figured it was now time for me to come out of the proverbial closet.
down, it’s NOT what you think.
you really thinking that? Is it because I’m not a big sports guy? Seriously?
year, I was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS). The
diagnostic took over one year to be finalized. From a slipped disc to Sciatica,
we all thought it was something benign, something else. I was tested, poked,
probed, prodded, scanned, x-rayed, you name it. The bitch about MS is that
there are no unique signs. It’s by ruling everything else out, combined with MRI and brain scans, that one can deduct that you have it. When my neurologist saw my
scan, there was no denying it. I have so many lesions on my brain and spine that it
appears that I have had this thing for more than TEN YEARS. Over time, I’ve
lost about 85% of the strength in my left leg, making work, household chores,
or simply walking around a mother***ing Ordeal (with a capital O). My balance
and overall mobility have been on the decline since my diagnosis. Luckily, I'm not in constant pain but when I hurt, I freaking hurt. The weakness and dizzies, however, are certainly constant. I have to
rely on my darling Kate for pretty much everything. I have to give myself an
injection every day and take pills every 12 hours. Sadly, the treatment hasn’t
really worked for me (in fact, my symptoms have become far worse), therefore, I
am on the verge of switching treatments for something much more potent: a
monthly intravenous injection. I’m keeping all appendages crossed that this one
will take and won’t be too rough for ol’ Dom here.
But why, other than Narcissism,
am I telling you all this?
As you probably know, a few years
ago, I directed my second feature film “Conversion”. It was a bitch to get
through, shooting evenings and weekends while still working a full time job.
Luckily, my employer at the time was fully cooperative (he had to be: most of his
staff also worked on our film!). Anyway, it’s old news and you can read Kate’s
detailed blog about it here. After “Conversion”, I directed a few music videos
that were a lot of fun to do, and also found some corporate gigs to be a great
challenge. But with my declining health, and constant trips to the hospital, I
couldn’t do it anymore. I even had to turn down one of my dear friends who had
a very exciting photography project for me. I just couldn’t. Around that time,
I started messing around with public domain footage, just to do something
creative. Anything. I contacted some of my music friends and came up with a
series of seven short films called “Domaines Publics”. It was an homage to one
of my heroes Bruce Conner (who did collage videos for David Byrne & Brian Eno, Devo, and others) but also a way to teach myself to use Final Cut Pro.
Hey! I’m old! I learned how to edit film on a Steenbeck! What surprised me
is the reaction that these vids generated. I wasn’t really expecting people to
like them that much. I was just doing them as a kind of lifesaver. And then, a
funny thing happened. My buddy Rich (of electro pioneers ORPHX) said he’d be
interested in me doing a video utilizing this technique.
As my health (and mobility) became more and more limited, my visual
output became greater. I met kindred spirits, like Steel Hook Prostheses,
Compactor and Valvegod (all of whom I want to work with until I am old and
grey), whose appreciation and constant thumbs up have given me the emotional
strength to compensate for what is lacking physically. I wasn’t just a f***ing
cripple. I had a purpose in life. When you can’t really walk, that’s huge! Your
sense of self-worth is among the first things to go when you can’t walk…
So that’s what I’ve been doing
for the past year. That’s why I pester you every time I have something new to
show. These little visual distractions are my lifeline. But rest assured: I’ll be
able to go out and shoot something new and original soon enough. That’s my
light at the end of this tunnel.
So, check out my vids here or here. Rent
or buy “Conversion” here. You’ll be glad you did. And I'll be glad you did. Everybody wins.