Rachel Maddow is undoubtedly something of a liberal lightning rod, but I have a feeling that this book is going to find a wide audience. And, oddly enough, there are some premises here that are shared with Same Same But Different. I haven't read the book yet, but I have read several reviews, etc. Read one of the reviews, articles, or interviews then go back and read Update #3: same same, but different. Does anyone out there have Rachel's number? I sent an email to her msnbc email, but I'm guessing that sort of over-the-transom communication has about equal odds with the big lottery everybody's talking about.
The United States dropped more bombs on South Vietnam than were dropped during World War II in Asia and Europe! Many of these bombs continue to wreak havoc in the countryside where thousands are injured every year from unexploded ordnance. This picture was taken last Friday, 3/23/12:
We spent an hour last night on Putney's Blues Hour. Putney has been a great supporter of ours (including backing this project) since we did Dangerous Highway, which by the way Putney called on of his favorite documentaries ever about a musician! That's high praise from the host of the Blues Hour. Anyway, if you missed it, you can catch it on the KUNM.org archives for the next two weeks. 3/28/12, 8-10 p.m. We came on after 8:30. Deryle brought some blues songs (mostly titled "Vietnam Blues") from well-known and unknown artists. In between songs, we chatted with Putney about our project. Below you'll find one of my favorite pictures that didn't make it into MOTOFOTOSHOW or SAMESAMEFOTO. This is one of Deryle's shots from an orphanage in Vietnam:
We're excited! Not only have you generously pledged over $8000 to date, but a national website profiled the film today.
Thanks again to all of you and thanks to the Vietnam Veterans of America and Marc Leepson.
We don't mind tooting our own horns, but we can use your help. Share the good news.
Arts of War on the Web
Arts of War By Marc Leepson
Welcome to “Arts of War,” Vietnam Veterans of America’s up-to-the-minute compendium of information, news and reviews about the arts—movies, television, stage plays, musicals, music, dance, popular and fine arts, and more—that deal with Vietnam veterans and the Vietnam War. Posted on March 28th 2012
‘Same Same But Different’ Doc in Progress
“It seems like I’ve been working on this film all of my life,” says Deryle Perryman (above, right), the co-producer of the in-progress documentary “Same Same But Different,” which looks at American Vietnam veterans who have returned to the former war zone to work on humanitarian projects. Perryman served a 1967-68 Vietnam War tour as a crew chief on a 175mm howitzer with the 5th Battalion, 22nd Artillery in the Central Highlands. One of the ways he has been dealing with that experience has been by writing about the war and its veterans. And making this film. After a career as a juvenile probation officer and working with young people (among other things), Perryman himself has returned to Vietnam a dozen times.
One such trip led to the idea for this film, which is being co-produced by Moises Gonzalez. The veterans profiled in the documentary “have quietly returned to their former battlegrounds to clear unexploded ordnance, work with victims of Agent Orange, and build schools and orphanages,” Perryman says.
Five years ago Perryman and Gonzalez finished their documentary Dangerous Highway, which tells the story of the late Alabama blues singer Eddie Hinton. While they were making it, “during our numerous trips to the South, Deryle told stories about growing up in Florence, Alabama, and those stories inevitably led to his joining the Army and going to Vietnam,” Gonzalez said. “Vietnam and its aftermath became more and more insistent until it became apparent we were going to have to make another documentary.”
The two went to Vietnam in 2008 and 2010, traveling throughout the country recording oral histories from American,Vietnamese and Australian veterans. In Nha Trang, they interviewed former Viet Cong General Nguyen Monh, who invited the filmmakers to a traditional Tet dinner with his family.
“I’ve come to realize,” Perryman says, “that the Vietnamese aren’t mad at us. They even give Vietnam veterans some status. They say, ‘You were just young and dumb and doing what your parents told you to do.’”
General Monh’s toast to Deryle (in the above photo) was: ”So good to see men who were former enemies come together in harmony.” Monh, who fought against the French as a young man, told Perryman that the American soldiers were “tenacious, very tenacious… and so very young.”
The film also will include archival footage, rarely seen photographs, original music, and interviews with Vietnam veterans in this country, many done at the August 2007 40th anniversary meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
Perryman and Gonzalez have set up a fund-raising mechanism to secure the money they need to finish the film at the website Kickstarter.com
“If one Vietnam vet or Iraq War vet or Afghanistan War vet can see this film and see that there is healing that can take place after a war, then I’ll feel like we’ve accomplished something,” Perryman says. He hopes the film will help in his efforts to build a school in the Central Highlands
Deryle's print titled "Amputee" was taken down at Scalo's because some people found it "shocking." Granted the gallery is in a restaurant and, granted the image is shocking, but it's a great picture that says more about perseverance and strength of character than horror. It makes me wonder, once again, if part of the problem today is that war is such an abstraction for most American citizens. We are, nonetheless, thankful to Scalo's for allowing us to exhibit our photos there.