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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Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia continues the GRR tradition of definitive programs about the great gothic , horror and early science fiction and fantasy writers with a two part special on the Bronte sisters whose gothic flavored writings would help to revolutionize the literary world. Born into an Irish Anglican minister’s household , the three sisters would initially write under male psuedonyms (The Bell Bros) composing in clandestine fashion in order to get their work published . Emily – the true literary genius of the family whose only novel – Wuthering Heights – an intense gothic tale of obsessive love reflected her love for her native Yorkshire Moors and her vast insight into human psychology. Charlotte – the best known of the three , was a gifted writer whose four novels including Jane Eyre , are works of remarkable passions and imagination. And the youngest Bronte – Anne – who became a governess – an experience reflected in the first of her two novels – Agnes Grey – a written in a more traditional less intense style .The Bronte bunch lived short, tragic gothic lives and these provocative artists would become the stuff of legend.
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In part 2 , Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia plays storyteller and recites four trickster tales of coyote from the White Mountain Apache peoples (aka The Yava Pai Apache nation). Two sacred stories that are suitable for teens and two twisted tales that are for adults only. First off , its Turkey makes the corn and Coyote plants it – a fable about the beginnings of agriculture as turkey and bear shake many different fruits, nuts and seeds from their bodies. And coyote then decides to plant corn seeds that will soon grow strong and tall ,but of course gets involved in cheating , stealing and mischief. Next up, its Coyote steals the Sun’s Tobacco – an adults only, twisted trickster tale of thievery and deceit ,in which coyote gets his sticky fingers on the Sun’s tobacco but refuses to share any with his neighbors. So the Apache people devise a clever gender bending plan that will get them coyotes stash and also teach the trickster a lesson he will never forget. Then its two stories about Coyote’s misadventures among the white settlers – Coyote fights a Lump of Pitch – in which the trickster gets fooled by a scarecrow fashioned out of pitch and caught in a trap like a fly inside a spider’s web and must quickly figure away out of it (or else!). And last but not least , its another adults only twisted trickster tale – Coyote gets rich off The White Men – in which coyote runs rings around the local white authorities by running away with a fancy and well provisioned horse and then figuring out some very outrageous ways to swindle both the local towns people and the American soldiers that are hot on his trail.
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Folklorist and mythologist extraordinaire – Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia – continues the popular and ongoing series of programs on Native American myths and legends. This time out its sacred stories from the Apache peoples. First off, its a historical and cultural overview of the Apaches and their almost 300 year uninterrupted bitter and relentless battle against the Spanish, Mexican and Anglo Americans settlers in order to avoid confinement , enslavement and genocide. Next, Jack examines the Apache religion and their spiritual way of life including their Mountain Gods and supernatural beings , the importance of lightning in their faith and the practice of witchcraft. Then Jack recites two Apache sacred stories , The Jicarilla Genesis – in which the entire world is covered in water and the people and animals live underground. Until one day they venture upward into the sunlight and the surface of the Earth. And last but not least its a White Mountain Apache tale about how the knowledge of curing and healing ritual and ceremony came into being.
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Never one to shy away from controversy, Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia examines the tragic but glorious stories of three martyrs/saints from the World War II era who were canonized by Pope John Paul II. First off , it’s a historical overview of the saint making process and the rules and regulations involved inside the congregation of the causes of the saints , the official background checkers in the Vatican. Next up, Jack examines the Spanish Civil War, an extremely bloody conflict that was a type of warm up for W.W. II and featured the involvement of Mussolini , Hitler and Stalin’s totalitarian governments. Then it’s the story of Ceferino Jimenez Malla, a Spanish Gypsy who dies before a firing squad rather than renounce his faith in Christ. Jack also tells the tale of two martyr/saints that met their deaths at the hands of the Nazis , inside the extermination camp at Auschwitz in Poland. Raymond Maximilian Maria Kolbe , a Roman Catholic Priest who was filled with great faith and spiritual courage and chooses to die in the place of another prisoner (a man he did not even know). And last but not least , its the controversial spiritual figure Edith Stein , a highly intellectual Jewish woman who converts to Christianity and becomes a Carmelite nun , but sadly also falls victim to the satanic Third Reich.
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In celebration of Black history month, folklorist and mythologist extraordinaire – Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia recites three trickster tales from the African continent. First off it’s a story from the Luo people called The Trickster ‘s Encounter – in which spider and hare , two good friends who also happen to be rivals travel to the stars in order to meet and greet spider’s future parents in law, creating lots of mischief and magic along the way. Next its a story from the Kikuyu tribe called One Trick Deserves Another – in which a rich man’s wife is fooled by a clever individual into slaughtering her husband’s beloved calf. The husband then departs home hell bent on performing some trickery of his own. And last but not least its a trickster tale from the Azande people called – Ture Outwits The Rich Woman – in which a man who is often so clever he is nicknamed The Spider, decides to taunt and tease a wealthy woman and her beloved dogs by stealing her food again and again.
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In the conclusion to GRR’s epic 2 part mini series – Jack “The Agnostic” Garcia examines yogic practices in the west during the 20th century and beyond. First up , as the new century dawns interfaith / interspirituality pioneers continue to translate sacred Sanskrit and Buddhist texts into English , and a modified version of Hatha yoga becomes part of the health and fitness craze then sweeping the United States. By the late 1940’s – the tree of yoga flourishes in the new soil of North America as yogi Indra Devi brings meditation / breathing exercises , postures and poses to the Hollywood movie stars , who need to keep in shape and long for spiritual fulfillment. Then yogic master, Richard Hittleman starts his own daily yoga TV show that forever changes what yoga was thought to be in America and how it was to be taught. Jack also examines the sitar explosion , as George Harrison becomes fascinated with Hindu spirituality is introduced to yoga and transcendental meditation. Convincing the rest of The Beatles to travel to India seeking enlightenment and divine inspiration. Next up, its Harvard research psychologist – Ram Dass , who disillusioned with psychedelic drugs travels to the Himalayas and encounters a type of Hindu saint and is spiritually transformed composing a best selling book – Be Here Now – that tells of the stories of various yoga styles and schools. Paving the way for the New Age spirituality movement and Yoga’s mainstream acceptance by turning his spiritual quest into a lifestyle.
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