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The Secret Issue


 

JUMP TO SECTION: 1. Secret Circus 2. Savior Complex 3. Ragdollz

 

FAVE PHOTO: Secret Circus



There were no elephants, cotton candy, or tightrope, but there was indeed a circus in the park by my house covered in the darkness of night. Frick Frack barter blackjack, clown and mushroom parade, acrobats, punk band with mosh pit, fire performance, burlesque...This was Secret Circus. All done on the sly in the Wyman Park Dell tucked beside the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University. A generator for lights, a tent, an aerial acrobatic rig, and a master of ceremonies who shed her clothes in what felt like an adult fantasy circus.

Last fave photo blog post I wrote about The Compound and how I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. Well, this event topped that by literal leaps and bounds. The fave photo above was from a fire performance that included an acapella version of Bob Dylan’s Masters of War. I had listened to the Eddie Vedder version of that song earlier in the day, so it held a particularly haunting vibe in my soul.

I shot over 4,600 photos on this Friday eve. My battery died on me before I could capture a solo acrobatic experience that I loved. I’ll have to keep that memory to myself. But a few more standout moments are pictured below. If you want to see more, check out my event photo page.


 

JUMP TO SECTION: 1. Secret Circus 2. Savior Complex 3. Ragdollz

 

VIEWING RECOMMENDATION: Savior Complex (on HBO)

MY RATINGS: SCALE OF 1-4

Intensity: 😮😮😮 Comedy: X Drama: 😢😢😢

Writing: 🤔🤔🤔🤔 Originality: 🧐🧐🧐🧐 Cinematography: 😍😍😍


Savior Complex is a documentary series on HBO that focuses on a Christian missionary named Renee Bach, a white woman from America who starts a non-profit in Uganda to help malnourished babies.


Two things stood out to me. First, as I watch any documentary that clearly is trying to expose a misdeed, I find it amazing when the person in question is open to being interviewed. I closely observe what might be a clever way the filmmaker might trick someone into being on camera. But what I found in this series was both an attempt by the missionary in question to tell her side of the story AND a desire to own her mistakes. I find that to be fairly uncommon in an exposé style film.


Second, the filmmaker showcased the shitty ways in which all sides contributed to this uncomfortable situation. Who is the villain? At first, it just seems like the young woman who has no medical training treating extremely sick children is the “bad guy.” But then, we learn about the mixed motivations of the folks who are accusing her. And in the end, we see locals who are profiting from the situation.


It felt like a rollercoaster for me as the series kept adding another element, another fact, another perspective and I was left impressed with a documentary that didn’t hold back or take sides. If you watch...I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Oh...so you might be wondering how this fits into “The Secret Issue” of my blog post title. Most people do not know that I worked in the Christian missionary world. I grew up Jewish, became a born-again Christian in college, and then worked for 5 years with a non-profit mission mobilization organization.


During that time I went to Turkmenistan to do an undercover ethnographic research project under the guise of being in a cultural studies class with 12 others. Really we were there to research how future missionaries could best start churches in this post-soviet Muslim country. I left that Christian worldview many years ago, but continue to have a layer of guilt on some of my behaviors and beliefs. I wrote a short bit about it in the Huff Post while participating in a fantastic entrepreneurial lunch series with one of my favorite clients: ICJS.

 

JUMP TO SECTION: 1. Secret Circus 2. Savior Complex 3. Ragdollz

 

VIDEO PROJECT: Ragdollz


Punk music does not typically show up on my end-of-year Spotify wrap. However, I get a good dose of the hard rockin’ style at The Depot’s Open Mic which I go to once a month to shoot photos. And once a quarter, I offer a free music video to the winner of their showcase from the previous weekly winners. I was excited to work with this young punk band in Baltimore who carry a unique style in both their sound and look. The bassist knits and crochets amazing outfits that always standout during their sets.


They decided on the song Callous for the music video and I followed them into one of the dingiest, darkest, basement clubs in Baltimore called Reverb. Obviously I love the documentary format. Being able to hang out with folks behind-the-scenes especially in a music setting thrills me. So, this music video highlights both their live performance and their pre-show hang out in the outdoor green room. I took clips from throughout the night in addition to capturing the full performance of the song and mixed it all together. Check out the band’s tunes on Spotify.


The secret...this music video has not been officially released yet...so you’re getting a sneak peek before the band reveals it to the world next month!

 

JUMP TO SECTION: 1. Secret Circus 2. Savior Complex 3. Ragdollz

 

If you dig what you’ve read...please subscribe (at the top of the page) and send a link to folks you think might enjoy it. Contact me at michaelivan@loud-communications.com with any questions, comments, or if you’d like to have me produce a video or photo for you. Check out my instagram and website.


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