photo manipulation by nacrowe
VENEZUELA is intense.
with the exception of NIGERIA, i have never lived in a more precarious situation in terms of personal security. i took a teaching job in the eastern oil city of MATURÍN not too long after HUGO CHAVEZ passed on from cancer and basically had a front row seat to the economic, political and physiological dismantling of a nation. just to give you some insight, my first month saw the exchange rate at 1USD for 6 bolivares and by the time i left 2 years later it had jumped to over 200. not only that, when i lived in MATURÍN it was not on any global list of most dangerous cities, but the following year after my departure it shot up to number 4.
number 4. damn.
where they are now is beyond sad and depressing and the subsequent takeover of the legislative and judicial branches by the inept, sadistic MADURO regime is an international travesty. i don't see that ending anytime soon as RUSSIA is now using them in the same geopolitical chess formation as they do with in other intractible situations (i.e. KOSOVO). the fact that people are starving over there and the situation isn't improving or even being reported on stateside makes me frustrated to the point of despondency. venezuelans, much like the MYANMAR people, will literally give bread to others even if they themselves are hungry. selfless and vivacious, thats how i remember the people i ran into everyday in VENEZUELA.
when i listen to the music of LA VIDA BOHÈME i am reminded of the spirit of the people, who were genuine, open and community-oriented. being taken in by family of friends to better see great cities like CARACAS, BARQUISIMETO and PUERTO LA CRUZ was a highlight of my life for sure and my hope is to visit there again one day. what a beautiful country with such energetic people and such a vivacious culture.
what a waste. listen to LA VIDA BOHÈME and especially their stellar album NUESTRA (NACIONAL, 2011). great band definitely worth checking out.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
so i know everyone has their opinion on GAME OF THRONES (HBO, 2011-2019) and their last season and yadda yadda yadda. i'm not interested in that. i loved the series but it took some warming up to it initially.
this is that story.
i was teaching secondary ELA in VENEZUELA in what can best be described diplomatically as a "challenging" setting. the school culture was crumbling due to poor management, which seemed to mirror the wider national political/economic climate which was teetering from unstable to full-on death spiral. to date the only more unpredictable situation i've ever encountered was living in NIGERIA, which at the time was already in the throes of a corrupt military dictatorship that was met with violence and threats thereof as a mater of due daily course.
anyway back to GAME OF THRONES. it makes perfect sense to me now that my high school students were so intrigued by it. put aside the silliness surrounding dragons, dire wolves and elaborate sigils and you have the palace intrigue that defined VENEZUELAN politics.
my students were constantly trying to get me to watch it, to which i would dismissively retort with some conflation to the effect of "i'd love to but i'm really not that into Dungeons & Dragons or Lord of the Rings." which is true. my students would immediately respond by empathically stating that "nah Mr. Crowe, there's so much more to it. you gotta watch it." when i would ask them to explain they would talk about how crazy violent it was and how much sex there was in every episode. hmmmm, i told them i'd think about it. i borrowed the first season from a colleague and i was hooked. it's true that it was crazy violent and beyond sexual, but it all seemed a means of both securing and maintaining hegemonic power, just like in reality.
as an english teacher i appreciated the consistent structural implementation of red herrings, which are clues, situations and characters that lead the plot nowhere. heaving lots of dead ends is commonly used in suspense and mystery fiction, but GAME OF THRONES, famous for killing off beloved and hated characters without a second notice, turned this trope into an exhilarating experience.
in retrospect this connection i saw between VENEZUELA, GAME OF THRONES and the pugilistic nature of politics has expand to the modern american political climate, so obviously my appreciation of this series has shifted with it. if anything i think the series has informed the american public of the perils of being in a political system of never-ending infighting and gamesmanship. as long as our census is politicized and our voting districts gerrymandered, i think we are unfortunately in for a GAME OF THRONES reality far beyond the shelf-life of this 8 season TV series.
photo by karl burhop
ok i admit that its more than a little strange to write a profile on yourself. but here i go.
as creative director of DEER GOD i basically have a hand in everything we do that is non-audio. that basically boils down controlling/editing all things visual and written. of course we work as a team and frequently collaborate and take cues from one another, but i more or less take these efforts and produce the final product.
out of the whole team i am probably the last to the party in that i was not involved with audio or video production until a few years ago when i returned from overseas. for the better part of the last decade i was involved with education having taught secondary english abroad at international schools in MYANMAR, JAPAN, VENEZUELA as well as a stint as a peace corps volunteer in ALBANIA. my start as an educator was in NYC where i got my masters at COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY and had brief stints teaching at both BROOKLYN TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL (student teacher) and STUYVESANT HIGH SCHOOL (long-term substitute). my bad timing entering the field in the wake of the great recession meant that no new positions were available as older teachers delayed retirement and an effective freeze was put on new hires. thus i had an IVY LEAGUE degree and recommendations from two of the top public high schools in the nation, but no prospects.
so i went and taught overseas.
due to my parents work i spent time overseas growing up in NIGERIA (middle school) and KUWAIT (junior year of high school) and attended high school in both MASSACHUSETTS (NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON) and CALIFORNIA (ROCKLIN HIGH SCHOOL). oh yeah, and i was born in SPAIN.
my passion as long as i can remember photography as i would take photos of my travels (somehere around 60+ countries). i think my passion for other cultures and worldviews informed my (brief) teaching career and most definitely is a part of what i bring to my current visual work here at DEER GOD. if interested, check out my photos above.
the rest are linked HERE.