ENTERTAINMENT

Announcing: “How Could You?”

This particular short film “How Could You” from 4LetterFilms was originally part of an online panel discussion within our Crownn Records/WorthJourney family.

The Official Trailer for “How Could You” – Available on November 26th, 2020
via Dailymotion

The thing of it is, we were either stranded or chose to remain where we were at the start of the Covid19- pandemic. Either way, we all had travel restrictions and this was quite unusual for those involved in this in-house panel discussion. Especially during the spring as we normally prepare for our summer travel jaunts.

Philip Ailon was in Athens, Greece complaining that there was thus far no tourist for the upcoming season. James E. Lane was in Fort Pierce, Florida, dealing with not only the preparation of the pandemic but the indescribable atmosphere in America. I (Jerome Fitts), was in between Santo Domingo and Boca Chica missing my love ones in Europa. There were no flights and I was basically stranded in paradise. We were all moaning about the pandemic and how it had altered our normal routine and plans.

I went to my hotel balcony speaking to James and noticed three kids the first hour or so, then maybe ten kids congregating in the rubbish below. My first thought was; “You have to be kidding me?” I proceeded to tell James this, as he barely made it out some 5 days prior and he laughed. Then I laughed. Philp in another message laughed. The mutual laughter came with a shared message of “maybe they are looking for a mask?”

San Rafael, Dominican Republic March 4th, 2020. The photo was taken by Jerome Fitts.
All Rights Reserved.2020

Soon afterwards, I picked up both the companies cameras Sony Raw and Nikon 70D and started filming. After we reviewed the film, there certainly wasn’t any laughter, but a dead silence of embarrassment between all of us. All of a sudden our biggest problems didn’t exist. We knew that our worst days could quite possibly be these kids finer days.

Children rummaging in the waste. Photo By: Jerome Fitts.
4 Letter Films. All Rights Reserved. 2020

“How Could You” was born. This isn’t a laughing matter. These kids live in this rubbish bin. This isn’t about race, religion and especially politics of who can tell their story first. This reality and is their reality.

The point of this film is: How could we complain when we know someone has it worse than we do? The characters of this film do not complain. They are making the best of what they have and are grateful for their existence on a daily bases. Are we? Maybe they are better humans than we are.

So before you go and post a complaint or ask for “prayers up” then stare into that mirror while taking a photo of yourself pleading for others to like and share- then complain when you recieve rude responses- think of these kids that are at our door steps.

Wink,

Jerome, James and Philip

“Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other.. Part 1”

By Crystal Ellis

“Next year will be my year!” “Next year will be my year!” For years, I would tell myself over and over again, I was going to the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. The year 2019 was the year. September to be exact. The event was always on my bucket list, but somehow I never made it my priority. Finally, during this past summer after saying I would go so many times I decided to make it happen. I booked plane tickets for late September and started to plan my trip. Being a woman of colour it’s safe to say that I was more than a little hesitant to be going to Germany alone. After booking the trip anxiety kicked in and I really started to question if this was the right decision for me. All of a sudden every bad article or internet video flashed into my mind. After a slight breakdown, I had to remind myself that you can’t always believe what you read or view online.

Crystal Ellis enjoying the festivities of Oktoberfest 2019 in Munich, Germany. Photos Used By Kind Permission.2019

This gave me even more of a reason to go rather than my initial Ocktoberfest dream. I needed to put my fears aside and take a leap of faith that everything would turn out alright. I “put one foot in front of the other” and just did it. Upon arriving at the hostel, I immediately made friends with others staying at the hostel who were also attending the well-renowned gathering in Munich.  

Oktoberfest turned out to be one of the best experiences I have had. I met so many amazing people and the German people were not as cold as expected but rather the exact opposite. They were inviting, generous and probably the friendliest people I have met thus far in Europe. Oktoberfest was my original motive but the friendships I made and mutual understandings of our different cultures is what it was about- the positive energy was priceless.

Hmm.. next step forward?.

Crystal

Good News Documentary Review-“Shaholly”

Reviewed By:  Jerome Fitts

The spirit in which top fashion model Shaholly Ayers details her path to stardom in the short documentary Shaholly, is exactly what The Cacique Film Festival Series definition of a “Good News Documentary” is.  Award winning director Wojeciech Lorenc did a near perfect job of highlighting Ms. Ayers personality that compliments her stunning beauty. The story itself is something we encourage our readers to patiently watch. The thing of it is, you may find yourself watching it over and over. This is turning adversity into triumph.

As a society we all want to be in a place and time when we are not  judged from the first sight of one another, but unfortunately the world has not developed into that place- just yet. Hopefully this documentary, produced by Mary O’Connell, could lead us to taking another look at our ethics.

Copyright controlled. Photo used by kind permission. 2019

After watching the documentary for a second time, we (WJ) found ourselves searching for more information on Ms. Ayers and by no one surprise, her story is a continued journey. It is exciting and inspirational following her steps toward building onto her dreams.  Shaholly Ayers is a master piece of beauty in her own right and the word special has to be replaced by an adjective that hasn’t been written yet.

Copyright controlled. Photo used by kind permission. 2019

Our take on the film is that; opportunities taken for granted should be withdrawn from those who think they are entitled to it. Within the film Ms. Ayers mentions the doors that were closed by certain shallow thinkers and how her tenacity to fulfilling her childhood dream eventually became a reality. It should be noted that there was never a mention of self pity or acknowledgement of her disability that withheld her from overcoming those obstacles. 

Copyright controlled. Photo used by kind permission.2019

Watch the documentary! It takes less than 5 minutes to feel good about the rest of your day and on one those worse days when you are not counting your blessings, do yourself some justice by watching it again.

Remarkable “Good News” documentary- WJ

Smartphone Review- “Our 1st Smartphone ShortFilm”

Reviewed By:  Jerome Fitts

In the new modern world of digital storytelling there is such a thing called supersaturated wannabees in film-making. To be frank, some are good but for the most part there is a clueless exemplification of objectives in those “we can do it all ourselves films!” At the end of the day it has come down to the opinions within the “eye of the beholders”.

Our 1st Smartphone Short Film, is one of those exceptions.. “It’s brilliant, sexy, classy,  and thought prov-active”, while maintaining the viewers attention for its 2 minute span. 

The production is splendid with the dual threat of directors Emigdio and Ivan Jorge  complimented by the writing skills of Silvia Colin, that put those imaginary lines of huge production cost to rest. The limitations set forth was obviously not an obstacle. You know the statement; “Either you have it or you don’t?” — well these guys have it. This short film was done with an IPhone X

This submission to Cacique Film Festival, has  been selected for the Tunnel Vienna, Austria Event (March 29th, 2019)

Splendid piece of work!- WJ

SmartPhone Review- “Kuujjuaq”

Reviewed By:  Jerome Fitts

“Kuujjuaq”, a smart phone  short film, which was initially a student essay, has found its way onto the Cacique Film Festival Series (Vienna, Austria event March 29th, 2019) screening selection. As well as being educational short film to anyone who hasn’t been to Kuujjuaqthis may serve as another reason to travel to a place where most wouldn’t dare ponder. That is until now! Do yourself some justice and click on the  highlighted links in blue to find out where this remarkable village is.

Kuujjuaq trailer / bande-annonce from Wapikoni mobile on Vimeo.

Besides the obvious that its blistering cold in Kuujjuaq, the film gives some insight to the culture as well as the amazing geography that surrounds one of the fourteen villages in this Canadian province. Maybe short films such as this should be endorsed more to broaden the minds of those that wonder what a pure quality of life is like and how similar their own existence is. Sammy Gadbois, did a fabulous job of encouraging viewers to visit his village  with a broader outlook on what some may consider untouched regions.

Scenes from Kuujjuaq.
Photo Used By Kind Permission. 2019
Copyright controlled. Sammy Gadbois.2018

We do hope that all of the major travel boards (TripAdvisor to Booking.com) take notice of the work this student has done “pro-bono” advertising this remarkable village. In closing it should be noted that the Wapikoni Mobile team deserves a standing ovation for not only supporting their youth but also doing an excellent job with their professional submission. We are eternal fans.

Thank you Mr. Gadbois for enlightening us.

“Informative”- WJ

WJ.

Credits:

“Job Life” By: Roberto I. Ercolalo- Short Film Review

Written By:  Jerome Fitts

For the life of me I don’t know why indie film festival award winning director Roberto I. Ercolalo started this relevant piece in Spanish without subtitles. According to the films advertisement, the following film has been selected to numerous festivals. Its your call as well as evaluate some of those festivals selection committee members. *Just saying!

Within the first 45 seconds of the short film Job Life, the director has his point across. This nineteen and thirty-six second black and white short describes how certain individuals within the Argentinian work force live to work as the burden of their job cements their oppression.

To appreciate the work of Mr. Ercolalo one would have to watch the film more than once while applauding the soundtrack composers Tomás Alegre and Victoria Korenblit  which may be the beckoning for such a second glanceUnfortunately both carry the film as oppose to the message that the director is attempting to convey.

Could his message be; “Some people has little to no choices with their career or is it in Argentina there are little to no opportunities once you start a career?”- 

Roberto I. Ercolalo in Job Life. Photo Used By Kind Permission. 2018

 

The drainy deposition of the film is one that some of us movie goers have when we are recovering from the fear of a brilliant weekend on a rainy Sunday while preparing to go to work the next morning. If you are looking for an uplifting film then you may want to check the next dial.  However if you want something that would make you appreciate the life you have while re-assessing your current career status then this is one for you.

Within the film overview, Ercolalo is quoted: “There is a message in the film.” We were looking for something that wasn’t so obvious.

By no means are we announcing an ill-rating for the film but we do think that Job Life will be appreciated more in the future once we are blessed with more work from Roberto I. Ercolalo.

Sir.. Its a decent start.. -WJ

“A Night With A Stranger”- Short Film Review

Reviewed By: Jerome Fitts

Does anyone remember a time when we could meet someone in a park after a night out and discuss a mutual problem? The short film “A Night With A Stranger” by independent filmmaker and director Uladzimir Taukachou submitted to us via Cacique Film Awards was filmed in an unusual social scene, (a park in New York City). The indie filmmaker has made a short that touches certain embarrassing attributes that most Americans have. (* From our view!)

A Night with a Stranger official trailer from Uladzimir Taukachou on Vimeo.

The 5 criteria based questions of a short film such as; who, what, when, where and then how are covered. There are also topics that has become a norm for societies world-wide.

Who: Girl walks and sits in a New York City park and is approached by a stranger.

What: A discussion with a stranger as they both give a brief history of themselves as well as discuss the margins of their personal lives.   (** Our questions are: “Is America this shallow?”, “Does it matter where someone comes from?”, “Has society forgotten to be nice to one another?” and worse “Why should this be a strange encounter?”)

When: Actress Titi Arewa, who is making her film debut, walks in a park after a regretful night, to come up with a solution for her most recent problem. The stranger Kim Palmer, played by Marty Novitsky, gives his resolution as well as compares his life to hers.

Where: New York City- very unusual, but that is the obvious point as strangers seldom speak to one another let alone vent their problems in hope of a solution.

How: The thirteen and twenty second short was filmed on a DSLR camera with an indie budget and film crew of 3 people. Other than certain scenes with  lighting challenges, Uladzimir Taukachou  has done a fair job of making the most of his limitations without making excuses. Here is validated proof that sometimes the best art is created with a set of limitations.

Photo used by kind permission. Copyright Uladzimir Taukachou. 2018

Its safe to say that we can all appreciate the efforts the director and cast has made.  Paying close attention to the film you may find the more so often than not unfortunate descriptions, margins and perimeters of others  unsocial-able misfortunes that disables one another to opening up to others. We get it and we hope you do to.

WJ

“A Night With A Stranger” is a UTC Film Production.2016

 

“SAVE” SHORT FILM REVIEW

 Jerome Fitts

SAVE, is a near four minute short film with over 90 international Film Awards and 400 official selections to date. The must see short was submitted to us by the film counsel and judges from the Cacique Film Awards.

If there as a way were we could examine the mind of Director/Producer Ivan Sainz- Pardo there may be an antidote that counteracts  and eliminate viruses while solving unpredictable human activity. Imagine that.


This film exemplifies the love, tenderness, selfishness and frustrations combined with a moment of madness on a normal day that resulted in an unfathomable regretful ending.

Photo used by kind permission. 2018

The lead character (Roland Von Kummant) responses based on his emotions that can happen on a normal day,  also clarifies what all humans capable of.  Perhaps Director Saniz-Pardo objective as part of a thought provoking film, is reminding the viewers that  if certain virtues are not acknowledge to be controlled anything can happen.

“A relevant and absolutely brilliant short film.”– WJ

Written, Produced and Directed by:  Ivan Sainz- Pardo

Key Cast: Josephine  Ehlert, Roland Von Kummant, Mia Von Kummant 

Music By: Philipp Fabian Kölmel

THE BOUDOIR – VIDEO SHORT REVIEW

 Jerome Fitts

Clap! Clap! David Latreille for putting a twist, flavor and excitement in a video that encompasses the remarkable music by Asten Harris  yes A.K.A Apex Martin of Kayne West fame. Undoubtedly the song is killer but the rapid photos of actress Emilie Dumas should be displayed for patrons entering a nightclub anywhere. The thing of it is, this 2014  genuine piece of digital storytelling, which was submitted to WJ via The Cacique Film Awards , is listed as a music short film. Its the work of a genius!

“A two-minute short film about a young woman experiencing music through a psychotic phase.” 

THE BOUDOIR from David Latreille on Vimeo.

What Mr. Latreille did in 2014 was redefined style in a music video. Were the standards set by the brilliant producer/director followed since its original release? If we are honest with one another the answer is; no!

Actress: Emilie Dumas
Copyright David Latreille. 2014
Photo used by kind permission. 2018

This a perfect example of why MTV introduced music videos that were created decades ago. Is it a song that should be on full blast driving in a quiet neighborhood? No.. Its too special.. This two minutes and eleven seconds tune could be put on while working out in the gym, dressing up to impress a his or hers date or going through that psycho phase that we all endure.

In closing this gem was created ahead of our time.

WJ

Credits, Cast & Crew:
Young Woman / Emilie Dumas
Writer, Director, Editor / David Latreille
Cinematographer / Nicolas Venne
Score / Apex Martin

“The Cotillion” Short Film Review

 Jerome Fitts

Robyn Whitmore of Sierra Lane Productions has attempted to bring issues in a Louisiana community that was once considered taboo yet remains in certain societies today. Independent films are normally funny, creative and sometimes thought provocative while being created on a low budget. Ms. Whitmore seems to have covered the norm while extending boundaries of various subject matters.


The result or transparent review of the noted project is: “Sometimes the results doesn’t resembles the efforts”. Its safe to say that Ms. Whitmore has more in-store in the now “DIY” realm of film-making. The limitations and/or congenial cooperation between the cast members of this indie film doesn’t seem to have been an handicap. However the scattered concept of the film does leave one to ponder- “What is the statement or concept behind the stories? There seems to be more than one”

A blended family has to face some harsh realities about their father and siblings while preparing for an annual ball.”– Robyn Whitmore 

A loyal lover of film will see the subliminal talent of Ms. Whitmore. It is recommendation that, you the reader, not only watch the film in its entirety but also follow the future projects of Sierra Lane Productions. The best is yet to come.

For more release and film accessibility contact:  Robyn Whitmore 

Copyright Controlled. Sierra Lane Productions in association with Whitmore Entertainment. 2018

Bob Moses – “Battle Lines” | Album Review

 Jerome Fitts

** Also contributed to The Line Best Fit 

If you are lucky enough to catch Bob Moses, the Canadian electro duo, then be prepared. Their latest album “Battle Lines” is a potent reminder of the power of the combination of hard rhythm, electronic experimentation, and hard-hitting lyrics.

Just to be clear here: pound for pound and track for track, this record is a gem. Thirty seconds into the lead single, “Back Down”, it’s clear that we’re in the safe hands of a duo who understand exactly how to manipulate their audience.

The single reminds us all of why we leave our inhibitions at the door truly exciting music like this, as it briefly transports us from our mundane present to the promise of a better future. It’s microcosm of the appeal of the Battle Lines as a whole: this is versatile, dynamic party music, made by masters of their craft.

Battle Lines is available to pre-order now on CD and limited edition colored double LP from Domino and digital download. All pre-orders from Domino receive an instant download of “Back Down” and “Heaven Only Knows.”

PRE-ORDER DIGITAL
PRE-ORDER PHYSICAL 

The band will tour North America this fall, with dates kicking off September 21 in Sacramento and further stops in San FranciscoPortlandSeattleChicagoBostonPhiladelphiaNew YorkAustinLos Angeles and beyond. Tickets are on sale now. Visit bobmosesmusic.com for more information.
Bob Moses Live
Sept 15 || Ensenada, Mexico || Guadalupe Valley Wine, Food & Music Festival
Sept 21 || Sacramento, CA || Ace Of Spades
Sept 22 || Oakland, CA || Fox Theater
Sept 24 || Portland, OR || Wonder Ballroom
Sept 25 || Vancouver, BC || Commodore Ballroom
Sept 26 || Seattle, WA || Neptune Theater
Sept 27 || Boise, ID || Knitting Factory
Sept 28 || Salt Lake City, UT || The Metro
Sept 29 || Denver, CO || Gothic Theater
Sept 30 || San Diego, CA || CRSSD Festival
Oct 2 || Omaha, NE || The Waiting Room
Oct 3 || Minneapolis, MN || Varsity Theater
Oct 4 || Chicago, IL || Thalia Hall
Oct 5 || Las Vegas, NV || Encore Beach Club
Oct 6 || Toronto, ON || Danforth Music Hall
Oct 7 || Montreal, QC || Corona Theatre
Oct 9 || Boston, MA || Paradise
Oct 10 || Philadelphia, PA || Union Transfer
Oct 11 || Washington, D.C. || 9:30 Club
Oct 12 || Brooklyn, NY || Brooklyn Steel
Oct 15 || Carrboro, NC || Cat’s Cradle
Oct 16 || Atlanta, GA || Terminal West
Oct 17 || New Orleans, LA || Republic
Oct 18 || Houston, TX || White Oak Music Hall
Oct 19 || Austin, TX || Emo’s
Oct 20 || Dallas, TX || Trees
Oct 23 || El Paso, TX || Lowbrow Palace
Oct 24 || Sante Fe, NM || Meow Wolf
Oct 25 || Phoenix, AZ || The Van Buren
Nov 2 || Mexico City, Mexico || Auditorio Blackberry
Nov 16 || Los Angeles, CA || The Palladium

BOB MOSES ONLINE:
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

EyeCue – Immediate Press Release

 Jerome Fitts

For those of you that are aware of the rich traditions that comes with Skopje, Macedonia, then you should be informed of the amazing band, Eye Cue. During the bands seven year history they have performed to over a half a million people as a main-stage act. The most notable of those festivals being the massive “Taksirat”. 

The bands notoriety due to heavy rotation on MTV (Adria) has resulted in awards such as  “Song Of The Year 2012” to “Band of the Year 2015” within the Balkan region.

The rock/pop/fusion/trance band that consist of  Bojan Trajkovski and  Marija Ivanovska are schedule to release their much anticipated European release “We Are Having Fun” on February 14th, 2018 via Crownn Records/Pivatell Distribution. To promote the release of the record the band will be undertaking a lengthy European tour throughout the month of February and March.  The album and tour will be highlighted by the hit single “Million Times”.

EyeCue accepting “Best Festival Song” Skopski Festival. 2015. Photo used by kind permission. 2017

Surprisingly the band has more catalog of music, videos and live shows than the average, wannabe western society, bands out there but has never crossed the border with their shows. The latter isn’t an excuse because of the lack of opportunity or interest but rather a choice based on the mastermind Bojan idea of the right time.

EyeCue Live. 2017. Photo used by kind permission. 2017

“The thing of it is, we noticed all of the bands in America and on the continent of Europe were rushing to release their music online. We didn’t believe in that. That isn’t to take away from some of the new main stream bands, but we wanted to corner our market first. Besides putting anything online is easy.  I also studied the market and just concentrated on the sound that was in our hearts and when the right opportunity came along we took it. We are excited to finally tour outside of the Balkan region while promoting our music.”- Bojan

EyeCue “We Are Having Fun!” Release Date: February 14th, 2018

Its seems as though the real bands that  have a live unit to perform their songs are out there. The likes, the followers and self propelled tags that so many are begging to have via the social media platforms to capture art these days are exposing themselves. Getting in the van or bus to play a show in any language and/or from any region can arguably be what music is about.

EyeCue are a band that has not used the excuse of being from a region that is seldom overlooked for talent. The end result is the talent within EyeCue that the public has enjoyed during the 300 plus shows thus far.  Keep your eye out for this band.

“We Are Having Fun” will be released on Crownn Records / Pivatell Distribution Feb. 14th, 2018

 Website:  https://www.eyecueofficial.com                                                                Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eyecueband/  Twitter: https://twitter.com/EyeCueOfficial

Featured Film of the Week–

Can you believe that after nearly a year we are finally opening up the Entertainment section to the WorthJourney. To compliment our involvement in the first annual Rodos Film Festival we are highlighting the remarkable work and submissions by independent filmmakers from around the world.

In support of those film makers that are normally overlooked we are taking steps to deliver the visions and dreams of those individuals which are compiled to film for FREE. Give us your feed back; we are sure the film makers would want to know what you think?

Every week we are going to highlight independent films that should be considered note “worthy”.

This weeks film brought to you by independent Film-maker Alex Armando Torres;

“Darker”

Darker 2015.mp4 from Alex Armando Torres on Vimeo.

When a young man identifies someone in a crime, the perpetrators’ mysterious guardian begins terrorizing him. The good Samaritan ultimately realizes the stranger’s revenge is even more sinister than he had imagined.

 

 

“Sheer Amazement”

“Sheer Amazement”
By: Jerome Fitts- April 2015

In wrapping up the the current documentary film “The WorthJourney”, we decided to include a few subjective thoughts and excerpts from scenarios that was cut from the final version of the film. We couldn’t fit what is written below into the film because the people that supported me filming did not experience the same challenges and adversities. So I thought the best way to clear my desk with the relevant experiences that wouldn’t go away, was to put it into a blog that one particular well-known publication is going to publish anyway. Besides in my opinion, the sole purpose of blogs, is to share the experiences and provide the social proof to back up the story.

Here goes:
Case 1:
In May of 2013, when I was going through passport control in the city that created the ingredients of “bullshit”- Los Angeles, I was asked; “How do you have two passports and why are you going to Ireland?” My reply was simple: “I live in Dublin sir”.

1
Dublin, Ireland 2014. Photo taken by J.Fitts

His response while stamping my American passport was; “Why, you’re not Irish and you certainly don’t sound Irish?” My response: “No of course I am not, but what does that have to do with my house, family, friends and paying tax in Eire over the last 20 plus years! I am using my American passport because I just want the easiest way to go through passport control bro. I have had enough of LA LA land.” Ironically enough, exactly a year after that incident leaving Canada with Tamara, I entered the States with my Irish passport and had no trouble. Tamara, who is Irish, was questioned..- Yeah go figure.

While walking through, after he stamped my passport, I told him that after going home for a few weeks I was going to Rodos, Greece for the summer then onwards to Sierra Leone my ethnic origin to start filming a documentary. His response was: “Well that is ok then, but where is that?”. Bro please.

Setting sail within the Greek Islands. 2014
Setting sail within the Greek Islands. 2014

Not only did this idiot at passport control provide more fuel for my fire for The WorthJourney, but I was also amazed how this guy, who was a person of color, held this position of control. You know I wonder why someone from Homeland Security or Passport Control wasn’t educated enough to know that people of color have been enabled to roam the planet as they choose for sometime. Perhaps we were equally amazed at one another but from two different perspectives. I felt like the guy in 12 years And A Slave that could read and the fellow slaves were pissed off at him for being able to and he just didn’t get it.

Leaving Santa Monica. May 2013.
Leaving Santa Monica. May 2013.

Was it because I looked like a basketball player wearing shades and nursing a hangover trying to being too cool that threw him off or was it because I didn’t flirt with him? Well I am heterosexual and if it had been an attractive female perhaps I would have- who knows? Although that did get me in a lot of trouble at the Greek/Macedonian boarder a year later, but man do I remember her smile. At any rate isn’t it amazing that this guy was giving me a hard time because he couldn’t understand how I was roaming freely without a care in the world?

Case 2:
It amazes me how many people hate America but love the programs, the freedom, the music and try so desperately to be American, even though they have never set foot in the land of the free.

During my trip through the Balkans region in the summer of 2014 and I couldn’t believe the amount of Yankees baseball hats there were as well as the amount of American Selfie poses there were. The world’s third largest country (Facebook) and the key holder of the Internet (Microsoft) were both created in America so why hate the land so much?

The world is a smaller place these days because of the latter, but it should also serve as some sort of platform for education and comparisons of traditions. Lets be frank, America doesn’t have any real traditions and in 2015 no true race. It’s still a new conquered land and a Big Party that has arguably or inarguably gone wrong. But is that the average hard working American fault? I love that Big Party, well at least in spurts.

Bill Clinton Statue.. In all places-- Prishtina, Kosovo. 2014
Bill Clinton Statue.. In all places– Prishtina, Kosovo. taken by JFitts. June 2014

If we all take the approach of accepting the Big Party that everyone wants to be apart of then perhaps we can concentrate on less negative attitudes towards the Big Party. Or else we could all shut up and stick to our own and not share, but don’t take from the Big Party and run home. Get it!

I get the political side of things and at some point who could disagree, I know most Americans hate the war(s) as well but someone has to maintain stability right?

None of this has anything to do with Fashion. That is a totally separate post altogether. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world where people dress the same except in the 50 States that makes up America.

Zurich, Switzerland. late 2013
Zurich, Switzerland. late 2013- taken by. JFitts February 2014

Music and Television however seems to be a completely different story. The licensed television shows in different languages such as; the X-Factor, and the God awful reality shows are hilarious. With the exception of Ireland and England, there are more copycat programs exported from the Fat of Land than ever.

I wonder what Ice T and Afrika Islam would think of the kids that are trying to be what they were 30 years ago when they created hip-hop? Its amazing that some of those kids in either the Balkans or Greek Islands would tell  Ice T or “Izz” they got it wrong. Imagine that.. Funny right, well Google it.

It would be a sin to leave out G.A.S (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) in this but we have to blame the degenerate expats who wouldn’t go home after their service for allowing them to call hip hop “Black Music”. Isn’t that amazing that urban/hip-hop or soul could be considered Black Music and no one is offended. Hmm food for thought. If everyone is getting alone then why bother, or is it a case of keeping the blinds shut on equality.

Big Steve Def Jay Radio. Photos used by kind permission. 2015
Big Steve Def Jay Radio. Photos used by kind permission. 2015

What if Americans were taking traditional music from the Polish and singing it on street corners then tell the Polish they have it wrong. You guys want an example, put on a pot of coffee and research it.  

What’s the point I am trying to make? I was amazed that this is still going on. Is it about race? “No”. Is it about education? Hmm you’re the reader you be the judge. I personally think it has a lot to do with laziness and lack of communication amongst one another as people.

Irish Ferries. Copyright Controlled. 2015
Irish Ferries. Copyright Controlled. 2015

I miss those glory days of catching a ferry from Dublin to Holy Head, Wales after a great night out. Then meeting exciting people from all over the world that had very little fear and would buy each other beers.

Thank God for my local pub!

JFitts

The Father of Rock and Roll- Johnnie Johnson

By Jerome Fitts

This week we are celebrating the life of The Father of Rock and Roll. The recognition of Johnnie Johnson during Black History Month, should be appreciated and applauded by everyone.

Johnny was born on June 8, 1924 in Fairmont, Virginia but for the majority of his celebrated life he resided with wife Francis, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Johnnie Be Good:

For nearly 30 years, Johnnie was the keyboardist for legendary guitar player Chuck Berry. However the song that is considered the original rock anthem “Johnny Be Good” was written by Chuck Berry as a tribute to Johnnie.

Johnnie Johnson and Chuck Berry. Photo used by kind permission. Getty Images. 2015
Johnnie Johnson and Chuck Berry.
Photo used by kind permission. Getty Images. 2015

The song has been covered by thousands of bands from around the world as well as being highlighted in the movie Back To The Future. The musicians that have covered the song has ranged from modern day pop singers to heavy metal legendaries such as Judas Priest.

Bayersheroff Hotel, Munich, Germany 2003. left to right- J.Fitts, Johniie Johnson, Roy, Kim Kelly
Bayersheroff Hotel, Munich, Germany 2003.
left to right- J.Fitts, Johniie Johnson, Roy, Kim Kelly

In 2003, after a series of shows in Munich, Germany, I asked Mr. Johnson to explain Johnnie Be Good.

“I had served in the second World War and had returned to Detroit then on to St. Louis, which is where I met Chuck. I hired him one night because I was short a musician and that’s when our (Chuck and Johnnie) history started.”

“Chuck and I worked on other material together, but Johnny B Goode was a tribute to myself. Chuck wrote that one about me.”- Johnnie said.

Legendary Status:

Mr. Johnson, fellow Blues and Rock originators, from Keith Richard (Rolling Stones), Eric Clapton to George Harrison (Beatles), have gone on record to acknowledge that their inspirations came from Johnnie.

To question whether or not if Johnnie received his full recognition from the music world, would be irresponsible from the music industry.

However in 2001, Johnny was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

There is could never be enough recognition or accolades for the song that changed the music industry-“Johnny Be Good”. The legitimate argument would have to be directed at what has transpired within the music industry since.

Adversity Turned To Triumph:

Johnnie who faced adversity for several years during the 1970s due to neglect, recognition and LACK OF ROYALTIES from previous work, resurged in 1986. It wasn’t until Keith Richards amongst many other notable Rock Hall of Famers, guided their hero back into the main stage. Ironically enough that resurrection from retirement was in the Chuck Berry concert film Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll of that year.

Johnnie playing live with Keith Richards
Johnnie playing live with Keith Richards

Throughout the 1990s and early millennium, Johnnie enjoyed a successful series of solo records as well as constantly being in demand as a live act.

Johnnie Johnson died on April 13, 2005, a mere eight days after performing at the NCAA Final Four in St. Louis, Missouri. The Father of Rock and Roll, was 80 years old.

Johnnie Johnson we salute you.

Discography:

1987: Blue Hand Johnnie.

1991: Johnnie B. Bad (Warner) with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Bernard Fowler
1991: Rockin’ Eighty-Eights (Modern Blues recordings) with Jimmie Vaughan and Clayton Love
1993: Blue Hand Johnnie (Evidence Music) with Oliver Sain
1993: That’ll Work (Elektra) with The Kentucky Headhunters and Jimmy Hall
1995: Johnnie Be Back (MusicMasters) with Buddy Guy, Al Kooper, John Sebastian and Max Weinberg
1997: Johnnie B. Live (Father of Rock and Roll Music) with Jimmy Vivino and Al Kooper
1999: Father of Rock and Roll (Father of Rock and Roll Music) – Accompanying CD with the book Father of Rock and Roll: The Story of Johnnie B. Goode Johnson, featuring all new recordings of Johnson and Berry songs.
2005: Johnnie Be Eighty And Still Bad! (Cousin Moe Music) with Jeff Alexander, Rich McDonough (guitar), Larry Thurston, Gus Thornton, and Joe Pastor (drums).

¨Who Do They Think They Are?”

By: JFitts

Dec. 25th, 2014

 

In late June 2014 someone told me that music shake the chemicals in our body and stimulates our soul. I couldn’t believe after nearly 17 years of Crownn Records, I was acknowledging the truth.

So what’s the problem with the horible music that is being released today?

“Who do they think they are? “- with the (JustAdd Water/Do It Yourself) systems of delivery. Does the world owe you something because you can upload to Itunes? Does that make the music better? Where is the efforts of PR, artist/band infrastructure, and quality of sound.

In this instant gratification world of ours, why is it that everything is put into categories or a genre? In closing out the year of 2014,  we have rock, hip-hop, dance and traditional. Then there is  horrific rock, hip-hop and quadrible copied dance, trap, EDM and no such thing as new traditional music.

January 2004- Cargo Records distribution deal.
January 2004- Cargo Records distribution deal.

The majority of those songs are done DIY style and released within the same two months of recording with zero structure or quality assured plans. The nontrust factor of a loyal team goes within the DIY. Who in the world world consider recording a song in one month and releasing it the next month? ahhh… PR? Process of delivery?

Its a dead give away that those artists music will be a Halloween costume if a single, album or video is being considered “dropped on such and such date” or released before there is a structured 4 month planner. Can we all repeat the words “brand building”?

Here is a bigger joke, those artist or bands then go online when they are DIY posting on the social media platforms and announce a live date and expect people to come. That insulting process, to the public and real industry likes, includes begging others for more shows in bars, clubs or other non MRPS (Mechanical Royalty Protection Society) venues. Then expect people to show up based on bathroom selfies and Android PR.

Hold your stomach because the hook and sinker is; they wont play live unless there is a gurantee financially from a venue, eventhough there is a DIY structure. As well as noone knowing who they are or have heard their music.  Hilarious right? Well they call themselves artist. Didnt artist take the risk of capturing an audience then stick their hands out for money based on a great series of songs? Hmm.. and now??“Who do they think they are?”

Then again its DIY and self entitlement and a free world that is surrounded by satellites to make releasing a song accessible for everyone. What would happen if we took a worldwide vote on uploading horrible music a crime?

With the exception of the bands from  Ireland and the UK, everyone else is copying the American sound. For the love of God, what is that?“WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE?”

The DIY, of the music business is more contagious than Ebola, except everyone is into it and spreading the horrible disease. Sure its a different world and the combination of creating and delivering good music is different, but there is nothing like the conventional method of creating a good sound, having the balls to play it live without “handout” excuses and seeing what happens. Those days when people saluted courage over stature seems like the smallest white golf ball on the moon. (You simply cant find it).

I remember in 2004, when Crownn signed it’s first major distribution deal and how excited we were. We were putting out tapes, vinlys and cd’s. For some reason we kept hearing in Berlin “Yeah but, the digital age is going to eat you up!”.

My first thought was why? It’s just another form of communication, so why not embrace it? I mean we still had to put out good music and  support our bands playing live, which meant radio plugging, PR, poster campaigns and a well defined guerilla marketing plan. Above all good music still sells know matter what format its delivered in. To me it should be easier to excercise the aforementioned than before.

“Master your craft first!”

Was 2004, the last year of a good song? No offense to Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, without whom there wouldnt be any music worth listening to. Ok, Ok that was unfair, there are tons of great bands and music out there. However, the ratio of 3 to 1 in 2004 compared to the 100,000 to 1 in 2014 doesnt consistently shake the chemicals in us anymore.

Ensimi Tower Records Dublin 2005

Lets be honest here, a band competition would be the most boring event on the planet now. Anyone disagree? Why do we listen to music from 15 to 45 years ago to shake the chemicals in our bodies? Get it now?

Who does the “New Power Generation/DIY” music shakers think they are? Why listen to so called older music and never follow the blue print of how to get their music out there?

Its ironic that the term Master Your Craft can be considered an insult? For those who are offended then perhaps they are guilty.

Here is a possible solution from a nobody (me) who has been in the music industy would like to suggest;

  1. Try having a 45 minute listening session starting with The Wildhearts single “Its Only Love” (3 minutes), then take 45 seconds of the chorus of the T.I./ Justin Timberlake song “Dead and Gone”.
  2. Take a sip of water and put on “Estranged” by Guns and Roses (only for 3 minutes), and cut that with “You Drop The Bomb On Me” by the Gap Band. It may be wise to have a seat now.
  3. While sitting down to catch your breath or relax from the chemicals in your body from exploding, put on Elton John “Good Bye Yellow Brick Road”, then play any song by Public Enemy! ** It should be noted that Chuck D and company were decades ahead of themselves.
  4. Just when you think it cant get any better put on the single “Sing” by Travis. Then repeat the process again.

What do you think? Did you notice the difference in the creativity, diversity and the artist(s) “Mastering Their Craft?”

My point being is, all of those artist are from different backgrounds, cultures and influences yet  the chemicals in our body stimulates our soul with their craft that was mastered. We know who they are!

For the life of my imaginary gold fish, I cant understand why the DIY (artist, entertainers, uncredible agents and managers) cant supply one sales statement or tour talk settlement excel or a PR receipt. The aforementioned at the very least is the proof of efforts and sometimes the efforts doesnt represent the results although it does show they have attempted to try.

Without these simple components and NOT mastering their craft—

“Who Do They Think They Are?”

It would be amazing to hear what Prince , who is still with us, think of todays current music process. I can only imagine what the Father of Rock and Roll “Johnnie Johnson” is thinking from above.

“We know who they are!”

Backstage at "The Father of Rock and Roll" show in Munich, Germany 2004
Backstage at “The Father of Rock and Roll” Johnnie Johnson show in Munich, Germany 2003

In closing “Who do they think they are” to copy all of the remarkable chemical shakers from the past then mix, remix their music only to not follow the rules. Where is the honor amongst the theives? X-Factor, has to be the biggest contributor to those tears in heaven.. Sorry Mr. Cowell but you invented a new weapon to destroy us all. I am sure the same guy who invented the gun meant well, but look at how that device is being used in 2014.

JFitts

“A Series of Train of Consequences” The Balkans Part 1- Summer 2014

“Train of Consequences”

Contributed By: JFitts

All photos taken by: JFitts

I have decided to mark the last two months of unequivocal events into a post that that our few readers might relate to. Besides, this is a blogging post where the truth has to be told based on supported facts and gathering those facts takes time through a real journey. Through the never ending WorthJourney, which we do not intend on ending, there is a selection of real music from artist that have influenced not only enquiries about different cultures from around the world but what also motivated those artist into writing the songs.

For this particular journey there were a few songs that made a difference to me but two of them stood out; James Blunt “No Bravery” and Megadeth “Train of Consequences”.

The “Train of Consequences” started as my departure from my beloved Rodos by accepting an invitation from a “friend- if they really exist these days” to come and see him in the Balkans. Where? Sit tight and pour your coffee as this might be a tasty one.

Leaving Greece heading to the Balkans via Ferry and Sea
Leaving Greece heading to the Balkans via Ferry and Sea- late May 2014

This particular friend, lets call him Dou, is Albanian and just like most things in the world I am open to anyone. Not that it should have mattered, but I had very little idea of knowledge of the traditions of the region as well as if there were any conflict(s). But obviously Dou knew this. You see I had invited Dou and lets say Fio, to participate in a event in Ireland in January of this year for the latter part of the summer. In conditions of the arrangement, I would visit them in their country(s) first and see if they were the individuals I would have liked to have partake in this special event.

I set sail on the 36 hour world wind trip from Rodos, Greece that included a ferry to Athens to a bus to Thessaloniki and from there I was to meet Dou in Skopje, Macedonia. “From there bro, my father will take us to Prishtina.” Dou said.

I was like kewl, so I packed a bag with a few cameras and started filming along the way.

I was informed in Thessaloniki, that traveling to Macedonia was more or less forbidden unless I took a van via a private company. I had no idea there was tension in that area and I have to admit that I was under the impression that Skopje was part of mmm well I didn’t know or cared. I trusted my friends and with my camera in hand and a half-gallon of Ouzo it didn’t matter. Nevertheless when I enquired about a ticket to Macedonia I was told politely that, “This is Macedonia”. Eh?

Macedonian political campaign.
Macedonian political campaign.

“THIS IS MACEDONIA”

I purchased a ticket from an unusual ticketing agency, and asked, “Will there be any immigration problems?” The response was; “Sir you have two passports and one of them is an American passport so you will not have any problems!: I took that as a clear sign to have another swag of the Ouzo and recharge my Cannon for some exclusive filming.

The ironic thing of it is, the border from Thessaloniki to Macedonia is only a little less than an hour away, so I had to be a little kewl with the booze and sight seeing. For some strange reason I have this weird sixth sense when I am traveling and even though I ignore my sixth sense for the most part, those senses are always right.

The luxurious van journey. Photos By: J.Fitts
The luxurious van journey. 

The van arrived at the border and it was as if we were crossing into a land of another state on Mars. The van driver collected the passports from everyone on the van (most had either Bosnian passports or Serbian passports), so I was a little more than relaxed. But that big man called the “sixth sense” told me to keep an eye out while we waited in the van. Sure enough the big man “sixth sense” got a little bigger when the van driver return with only one passport in his hand- Mine!.

“You must pay 6,000 euros or you wont be allowed to cross..”- The driver said with a smile. My first thought was maybe I should have given this guy a shot of my Ouzo. But he was serious. So I followed him back to the passport control and was told; “No its not 6,000 euros but its 600 euros unless you show proof that you are a E.U. resident.” I did. Then the cute little lady from the Greek passport office asked me, “Where are you traveling to?” I answered with a confidence smile “Macedonia”.

If you have ever heard a balloon burst in the middle of a funeral this then this was as close as it could get. The cute Greek passport agent, suddenly turned on me and said, “You are in Macedonia!, its going to be 600 euros sir.”

Upper right corner my leave fee from Greece? the first time in 6 summers coming and going with two passports, I had to pay a fee?!
Upper right corner my leave fee from Greece? the first time in 6 summers coming and going with two passports, I had to pay a fee?!

After decades of traveling throughout Europe with little to no trouble, I couldn’t believe I had to pay for my ignorance or flirtation. Here the train of those consequences was going off track. Luckily I had the money on me to pay, but 600 euros going into Macedonia or Prishtina was like 2 months of wages in those parts. Suddenly I heard Dave Mustaine’s words from the classic Megadeth track (Train of Consequences), “I am doing you a favor while I am taking all of your money…” rang out in my head. Ironically enough the cute passport control girl frown turn to a grin, just like it was in the video.

Once I met my friend Dou, in Skopje, we were on our way. Funny enough he was a little shaky and I couldn’t understand it. (More details later). But we were off to Prishtina. I had asked Dou before setting off from Rodos, “Shouldn’t we chill in Skopje first and then go up to Prishtina?”. His answer was “Bro, there is nothing in Skopje, Pristina is a lot better and there is more to do!”- Read on.

We arrived in Pristina at 11 pm, and I was beyond tired. All I wanted to do was have a shower, put on some clean clothes and chill.

First and foremost, there was no shower. The water system in Prishtina only works at certain times of the day. They are from 7am to 10am and from 4pm to 10pm so that not only meant I had missed the water schedule but showering or cleaning up was out of the picture.

The outskirts of Pristina, Kosovo
The outskirts of Prishtina, Kosovo

This was my first introduction to a formally conflict and war torn country. Even still we continued to go out. In true WorthJourney fashion, a new territory meant checking out the food, beverages and above all the entertainment scene.

But wait, this is Kosovo!—I was wondering why along the journey from Skopje, Dou had referred to certain areas as “Bro if you could see this in the day time, this and that happened in this small town and that small town, but those fuckers would kill my people along this road, but I will tell you later”. Dous’ people were Kosovo Albanians. From my recollection and influence of the large amounts of Ouzo, I paid little attention to him because I knew we would get to that subject later once the camera was rolling.

Besides I have friends or people I would consider brothers and sisters from everywhere and more than anything some people I cared about were from Serbia and they were the exact people that Dou was complaining about. It was none of my business and part of their recent past, so I chose to remain kewl and just enjoy the ride and venture. Talk about first impressions.

That night I saw perhaps the most remarkable looking women I had ever seen. I couldn’t believe I didn’t know more about the region other than the war conflicts and the fact that there was EULEX – (European Union controlled police), that was there if there was ever any trouble.

E.U. endorsed national park. Photos by: JFitts
E.U. endorsed national park.
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The next day, and taking advantage of the running water for a 3 day old shower, we eventually roamed out in the city. Again the women were absolutely beautiful, the people were calm and every now and then I would see a U.N controlled car go by.

Being the person I am and I am not one to past judgment, the big man “sixth sense” was rearing his head again and there was something more than creepy about my so called friend. He was shaky and all of a sudden his English was getting worse and worse. The only thing he would say to me was; “when do we start work and when do we see money?”

Here we were, totting around with a broken travel bag of mine, both very hung-over, a little cold (and this is June), completely shattered from the 3-day journey still and all he has to say to me was; “When do we start work and when do we see money?”
My response was simple; “Dude I am doing this film either way, it’s a hard graft, but for fucks sake, I just got here!” “Tell me what’s up. It’s your country and your territory.”

I ended up entertaining myself with some of the nicest people in the world, bikers from Albania and Kosovo. Religion, politics or hate related issues never came up. The subject matters were making sure I had enough beer, food and smiles. Without a doubt a highlight of Pristina. This was the perfect example of NOT putting everyone in the same bracket as well as every first impression deserves at least a majority outlook. For the life of me I couldn’t remember the bikers organization nor the names of the individuals I spent the day with.

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A misconception but to rest. “Nothing but a good time”.

Its amazing how much we have in the western world when it comes to free thinking and ideas. I couldn’t believe that people actually depended on others in regards to when to think, when to act and what should be their next move. This was the first of its kind culture shock that I had experienced. But it made me want to know more.

You know, we are all apart of this earth and some of us have been fortunate enough to have more than others. And that “more than”, includes opportunities. Within hours I felt more grateful to hold an American passport than ever. Also within those hours I realized just how close the U.S and Western Europe were similar. But man, the innocent within the eyes of these kids that I saw was amazing. They were born after the conflict but were constantly reminded by anyone that was over the age of 19, just how hard it was and unfortunately branded into “who this land- Kosovo- belonged to”. These remarkable friendly children were considered as the “NewBorn”.

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Just to be clear here, that is what the kids are told, in no way is it my opinion or would I share the same empathy. In fact, I am purposely omitting a large section of my opinion as well as events due to the subject of this blog. (but it will come later that is for sure)-WorthJourney

What I got from Pristina was a life changer.

The Newborn:
These kids had a heart of gold and were open to everyone. Race? Forget about it. Religion? They had no choice because they were born into tradition. Adversities? They are Newborn and anything that happened before them happened, they recognized it, knew about it, but fear was something that wasn’t apart of their make up.

The bold blocks representing the amazing children of Pristina. The "Newborn".
The bold blocks representing the amazing children of Pristina. The “Newborn”.

Sports:
Because Pristina or Kosovo wasn’t apart of the E.U. nor recognized as a country, then the Federation Boards of Sports such as FIBA or FIFA doesn’t accept them. Why? You as the reader take it upon yourself to find out. As part of our Journey we try to expose the facts. In a region that still have the remains of what happen between Serbia, we feel (WorthJourney), its not our place to express our opinions. The kids and the future suffer the most and this is going to take sometime. That time however may be longer than our patent or copyrights.

One of Kosovo leading Basketball Academies.
One of Kosovo leading Basketball Academies.

Lifestyle and Fashion:
My gosh, the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Everyone was young, there had to be at least 12 women to every man. Funny enough it may have something to do with the war but it’s the facts.

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Prishtina beauty.

Safety:
It was the first place I have been to, in total 72 countries for more than 2 weeks at a time, that people would say “I am here to help you and be careful”. You see I couldn’t understand that as my motto is quite simple; If you walk with respect and respect the traditions anywhere then you should get that back. Without going into to much in this journey- the latter didn’t quite happen.

A curtain view. Photos by: J.Fitts
A curtain view of Prishtina

I asked my editor should I mention anything that would have seemed aggressive or anything that would have made me sleep with one eye open (which I did) and he said- _____ If you do, then you are giving credit to those that will ruin it for the people that you will remember. Besides why doesn’t the rest of the world know other than the reference in the James Blunt song? Has it change? My response was: I remained silent.

You see I was told at a very young age, “If you don’t have anything good to say about anything or people then don’t say anything at all”. I wish I had been forewarned. Maybe this was the reason no one knows about Kosovo, perhaps this was the reasoning that the European Union would never consider making Kosovo part of the E.U. Would it be a rational decision or an irresponsible one based on a one sided story? If the 17 days that I spent in Pristina taught me anything was, there are two sides to every story.

Again, I am not picking a side but there were some things I experienced there that deleted my empathy as well as sympathy for those who cried for help. Maybe the ones that did come to the rescue had little choice as the ones that felt they had to attack the attackers. I suggest the reader look into the origin of the conflicts in Kosovo.

I left with a lot of questions but with little interest in ever returning to Pristina. One of them was; “Why doesn’t anyone in America know about the 25 foot statue of President Clinton in Pristina?” Maybe America doesn’t have the same pride in supposedly helping the people who suffered. Perhaps they had little choice in helping them because someone leaked the situation to the media. (Hint number 2; I suggest the reader look more into conflict)

Bill Clinton Statue Photos by: J.Fitts
Bill Clinton Statue 

Another question I had was; “How can you live in a society that desperately needs modern luxuries such as consistent water and still be productive”

Furthermore it was; It looks as if its modern but underneath there is a thin line of violence and hatred towards anyone that comes from the outside.

“So why do they want to take from the outside, smile in our faces, yet will severe your head if you step on anything that maybe considered theirs?”

Then it was; “Who actually started the conflict in Kosovo, was it the Serbians, was it the Albanians? And wasn’t the conflict here directly after the atrocities in Bosnia?” It started to grow on me what (two sides to every story was), because for the life of me I didn’t understand why those two previously mentioned invitees (Dou and Fio) had deserted me after only two days. I couldn’t understand why when they were amongst their own they were so nervous. Did I mention that I had met them in a remote place in Florida nearly a year from then? Hmm.. amongst our own eh? Pick a fight with a beast then cry for help as if you are the victim. Ok I will stop there because that subject alone could lead to a major dialog that will be a forever ending synerio, as well as my life being threatened. But isn’t respect more important than fear? And why would a certain ethnic group be so proud of being feared yet complain when they are not welcomed or wanted basically anywhere.

Maybe it’s a question of who is really the victim or the original aggressor.

Its strange to me as I sit here in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic writing this, that my experience of Pristina and the fear I experience (for the first time of my life) still had an impact on me. More importantly, how the people there were proud of the fact that someone like myself had that kind of fear towards the city. I was under the assumption that fear and respect are two different things. I came with respect and left with a new found respect of fear.

I have since had a remarkable time since June, yet I wonder mostly during sunsets what the beautiful Newborns future is going to be like. Does anyone care? Does anyone dare to show they care? Does the western power know something we should know? Normally when people are liberated they are also given golden opportunities. Why wasn’t this the case? What is the western world afraid of by giving the Newborns and lets say leftovers a chance? Is it because they had no choice but to liberate them because the world saw photos or some film work of what another group of people felt they had no choice but to make.

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Bikers rally- Pristina, Kosovo

What do I mean by choice?

Lets see. Have you ever seen a person at the zoo, intentionally disturb a sleeping bear then cry for help once the bear is preparing to tear them into treads? Maybe the bear had no choice. That means the person who couldn’t help themselves with disturbing the peace derailed the train of consequences. They took their chances and perhaps they have to suffer the consequences.

In the end I took Dave Mustaines’ words from that remarkable song of Megadeth- “I hocked my brain, packed my bags and headed west!”

It took 1 hr to arrive in perhaps the best kept secret city in the world.. Skopje, Macedonia.. (more details within next months issue)..

I promise the next post wont take so long. Thanks for reading.

JFitts

Facilitating My Patience and Refueling My Fatigue- Greek Experience 2014

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When I landed in Rodos, Greece in February 2014 it was really quiet. I had several friends that lived on the island that had more or less begged me to come down to look at all of the business opportunities within the island. Those opportunities mentioned was anything from bars, beach bars, and fabric for clothing to restaurants, all of which would be an investment in the range of 10K- Euros.

I am familiar with Rodos, so I didn’t think it was something that was dodgy or unreal but what I wasn’t aware of was, the lack of common sense associated with business there. Everyone including the guy who is holding the American flag on the moon knows that Greece is suffering financially so I thought- “Why not?” Besides, the people on the island are beautiful, warm and friendly. I have known some for years.

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Flying within Europe to a holiday destinations in the winter takes just as much time as flying from Berlin to Sydney. The flights are limited and more than likely there are layovers. My trip took exactly 27 hours, which is only a mere 10 hours short of driving from Dublin to Rodos- That is excluding the ferries of course. .

Anyone that knows me and some of you do by now, know I am a chancer and getting the job done with real opportunities is my rush. So I thought, “Ok Beau, this year your really going to get a few peoples knickers in a twist and explore the Mediterranean during the winter”. So I took the bait from those individuals that pitched these unbelievable opportunities to me.

First step of opportunities that facilitate impatience:

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I got off the plane in Rodos after zero sleep but I felt as if I had slept the whole day. I was full of energy and I was excited to meet my friend of 5 years. Lets call him “P” (which is short for his first name).

“P” had stayed in touch with me during the year  when I was in either LA LA land, Dublin, Berlin and Miami, Florida. Each time we spoke, it was about these amazing opportunities on the island and the seasons predictions of tourist that are expected to come to the island.  Just like everyone else that were my Facebook friends from Greece, he constantly complained about the world renowned “Greek Crisis”. Some of them went to the extent of asking for a loan during the winter to tie them over and this was back in October. I found it strange since the  season had just finished and there should have been a few settlements from the previous season cash wise. I look at all problems as solvable and I was under the impression that “P” just needs my help and guidance.

So there I was sitting at the deserted airport in my leather jacket and a pair of shades on in Rodos, Greece in February- waiting on “P”. The first 20 minutes went by and I used my Irish cell phone to call him and ask him where was he. I had mailed him my flight schedule in Dublin and we had spoke on Skype for hours upon hours of a plan once I would arrive. So I could not understand why “P” was not at the gate waiting for me. There was not any passport control and the only company I had sitting there was the array of wild cats on the island.

After an hour and a half, I finally got through to “P” and his response was; “ I will be there in 20 minutes.” Again I got the rush for opportunities and overlapped the fatigue from the two days of traveling so I sat there patiently. – Opportunities facilitating patience.

He arrived and drove me around the island, which was completely deserted at this point. He showed me the deserted hotels, café and restaurants that looked as if there were never used. I thought, “finally my luck has changed and this is going to be a remarkable piece for The Worthwhile Journal for our next issue.”

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What I didn’t know was, the establishments that “P” was displaying was active. The owners had just left them as they were when the season ended and would refurbish things when the season drew near. Hmmm something none of us know about in regards to tourist destinations.. at least I didn’t.

Because of “P” age, 29, I thought that the Greek crisis was just the results of old traditions that couldn’t adjust to the modern world as we know it but b****t is b****t in any language or territory. And my sensory glands went on high alert. But as the opportunities created more space to facilitate my patience, I thought; “Maybe I was just being paranoid.”

You see, just like the rest of the world, I love the Greek islands. Its fresh, beautiful and there is a sense of purity. At least for anyone that goes there for a short period of time. This time around my intentions was to go deeper and deeper into what the people really thought of the crisis and what did they expect from the tourist that comes in. Plus I knew if I lived amongst the people of Greece, which I always held in high regards, then I would understand more.

I live in Dublin and I know the complaints around the E.U. in regards to which countries had to suffer because of another countries weakness. But I also knew which countries that didn’t complain about others because of the turn around abilities those countries that suffered would rebound from. I couldn’t understand why, with Greece being such a beautiful place, the people in the E.U had very little confidence in Greece rebounding from the crisis.

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When I was able to put things into perspective (Mid March), I realized the aforementioned. From my experience it is was;

“Show the beauty of the island with a natural false sense of hope, captivate them with a temporary story when you don’t know the language, the customs and the traditions, then suddenly the outsiders are more or less sticking their  hand in their pocket. By then its to late and you are now trying to sleep downing a half bottom of Ouzo! – Did it go that far?? Not quite but my patience at this point was kicking the shit out of my ego.

So I asked “P” after nearly a month of not seeing him; “bro where are you? I knew the only person to blame was myself. But in real time talk; there was still opportunities there to make up for the time wasted to show something to my better half of me being away so long.

I never heard from “P” again while I was on the island. –complete and utter b*ll****er- whatever- bullshitter. Although as an optimist, I am thinking this is an isolated case and I loved the island so lets see what else was around.

"P" bar

The apartment where I stay, overlooks the island and every morning I am looking across at Marimaris, Turkey. So its kind of hard to have a dope place in Rodos, a freezer full of food, a top notch gym, some sort of wireless service and pack up and leave. February and March in Dublin isnt a pleasant one. Its cold and rainy, but its home.

Everything that goes up has to come down at some point and that can include a country. Greece has its growing pains and I thought this was just an isolated case.

When I was invited to go to the island futbol match, I was shocked that there was a stadium on the island. I knew there was a basketball team but I wasn’t aware of the league level of futbol on the island. Naturally, I took to Google in search of where the stadium was and to research information on the team.

This would have been perfect for an article within The Worthwhile Journal and also some entertainment. So when the owner of the complex where I had been staying, invited me to the game and informed me that he was the newly appointed President of the club (Rodos FC), I leaped at the opportunity.

Diagoras

His words were; “ My friend come and see the club play and sure you could help bring us money to the club. We are going to take the Greek league by storm.”

Maybe my patience was starting to pay off when I looked at the Google search engine in complete disbelief.. What no web site?- No Rodos FC web site! But a futbol stadium that seats 3,000 people and there is only two professional teams on the island. Eh? By now my patience was on a channel of the Twilight Zone.

I have to pause here and explain. Rodos is and always will be a special place to me and by no means am I making fun or putting the island down. However, this is 2014 and a professional futbol team whose country is participating in the World Cup it is imperative to have some type of web presence.

Stadium excitement

The irony of it all is, I communicated with the president of this club via Facebook and he had more friends on his Facebook than the Futbol Club and neither were over 500 likes. But still there has to be a website for the club right?

So lets start this thing again. What Greek crisis if they are not panicking to respond to the situation or worse, not open enough to accept an open hand of help?- What Crisis?

I am forever saying “if you know better then you do better”. Well if someone informs you that the world is turning to a different page than you are, then you have to either catch up or do things differently because something is obviously wrong. Common sense would tell you if tourist are coming to the island with money and you want them to spend it, then you have to adjust to whatever is going on the outside. Something has to be wrong.

The Scenario;

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Rodos FC have just been promoted to the second division within their league. But they have zero web presence, very little social media  and do not know about the new brave world that exists outside of this remarkable island. They have a major threat of not selling tickets in a historic stadium that is owned by the island, which also owns the team. In other words FIFA, the governing body of futbol, would not be impressed.

Based on what you have read thus far (no web presence and/or social media structure), it seems as one would most likely agree, that this is a gold mine covered with hundreds of years of traditional volcanic ash. So I put together a structure submitted as a keynote presentation and pdf, as a student-marketing consultant, to help them bring in the main currency in sports- money!

I was thinking the whole time, how could I even think of business in such a beautiful place surrounded by remarkable people- I do love Rodos. But…

The problem identified was branding via the social media as well as a blend with respected traditional media to avoid anyone thinking there was a threat of occupation or invaders. Basically I set up their complete social presence, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr scheduled via Hootsuite. The website was created but stated “Under Construction” and was due to launched months before training camp.

Hootsuite was created to suit their convenience to post updates about the clubs developments, youth progress within the club and most of all selling tickets within their historic stadium.

Because the island is a major tourist destination, with a little over 2 million visitors each summer season, there was also a plan to implement social media traffic for the tourist that would arrive. We all know that the first thing anyone does when they come to paradise is “check-in” via social media sites. They want to show the world that they are there as well as share with those who are curious. The bottom line is instant promotion while utilizing instant gratification methods at its finest.

Empty Seats

But the point is, because I brokered a deal with the islands major Internet and phone network (Vod____e). We made sure that the tourist gets information on the club. That information displayed the team, the promotion of the team, and merchandise as well as the upcoming season schedule. Greece had qualified for the the World Cup so naturally I thought the island would be in full swing of Futbol. So why not make the local team jersey for sale as a souvenir or a rarity of support.

Rodos island has only 50K inhabitants and there are 2 million tourists expected during the season. We don’t have to do much adding and subtracting to recognize the revenue stream potential right? At the end of the day as so-called marketing experts, it’s a common sense deal. Merchandise is the number one finance provider for any sports organization anywhere.  This is all done via the wireless networks, which would be a classic case of a mutually beneficial situation.

In short;

The team would garner revenue based on the teams jerseys sold to tourist that could be put into the team as a revenue stream. More money buys better players and creates employment opportunities for a better structure such as a social media department. Mind you the economy is at a historic worst within the E.U. let alone the world.

The other holes within the rubber tire (wheels) that the marketing department would have to facilitate would be one simple method. It would be utilizing the social media utilities to bring in revenue with the natural resources that persist on this amazing island. Common sense makes money; money doesn’t make common sense-right?

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The patience level again;

The problem started with communicating with the president of the club. I called and called and no one was available. This was after nearly 200 hours of putting together a program, hounding my business partners in the States, making sure a social media plan was in place with LA Editions in Paris, France, and getting top recommendations from lecturers at Full Sail. What could possibly be the problem if there is a crisis and you’re being handed the solution.

At my highest level of enthusiasm I approached the president of the club and said, “Hey, lets omit my fee for (the web site I constructed, the social media patterns and engagement we have created that I was billed for 500 euros, the 2000 photos I have taken as well as a video interview, the graphics for the merchandise jerseys that will bring in instant revenue from the tourist sales) in exchange for rent for a mere 300 euros. Just omit my rent and let’s forget about the cheeseburger and let’s eat a steak!

I got no reply. Weeks went by and no response.

At this point it was easy to get a little paranoid as the summer season was starting and tourist was slowly coming in.

It’s really easy to have the patience in paradise but at the end of the day all good things come to an end. There has to be something in place that would validate the 4 months thus far. I could not believe that the facts were pointed out; with Full Sail approving the Keynote presentation yet there was no reaction.

To be quite frank, I didn’t know what to think. All I heard was give me give me and read how the E.U was late on responding to the Greek crisis. But the funny thing of it is the E.U (balanced by Germany) was extending their patience of loaning the Greek government more money and waiting for a return or a plan of returning the billions of euros that the E.U. had loaned.

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There are always two sides to a story. If my patience had grown thin, I can only imagine what the people of the E.U. were thinking. Then again I was one of them and experiencing some serious aggravation in the process. We are after all paying extra tax to accommodate the paradise islands and country of Greece. Yet the country are doing absolutely nothing to educate those who have little finance to build their economy and stop the take take, please help me system but with no return.

How could you help those who cant help themselves or doesn’t want to.

Was this because they thought the world owes them something because of these beautiful islands? Are they lazy- no. Are they friendly and warming?-Yes without question. Are they honest?- that is up to those who are visiting the cities in Greece and judging for themselves.

Please remember this is my experience and one that have been garnered over a mere 6 to 8 summers. But where is the common sense in not following through with business, when you are sitting around drinking Frepes and not doing anything about your crisis. Common Sense makes make right, money does not make common sense.

Overall I would advise anyone to go and have the Greek experience. My agenda was clear cut from the beginning and I am sure everyone’s experience wouldn’t be the same as mine.

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Departing Rodos at 5 am on a ferry to explore every island within Greece, it was very hard to hide my aggravation. Finally I was tired and fatigue had won the battle.

Next stop Macedonia to Pristina, Kosovo.

 

 

TIME!- “Our Most Valuable Commodity”-

By: Edward Lane

Time is the one thing most of us take for granted, even though it is the one thing we possess that is limited and finite. As a dear friend of mine says, “We all have the same 24 hours!” and in my opinion it is the absolute truth! However, with that being said, my thinking of late takes it one step further – “we all don’t have the same amount of sand in the hourglass.” 

No one knows how many grains of sand anyone has been blessed with. God Almighty makes this a mystery to man, for all our perceived wisdom and intelligence, no one can know this answer!

“How do we spend this most precious and valuable commodity? With what or whom do we share it with?

Obviously this is a unique question that every individual must decide for themselves. No two answers, in my opinion, would be the same – nor should they. It is something that I have noticed from my journey through life which has been change with time. Many things have made me reevaluate the way I think about time. Marriage, death, my children, my faith and friends are all things that have forced me to examine myself.

Spending time with one of my twins.

Lets face it, within our societies we forget to step back, slow down and think prior to proceeding. Do we ask ourselves if somethings we force our time with causes us to try to extend those twenty-four hours in which we all have? Is it really that important that we cramp certain things within that time frame that makes us forget what is really important and time we cannot get back? What is the point if we miss what is important to us such as time with love ones that we can not replace in the future? We all try to make up the time but in reality its not the same. 

Family time part of our those invaluable commodities.

I have watched friends, family and colleagues leave this earth far too young. But who am I to say this? Am I God? Certainly not! It is He that holds the hourglass and only He that knows the amount of sand within. In my youth I spent majority of my time chasing other people’s dreams. Things that were laid out before me like a golden road. Following the footsteps of generations before me, it seemed like the obvious and correct path to take. Of course I can only look back and evaluate the past. I cannot change it, but I can learn from it.

I have often wondered, as many have likely done, if I spent my time differently would I or could I have changed anything? Perhaps, but probably not much, because that time spent helped shaped us into the person we are today.  

Time.. How to.. ? A social media post from a “Social Media” friend

The objective of this piece: WE have to choose how to use the remaining sands of “OUR” hourglass. 

Take time for a peaceful walk through the woods or park. Stop and listen to the birds sing. Sit with your family and turn off your phone! Have an ice cream or nice meal them and fellowship! Have a discussion with someone you care about and ask them how they are doing as a human. Actually listen! Tell the people in your life how much you love them, if you do. Because guess what – your last grain of sand could pass before you speak with them again. 

Time “Our Most Valued Commodity”
Photo by: Sebo Films/Pivatell Distribution.2018

Spend the precious commodity of time with the right people, but still reserve some for a stranger you meet at a shop for a short chat. 

I hope sharing my insight and opinion will be helpful to maybe begin that process in someone that reads this. Like it or not, time is not a commodity we can hoard in a bank or should be taken for granted as if we are allowed credit.  We are forced to spend it as “Father Time” is undefeated. So spend it joyfully and live well!

Thanks for reading and God Bless!

J.Edward Lane

Tina Matzat Short Film “Gaslighting”- Review

Written By:  Jerome Fitts

There is no such thing called a “new comer director” in film-making. Once certain directors hit a peak of being reputable all of us seem to jump on the bandwagon and the step by step films prior to the big hits are often over looked. Gaslightening seems to be one of those perfect examples. You either have the vision and display that vision at your own pace or wait till you find exactly what you want the world to view through your lens when your ready. In this indie short film, scriptwriter and director Tina Mazat of Qbit Films seems to have waited till the perfect time to do exactly that.

This film is about tolerance and a deliverance to those that think the aforementioned has an unlimited amount of it. The film was shot in Berlin where the director is challenging the viewership as well as giving the world an update to the city.  One of those examples is; if you are not familiar with a certain part of the city then you wouldn’t know its Berlin. Our first reaction was: “Thank God, its not another film shot in the overly saturated new Berliners section of Kreuzberg!” 

Scene taken from Gaslighting. Copyright Qbit Films.
Photo used by kind permission. 2018

The other has to be selection of Lara Marian and Nils Bauer as the key cast, who both do an exceptional job acting in English. As some would say; “the proofs in the pudding” because it was definitely done in the new Berlin where coming across anyone that speaks German is quite hard.  

Scene taken from Gaslighting. Photo used by kind permission. Copyright Qbitfilms. 2018

The film is impressive yet bland based on the objectives of the short while being complimented with near perfect cinematography.

In contrast to what the description of the film has been listed as, the ending isn’t much of a surprise. However, one has to wonder if it is was either too harsh or did Matzat leave room for a part two. Can you, the reader, imagine a part two of a short film? We can..

“Nice and thought provocative short flick!” -WorthJourney

Credits:

Written and Directed By: Tina Matzat

Key Cast: Lara Marian and Nils Bauer 

Produced By: Qbit Films