Max Gail (left), being interviewed live online by Dan Jones

pic by Richard Bastian


Back in 1980, portable video was very new and I had been playing a cop in the Barney Miller TV show and spending the rest of my time on the life learning curve with AIM (American Indian Movement) and MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) activists. I felt there was a way to share the connectedness we humans have to each other and all of life that is expressed in the Lakota prayer Metakuye Oysin..."for all my relations." Inspired by "on the road" story telling from Jack Kerouac to Charles Kuralt, and anticipating perhaps music videos and Real People/Real World TV, I collaborated with film makers, artists and activists to integrated audio video recording with our travels and gatherings throughout the year. I thought of it as a "docu-musical," and called it "For All My Relations." At the center were my two inspiring older brothers Floyd Red Crow Westerman and David Amram. A small piece of that video is in the wonderful film being premiered at the festival this year, "David Amram: The first 80 Years." But it was all "too radical" for the ABC network at the time in a country that was swinging into the Reagan era.

    In '94, after a long drop out to deal with family issues, I started to explore the possibilities of turning this wonderful archive into a CD Rom, the popular computer platform of the day. At a Women in Film technology conference someone showed me Mosaic, the first browser developed by college students and soon to become the Netscape browser which changed so much. I saw that the grass roots and broadcast realms, the "on land" and "on air" would converge with the "on line," and something evolutionary would emerge out of it. Something that would enable us to share our stories and visions, our needs and aspirations in a way that would enhance the chances for future generations. For me that took form in the notion of LAP, the idea that all of our laps, our individual domains of care, charge, control and responsibility, overlap to create our community  lap. We can put that notion in motion by "running laps" and we do that  when we "lap in." That is an Open INvitation and INtention to Open Heart, Open Mind, Open Source, Open Space, Open Game." 
 I have continued to "run laps' within and amongst all sectors and levels. Something good happens every time
 On Sunday we will LAP-In around the creation of an open source audio/video archive to make all the video that exists in back hall closets to storage facilities, on all the platforms that have come and gone, used and unused in different documentaries, searchable and available to the world of students, community builders, story tellers with license, agreement, permission issues appropriately managed and participation open to all. A big idea that can happen, and what better time and place to put a stake in the ground than this festival this year.

Looking At Possibilities