In a special 2 part program , Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia examines the land of his ancestors , Spain and the Iberian peninsulas richly diverse cultural and spiritual heritage. First off – its a historical overview of the many different societies that thrived on Spanish soil (the indigenous Iberians , The Celts , The Phoenicians , The Tartassians , The Greeks , The Romans and The Visigoths). The Goths , Scandinavian barbarians and Arian Christians defeat Rome and the Latin church, then settle into Spain in the hopes of building a Germanic – Iberian – Arian Christian society. The elemental conflict between the two different Christianites (Arianism and Catholicism) is highlighted by the sacred story of St. Hermengild. A Visigothic Arian prince who converts to Roman christianity and whose courage and faith soon sparks off a series of mass conversions among the visigoths. And Last but not least – its the zenith of Hispano-Visigothic Roman Catholic civilization ,cultural achievements showcased within the historical tales of St. Isidore of Seville and St. Braulio of Barcelona. Vastly educated men of God who preached tolerance and forgiveness in an era of great oppression and violence.
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Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia examines the life, legend and prolific writings of the extremist yet very intellectual doctor of the church, St. Jerome. A man of immense learning , a biblical and classical scholar, fluent in several languages – St. Jerome’s translation into Latin of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures (The Vulgate Bible) would remain the standard Latin text for well over 1000 years. His enormous influence on Christianity was achieved partly in spite of himself. For St. Jerome was a harsh and constant critic of the clergy and the church , and his spectacularly irritable temper and sarcastic wit made him more enemies than friends. Jack also examines St. Jerome extremist views on sexuality, virginity, celibacy and marriage. Ideas derived from the third century theologian origin and the Gnostics unusually harsh views that would make the Puritans seem like swingers by comparison.
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In this seasons second Halloween celebratory program – Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia recites two Native American ghost stories and tells the Tales of an Indian renegade serial killer and a German immigrant family who headed West in order to murder their way across the prairie. First off its The sacred spectral story from the Sioux nation – The Man who was Afraid of Nothing – in which four ghostly skeletons decide to wager and try to scare The Bravest Man alive – trying to make him shiver, runaway and hide. Next its a ghostly tale from the Cheyenne peoples – The Double Faced Ghost – in which an unhappy and immensely tall ghost falls in love with a beautiful maiden – and tries to convince her family to let him make her his wife. Then its the story of The Renegade Queho – a serial killer that terrorized the Southwest for 30 years – and who would meet an unusual and grisly fate. And last but not least its The story of the wild west’s first serial killer family – The Benders . German immigrants who headed west in order to carve up a piece of the American dream.
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In the first of the seasons GRR Halloween celebrations – folklorist and mythologist extraordinaire, Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia examines The Dao. A great indigenous philosophical system that over the centuries took on the character of a religion absorbing many of the popular Chinese mystical cults , and its relationship to the supernatural and uncanny. First off its a historical overview of Daoism / Taoism as the Imperial court of the Emperors becomes filled with astrologers , Holy men, shamans and alchemists – who seek to make contact with the spirit world and the realm of the Gods. Next up, its the role of the Daoshi (The Daoist / Taoist Clergy) who spend decades mastering the mystical arts, learning how to cast protective spells and talismans and how to subdue and expel evil spirits and demons. Then Jack takes a look at renegade Daoshi who via the use of Yao-Shu (filthy magic) transform themselves into sorcerers and necromancers. Commanding such evil and legendary monsters / weapons as the Kulou Yuan Ling a type of gigantic Chinese Golem brought into being with the corpses of 100 men who died horribly. And last but not least, its The Bai Gui Yexine – the night parade of spirits , ghouls , creatures and devils – an ongoing supernatural event that happens in a different city each and every night.
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Folklorist and mythologist extraordinaire , Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia continues the GRR Season Ten premiere with sacred stories that mingle both Taoist and Buddhist spirituality. First off, its the Ba-Xian (The 8 Immortals) , divine beings who were once mortal but achieved eternal life via their exemplary lives. The 8 immortals were very popular and people carried amulets , charms and talismans formed from their symbols. Next up, its the significance of the Silk Road trade routes which led to cultural and intellectual enrichment for both the East and the West. Told via the tale of Lady Silkworm which incorporates a far more primal story with the origins of silk. Next up, its the cult of the Jade Emperor and his consort, Wang-Mu (The Queen of the West), the living embodiments of Heaven and their vast celestial civil service that keeps the universe in balance and harmony. And last but not least – its the story of the Mischievous Monkey King, who takes on the entire Celestial hierarchy in combat until he learns humility and forgiveness from Lord Buddha and the merciful one – Kwan Yin.
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In the season 10 premiere , folklorist and mythologist extraordinare Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia examines the sacred stories of the early imperial dynasties (the Xia , Shang, Zhou and Han) who transformed China from a primitive tribal culture into a highly sophisticated civilization. First off, its a historical review of the ancient warlords and their sacred totems and talismans (like the snake and the dragon) and their importance and evolution within the realms of myth and legend. Next up its an account of the creation of the universe, The tale of Pan-Gu, the offspring of the primal Yin and Yang. Who separates the Heaven and the Earth , and forms the World from his decomposing body. Then its the great Mother goddess , Nu-Gua and her consort Fu-Xi , separate dieties who are transfigurated by the Han dynasty Taoists into a divine married couple- hybrid spiritual beings with human heads and entwined serpents tails that are forever locked together in an eternal embrace and divine copulation. Last but not least , its the Celestial Gods and Goddesses (The Sun, Moon and Stars) and some of the divinities linked to the firmament . Like the divine Archer Yi – who takes on the Lord of Heaven’s rebellious children (The 10 Suns) who have decided to shine in the sky all at the same time causing heat and havoc for humanity.
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In part 2 , noted film historian and lover of genre movies Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia continues his epic definite study on Classic Mexican horror cinema. This time out covering 27 films produced and released between 1960 – 1975. As the 1960’s dawned the Mexican Gothic flavored horror film would reach its zenith with such movies as director Chano Uretta’s El Espejo de la Bruja (The Witches Mirror) and El Baron del Terror (The Brainiac) managing to achieve a weirdly perverse sublime surrealist splendor on very limited shoe-string budgets. Never the less , Mexican horror cinema world soon lose its dominance over the Latin American market as Argentina and Brazil begin to craft notable contributions to the genre and Southern European filmmakers from Italy, Portugal and Spain release highly sophisticated psychopathic horror movies which depicted acts of brutality , murder, incest , cannibalism and sacrilege. Mexican horror films would drift away from the classic gothic style and kinky subgenres would begin to proliferate. A cycle of highly popular films (1962-1973) devoted to the exploits of wrestler/superheros who not only fight in the ring but also battle supernatural evil. Characters like Santo, The Blue Demon and The Wrestling Women. The wrestling superhero cycle at first would be designed for younger audiences but would transform into adult sexploitation epics that reveled in lots of nudity , sex and graphic violence. Last but not least , Jack examines the brief but brilliant gothic horror revival as a new wave of Mexican filmmakers , like director Juan Lopez Moctezuma (Alucarda / 1975) reach a new level of nightmarish absurdity and supernatural intensity.
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Noted film historian and lover of genre movies Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia continues the GRR tradition of definitive programs on classic horror cinema, this time out its Mexican Horror Films of The 1950’s. The fantastic and the supernatural has always been a part of the Mexican film tradition and starting in the early 1930’s – Mexican filmmakers influenced by German expressionism and Universal monster movies begin to craft low budget films of excellent quality that feature a dynamic sense of visual artistry and lyrical poetry. First off its a historical overview of Pre-1950 Mexican cinema and its first great master of cinematic horror – director Fernando De Fuentes. Whose macabre and lyrically religious El Fantasmo del Covento (1934) and Two Monks (1934) fill up the screen with stunning contrasts of light and shadow. Then Jack charts the evolution of the Mexican horror films of the 1950’s – Psycho/killer thrillers like – El Hombre Sin Rostro (1950) and Luis Bunuel’s The Criminal Life of Archibaldo De La Cruz (1955). Movies that would later influence such directors as Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho) and Michael Powell (Peeping Tom). Then Jack checks out the Mexican Vampire movies – starring actor German Robles – a worthy rival to Christopher Lee – who portrays the aristocratic bloodsucker with distinction and menace. Jack also gets into the popular Aztec Mummy series (1957-1958) that utilized Mexican history and Aztec motifs instead of ancient Egyptian. In all Jack gives in depth analysis of over 20 Mexican horror films that managed to by pass their limited budgets and create a spellbinding Gothic splendor.
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Recorded in Verite style on location at Coney Island’s historic Broadwalk, actress, performer, interfaith minister and Eco-activist Rev. Sandra Bargman returns to GRR to speak with Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia about the global warming crisis and her own unique form of Eco-spirituality. Sandra has joined the ranks of Vice President Al Gore’s expanding Eco-army. A group of ordinary people dedicated to the sacred task of illuminating and mobilizing the public. Next up, its the mechanics involved in climate change, some of the many scientific facts that help to explain how and why global warming is happening so rapidly. And what just plain folks (like you and me) can do to help heal and save Mother Earth. The good Rev. also tells of her deep feelings for nature and the importance of dreams in her own spiritual life. Last but not least Sandra also recites an ancient and hopeful Tibetan prophecy about greed, weapons of mass destruction and the environment.
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In part 2 of GRR’s definite program on the lives , legends and literary legacies of the three Bronte sisters, Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia examines their brilliant gothic flavored poems and novels. First off, its the youngest of the Bronte bunch – Anne whose lesser known writings explore a deep sense of religious doubt, spiritual melancholia and Calvinist despair and have sadly often been neglected by scholars and historians. Next up, it’s the enigmatic Emily Bronte – whose elaborate verse and prose is filled with mystical, passionate invocations and visionary moments. Emily works would embrace the darkness of her beloved Yorkshire Moors and infuse it with elements of harsh realism and perverse romanticism. And last but not least its Charlotte Bronte – the most well known and respected of the three writer siblings – her work would often draw on her experiences as a governess and teacher infusing the autobiographical material with touches of absurd Victorian melodrama and proto-feminism.
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