Sunday, November 28, 2010

dancing up a storm...

it's been such a sad week with the death of lucky boy - fortunately there are many treasured memories - but his death has made me ponder my old girl's mortality, more so than usual anyway - you could say i've been a tad down the last few days...

a bad asthma day on thursday didn't help lighten the mood any... and to top the week off, i had to go out earlier yesterday which turned out to be a wet, miserable day and - of course - i got caught in the major downpour of the day and got totally drenched - after trudging home and sloshing inside, the clothes needed wringing out and i needed drying off!!!

fuck, i really needed cheering up - and with no incentive or enthusiasm for cooking i decided to get pizza delivered from mr natural gourmet vegetarian pizza - they'll 'veganize' any of their pizzas - being all vegetarian anyway just means they use vegan cheese! -  so i opted for the chilli bean pizza (double chilli, pineapple & mushrooms please!)... i don't buy much 'fast food' these days, so very rarely order home delivery - but i was in need of a treat - that means food i don't have to cook, a nice big mix and a clean bong!!!

with dinner ordered, allie and shadow fed, dirty bong water changed and mix made, all i had to do now was wait for the food to arrive, choose a movie to watch and then snuggle up with the gang... being able to borrow 6 dvds at a time from the library meant i had plenty to choose from... i often reserve online, when i get notification of new films that have recently arrived, so without viewing the item but going on the summary in the catalogue record means it can be quite interesting when you get the dvd in your hand - i sometimes wonder if some of the movies chosen this way would have attracted my attention had they just come across the circulation desk...


white lightnin' was one of those 'sight unseen' movies... since bringing it home i've picked it up and put it down a number of times - with reviews like "a phantasmagoric tumble into the dark corners of artistic genius, addiction and insanity..." (sundance film festival) - "a visually brilliant work. revolting and compulsive in equal measure" (the times) - 'imagine deliverance with a dash of charles manson' (the financial times) - i wasn't sure if i wanted to deal with bleak, dark themes just at the moment - but i decided to give it a go - i could always turn it off if it was too heavy for my mood, or if it sucked...

it's based on the life of jesco white, known as the 'dancing outlaw' - born and bred in bandytown in 1956, a tiny community of boone county, west virginia, deep in the heart of appalachia - real hillbilly country - an area afflicted with total and utter poverty...


he started huffing lighter fluid, petrol, glue - anything that could be sniffed - at eight years old... he was in and out of 'correctional facilities' much of his young (and some of his later) life, with self mutilation and delusional behaviour ensuring time spent in mental institutions... alcohol and any drug he could hit up also played a part in his mental state!! and he was no stranger to violence - both perpetrated upon him, and by him...

his father d ray white was renowned for his mountain dancing - known variously as flat-footing, foot-stomping, buck dancing, clog dancing, jigging - a form of frenzied tap-dancing... he started teaching jesco dancing in the hope it would keep him on the 'straight and narrow' - but he was a troubled lad from a cultural background most of us will never come in contact with or understand - think frontier and daniel boone (yep, that's who boone county was named after!) then strip away the romanticism and exaggerations - what's left? a poverty stricken, superstitious community steeped in 'old-time' religion, large families, domestic violence, family feuds, moonshine stills, multiple firearms in every household, limited access to basic education and facilities, limited employment opportunities, and the major likelihood of some degree of in-breeding - ohh, did i mention the extreme poverty, or the desperately bleak landscape of these mountain people?

on d ray's death (he was actually murdered) jesco inherited his dad's dancing shoes - having been taught his father's craft early in his life, he honed his style and took his 'show' on the road - but psychosis, depression and violence  were never far from the surface (he certainly didn't take heckling on stage very well!!!)... with so much substance abuse from a young age, its subsequent damage to a young brain, plus the psyche drugs ingested and injected over the years, along with his continued use and abuse of various substances - and of course the hillbilly culture itself - there's no doubt nor wonder he suffered mental illness... 

according to the plot summary of the documentary dancing outlaw the adult jesco white has three distinct personalities - "the gentle and loving Jesse, the violent and dangerous Jesco, and the extremely strange Elvis"... norma jean, who first married him in 1974, would have known all three - theirs appears to have been a very volatile relationship - they married three times, divorcing twice!!... she died in 2009 at the age of 70 so she was a number of years older than jesco who turned 54 this year... i'd like to know more of her life story, so i'll have to check out the documentary...

i found it compelling, bleak, sad, dark, violent, and touching - it's well worth the watch - but remember it is only based on his life - it appears fairly accurate according to the articles i've read, except the film sees him die at the end, when he is in fact still very much alive... hmm, the library doesn't have dancing outlaw though, i just checked the catalogue - might have to request it...

i had a bit of a wander over to youtube and found a clip of d ray dancing - and one of jesco - if you're intrigued...



the whole white family is infamous apparently, and have been the subject of a documentary - the wild and wonderful whites of west virginia - so if you want a brief insight into the white family clan, here's another clip...




by the way, the pizza was delicious!!!!! for under $20, i think that could be an affordable treat every once in a while...

2 comments:

Sailor Lily said...

I'll have to come back and check out the final video!

and you got sidetracked- how was the pizza?

Proud Womon said...

the pizza was delicious!!! (i'd put that in under the last video so you missed it!!)