In 2007 three Slovenian citizens, a performance artist, a theater director and an artist joined the ruling Conservative Party: The SDS. Later that year they all changed their names to Janez Jansa which “co-incidentally” was the name of the the leader of SDS and the right leaning Prime Minister of Slovenia. They all three went about their lives as Janez Jansa, collectively gaining quite a bit of media and public attention in Slovenia and eventually world-wide.
Being artists, the three newly minted Janez’ pondered the meaning of their deliberate appellation re-designation, and eventually were inspired to co-create a very interesting movie staring: Janez Jansa, Janez Jansa, Janez Jansa and Janez Jansa. This movie is an in-depth and compelling exploration of the old adage: “what’s in a name?” Dozens of people, many sharing the same name and virtually nothing else, are interviewed about how they believe their names have affected their lives since birth. You will be surprised to find out what the filmmakers learn about names and what they have to do with the named.
I had the good fortune to see this movie while I was presenting my book Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society at The Influencers Festival in Barcelona last November. I also met Janez Jansa! (the performance artist, not the Prime Minister..)
I was compelled to ponder my name and how it was almost a separate entity, while being perhaps the most obvious expression of who I am to the world at large. Admittedly, being named John Law (a pejorative meaning police in the central states) at birth and growing up primarily in the Mid-West insured many “A Boy Named Sue” moments in my young life. Even so, watching this movie will get you thinking about just what YOUR name has meant to you and your development, opportunities and accomplishments over the course of your life. I highly recommend seeing it.
Screening of My Name is Janez Jansa at:
more screenings: http://www.mynameisjanezjansa.com/?page_id=156
My old friend (and local rock star) James “Kimba” Anderson has been very busy since I first ran into him as he joyously spread his Kimba-ness all around San Francisco over 20 years ago. Kimba has always been involved in some kind of performing high-jinx; his projects always have a sense of wonder and an element of the surreal. Right now, this very minute Kimba is building a unique, scary children’s Horror movie: Tip Toe Past the Witch. It looks like it will be pretty amazing and will, no doubt scare the crap out of me while merely amusing my young son. Kimba needs some help financing the project, you can check out his trailer and pitch on his kickstarter page.
His band Candyass , with East Bay Ray of the Dead Kennedys on guitar, was a club staple in the late ‘90s:
& my fave Sharkbait was one of the truly astonishing San Francisco ensembles. Kimba and bandmates Chris Taylor, Mr. Clean, Greg Slugocki and others created a unique, audience participation element for their one of a kind performances. Kind of a metal/noise/glam/industrial hybrid, Sharkbait would drag audience members up onto their stage set and, after outfitting them in welding chaps, gauntlets and full helmets, would hand them a sledge hammer and put them into chain link cages where the virtually frothing at the mouth fans turned performers would frantically smash the crap out of a seemingly endless pile of televisions…Priceless.
Sharkbait played Lollapalooza 92
and they were by far the loudest, burningest, most participatory and fabulously excessive thing at Burning Man 94. (an event I can find no record of ANYWHERE – Kimba, Chris Taylor, Clean?)
Kimba’s a father now-a-days and kind of settled down, (much to the chagrin of rocker chicks around the Bay) so, naturally he has directed much of his prodigious energy toward children’s projects. Kimba’s Cave is kind of a cross between PeeWee’s Play House, Jules Vernes Journey to the Center of the Earth, Equus and The Muppets. Well, it scared me, but my seven year old laughed all the way through and doesn’t SEEM to be traumatized..
So if you have kids, check out Tip ToePast the Witch. You’ll need to watch with your kids so they can comfort you when YOU are traumatized by Kimba’s oddly wholesome yet undeniably perverse imagination…….The Witch is played by Rumi Missabu who was an original Cockette and who still has IT and wants to give it to you and your kids!
Tip Toe Past the Witch Kid’s gotta have it!! You can help “educate” the next generation by helping Kimba out and contributing here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tiptoepastthewitch/tip-toe-past-the-witch-web-series?ref=recently_launched