals, they’re still kids you know. So that’s what makes it delicate. Believe it or not, a kid’s age and his innocence are in a race when a violent situation happens. So it’s actually hard to get that back and learn to see these kids as something else. RM: It’s hard to coax them out of that life without crushing their spirit. X: And it’s hard to bring them out and keep them out of that life without people there to support them. RM: Do you think kids know what’s right on the inside and in some situations it just gets crushed out of them? X: Oh yeah. You can’t say one thing and do another in front of a kid. You can’t treat everyone like crap and expect your child not to pick up on that and follow in your path. You can’t tell them to behave in school when you don’t do s—t at home. You have to mature and realize that it’s not about you anymore with children. You have to totally immerse yourself in understanding that your job now is to make them into the biggest, best adult and make them into the best part of society that you can. RM: If you knew you were going to die tomorrow and you could only leave one of your albums to raise your son by, which one would it be? X: The first one. Because I left him all the instructions he needed on there. The first album, called Foundation. RM: Is there anything that you regret or would do differently looking back on your life thus far? X: Never. I love my struggle. I love my scars, every one of them, because it means that I lived. Whatever didn’t kill me made me stronger. I’m here and I’m right here. RM: Do you have a life motto? X: Nah, I just call them words of wisdom. I get them from my pops and my grandfather. I get them from all over the place. My head of security and I, we sit down and talk. It’s just a constant learning process. I don’t think I’ve learned my life slogan yet. Ask me later on, when I’m close to 70 or 80, cuz right now, I’m still learning.
Xzibit can be seen every week on MTV’s Pimp My Ride.
in love” with working Jonathan Davis, the man who as a coroner’s assistant “fell around dead bodies, nearly became one this summer. he began noticing The Korn singer was midway through a European tour when checked into a London bruises on his body and feeling weak after shows. He purpura, with a rare hospital and was diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenic blood disease. 400 platelets in While people typically have somewhere between 140 and their blood cells, he had five. hemorrhage and “If I continued to headbang onstage, I could have had a brain al bed. dropped dead on the spot,” Davis blogged from his hospit a full recovery. “If Since then, the Bakersfield, California, native has made n out,” he says now, it comes back, the worst case scenario is they take my splee rather casually. a colossal critical Korn’s follow-up tour, the return of Family Values, was n for his first solo and commercial success, and Davis has since put plans in motio interview, the band is tour. And literally right after he finishes this Risen reconvening to start recording its eighth studio album. Davis’ own family At the moment, though, all that really matters are playing at his side. And values. One-and-a-half-year-old Pirate, his younger son, is to quote a Korn album title, life is peachy. Los Angeles. Interviewed exclusively for RISEN Magazine in
Risen Magazine: How did becoming a father change you? Jonathan Davis: It’s the most amazing thing you can ever do. It’s the reason for living, pretty much. Just seeing these little people who depend on you and you see yourself in, that’s a way of immortality in itself. The day [11-year-old] Nathan was born, I was a complete starkraving drug-addict-alcoholic nutcase, and I didn’t give a crap about anybody but myself. I lived the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle full on, excess chicks, everything. One day I came home completely sloshed and he was probably 2 at the time. He knew I was f—ked up and he gave me this look that I’ll never forget. It made me feel like an inch tall. And I
went on this tour when Follow the Leader came out and my grandfather passed away and those two things put me over the edge. I quit drinking, smoking, doing drugs, everything, that day, August 22, 1998. I haven’t touched anything since. RM: And that was cold turkey? JD: I didn’t do anything. RM: Is that the hardest thing you’ve ever done? JD: Yeah. And it cost me. I was messed up mentally for about a year from the alcohol and drug withdrawal and the chemistry getting back to normal in my body. I had horrible panic attacks, I got schizophrenic for a while. I thought people were trying to poison my food. The whole first Family Values Tour, I only came out of my bunk to play shows. Then I went right back in. Once it cleaned all out, my mind got straight and it was great. I had to be around for my kids. RM: The Family Values tour was such a success this summer. Did the incident in Atlanta [where a fan was killed during the Deftones set] take some of the wind out of the sails? JD: It frustrates me when dips—ts act like that. People act like that whenever they get in large crowds, like monkeys, marking their territory and proving they’re tougher. Poor guy died over a hat. I’m sure the guy didn’t punch him intending to kill him, but that’s just being a dips—t. People should come to a show to have fun, but I see it all the time, these idiots just fighting each other. It’s ridiculous. Our shows have always been really safe. We get the extra security out there to take care of things, but it bummed me out really bad. Someone died. He had a pregnant girlfriend, so his kid’s going to grow up without a dad. I guess that’s life. It’s not fair. RM: Your dressing rooms are filled with candles and curtains. Do you meditate before shows? JD: I guess it’s my own form of meditation. I go in there and I walk around and pace and I do all this crazy stuff to get ready. The show starts for me two or three hours before it actually starts. I get my head around it and get into that mind-set.
When I come off stage, I go on my bus and play some Warcraft or start writing and that’s what gets me to calm down. RM: The last time I saw you [just after you fell ill], you said someone up above was watching after you. Not words I thought I would hear out of your mouth [considering past lyrics such as, “pain is God” in the song “Kill You”]. JD: I’ve always been a believer in God, man. I just don’t believe in organized religion. I think people get too fanatical with it. I’m not a big believer in the Bible and that kind of stuff. I just believe if you’re good to people, they should be good back to you, and that’s the way I live. I pray and do that stuff, but it’s more of a personal thing with me. I’m not out there to broadcast it and do all the things bornagain Christians do. It opened my eyes when I could have died any second. It was frightening for me because I have my little boys. I don’t care about myself, but I got two little boys and a wife and a lot of fans who need me, so I want to be around. I wouldn’t necessarily say, J.D. went Christian, but I got my beliefs. RM: Is the god you pray to different than the Christian one? JD: No. I mean, my beliefs are different. He’s named so many things—if you’re Buddhist, he’s Buddha, if you’re Muslim, he’s Allah. It’s just a higher power. Ultimately, I’m a firm believer in reincarnation too. It’s a mixture of things. I think we were put on this earth to learn things and after each lifetime, you go through your learning processes. It’s almost like a baby maturing, and once you’ve learned everything you need to learn, you go to heaven. It’s more Buddhisttype of stuff, but it just seems right for me. Too many people have been places where they feel like they’ve been there before. My aunt’s really into that. She’s into this thing called past life regression where they hypnotize you and take you back lifetimes. And you can’t make that stuff up. [Pauses.] I’m an open-minded person. It all comes down to love. I just love everybody and that’s what I want. There’s people that piss me off and I truly hate, but I don’t feel like killing them or anything. That’s the thing with my music, it’s my way of getting that crap out, so I can just love. RM: When Brian “Head” Welch quit Korn [to pursue Christianity], were you ever tempted to check out the church? JD: Hell no. I came from that, I knew what was going on. I knew they swooped him up and filled his head full of stuff. But you know what, he needed that. If it wasn’t for the church, he wouldn’t be alive. He was a crazy drug addict, always drinking. It was sad. If that wouldn’t have happened, he wouldn’t have got clean. But I can’t stand them. They stole a whole bunch of his money and I know because I talked to him. He basically goes to church at his house now, a couple close friends come over and they do their thing. It’s the same thing with [Korn bassist] Fieldy. He’s a Christian now. He reads the Bible, he’s fully into it. But he doesn’t go to a church. He hates it. RM: So it’s possible to be in Korn and live a Christian life? NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2006 - Feature 27
JD: Head never thought that what we do is bad. What we do isn’t bad. We’re all about having fun. I just don’t judge anybody. It just seems like all these religions are is just a big book of rules that turns people off. Extremist people live by them and normal people don’t. RM: How did you come to work at a morgue? JD: Through a program in high school that placed you in a different job in a hospital. There were people doing EKGs, respiratory therapy, and they had the coroner’s office open. So me, being a big horror movie fan and loving all kinds of gross stuff, chose that. Since I was
born, I was into dark kind of things, so I wanted to see what a dead body looked like. Little did I know that I would fall in love with it and end up working there for years. It was a real awakening, cool experience. And it messed my head up a lot. Old people, I’d have no problem with. But the babies and infants, 10-year-olds, 5-year-olds, that messed my head up. It was hard, dude. I don’t want to go back doing that. Now I have kids. I get flashbacks. I have dreams. I had post-traumatic stress disorder for a while. It was crazy. RM: Did working there change the way you feel about death? JD: Obviously, because I live my life to the fullest every day. It made death real to me. In this society, nobody thinks they’re going to die. They ignore it or do different things to skirt around that they’re going to die someday. So when you’re slammed with it in your face, wake up in the morning seeing kids of all ages on the slab getting ready to be cut up, it kinda shocks you. And it kinda influenced me to start a band and join this band because I was totally fine doing the coroner’s work. But you only live once and I’m not going to have any regrets, so I’m gonna go for it. RM: Have your songs always been about darker things? JD: Always. Happy stuff doesn’t inspire me. The best art always comes from depression or insanity. I just don’t feel like being poppy. RM: What was the first song you ever wrote called, and what was it about? JD: I started doing dance music when I was 12 at my dad’s music store. I was the one who would figure out all these keyboards. I think the first one was about losing a girlfriend or being pissed off at somebody. But I wasn’t really into singing. I was doing it cuz I had to. I was more into the music. I was 20 and the first band I got in, they were like, ‘Dude, you have a voice, sing.’ I mean, I like singing, but I’m more passionate about music. It drives the band crazy, cuz I’m there playing everything. [Laughs.] RM: Does your older son listen to your music? JD: He likes it. He’s into music himself. He gets embarrassed to play in front of me, but when I’m not around, him and his little cousin get together and write songs. 28 :RISEN MAGAZINE
RM: How do you feel about him listening to your lyrics? JD: I don’t say anything I don’t want them to hear. All those values, those rightwing Christian guidelines, I’m not that kind of parent. My kids can hear me cuss. It’s a normal thing that goes on everyday. They’re gonna hear it. Nathan doesn’t cuss one bit, cuz I never told him it was bad. RM: Was that one of the reasons you were attracted to Deven [Davis, a former porn star and his second wife], because she also has a nontraditional past and you would raise your kids with the same ideals? JD: I didn’t know how she would be as a parent until we had Pirate, but me and her butt heads on things, but that’s normal for any marriage. [Laughs.] She wants him to be raised one way and me the other, and so we compromise. RM: Do you ever worry that your lifestyles will make it difficult for them? JD: I keep the lifestyle as normal as possible around my boys. It’s just regular family when I come home. They don’t treat me like anyone special. No one kisses my ass or anything. It’s nice. It’s reality. RM: Are they artistic? JD: Definitely. This morning, Pirate woke me up when he came in my room and he was holding a microphone and singing. He’s only a yearand-a-half. He’s only been at one Korn show. He never watches my videos, none of that, and he still rocks out. Same thing with Nate. He’d wake me up when he was 2, he’d put our videos on and put a beenie on and rock out on the guitar just like Head did. RM: Your middle name as well as your sons’ middle names is Houseman. Is that a family name? JD: Houseman was my great uncle’s name and grandmother’s maiden name. And he was killed in World War II and when he died there was no one to carry on the name. So I was given it and I’m just continuing it with my boys. Keep the name alive. RM: What’s the most important thing you want to teach your kids? JD: Respect. Respecting other people and their beliefs and what they do. That’s what gets you the most in this world. It also gets you f— ked over. I suffer from being too nice, but who cares. RM: What is your idea of perfect happiness? JD: If I could put my head on the pillow at night and fall right asleep. I sleep, but when you don’t have a care in the world, I’m sure you just go right asleep. When you get in bed is when you start reflecting and going, “Oh crap, I gotta do this. . .” RM: Do you have a motto you live by? JD: I try to live life day-by-day. I try not to look in the future or look in the past. It drives you crazy. But can I do it? No. I try. But living for the now is hard.
Jonathan Davis is recording Korn’s eighth studio album.
he 2006 Women’s World Longboard Surfing Champion, Schuyler McFerran never tried to be an outsider. She never worked to carve out an image or have the longest word in the dictionary apply to her. She was merely being herself and surfing with her mom and dad in Encinitas, California. When genetics and drive fully kicked in about the age of 16, she looked like a title contender. Three years later, she fulfilled her destiny in the 3-foot waves of Biarritz, France. Competitive surfing is essentially divided into four categories: big
Schuyler McFerran: Well, I have to leave that personality on the beach. Not to say that I get all agro, but I realize I can’t sit out there chatting the entire heat. I have to think about getting waves.
wave surfing, small wave surfing, shortboarding, and longboarding. Longboarding, which is Schuyler’s specialty, is performed on surfboards over 9 feet long. It is a traditional art form based around style and flow, a ballet to shortboarding’s slam dance. Schuyler’s graceful maneuvers and endless noserides, which often peak in hanging ten (putting ten toes over the end of the surfboard), separate her from the masses of wave riders. Few longboarders hang ten; fewer still attain such amazing grace. But it’s something anyone can attain, kindness and goodness, that are her most remarkable traits. So where does that leave an interviewer? Having known Schuyler for a few years, I am prepared for her nonconformity, but imagine some smut-raking investigative reporter interviewing the new Women’s World Longboarding Champion for the first time.
RM: You trained really hard for a world championship last year and didn’t do that well. This year you didn’t train, and you won. SM: This year I was mentally there. I wasn’t running on the beach every day, like I had been.
Reporter: So when did you first use performance enhancing drugs? Schuyler: Thank you for asking, but I never have used any illegal drugs. Wait, I did take three St. Joseph’s Baby Aspirin once, but that was because I thought they were vitamins. Reporter: What other crimes have you committed? Schuyler: I once tried sending a letter with a canceled stamp I peeled from an envelope. Am I in trouble? In a world where defiance among youth is the norm, the final act of rebellion may be nondefiance: eating all your vegetables, avoiding foul language, and saying your prayers before bed. With all other forms of rebellion tried, this may be the last countercultural act, a true rebellion that carries a risk of alienation from the mainstream. Schuyler took her World Championship win with emotion and humility. Wondering if the title would change things, many of us watched carefully, as days later she landed back in California, paddled out at her home break, Swami’s, and hung ten without a care in the world. If you asked about it she would tell you of her victory. Otherwise she was quietly content to surf with friends and family, chatting and laughing between waves, and perhaps unaware that she was the best surfer in the water.
Interviewed exclusively for RISEN Magazine at Beach City Burrito in Cardiff, California. RISEN Magazine: You seem sincere and friendly; how does that translate to competition?
RM: Do you ever get in situations where people are trying to break your concentration, or break the rules in order to win? SM: [Laughs] The few times that’s happened, I’ve thought, Well, if they wanted the wave that badly, the can have it. Go for it and I’ll wait for another one.
RM: How do you mentally prepare yourself for world-class competition? SM: I was getting really nervous about it, saying, OK, it’s the world title, you have to do good, Schuyler. But I didn’t freak myself out. I just took it heat by heat, thinking, If I win, I win, if not, hopefully there will be another year. RM: Are you competitive outside of surfing? SM: I definitely am, especially if I’m playing my little brother in ping pong. [Laughs] I do have my moments of being really competitive, but only in sports, really. Everything else, I think I’m pretty mellow. RM: How would you describe surfing to someone who had no concept of it? SM: That’s probably the hardest question anyone could ask. It’s the feeling of riding on water; like waterskiing, but not really. It’s really hard to describe. RM: Is surfing spiritual to you? SM: [Hesitates] No, but it’s a great stress reliever. I’m sometimes out there praying, so I guess in that way it is. RM: Do you feel surfing brings you closer to God? SM: It can, definitely. I’ll be out on an awesome day with a couple friends and think how incredible it is. RM: How old were you when you started surfing? SM: I was about 8. My family had moved from here to Montana and we were here on a camping trip. It was about half a foot and my parents pushed me on a few waves and I rode them all the way in. I was pretty little. My balance was pretty good and I loved it. When we moved back to California, my parents got back into surfing and started taking me. They let me use one of their old longboards, and I went from there. RM: Does the ocean ever scare you? SM: If it’s really big and stormy it can. I haven’t had that many scary experiences. Being held down for a long time can be scary. But triple NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2006 - Feature 33
overhead is the biggest surf I’ve ever been in. My dad took me out in big surf in Hawaii when I was 15 and it was really fun. RM: Does anything ever shake your faith? SM: No, I’ve had my doubts when I was in high school, but my faith is so much stronger now. Basically I was really lonely and my mind would work overtime, so I started worrying about my faith. I talked to my pastor and he really helped me a lot. So I have had my moments of doubt, but I’ve never thought of giving it up. I could never do that. RM: Have you ever been in a fist fight?
home, so… [Laughs] RM: Are you the babysitter? SM: Yeah, other people who are drinking or partying will come up and I’ll be the designated driver. RM: Have you ever been drunk or stoned? SM: Never. Never done drugs. In Australia I was tempted to have one beer, but then I thought, You’re not old enough and you don’t even like the taste. RM: On what occasions do you swear? SM: I never swear. That’s one of my rules, I never want to swear. I don’t think it’s glorifying to God and I also
SM: [Laughs] Well, wrestling with my brother is about the closest, but never a fist fight. RM: What is the maddest you’ve ever been? SM: I don’t get mad easily, but it would definitely have to be at one of my brothers. RM: I’ve heard that women competitors can be even tougher than the guys. SM: Yeah, I’ve had a couple of experiences at Malibu where people paddled around me or snaked me. That’s really frustrating, and I think we should be able to respect each other enough not to hassle each other for waves. I do think that the girls do that more than the guys. RM: You’re just starting your professional career, but once pro surfing is over, what do you want to do? SM: I’d love to have a family someday, get married and all that. But we’ll see; God has his perfect timing in all that. If I were to get a job outside of surfing, I’d love to help kids in some way. I don’t know what exactly. RM: Have you ever ditched school when the surf’s good? SM: [Laughs] Yeah, but I’m pretty good about not doing that. I do remember one class when the surf was so good and I didn’t go [to class]. [Laughs] RM: Do you ever share your faith with other competitors? SM: I don’t tell people the whole gospel. I really hope my actions speak for themselves. I know that when the time is right God will give me the opportunity. RM: Do you get flack for being a Christian? SM: Not at all. RM: If you’re the white knight of women’s surfing, who’s the black knight? SM: That’s a hard one. There definitely is that party element… RM: How do you handle the party element when it comes your way? SM: It’s been interesting. I’m not a partier. When I’m in Australia, someone will say, “We’re going out tonight.” I don’t want to stay at 34 :RISEN MAGAZINE
think it sounds really ugly when a girl swears. RM: What were your thoughts when you won the world title? SM: I totally felt the hand of God. I prayed, God if you really want me to win this thing…I know I can win. You’ve blessed me with the ability. Not to sound cocky or anything. I really had a good feeling about it, and when I got over there [France] everything went perfectly. I know it wasn’t anything I did. I won every heat; my surfing was together for the whole week. In my heats I would be in the perfect spot to catch a wave, something I usually have a problem with in contests. I felt that God’s hand was totally on me. I gave my best shot and God took care of the rest. RM: How long did it take to sink in? SM: It took a while. I’d hear my name as world champion and I’d think, No, that’s not me. [Laughs] It’s just now sinking in, months later. My mom’s good at reminding me. RM: Are you driven to win more titles? SM: I’m not hypercompetitive, but I’ll give it my best effort. RM: Anybody ever mispronounce your name? [It’s pronounced Skyler] SM: Every day of my life. [Laughs] People are better about it now. It’s funny; it brings back good memories of grade school. My friends call me Shwizler, Schweeler, Shuler, Skeeter, yeah… RM: How did you celebrate your title? SM: We had a huge party with lots of friends and family and all the people who have supported me. RM: Do you ever have any strange dreams? SM: I have surfing dreams and God dreams. One of my God dreams was about the second coming. I don’t know if that was because I was thinking about it, but it seemed so real at the time. I can’t describe it. RM: Where do you see yourself in 10,000 years? SM: In hea-ven! Schuyler McFerran attends Point Loma Nazarene College where she is pursuing a degree in art. She continues to surf almost daily.
Hide and Seek
Imogen Heap Emerges From the Shadows
Writer: Ashley Bovensiep
Interviewed exclusively for RISEN Magazine at the Coachella Valley Music Festival in Indio, California. RISEN Magazine: Did you expect the success? Imogen Heap: I didnâ€™t know what to expect. I had hoped that the record would do just as well as Frou Frou, if not better. But you can never predict things like The O.C., Chronicles of Narnia, all these different things that Iâ€™ve had. The one thing that makes it
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Photo: Mark Owens
Photo: Michael Crook
Photo: Mark Owens
happen is something that you’ve never expected. I would never have expected that “Hide and Seek” would be used in a totally teen TV show and that it would have such an impact.
RM: Did you always want to be a musician? IH: I did always want to be a musician, but I didn’t think I’d end up singing for a living. I always thought of myself as conducting orchestras and writing for orchestras while traveling around the world. That’s where my strengths were—arranging. And I’d write songs about my friends. It wasn’t an “I want to be Madonna” type of thing. RM: What do you want to do that you haven’t done? IH: Well, I’m about to write a film score. It’s a rather unusual score because the idea is that I submit ideas and basic things for the film. Then it comes back, and I work on it more. It’s very collaborative. It’s
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Photo: Mark Owens
RM: Are you trained musically or vocally? IH: I learned to play the piano. I did all my grades and then I learned the cello and clarinet as well. I learned theory. I just wanted to learn anything to do with music, so I studied really hard. That’s the only subject that I had any interest in. It was difficult in school actually because the teachers were quite odd. I went to boarding school and the teachers were a bit freaky. They had this programming suite at the boarding school and I started getting interested in that at the age of 12. They weren’t as common as they are today and as user-friendly. The manual I had to use was about this big [holds fingers two inches apart]. I think in five years’ time, everyone who wants to be a musician or singer can make their own demos. They are probably already learning how to do it with Garage Band on their laptop. I’m really excited about the future for independent artists.
a nature documentary film on flamingos. It’s going to take twelve months. I’m going to Kenya with my field microphones to record sounds. To be honest, every day is like, what the hell am I meant to do tomorrow? I was going up an escalator the other day and thought to myself, I’ve just been running around constantly for the last two years and have not stopped. I just thought, what am I working for? But I’m actually just living in the now, I love what I’m doing now and this is exactly what I want to be doing. I will just keeping doing what I love to do.
RM: Do you think things happen for a reason? IH: Sometimes it feels that way. When I was trying to find the money to make the record, my boyfriend and I were up all night laying down the floor in our kitchen. The surveyor was coming around to check out the house and give us a price on how much I could get it remortgaged for. I had been warned that surveyors were really nasty people. So we were really nervous and were up till 5:00 in the morning
I always thought of myself conducting orchestras while traveling around the world.
RM: Has fame been overwhelming? IH: Well it’s not mental for me. I’m not like Madonna status, but right now it’s very nice. The occasional person will come over and say hello to me, and we’ll take a picture. I love my fans; they’re not weirdos or stalkery types. They are very nice people.
RM: What inspires you lyrically and musically? IH: Sometimes something like falling snow outside the studio window in the evening will inspire songs like “Headlock.” It made me think of driving in the car with my dad back from school with the snow falling down. Something like that can trigger a memory. Sometimes you’ll find yourself writing about something that you didn’t realize was bugging you. It will be the times that you sit down and really stop for a minute cuz if I’m not in the studio, I’m running around. There’s a lot of things that go on in my life and I don’t get a chance to think about it till I sit down. RM: Describe your childhood. IH: Growing up was great for me. My parents are very fabulous; really encouraging. They’d just let me play the piano all day, which is what I wanted to do. They didn’t pressure us into religion or imposing themselves on us. They made us do our homework, but as a result I got a really good schooling. I went to boarding school after that and it was difficult coming out from this country life with my parents. RM: Were you the rebellious type? IH: I wasn’t before I went there, but then I was. I ended up being expelled but it was at the end of the school year. I couldn’t take any of the teachers seriously because they were all rubbish, and they actually were bad. And that’s when I started to really write songs. I went on to another school but it was a music school. It wasn’t like Fame. It was an arts school, but no one was dancing on the tables. If I’ve ever been in trouble, [my parents] have been able to sort me out. I wasn’t too close with them and now we’re really close. RM: What kind of people do you enjoy spending time with? IH: Those who are not too protective or clingy. I like people who are generally optimistic. I like creative people, and you can be creative in a nine-to-five job. I’ve got friends from all walks of life, but most of my life is in music, a lot of them are musicians. I’m really lucky in that a lot of the people I work with have become dear friends. I don’t have really many close friends, but I have lots of really good friends. I don’t really need a lot of those really close, close friends.
laying the floor down. Well he was really nice. We sat around and had a cup of tea; we talked about music and he asked me why I was remortgaging my house. I said that I wanted to make another record. He said, “What’s your music?” So I played him Frou Frou’s “Breathe In” and he said, “Oh my God! I love you! How much do you need?” So I told him and he said, ”I think it’s worth at least that.” So he gave me the mortgage that I needed. Things have happened and come together really well. So I think there’s a natural kind of energy…like… when things are in their natural state, everything has a good energy about it. Maybe that’s why things happen like that, because you haven’t got too many bad vibes around you. When you are running around all the time you don’t see the little things in life. Sometimes it can be the smaller things that make you do something that changes your day, and that might spark something else. RM: Where do you see yourself in 1,000 years? IH: I see myself in an icebox. [Laughs] I definitely don’t want to live for 1,000 years. I would like to come back in 1,000 years to see what’s going on. It’s my hope that the planet is still here. I’d say that in the next ten or fifteen years, people should be really, really careful about this lovely planet we have here. Maybe we will live in glass houses in the sky—kind of like bubbles. The ground would replenish, we would get rid of all the concrete, and we would have flying cars as well. There are so many million miles of concrete. If we could get rid of all that, we could go back to amazing wildlife. We could still come down here and go for walks on the earth. RM: What incident in your life has most impacted you? IH: Making the decision to take my life into my own hands and just say no to another record deal—saying no to something that seemed like the easiest thing to do. But going, “No, why should I sign another one and get treated like crap?” I just thought I want to make a record the way I want to make it. When I made that decision, my life has been so good.
Imogen Heap’s U.S. tour kicked off in November. Her latest CD, Speak For Yourself, is available online and in stores now. Visit www.imogenheap.com for tour schedule and more information. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2006 - Feature 39
s i h T t s a c Type Daniel Dae Kim Writer: Trish Teves
ristine white sand covers miles of camera cord, lighting equipment overheats in the tropical sun, and the cast of Lost portrays marooned survivors just feet away from their flossy oceanfront villas in Oahu. Here, the camera’s eye captures what it wants; a deserted island with mystical powers, stranded castaways fighting to get home, and a plot so complicated it twists and turns like a roller coaster. But beyond the camera lens and director’s chair lies a different story. Far from deserted, Hawaii boasts one of the nation’s most populated cities, Honolulu. Just miles away from the set, the airport never sleeps as tourists arrive in need of a little R & R. Contrary to its Lost counterpart, this indigenous land is occupied by white people who have come searching for tropical simplicity. Here RISEN finds Daniel Dae Kim shooting the fourth episode of Season 3. You may not recognize him by name, but he has been part of a long list of blockbuster projects. From Spider Man 2 to Crash, he’s no longer “that Asian guy in that one film.” For Kim, being lost is not as scary as being typecast. But his choice of roles keeps landing him on the awards show red carpet and in prime filming locations like Lanikai Beach.
Interviewed exclusively for RISEN Magazine in Honolulu. RISEN Magazine: One of your high school classmates said he thought you would be a politician, not an actor. Daniel Dae Kim: Yeah, I was one of those kids in high school. I was class president for a bunch of years and a member of all the geeky clubs. I got into acting in college as a favor for a friend. RM: How did you get the role of Jin in Lost? DDK: What makes my story interesting is that when I got cast in Lost I was already committed to do another job in Europe. There was a very real chance that I wasn’t going to be able to play Jin because of my prior commitment. But the generosity of J.J. Abrams allowed me to do both. J.J. is not only a talented director and writer, but he’s a really quality person. If it weren’t for his understanding, I wouldn’t be on this show. RM: So you had to learn Korean for this role? DDK: Yes, it was a very difficult thing. I’ve been doing this character now for two years, and I was hoping it was going to get easier. But it remains as challenging as ever.
Photographer: Tyler Shields
RM: You’d think you’d have strong support from your Korean fans, but it seems they are the hardest to convince. DDK: Yeah, it’s ironic. There’s kind of a self-hatred there. At first I took all that criticism very personally because it matters to me what my fellow Asians think of what I’m doing. But then I realized that you can’t please all the people all the time. On the other hand, I do agree with some of the criticism. Some say my Korean accent is crap. It’s true. I don’t speak like a native, but get over it. I read somewhere that someone wanted to turn off the television because of my bad accent. If that’s enough to make you turn off the television on a quality show where there are two Asians featured for the first time ever, then turn it off. See in the end who you are actually helping. RM: When you talk about self-hatred, are you referring to your Korean viewers or yourself? DDK: I meant it about my Korean viewers who, on a subconscious level, don’t want to see themselves portrayed on screen. Or they are in fear of being attacked by racists out there. So they run a preemptive strike and attack first. I find it interesting that the community I’m trying to help and support has been the most vocal in criticizing me. RM: Jin is the first character on prime-time television to speak a language other than English, right? DDK: Yes, the episodes with my flashbacks are 30 to 50 percent in Korean, with subtitles. How many shows do you know that have subtitles to that degree? RM: Will Jin ever speak English? DDK: I hear that’s the way the character is going to start moving. I’m looking forward to that. RM: Is your contract filled with non-disclosure clauses? DDK: As far as I remember there was not one. However, the producers go to extraordinary measures to keep confidentiality on the show. Our scripts are marked with our names on them. So whoever gets a script has their name etched across it to prevent anyone from leaking the story. RM: In Lost, there is huge significance in numbers. Are you superstitious about numbers? DDK: I wouldn’t say I’m superstitious about numbers but I do have NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2006 - Feature 41
preferences to certain ones. I am partial to the number 3. When we were shopping for a house I would look for the number 3. It didn’t prevent me from buying a house, but I took notice of it. RM: Why are you partial to the number 3? DDK: When I was young, a fortuneteller once told me that the number 3 would be a positive influence on my life. RM: Is it common practice for you to see a fortuneteller? DDK: Ah, no. But in Korean tradition the fortuneteller has an established place in history. It’s not as hokey in Korea as it is in the States. Should I say this? It’s almost a science. It’s based more on
case. But the island seems to hold second chances and could definitely be an afterlife. RM: Does that make you think about life after death? DDK: It makes me think about the present actually, about what I have today, and makes me very appreciative of my surroundings and all of my blessings at the moment. It makes me aware that these things are temporal, and as a result I’m very appreciative. RM: Does the cast really get together every Wednesday night to watch the show?
. . . but I have always believed that the energy you put out in the world comes back to you in some way. numerology. They’ll take all the numbers in your life, like when you were born, the exact time, the exact place, and they’ll base everything on that. RM: Would you consider yourself a numerologist? DDK: I see where this is going [chuckles]. No, I don’t put that much power in any one thing. RM: In Lost, it seems like the island has healing powers. Have you ever experienced healing? DDK: I have been to places where I felt really revitalized. I didn’t realize this before I moved to Hawaii, but there is a lot of supernatural tradition here. There have been certain places I visited and felt filled with positive energy. RM: Has anything spooky ever happened on the set? DDK: When we first came here, there was a shortage of studio space. So, we ended up shooting in a building that had been abandoned. We found out that it was the site of the largest mass murder in history. It used to be owned by the Xerox Company and a disgruntled employee came in one day, gunned down people, and then shot himself. It was the most people murdered at one time. It was definitely a place I didn’t want to go into by myself at night. Once we started filming, we had a priest, a rabbi, and a Hawaiian spiritualist there to get the bad juju out of the place. We stopped filming there as soon as possible. RM: Do you think there’s a message of redemption in Lost? DDK: Absolutely. It’s too prevalent a theme for it not to be on purpose. It’s about coming to terms with who you are in your own history. Another prevalent theme is “daddy” issues. A lot of the characters have issues with their fathers. Jack Shephard, Locke, Jin, and Kate all have issues with their fathers. RM: God is often referred to as “Father.” Are the “daddy” issues really God issues? DDK: Yes. So much in fact that a lot of fans initially thought the island itself was purgatory. However, the producers tell us that that’s not the
DDK: In the first season, we used to get together almost every week. But now it’s a different shooting schedule and fewer of us are on the island at the same time. It’s become a smaller group. It’s a little sad. It was a great way of connecting with each other in the beginning. RM: How did the role in Crash change your career? DDK: Crash was a project that I was really proud to be involved with. But again, my part was met with criticism from Asian groups because the Asian characters were the only ones that didn’t have redemption in the end. However, if I can be involved in a project that speaks to political and social issues, then I’ll take that any day. RM: Even if it is a smaller role? DDK: Yeah. I’m sure every young actor says this, but it’s not the size of the movie budget, but whether the material speaks to me. This is one reason why I like magazines like RISEN. My publicist didn’t force this interview on me. I sought out your magazine because I want to know what kind of sensibility the counterculture is taking. I want to know about how the more independent way of thinking occurs. It’s not considered establishment media. RM: Do you find yourself reading more scripts or books? DDK: Scripts. Thanks to the popularity of Lost I have been receiving a lot of scripts to review. RM: What books have you read recently? DDK: That’s a good question. Nobody has asked me that yet. Michelle Rodriguez gave me a book called The Hidden Messages in Water by a Japanese scientist. It’s crazy. You have to check it out. RM: If you could send a message to the world what would it be? DDK: This is going to sound contrite and cliché, but I have always believed that the energy you put out in the world comes back to you in some way. Have awareness for the people around you and know that your actions affect the whole fabric of humanity. Does that sound incredibly new-agey? Well, that’s what I believe, I guess. Daniel Dae Kim can be seen every week on Lost.
Writer: Chris Ahrens Photographer: Estevan Oriol
ith the possible exceptions of Jeff Spicoli and former president Bill Clinton, I would imagine that Ziggy Marley is offered cannabis more often than anyone on earth. And so it is no surprise when someone at the interview asks the world’s most famous practitioner of reggae if he wants to smoke a joint. What does surprise me is Ziggy’s polite but firm decline of the offer, excusing himself and returning to practice with his band. The music is solid, peaceful, beautiful, a sort of jazz-influenced reggae, and another step toward the fulfillment of father Bob’s goals, a music offering hope through the enduring power of love. Familiar drums, guitars, keyboards, backup singers, and that honey-smooth voice take me away to an island paradise and beyond, grafting in a longing for the New Jerusalem. It’s been three years since I last interviewed Ziggy Marley for RISEN Magazine, and the time has been good to him, leaving him more fit, more clear, and ready to talk about his life’s work, which is also his stated religion and instead forms part of the title of his latest CD. But these words lay flat on the paper, incapable of conveying the Island accent, the introverted intensity, the warmth. Is this love?
Interviewed exclusively for RISEN Magazine at Swing House Recording Studio in Hollywood, California. RISEN Magazine: What does the title of your new album, Love Is My Religion, mean? Ziggy Marley: I was in church and I spoke to this woman and I asked her, “What religion are you?” She said, “I’m Catholic.” She asked me the same question and I said, “Oh, love is my religion.” That was the only time I ever thought of that idea, the only time it came from my mouth. So, what it comes down to is breaking down philosophies, breaking down the red tape, breaking down the technicalities of all of the different philosophies of religion and God, love.
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Love each other. That’s the way I put it, love is my religion. That is the lesson I’ve learned in trying to find God. RM: Is it a struggle being loving when wars are going on? ZM: No, no, no, no. I mean, we love any religion just as we love everyone else. We love those who hate us. We have no hate for no human beings, nothing. We have no hate. Even those who would be against us, we still love them. I wasn’t always here; I’ve just reached this point and I find that all of me is love. I’m engrossed in love, I’m full of love. I am love. There’s nothing inside of me but love. RM: Does love bring freedom? ZM: Yeah, freedom from fear, hate, jealousy—freedom from
everything. Having so much love is to be so free…There’s a certain kind of guidance and protection that comes from being full of love. You’re guided and protected and everything that happens to you is from the will of God. Nothing goes astray, everything comes from what love dictates in your life. I find that love protects and guides me. To a person with so much love in you, good vibes surround you and you receive good vibes. RM: How did you come to that? ZM: I’ve always been that type of person. We never realized who we were and what we were. Growing up we had to be what we thought was the right thing to be. We had to be rough, tough. We had to be closed-minded. We went through so many different stages growing up. Love is the only answer. We need to love each other. That is how we reach God, to be love and to give love. Everything else is secondary. If you don’t have love, you could be baptized, but it doesn’t matter. Without love, you have nothing. RM: When was the last time you experienced hatred? ZM: I never hated nobody. Anger. Even today driving, I almost got angry at someone. I said to myself, Ziggy, relax. RM: How do you fight anger? ZM: I mean, for me, my conscience. It seems that each of us have this voice inside of us, the voice of reason. At least to me, there’s a part of my brain that never lies to me and always tells me the truth. No matter what the other side might be thinking. That is the voice of my guidance. Whenever I reach the point of anger or fear or anxiety, the voice comes back to me: Don’t worry, just relax, everything will be good. RM: Does that voice ever confuse you? ZM: There’s at least one part of me fighting with that voice all the time, but that voice always wins for me. There’s conflict. It’s in conflict with ego. We’re weak. Sometimes we want to stray and that voice always calls me back, go this way, not that way. RM: What’s your message to the world? ZM: Love. I don’t need to write a two-page speech to the world. Love, that’s it.
RM: What do you look for in a friend? ZM: Honesty, compassion, sincerity, love, truth. A friend should be someone who speaks the truth to you. If someone lies to you to make you feel good…Sometimes I have to get away from my surroundings, cuz I was getting too many ulterior motives. Not real friends, just people with ulterior motives. I’ve gotten away from where I was brought up to find who I really am, you know? RM: What scares you? ZM: Scares me? Not even death. Love conquers even the fear of death. Nothing really scares me. RM: Where do you see yourself in 10,000 years?
ZM: [Pauses] 10,000 years. I suppose I’ll go where God is, in paradise. In that place, wherever it is. RM: It would be hard to criticize someone whose philosophy is love. ZM: I haven’t experienced that yet. I have to be an example to my family, to those I’m around. For me, especially in the country we are in, violence and being tough or hard is a part of the culture. I want to say, you can be tough or hard or whatever. Nothing wrong with having emotions as a man. Nothing wrong with freeing yourself from your ego and peer pressure. It’s okay to be who you are. Free yourself. When the time comes to be hard, be hard. When you have to be tough, be tough. But don’t go around livin’ that all the time. Let that go. Use it when necessary; otherwise, we are love. I don’t have to show anybody that I’m tough. If a circumstance happens when I have to be tough, I’m tough. Otherwise I’m very soft and I smile a lot and laugh a lot. [Laughs] I try to be the real me. RM: If you were in a place where you could only have five CDs and five books, what would they be? ZM: I don’t need so much. I need the Bible, and the ocean and the wind and the birds and the trees. I can make my own music too, and I don’t need any CDs. It’s okay with me. The Bible’s okay with me. RM: What makes you laugh, really hard? ZM: [Chuckles] I’m a laugher. I laugh a lot. My little girl, 1 year old, she makes me laugh. Sometimes weird things make me laugh, you know? Looking into the sky I see something, a cloud. Sometimes I think I’m kind of crazy. [Laughs] RM: I’m sure you have a very active mind. ZM: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. It keeps going. Sometimes I cannot sleep. RM: How do you turn it off? ZM: I don’t. I just keep going until my eyes can’t stay open anymore and then I go to sleep. That’s the only time I can really get some sleep. The doctors try to prescribe pills, but I’m not into that. Never took one in my life. RM: Do you have any special diet? ZM: We avoid meat. We try to keep the temple healthy.
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RM: You look more fit than you did three years ago, when I saw you last. ZM: I’m more fit, running. Fitness is important. It’s good for the spirit and the mind.
RM: You knew him as a man. ZM: Yeah, inspired, strong, disciplined, and loyal to his beliefs. He’s still special, still different. He was on a different level.
RM: What makes you cry? ZM: Cry. Cry, cry, cry. What makes me sorrowful, melancholy, is bloodshed, the world, Middle East, Iraq, abuse of children. So much I see going on makes me really sorrowful. It really hurts me. I’m really sensitive to the human experience. I’m in touch with that. I’m really sad when I hear about child abuse; I can’t understand how somebody could do that to a child. That gets me angry too. I get really angry at bloodshed and war. We can’t get where we’re supposed to get with violence. It cannot work. We cannot win a war on terror with bombs
RM: What’s the greatest thing your father taught you? ZM: Right now, I would say discipline. Discipline in music and purpose in your music. That what we do is serious, that we are on a mission, it’s not a joke. We have to rehearse hard.
and guns. We have to win the war on terror with love. Love is the perfect, for lack of a better term, weapon. I’m talking about showing love to the common people, not the criminals or the instigators of crime. Love has a way of changing people. Instead of showing them violence, show them love. You have no reason to hate us, we love you. Love is the perfect weapon, but we need to use it, you know?
need a lot of words. A lot of times when I’m in bed, I say, “Give thanks.” I say, “Yes Jah,” or “yes God,” and that’s it for me. Once in a while I say the “Our Father.”
RM: Who is your favorite musician? ZM: David. RM: King David? ZM: He is it, yeah. Psalms are perfect. I read the Psalms every day. It’s a perfect book and he’s a great musician. Sometimes I try to put words to music. I would like to do the psalms to music, exactly as it is in the Bible. It’s free-flowing. It would be interesting to hear that. That would be cool. RM: What about contemporary music? ZM: Um, I am more old school. Maybe more like Miles Davis and my father. Fela Kuti, Ella Fitzgerald, old ska music from Jamaica. I’m not too up to date with the hits of today. The hits of today don’t touch my spirit, they don’t touch my soul, you know? RM: It seems there are two ways to make a song—one way is meant to sell records and do a video, the other way comes strictly from the heart, like that person had to sing that song. ZM: Yeah mon. For me, more than ever, I realize I have a purpose and the music has a purpose. Musicians throughout history have been some of the most important people in society—like King David. Musicians really help the people in a society. To me, I have to say what I have to say, but sometimes it’s not like everything is coming from me. Not like I’m so bright, I’m so articulate. The inspiration comes from somewhere else. I’m telling you it comes and it just rolls into me and I let it out. When I write songs and do music, it shows me more that God exists, cuz I am getting inspiration from something that is not me. RM: Sometimes people put your father on a pedestal. ZM: They love him so much they put him on that pedestal. That happens so much, people putting people up higher, that is like a trend. 48 :RISEN MAGAZINE
RM: What would a normal prayer be like for you? ZM: Give thanks. I never ask God for anything, I only thank Him for everything. He knows what to give me. The things that I do in my life bring things to me naturally. Give thanks, that’s what I say. I don’t
RM: How do you raise your children? ZM: With love. More of the same way I was raised. I don’t teach them hate. I was taught to give. If you are more fortunate, you give to the less fortunate. I teach them by doing it though, not by telling them to do it. By letting them see me do it, by letting me see them give something to a homeless guy. That’s how I teach the children, by action. So, discipline when necessary. I don’t hit my children, because my voice is strong enough. They respect me enough that when I speak that’s enough. RM: How old is your oldest? ZM: Sixteen. Children respect actions, your aura, your demeanor. I will speak and then listen. I will speak twice; if I speak a third time…[Laughter] If I have to speak three times, something’s wrong. RM: Anything else you’d like to share about your beliefs? ZM: Yeshua has a lot to do with my philosophy. I have to give respect to Him and the lessons He has taught me. I study many different philosophies and religions and I’ve come to the conclusion that love is my religion. We don’t condemn and we don’t convert. I don’t need to force you to believe what I believe. My actions are my words. We need to teach the real message, love each other at the church and the synagogue and the mosque. All we need is love, just love each other. That’s where I am today.
Ziggy Marley’s newest album, Love Is My Religion is available online and at Target stores.
Dreaming Reality Jon Keegan Writer: Regina Goodman Illustrations: Jon Keegan His is the kind of art that, when staring at it, you’re either conjuring up tales or feeling a sense of symbiosis. “I wonder what that girl’s thinking. She’s probably…” “I know exactly how that guy feels. He must work for…” There’s a realism to his art that extends beyond its human cast of characters. Something about Jon Keegan’s work draws you in, both literally and figuratively—I am not that girl on the subway platform, but I am that girl on the subway platform. And there’s good reason. Keegan explains, “I take scads of pictures with my digital camera when walking around the city, which, in a few seconds, can yield years’ worth of unimaginably weird and interesting people to draw from.” Weird and interesting indeed. Keegan, a New Yorker, has been illustrating for twelve years, and his work appears regularly in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and US News & World Report. He is the red handkerchief, that splash of color, to their pinstripes and wingtips. His telltale moment of great things to come was courtesy of a postcard. “In 1998, I got a call from Sam Reep, the kindly art director, at the time, of The New York Times ‘Sunday Styles’ page. After receiving a postcard of mine depicting two squabbling hot dog vendors, he gave me a half-page cover of the section. It had been a dream of mine to get published in the Times, so I was flying. The thrill of going to the deli to pick up the paper with your drawing in it is still there for me.” Imagine if Keegan were the deli owner; forever ensconced in a frame on the wall wouldn’t be a creased Washington but two hot dog vendors. Looking at Keegan’s art, I appreciate it for its simplicity. These are technological times. Paint is now pixel, and canvas is now liquid crystal. But Keegan finds a way to marry tradition with technology. “I spent a lot of effort making my computer painting follow the same process I used when doing a ‘real’ painting in gouache or acrylics. I start with an underpainting, then build up the color on top of that and include lots of real painted texture. After much experimenting and 50 :RISEN MAGAZINE
some certifiable stinkers, I was able to bend the computer to my will and achieve the look I wanted, and faster than with paint.” For some artists, the computer ushered in a way to bring to life the creatures and realms that existed only in their sleep. Though that may produce compelling and complex pieces, you find yourself spending more time interpreting the images than you do appreciating the work. Am I looking at a person or something representative of a person? Is he/she/it in a state of sadness? Sometimes, the simplest pieces, the ones where you immediately get it, are the ones that stay with you. But what of Keegan himself? Weird and interesting art aside, does he want to stay with you? “My impression of the world is what defines me. I love to travel and see as much of the world as possible. That’s one of the most important things I have done thus far to keep my world exciting and inspiring. I think living among so many different people in such close proximity leads to a kind of human understanding that is hard to achieve otherwise. I am humbled that people find delight in my work. I just feel very lucky to have had the unfaltering support from my parents to pursue this career, which has been a dream for me.”
Jon Keegan is a contributor and founder of the collaborative art blog invisibleman.com. To see more of Keegan’s art, visit his site at www.jonkeegan.com. 52 :RISEN MAGAZINE
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Writer: Steve Beard Photographer: Tyler Shields Photographers of notoriety are seemingly able to stop the rotation of the planet long enough to capture a moment that the rest of us most likely would have missed. They don’t blink reflexively like mere mortals. Instead, their eyes roam, fixate, and capture images like a hunter stalks his prey. The rest of us recognize their unique talent and clamor to hang their images in our living rooms, display them on our computer screens, or champion their art by collecting their coffee table books. By looking at the world from their vantage point, we begin to see our own worlds through a slightly different prism. We attempt to form the habit of noticing and appreciating unique images—odd cloud formations, spider webs with morning dew, and cemetery headstones. The eye of a photographer tutors our own senses and instincts to observe. “It’s an amazing thing when the world is stopped forever in one frame,” Tyler Shields observes. “That moment will never change, never be forgotten, and will never be taken out of context. You get emotion and life experience out of something that doesn’t even move.” Shields has the eye. He began directing music videos at 18 years old and became a shutterbug at 21 when he got his heart torn to shreds by an ex-girlfriend. These instincts were not enhanced through formal education. Instead, it was the mere doing—trial and error—that honed his craft. He is as well known for his inability to sleep as he is for maintaining a dogged work ethic. Although the platform for his art was fostered through his music videos and celebrity photos, MySpace exponentially propelled his name to legions of fans around the world. “Your images are incredible,” wrote one observer on his website. “You show the world from a very surreal perspective. Maybe it’s because you don’t sleep that you see things in such a way. I don’t sleep, it makes me creative. It gives me a buzz and I feel more alive. One day when I’m a famous chef perhaps you’ll take a photo of me. Thanks for inspiration. Peace.” What more of a compelling compliment could a lensman desire?
Tyler Shields’ first book, 4 by 5, is available through his website (www.TylerShields.com) and he is busy compiling his second collection for publication. 54 :RISEN MAGAZINE
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Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (1997, available on DVD) If you could ask anybody about the meaning of life, who would you ask? Most would interview a world-famous authority on religion or mysticism. But Errol Morris chose a lion tamer (Dave Hoover), a robot designer (Rodney Brooks), a topiary gardener (George Mendonca), and an expert on frightful little creatures called mole rats (Ray Mendez). And surprise, surprise…it’s fantastic. Fast, Cheap and Out of Control is an enthralling exploration of creativity, science, and imagination. As these four committed visionaries tell their compelling stories, their faces come alive. Don’t we all wish we could find as much fulfillment in our work as these guys do? Morris weaves these testimonies into a groundbreaking form of poetry. Leaving us to arrive at our own insights, he focuses on the particulars of their preoccupations: The lion tamer wore a wristwatch into the ring, and it almost cost him his life. The mole rat rolls around in its own urine—not a pretty picture, but it makes a sickening sort of sense. But while Morris introduces each subject separately, he eventually blurs the edges, and the speeches spill over into each other. While the lion tamer talks about the dangerous unpredictability of his beasts, we watch robots spin out of control. While the mole rat scientist talks about miniature monsters, we watch circus performers do ridiculous stunts. And we begin to get the message: humanity, like the rest of creation, exists in a fragile balance between order and chaos. Morris wants to address the ultimate question: Is there anything more than circuitry in the universe? There’s a note of menace in the way Brooks the robot builder imagines how reason will lead us to our own extinction. And yet, Fast, Cheap and Out of Control is anything but a downer. While Brooks can’t see any deeper meaning in this madness, there’s no denying the awe in his eyes and the joy in his smile when his coworkers throw him a birthday party. How can science and reason explain this unreasonable gesture of grace and affection? With that, Morris leaves just enough doubt lingering in our minds, just enough room to wonder if there might not be something more than this…something divine in circuitry, shrubbery, buck-toothed rodents, and the king of beasts.
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Dark City (1998, available on DVD)
When The Illusionist became an unexpected hit at the end of the summer, many moviegoers looked at the malevolent Crown Prince Leopold and said to themselves, “Where have I seen that guy before?” “That guy” is Rufus Sewell—a talented and engaging actor who also played villains in A Knight’s Tale, The Legend of Zorro, and Tristan and Isolde. But it’s easy to forget that Sewell had the leading role of a tragic hero in one of the best, and most underrated, sci-fi films of the last few decades. With a dark and enthralling style reminiscent of Blade Runner, The City of Lost Children, and Seven, Alex Proyas’ masterpiece—Dark City—is a film worth revisiting. In it, Sewell plays John Murdoch, a man who wakes up to find himself at a murder scene. And like the main character of Christopher Nolan’s Memento, Murdoch has amnesia. He can’t be sure of his own innocence. And so, following in the footsteps of a famous hero from TV’s The Twilight Zone, he panics and runs out into the streets of a lifeless metropolis, looking for his memories and some sort of redemption. What he finds is a nightmare. The city has fallen under the control of mischievous, meddling, pale-skinned devils who put the city to sleep every night and then “tune” things into a whole new shape. Why are they doing this? How can Murdoch find out the answers when reality keeps changing? By the way, who is the spooky, stammering, hyperventilating scientist? That’s Kiefer Sutherland of TV’s 24, almost unrecognizable in a bizarrely amusing supporting role. What about the melancholy detective hunting Murdoch? That’s William Hurt. And playing the part of Murdoch’s beloved, that’s Jennifer Connelly. A veteran of MTV music videos, Proyas puts his rapid-cut editing style to good use here, plunging us into a surrealistic, vertigo-inducing dream-state. It’s a bit overbearing the first time you experience it, but the film holds up under repeat viewings, revealing more and more complexity and coherence. While Dark City leads us into a philosophical labyrinth, its conclusions are bleak. We’re left with a man who, having no faith in any benevolent Higher Power, must escape into a custom-mad.
Junebug (2005, available on DVD)
When artists discover the American South, they enter dangerous territory. Far too often, they aren’t prepared to encounter such a rich, unusual culture, and they end up painting cruel caricatures. So it is a bit unnerving when Phil Morrison, the director of Junebug, takes us on a road trip from a Chicago art gallery to a baby shower. Is this going to be just another movie exploiting Southern eccentricity? Not at all. Junebug is, at times, hilarious, but it is also a deeply affecting drama about a complicated family that finds meaning, hope, and healing in Christian faith and traditional family values. We haven’t seen such a thoughtful illustration of religious faith since Robert Duvall’s The Apostle. Nor have we seen many performances as indelibly endearing as the one delivered here by Amy Adams. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. The film begins as a sophisticated Chicago art dealer named Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz of Schindler’s List) falls in love with a North Carolina boy named George (Alessandro Nivola). Pursuing a contract with a reclusive artist, she ends up staying with George’s family, and the ensuing culture clash progresses from comical to devastating. Madeleine, who considers herself professional, stylish, and superior, is humbled to discover the emptiness of her own routine, and the rich resources to be found in family and faith. Madeleine learns a lot from George’s imperious mother Peg; from his quiet, patient father Eugene; from George himself, as he springs into action to help his family in crisis; and even from his troubled, jittery brother, Johnny. But most of her lessons come from Johnny’s very pregnant wife, Ashley (Adams). Ashley is the intellectual equivalent of an 8-year-old, but her longings, her love, and her optimism overcome anything in her path, even Madeleine’s sophisticated skepticism. From the pregnant silences at the dinner table, to the nuances of Baptist-churchgoer vocabulary, to “colorful” displays of Southern imagination, George and his family are threedimensional and compelling, enlivened by an artist of affection and vision. The slow pace, the quiet moments, the empty spaces—they allow us to absorb some of the haunting history, the pain, and the power of this place. We need more films with this much heart.
Italian for Beginners (2000, available on
Amores Perros (2000, available on
You need to find a good date movie. But you’re sick of those cheesy chick-flick romances. You don’t want another sappy Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan valentine. No, you want something really good, something you can talk about later. You want a movie that makes you fall in love with each other—and with movies—all over again. Try this tasty Danish confection: Italian for Beginners. Italian for Beginners is a romantic comedy without the usual sappy enhancements. It’s filmed with handheld cameras and captured in natural light. The actors aren’t familiar, and they aren’t wearing any glamorous makeup. And the music doesn’t try to squeeze tears from your tear ducts. You might think you’re watching a documentary. Like a Shakespeare comedy, Beginners follows a community of men and women, each one longing for true love, each one lonely and wounded. And as in Shakespeare, their dilemmas are far from trivial. There are real dramas, real tragedies, and real misunderstandings happening here. There’s a handsome restaurant manager with a fiery temper and a foul mouth; a young baker who’s dangerously clumsy; an attractive hairdresser harried by her mother; and a sexy Italian waitress whose love knows no language barrier. One lost his wife, one lost his faith, and one is scarred by fetal alcohol syndrome. The film could be viewed as a comedy which stumbles into drama, or the other way around. Like I said, this isn’t your typical romantic comedy. All of these disparate lives collide in an Italian-language class near Copenhagen. And right away the sparks begin to fly. But when the teacher makes an early exit, they face a tough decision—abandon the class, or find a new teacher? Just in time, an unlikely substitute steps in, enabling these enthusiastic students another chance to learn and to love. There’s even hope for the local pastor. There aren't any big twists, shocking revelations, or audacious stylistic endeavors. But the film is a rare delight anyway: a joyous comedy that is at the same time grounded in real life with characters whose company is a pleasure. If we’re lucky, writer/director Lone Scherfig will make more movies like this one and kick more life into a genre that is currently on life support.
Thanks to the participation of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, most American moviegoers will buy a ticket to see Babel, the third film in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s dark and troubling trilogy. And, thanks to Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Benicio Del Toro, many saw the middle film of the trilogy—21 Grams. But few saw the first film—Amores Perros. And that’s too bad, because the film is just as riveting and compelling. In its complex web of stories about suffering, it makes last year’s Oscarwinner Crash seem simple and ordinary. Proceed with caution: Amores Perros is about people caught up in nightmarish evil. Men carry out shocking violence against other men, against women, and even against animals. (Caution: One of the film’s stories deals quite graphically with an illegal dog-fighting ring, and the camera does not shy away from bloody dog carcasses.) Iñárritu’s style is modern and involving. His camerawork is reminiscent of the stylish energy in Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, and his characters are as starkly drawn as Tarantino’s in Pulp Fiction. Other critics have noticed the influence of Buñuel. There’s even a clear visual reference to Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Red. Like Pulp Fiction, Amores Perros focuses on three stories about criminal behavior. The first follows a young man who wants to rescue his brother’s abused wife. The second story is about a rich married man who has an affair with a supermodel. And the third follows a mysterious vagrant whose heart, hardened by a life of violence, is slowly cracked open, driving him to a moment of crucial decision. Iñárritu has a long way to go to become as subtle and poetic as Kieslowski. Throughout this trilogy, the stories are so relentlessly grim that they leave us gasping for air, for humor, and for hope. Nevertheless, the focus of the film is on just how desperately we all need tenderness, compassion, and forgiveness. It is also about the importance of family, the rewards of responsibility, and the value of every human life—even the most depraved life. Just as the villain of Apocalypse Now looks into the evil abyss of his own heart and gasps “The horror! The horror!” so Iñárritu stares unflinchingly at the cruelty humans exhibit toward each other and to animals, and leaves us yearning for grace.
American Splendor (2003, available on DVD)
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more unlikely hero than Harvey Pekar. But this cantankerous Cleveland cartoonist has inspired many people, from those who read his comic book—American Splendor—to those who have seen the movie of the same title, which narrates his strange and surprising rise to fame. Writers/directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini drew inspiration from Pekar’s autobiographical comics, and from his wife, Joyce Brabner. In fact, the couple participate in the film, appearing in cameos to comment on the progress of the narrative while the cast takes a break. It’s a daring technique, but effective. Varied sequences—some animated, some dramatic reenactments—add up to a funny, entertaining, and moving biography. We first encounter Pekar stomping along the streets of Cleveland, played with Oscar-worthy perfection by Paul Giamatti. He’s a slouching, middle-aged Oscar the Grouch whose trash can is his lousy job as a V.A. hospital file clerk. Pessimistic to the bone, he expounds upon his miserable fate, the torments of commercial culture and capitalism, and his maddening quest to find a woman. Then he meets and befriends Robert Crumb—yes, the Robert Crumb, that gleefully perverse comic book artist. And their friendship leads to the publication of Pekar’s cartoons. Thus, a comic book sensation is born. When one of Pekar’s biggest fans, a comic store manager from Delaware named Joyce (Hope Davis), writes to him admiringly, we’re treated to a surprising, endearing romance. Harvey and Joyce suffer through the trials of fame, poverty, and depression. It gets worse... and better. He stumbles into a crisis (cancer) and a blessing (fatherhood). How does it all turn out? See the movie. You’ll enjoy great performances, audacious creativity, and a moving tribute to a remarkable talent who, despite his relentless pessimism, fell into grace and illuminated the splendor of ordinary life. Jeffrey Overstreet’s reviews and interviews have appeared in Paste and other publications. His book about finding meaning at the movies, Through a Screen Darkly, will be out next year; the first novel in his fantasy series, Auralia’s Colors, is due in 2007. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2006 - Department 63
dept:Sound playful dub tracks—the record loses direction. At 16 tracks of varied aesthetic, There Is would’ve made a fine 10-song pop record. Instead there are soft spots on the apple. —Jessie Duquette
Artist: Joanna Newsom Album: Ys Label: Drag City Release: November 14, 2006 Two years in the span of anyone’s life can bring some heavy change. The you of two years ago is not the you of now, no matter how you pretend that you “know” yourself and aren’t in flux anymore. We’re all in flux, and we will be ’till we’re under the earth. From obscurity to 2004’s MilkEyed Mender taking her witchy, harp-led folk to international fame, Joanna Newsom’s changed— just like you. Gone are the acorn-tiny renaissance pop songs and in their place are 10-minute-plus epics based around long-form storytelling, backed by music akin to Donovan’s baroquely psychedelic Sunshine Superman (though Ys isn’t so adventurous). Tarnished by a complete lack of hooks, this record is a difficult, rather unexciting listen, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. It’s actually chock full of illuminations; the flashes just aren’t hot enough to blind you anymore. —Jessie Duquette
Artist: Headlights Album: Kill Them with Kindness Label: Polyvinyl Records Release: August 29, 2006 As the strings fade in, you wonder what Headlights has in store for you...and then it happens: the attack of twangy guitars, solid bass, and retrosounding synths that perfectly complement their sound. While this progressive synth-pop of sorts may have been popularized by bands like Rilo Kiley and Stars, Headlights will be sure to make a name for themselves with the release of Kill Them with Kindness. As with the other bands popular in the genre, Headlights features mixed male/female vocals, lots of synth, catchy guitar lines, and enough pop to make you smile for days. At first, the record doesn’t seem very special, or original, but after a couple of listens, Headlights’ unique qualities begin to emerge. Lead singer Erin Fein’s voice is so delicate and passionate, and Headlights’ use of synthesized sound is more deliberately placed. Overall it’s a great record that just makes you feel good. I can’t stop listening to it. —Jared Cohen
Artist: Dear Nora Album: There Is No Home Label: Magic Marker Release: October 24, 2006 There Is No Home is Dear Nora’s final record. After the album’s tour, it’s all over. The San Francisco band never blew up big, but in the quiet meantime they produced some beautifully sublime pop music. Katy Davidson’s stories of young love and trouble always had a certain ‘60s-ish pop feel to them, but now she’s trying for musics made later than that. Like lost ballads from the Rumors sessions, There Is strives heartily to be a '70s-style “California record.” And it succeeds—sometimes. When Davidson leaves behind pop for experimental—trafficking in 64 :RISEN MAGAZINE
Artist: Jonny Lang Album: Turn Around Label: A&M Release: September 19, 2006 Turn Around is Jonny Lang’s fifth album (his first was at age 15) and he is still a simmering smooth bluesman with soul a mile wide. While his rock ’n’ roll résumé is second to none—touring with the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and Sting, and
performing with blues legends B.B. King and Buddy Guy—Lang remains flexible enough to stretch his niche as a guitar prodigy to release an album that leans heavy on soul and gospel. Make no mistake about it, Lang still shreds the frets, but he is doing it on Turn Around with a compellingly wicked organ accompaniment. While this is Lang’s first faith-inspired album, those who get hives listening to contemporary Christian rock need not worry. While some artists seem to be domesticated after a road to Damascus conversion, Lang’s faith only seems to have enhanced his songwriting and accentuated his brilliance. It doesn’t get better than “Only A Man,” sung with his wife, Haylie Lang. It might even make you a believer. —Steve Beard
Artist: Bruce Cockburn Album: Life Short Call Now Label: Universal Music Group Release: July 11 2006 Twenty-nine albums under his belt, and there’s no sign that Bruce Cockburn is anywhere near shelving his guitar. He’s still writing some of the most thoughtful lyrics in rock, and his guitar playing continues to dazzle. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he offers more than mere anger at the rapidly declining state of the world, more than mere sentiment for the sake of love. While his albums remain criminally overlooked, he’s pointing the way toward hope with songwriting that stokes the fires of conscience and spurs us into action— whether that manifests itself as political activism or shows of love for our friends and family. Life Short Call Now is his strongest collection since his 1997 masterpiece The Charity of Night. It’s a colorful, thoughtful, heartbroken expression, fraught with nightmares but fueled by faith. While there are dark and dire passages on this album, the light of love and hope shines brightly and the darkness cannot overcome it. “This feast of beauty can intoxicate / Just like the finest wine,” he tells us. “So all you stumblers who believe love rules / Stand up and let it shine.” It's a line so good, it's worth singing again. And he does. And so do I. And so will you. —Jeffrey Overstreet
Artist: Thom Yorke Album: The Eraser Label: XL Recordings Release: July 11, 2006 Radiohead fans predicted that a solo album by frontman Thom Yorke, produced by Nigel Godrich, would probably sound a lot like…well…Radiohead lite. Or Radiohead without a lot of guitars. Or Radiohead B-sides. And they were right. What’s distinct and impressive about The Eraser is the way it proves that Thom Yorke is still a real live boy, not a person who has been absorbed by the effects that usually splinter, distort, and multiply his voice. Yorke is an extraordinary rock vocalist, and it’s good to hear him au naturale again. As for subject matter, Yorke laments the abuses of world superpowers, alienation, media distortions and lies, government cover-ups, and the slow deterioration of the earth. Nothing new there. My continual wish that he would find a silver lining somewhere, or some glimmer of hope, seems to be a vain hope. Nevertheless, the unpleasant truth is out there and needs to be acknowledged once in a while. Someone’s got to do it. Hope won’t come from ignoring the darkness, but by taking it on. And for folks like Yorke who don’t seem inclined to look beyond the human sphere for any kind of redemption, things must seem very dark and desperate indeed. —Jeffrey Overstreet
you won’t stop smiling. You won’t stop rocking. You won’t stop feeling like you’ve heard the songs years ago. Lakes has a knack for creating music that just feels good. It feels right. There isn’t much experimentation, but in a world where everyone has a gimmick, it’s refreshing to hear a record that’s just trying to be great rock music. Lead singer Seth Roberts has a voice that could cut glass but also heal your wounds. It’s a deep, rich voice, and when combined with the sentimental lyrics, he’s a perfect match for the music behind him. —Jared Cohen
Artist: Robert Randolph and the Family Band Album: Colorblind Label: Warner Bros Release: October 10, 2006 Robert Randolph’s roots were planted in the House of God Pentecostal church in Orange, New Jersey—a congregation that utilizes the “sacred steel” guitar instead of an organ on Sunday mornings. When he took his utterly captivating talent outside of the sanctuary, it was the folks in the nightclubs that began wiggling their hips, waving their hankies, and shouting hallelujah. A few years ago, Rolling Stone named Randolph one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. His sanctified skill has been called upon by the Blind Boys of Alabama (Higher Ground), Carlos Santana (All That I Am), and even Ozzy Osbourne (Under Cover). With Colorblind, Randolph collaborates with friends such as Eric Clapton (a smokin’ version of the Byrds’ “Jesus is Just Alright with Me”) and Dave Matthews (“Love Is the Only Way”). For those with a hankering for a funky, soul-blistering, high-energy album, Colorblind fits the bill with flare. —Steve Beard
Artist: Lakes Album: Photographs EP Label: The Militia Group Release: Sepember 5, 2006 There’s nothing greater than hitting play on a new disc and feeling your whole body sway with the music, uncontrollably, within 30 seconds. The first track on Lakes’ EP, Photographs, will have exactly this effect on you though. From the start of that song, “Indian Lover,” until the end of the record,
Copeland has always been more musically inclined than the pop-punk bands they often get grouped with, but on their latest, “Eat, Sleep, Repeat”, Copeland has risen their own bar. While Copeland has always featured advanced instrumentation and soft, meaningful lyrics, they have taken their own style to a newer, higher level. While the band is holding on to the sound that gave birth to their popularity, they are certainly letting it mature as they do, something some bands try to resist. Echoing guitars and smooth vocals combine with organ, strings, and even horns at times to create the fullest sound I’ve ever heard from a band this young. In only a few major releases, Copeland has managed to show they have what it takes, and it’s nice to see them nurturing and maturing their sound, rather than trying to experiment. When you know what works for you, stick with it. —Jared Cohen
Artist: Katamine Album: Lag Label: Tinstar Release: June 1, 2006 Katamine is the solo project of Israeli musician Assaf Tager, who is well known in Israel but virtually unheard of in the U.S. However, Lag, is not the sort of record you might expect from an Israeli singer/songwriter. Tagar played guitar for Elliot Smith at times and definitely carried some of that sound over for his own work. Musically his style is very similar to that heard by Elliot Smith on older works. Vocally, Tagar is another story. Think Iron & Wine meets Nirvana unplugged. With the unique combination of guitar and vocal sounds, Tagar is able to create a collection of songs that sound familiar, yet different from anything you might compare it to. While the record isn’t terribly exciting, it is very moving. It’s the sort of record that’s great to listen to while driving or lying in bed. It will make you think, and maybe even cry, but you’ll be better for it. Lag makes you feel like you’re part of something beautiful. And you are. —Jared Cohen
Artist: Copeland Album: Eat, Sleep, Repeat Label: The Militia Group Release: October 31, 2006 NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2006 - Department 65
dept:Up to Speed Sonny Sandoval RISEN Magazine: Have you guys ever been hassled for your faith by other bands? Sonny Sandoval: Never, not once. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t love the the guys in P.O.D. We’re
just four guys from the neighborhood. I think they’re more afraid of us cuz their experiences with Christianity have turned them off. But don’t compare me to that; I’m Sonny from San Diego. I’ll cook for you; I’ll barbecue. You can hang out with my friends, my family; just be real with me. I don’t care; I’ll meet you on a human level, then, when the time is right, I’m gonna share. But I’m not gonna beat anyone over the head.
RM: Do you find a lot in common with people of other faiths? SS: I think there’s a lot in common. I mean, just striving to be good and do what’s right. It all stems from the word of God. To me, it comes down to that love Christ has for us. Anybody can relate to love; if you can’t, you’re further off than you think.
Up to Speed: Coming off the high of their successful release of Testify in January, P.O.D. prepares for yet another on November 21st, this one in the form of a greatest hits CD compiling tracks from their last four albums. Also included are two bonus tracks including “Going in Blind,” which was inspired during a late night recording session in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sonny explains, “A good friend of our producer Travis stopped by the studio. She was probably there no more than a minute...said hello to the guys, smiled at me, and left. Travis was telling us about his friends [having] lost their child to a crime so evil, I couldn’t even begin to explain. That’s how it started. None of us had an explanation. All of us in the room were husbands, fathers, men of faith and spiritual guys who, overall, believe in the ‘Power of Good.’ We were speechless and quiet. Everything you believe in and everything you know to be true can be tested in one single second, the [moment] your child is taken away from you. What an amazing person this woman is to have walked past me and smiled even though I had no idea what she’s been through. One smile of love is more encouraging than a million words.”
RISEN Magazine: What was the lowest point of your life? Citizen Cope: Waking up and thinking, “Damn, I don’t want to be here.” Not that I wanted to kill myself or
anything. You wake up in the morning thinking, “Why am I here?” and that’s an awful, awful place to be. You go through those things and confront the things that happened in your life and realize, it sets you free if you can get through them.
RM: Describe your own heaven and hell. CC: Somebody once said hell was regret. I guess heaven would be like when a lot of the mysteries in life are
kind of understood. Freedom, I guess. I know that word is used a lot, but we imprison ourselves a lot of times. Getting to that place within where you’re kind of awake and current and being above pettiness.
Up to Speed: It used to be that storytelling and music went hand in hand. And though that may still be the case today, most of the story is either lost to a catchy beat or obscured by the glitz and glam of fifty dancers on stage. Enter Citizen Cope, one of the few raconteurs still using his lyrical gifts to paint tales of people and places you and I may never meet. And after sixteen months of steady touring, Citizen Cope released his second album, titled Every Waking Moment, on September 12th. This time, Cope sings us stories of the emotions and introspections he experienced in the sixteen months away from friends, family, and all things familiar. The album also deviates a bit from Cope’s hip-hop tendencies in favor of a more folk-inspired sound. Citizen Cope is currently on tour. For tour information visit www.citizencope.com.
Q’orianka Kilcher RISEN Magazine: Are you fearful of fame? Q’orianka Kilcher: No, because I’m not doing it so I can live in a Beverly Hills house. I’m doing it for bigger things, to do something good in the world and bring messages across.
RM: You’re going to become a role model for young women. What do you want to tell them? QK: Follow your dreams. Always keep on dreaming. Keep them bigger than people say is too much. And keep on working hard toward your dreams and your goals, and they will in some way, shape, or form, happen.
Up to Speed: Earlier this year, Q’orianka Kilcher received the ALMA award for Outstanding Actress in a
Motion Picture for her portrayal of Pocahontas in New Line’s The New World. While it would be too grandiose a statement to make about Q’orianka bringing people together like Pocahontas once did, Q’orianka, nonetheless, is using her notoriety to make a difference. Recently, Q’orianka was named the celebrity teen spokesperson for Thursday’s Child. Thursday’s Child, a charity founded in 1982, offers a 24-hour, toll-free hotline for at-risk teens dealing with thoughts of suicide, abuse, exploitation, STDs, eating disorders and selfinjury, and pregnancy. For more information on Thursday’s Child or to make a donation, visit www.thursdayschild.org. Back issues of RISEN magazine are available for purchase while supplies last at risenmagazine.com.
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Writer: Steve Beard Illustration: Dushan Milic
During his final visit to the United States as the Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi sang “Love Me Tender” while visiting Graceland with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. The three of them were being escorted by none other than Priscilla Presley, Elvis’s former wife, and Lisa Marie, his daughter. When he was shown Elvis’s trademark sunglasses, the prime minister put them on and wiggled his hips in a heartfelt imitation of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. “Graceland is the ultimate summit-slash-road-trip,” said one diplomat. “Frankly, I think the bureaucrats on both sides were a little bit perplexed, if not aghast.” Twenty-nine years after his tragic death, Elvis Presley still enjoys unparalleled worldwide popularity—even if the bureaucrats don’t get it. He continually leads the Forbes magazine “TopEarning Dead Celebrities” list at the $45 million mark. Books about Presley continue to be published and the reissues of his albums continue to flourish. And just in time for the holiday shopping season comes a 3-disc special edition DVD of his appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Elvis may have left the building, but apparently his fans have not. Elvis remains one of the most pivotal and enigmatic pop culture figures in American history. As a young man, Presley was raised in poverty and southern Pentecostalism. Although he is best known for the swivel of his hips, Elvis loved gospel music and dreamed of singing it professionally. His career, however, took a different path. When Elvis rolled into Jacksonville, Florida, on August 10, 1956, Judge Marion Gooding had prepared an arrest warrant for Presley, charging him with impairing the morals of minors in the event that Elvis swiveled his hips. Young people at the Murray Hill Methodist Church heard Elvis denounced in a sermon titled, “Hotrods, Reefers, and Rock and Roll.” Elsewhere in town, Robert Gray, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, offered up prayers for Presley’s salvation after declaring that the singer had “achieved a new low in spiritual degeneracy.” The Rev. Gray gained national notoriety after being featured in Life magazine. Elvis later confessed frustration at the preacher’s actions. “I think that hurt me more than anything else at first. This man was supposed to be a religious leader, yet he acted that way without ever knowing who I was or what I was like,” said Presley. “I believe in 68 :RISEN MAGAZINE
the Bible. I believe that all good things come from God…I don’t believe I’d sing the way I do if God hadn’t wanted me to. My voice is God’s will, not mine.” In the midst of fame and fortune, he struggled to find his way. After the Easter service at First Assembly of God in Memphis in 1958, Elvis told the Rev. James Hamill, “Pastor, I’m the most miserable young man you’ve ever seen. I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need to spend. I’ve got millions of fans. I’ve got friends. But I’m doing what you taught me not to do, and I’m not doing the things you taught me to do.” Like so many other young Americans during the 1960s, Elvis explored exotic Eastern religions and experimented with drugs. He was, by all accounts, an eccentric religious seeker on turbodrive. One man who seemed to tap into that spiritual desire was a 24-year-old hairdresser named Larry Geller who told Elvis that he was most interested in discovering “where we come from, why we are here, and where we are going.” This was the key to securing Elvis's attention. “Whoa, whoa, man. Larry, I don’t believe it. I mean, what you’re talking about is what I secretly think about all the time,” said Presley. Those were the kinds of transcendent questions that haunted Elvis’s soul. He saw through the shallowness of stardom, but was a prisoner to his own success. Elvis consumed books on Hinduism, Judaism, numerology, Theosophy, positive thinking, the new-age, and meditation. Although he explored and researched many diverse religions and practices, he never abandoned his childhood beliefs in Christianity. He was a true believer, but he also had the appetite of a spiritually starved seeker. “All I want is to know the truth, to know and experience God,” Elvis said. “I’m a searcher, that’s what I’m all about.” Throughout Presley’s life, gospel music was the constant element of solace to the man who was burning the candle at both ends. The only Grammy awards that Elvis earned were with his gospel records. To many fans, he is as well known for “How Great Thou Art” as he is for “Blue Suede Shoes.” It was the Vegas years in the 1970s that seemed to drain so much of Elvis’s vibrancy. Presley struggled with womanizing, pill-popping, reclusiveness, and uncontrollable weight gain. He
turned to uppers, downers, and painkillers to dull the ache of depression and loneliness. Fame was a harsh taskmaster and Elvis and his entire entourage knew it. Even then, however, he did not completely lose perspective. Gospel singer J.D. Sumner recalls a woman approaching the stage in Vegas with a crown sitting atop a pillow and Elvis asking her what it was. She answered, “It’s for you. You’re the King.” Elvis took her hand, smiled, and told her, “No honey, I’m not the King. Christ is the King. I’m just a singer.” Rick Stanley, Elvis’s stepbrother, once told me that “Elvis was a modern-day King David”—a man who pursued God yet stumbled often into the sins of the flesh. On the day before Presley died, Stanley related to Elvis that a friend of his has been telling him about Jesus. “Ricky, she’s telling you the truth,” Elvis responded. “People who talk to you about Jesus really care.” Later Stanley heard Elvis praying, “Dear Lord, please show me the way. I’m tired and confused, and I need your help.” He talked with Presley and then ran an errand. When he returned to Graceland, Elvis was dead. Elvis was not a saint, and no one knew that better than Presley himself. He was an enigma who touched a spiritual nerve in American culture. There is, of course, no one else on the planet who can attract 70,000 fans to his gravesite to recognize the 25th anniversary of his death. While there, fans recited the Lord’s Prayer, repeated the 23rd Psalm, and joined together in singing “How Great Thou Art.” Can 70,000 fans be wrong? Sure, but these fans were not. When he died, Elvis had fourteen different drugs active in his system. There are plenty of lessons to be gleaned from Elvis’s tragic life, but they should be absorbed through the prism of sorrow and grace. The way in which a person dies is not always the best way to remember the contribution he or she made while they lived. All of us have seasons of our lives that we would sooner forget. If one looks at Elvis as a prodigal son, there is good reason to believe that he died on his journey back to the Father’s house. In remembering him, we should do it with the same kind of charity that we trust the good Lord will extend to us.