Since the film’s production is now completed, I ask that you now bookmark the new ‘Official’ web site for the film: www.artofthebag.com
The new site will be where you can find all kinds of current information on the film, news, videos, a gallery of screen captures, film credits and links to this blog, the Facebook page, IMDb, speed bag forum & speed bag centeral….everything speed bag in one place! Although this blog will remain as an archive, all future updates will be found in the ‘News’ section of the new site.
For those of you who have followed along on this production blog, I thank you and hope you have found the journey informative and enjoyable. What a long crazy ride it’s been.
….so, onward to the film festival circuit and the preparation of the DVD that will be going on sale very soon. See you all over at the new site!
Interesting development and a sign that the speed bag is once again gaining in popularity. If you’ve been following this blog, you might recall the “Punchdrumming” post (Punchdrumming!) and how Matthew Santiago a/k/a SpeedBag Ataraxis has been kind enough to not only be interviewed for the film, but made the trip to my punching studio a/k/a/ My Garage to shoot a punchdrumming music video that will be featured in the film.
Well, as luck would have it, a video of Matthew punchdrumming at the SPEEDB.A.G. III gathering got picked-up on redit and went a bit viral, gaining the attention of some creatives from Gillette! He was tracked down through the forum, flown out to LA for a week and appeared in the now released video as part of Gillette’s “Training Tracks” series.
Gillette Clear Gel Deodorant orchestrated a workout comprised of NFL players & high-performance athletes who came together for a spectacular musical experiment. Directed by Academy Award-winner Michel Gondry in collaboration with Phil Mossman from LCD Soundsystem. Music filmed & recorded at Ocean Way Recording Studios in Hollywood,California.
It’s really quite something to watch….and I’m sure we’ll be seeing it during our favorite upcoming NFL games. Congratulations Matthew on a job well done and helping to bring the “Art of the Bag” to a much wider audience!
The last 18 months has been a wild ride. Since starting this project and becoming a speed bag addict, I have had the distinct pleasure of befriending my speed bag idols, making life-long friendships through the speed bag forum and interviewing the most amazing people/ bagger’s. The support I have received has been overwhelming and most appreciated.
The passionate people, from all walks of life, that share in the pure joy of this humble activity never cease to amaze me. It seems everyday someone new introduces themselves on the forum and within weeks has advanced leaps & bounds…and becomes yet another “speed bag addict”. I know we throw that term around a lot, but once you start to hit the bag, you will understand. Sure, you might be into it, then stop for a bit, but we all know you will be back!
I’ve also learned a lot on this journey. Who would have thought there was such a rich history and interesting story behind the speed bag? Tracking down historic footage and negotiating permissions is no easy task, but I found that everyone I dealt with was more then happy to help me through the process. I love to learn and even though the film is almost finished, I’m sure there is always something else to research or a new combination to try. This is truly a story that needs to be told.
As the post- production comes to an end, it’s now time to start all the other fun stuff that goes with promoting the film. The first thing is the films web site ( got to have one, right?) …. So I have procured the url and for the time being, have pointed it to this blog until I can build the site. Please be sure to bookmark it, visit often and pass it along to every one you know.
Be sure to ‘like’ the page, post comments and share with all your friends & family.
Finally, I have to thank a fellow bagger and supporter of the film, Matthew Geraci at www.theblastingcabinet.com&www.eodgraphics.comwho has made some really cool, high quality “Art of the Bag” stickers! I put one on my rear window, but you can apply them anywhere.
…time to get back to the film, thanks to all who have been following this blog. I will be continuing it throughout the release process, etc.
As I was driving home from another incredible SPEEDB.A.G. IV gathering, I couldn’t help but reflect on the 4 days of fun and comradery I had. It is always great to see all my fellow bagger’s from around the country, catch-up on life & see all the new combinations and advancements they have made. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, their creativity takes the art of the bag to the next level! I mean really, I’m amazed (and you will be too).
As usual, Donnie Blanks and his whole family open-up the Real Gymm to all our craziness, volume and endless hours of bagging, punchdrumming, teaching and learning well into the wee hours of the night. In most cases and this year was no exception, the police regularly arrive sometime around midnight and 1:00am to politely ask us to take it down a notch…or shut it down compelety. Either way, we all needed the rest because the morning brings another day to meet over coffee & breakfast, talk…and of course, more bagging!
This year was special for me because I could socialize and spend some time bagging instead of having a camera attached to my shoulder or be back at the hotel suite conducting the interviews for the film. Getting to spend time to talk to Alan, Tim, Donnie, Dee, Lisa, G-Town, Matthew, Juxt, David, Greg, George, Tommy, John….it’s just priceless…I consider all these people not just my ‘bagging brothers’, but true friends. Believe me when I say, there is not a better group of people you could be blessed to meet. Any one of them would give you the shirt off their back and not think a thing of it…you see, it’s not only about this passion we all share…it’s much deeper then that and I for one hope THAT never changes.
I was pleasently surprized to see that Biff drove all the way up from PA just to finally get to meet in person (you’ll recall from a previous post that he was kind enough to get Deano’s interview for me on his trip to Australia) and to get to see the preview screening of the film (more on that later). Special thanks to Biff & all his support of this film!
Then, another total surprize when Lisa (SpeedBag4Life) showed up all the way from California! This gathering was just getting better & better.
Now, all play and no work makes Zaza a very happy boy…. but for the films sake, I did bring a small camera rig so I could get more bagging footage and some interviews that needed to be in this film to complete the story.
I got to sit down with Thomas Tabino aka. “Speedy Tommy T”…and believe me, once you see him bag, you’ll know why he has that name! Thomas is an innovative, extremely creative, influential bagger and always strives to keep the art moving forward. He offered some great insight and I know his chops on the bag sure make me want to practice, practice, practice. His passion for the sport extends to creating unique hardware, portable platforms, swivels and much more…and even at his status as one of the premiere baggers, he will gladly take the time to slow it down and teach anyone who wants to learn.
Next up was Lisa Perrone aka. “SpeedBag4Life”… I think that name says it all. Lisa is not only extremely well educated (she has her Doctorate), but a certified long-time speed bag addict. She discovered the speed bag back in 2001 and soon after became dear friends with Alan Kahn. Her interview was just what I needed to get a better perspective on women and the speed bag and why there aren’t more female speed baggers…but all that is about to change. I noticed many more interested women at this years gathering & I’m sure we have a few more addicts on there way.
Finally, I’d like to address the 50 minute special preview of the film I screened at the gathering. It was GREAT! (big exhale) As any filmmaker will tell you, each film is like your little baby, you conceive the idea, nurture it, feed it (and burp it occasionally) and watch it grow… always hoping it will become something great. You spend SO many hours with it that sometimes you start to lose perspective and wonder if somewhere along the way you’re veered away from the story. A preview screening was my answer…and thankfully it was a good answer. The people that attended seemed to sincerely like the film (and so did the locals that were out to drink and play pool). Granted, the event took place in a bar with a big screen and projector…so maybe it was a little of the beer talking? Either way, I’m taking it as a win! I have to thank everyone in attendence for their kind comments and continued support, it means the world to me. Together we are making our mark in history….it’s time for the world to once again discover the “Art of the Bag”!
One year. It’s been one year since attending my first Speed Bag Gathering. One year since meeting and befriending the people I admire, the people that inspire me to keep punching & learning. One year since having the chance to sit down and interview Alan Kahn, Tim Platt, Donnie Blanks, Zach Ruffo, Denise Mandeville, Matthew Santiago and many others. One year since being surrounded by an amazing group of people that share a common addiction and love of the speed bag. One year of research into the origin of the speed bag and its evolution of development into the equipment we use today. One year of editing…and re-editing…and editing again. One year of tracking down footage and securing permissions to use it. One year of working to raise the funds needed to help make this film a reality.
A lot can happen in one year and I’m sure life has thrown us all a few ‘left-hooks’ (I know it has me & my family), but thankfully, with a positive attitude and the support of this community of speed baggers, we all carry on…make the best out of what we’re given…and move forward. Life is about the journey, not the destination.
Now it’s time to meet once again; to see old friends and make new ones; to share what we’ve learned over the last year; to be amazed by the new combinations, speed or new inventions the speed baggers have in store for us; to have a meal or a beer (or both) and catch-up…and of course, do some serious punching. It’s time for SPEEDB.A.G. IV!
If you’ve never been to the gathering, do yourself a favor and attend it this year…you won’t be sorry. There is not a more welcoming group of people on the planet, you’ll not only have a great time, meet some great people, work up a good sweat….but you might just leave with the addiction we all share…an addiction that’s actually good for you!
This film has been a personal quest. Ever since discovering the speed bag, the different styles of punching, the history behind it & the incredible community around it, I’ve just been hooked…entirely hooked. It’s no secret if you’ve been reading this blog that I am a true speed bag addict and the deeper I research it, the more interested I become.
Some might call me crazy, but I’m fascinated by everything ‘Speed Bag’ and the people involved. For example, I found quite a few people who do some fancy punching that focuses on total control of the bag. They hit from every side with both fists and elbows and can stop or spin the bag on demand. It is really something to see. On further research, I discovered the source (or one of the main sources) and again, made another new friend… Dee Pooler.
Dee is an incredible bagger (and one hell of a nice guy) and can do things with a speed bag I’ve never seen done before. His style is very unique and depending on the type of trainning he’s doing, changes a bit, be it for MMA, Martial Arts or straight boxing. Like his mentor, Alan Kahn, he likes to call it a “Control Bag”, not a speed bag. By going slow and thinking about every strike, he can create combinations with surgical precision…it is truely amazing to watch him work the bag.
Dee resides in Oakland, CA and continues to train boxers, MMA fighters and Martial Artists…..and the speed bag is always part of those training regiments. Contacting him via Facebook led to a bunch of phone calls…and again, with the help of my ‘Baggin Brothers & Sisters’ I was put in contact with a videographer on the westcoast that could shoot an interview for the film.
I need to thank that videographer for helping me make this happen, his name is Philip Pacheco (www.philippachecophoto.com) and he is one talented guy! Once I had finally found Dee, I knew he HAD to be in this film and Philip really came through for me setting-up the interview, shooting outstanding footage and uploading it for me to edit & add to the film. If you get a chance, please take a look at his site and you’ll see just how talented he is. I can not thank him enough for all the help. Hats off to Philip and thank you Dee for being a part of this project!
….now back to the edit….SO much to do, So little time…. cheers.
By chance….it was the nicest day in early April, a beautiful 70 degree day. I know that doesn’t sound like anything special, but the temp had been below freezing every other day here in upstate NY….we got very lucky… my platform is in the garage & it can get chilly out there.
Matt was kind enough to drive up to my place to Punchdrum on my vintage platform for the film…and I must say, not only was it a pleasure to watch & shoot, but he LOVED the platform too! As we ran through the tune time & time again, I couldn’t help but be amazed by his talent and skill on the speed bag. Every take revealed a different group of combinations, all perfectly in sync and on-beat, effectively creating a new drum track for the tune. SO cool!
Speedbag Ataraxis Punchdrumming
I really want to be able to show just what Punchdrumming is all about to the viewers of the film. I know it’s not hard to understand the concept, but until you get to see & hear it, you can’t understand it completely.
I was lucky enough to find (and license) a tune by an artist called “BeepCode”, it’s titled “Planet Trance” and Matt ROCKS the tune. This might actually be the very first, produced, multi-camera music video demonstrating Punchdrumming at it’s finest.
I have the first cut edited and it’s looking & sounding really good…I crack a big smile every time I watch it. Too much fun. This section of the film gets right to the heart of Punchdrumming and that, of course, is Alan Kahn, who created the technique and coined the phrase. Punchdrumming has changed lives and it’s just another aspect of the Art of the Bag that is highly addictive. Once you start, your workout will never be the same…and chances are, you’ll have more then one platform set-up around the house and a truckload of speed bags of all shapes and sizes!
Now as you may or may not know, I discovered the world of ‘Bible Style’ speed baggin’ just about 2 years to the day (March 10th, 2011) and haven’t looked back yet. At the same time I was lucky enough to find Alan Kahn’s “Speed Bag Centeral” (www.speedbagcenteral.com) & Tim Platt’s “Speed Bag Forum” (www.speedbagforum.com) web sites, both outstanding sites filled with helpful information, friendly people and a dedication to the “Art of the Bag” like no other present on the internet. Yes, there are a bunch of speed bag videos on YouTube, but like a lot of the content there, you don’t get a personal response like you do on the above sites…and that brings me to the point I’d like to share in this post.
As crazy as the internet can be, with all it’s false information and bloated egos…you can still find some really good, honest, REAL people out there.
Case in point; The two sites mentioned above and the people who run & frequent them. I have never found a better community of like-minded people…EVER (with the exception of the llama people, but that’s another story!).
Here I was, a total NOOB, knowing nothing about the speed bag other then I happened across a video of Alan Kahn on YouTube and said to myself, “I can do that”…then searching further finding a video by Speedbag Skunk I said to myself, “….Maybe not? Damn!”. I then joined the Speed Bag Forum and within seconds of my first post was welcomed with open arms. I was instantly encourged by the community and received countless bits of information on what I needed to get started…and the offer of help anytime it was needed. Alan himself was one of the first to respond…The KING…I mean here I had just seen a video of him hitting…and moments later, I’m hearing directly from him and he’s offering great advice on getting started!
From there, many friendships have been built and some have gone above & beyond.
My new friend & fellow bagger…. Biff. I mean, here’s a guy who I’ve never met in-person (I promise that will change soon) who offered to shoot some video for the film ON HIS ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME VACATION TO AUSTRALIA! Really? Who does that these days? In the “me, me, me world” we live in these days, here’s a guy willing to take the time & effort to not only donate financially to the film, but shoot some interviews and bagging footage of our fellow baggers down-under! Really? Needless to say, I was floored. He even purchased a camera just for the occasion. In the months to follow we communicated back & forth about cinematography, camera settings, the rule of thirds, lighting…and all things ‘filmish’. Biff took his vacation and returned with some great footage & interviews that will surely find it’s way into the film.
…but it doesn’t stop there, turns out Biff and his wife where invited to stay with….wait for it….another member of the forum he had met at the very first SPEED B.A.G. gathering in Keyport, NJ. Enter dean Goodwin and his father Ted who had traveled all way from NSW Australia to attend the gathering of speed baggers. The Goodwin’s represent 4 generations of ‘Australian-Style’ speed bagging and after joining the forum, felt compelled to make the trip to the other side of the earth to share their unique bagging style.
…and the story goes on…Biff, Dean & Ted really hit it off and a deeper friendship had grown…and here we are. I can’t thank Biff, Mrs. Biff, Ted, Dean and Dean’s son Tom (I’m even seeing footage of ROC, another Aussy member of the forum in the clips) enough for taking the time to do this for the film (and me), but being the great people that they are, they thought nothing of it and wouldn’t have it any other way. Dean has even offered me an open invitaion to come visit if I can ever make it to Australia! Be warned Dean… I just might have to take you up on that! 🙂
I could go on forever and talk about all the lasting friendships I’ve made in this tight community of speed baggers, but I think you all get my point…and can see what is driving me to tell this story to the world and document the “Art of the Bag”.
Thanks to the incredible people at MTV/VH1 (Viacom), I now have footage of Brian Tichy “DrumBaggin'” on “That Metal Show”! This is exciting because, as far as any of us know, this is a very first time anything like this has been on National TV. Pretty darn cool.
The footage is outstanding in quality (was there ever a doubt?)…and again, I can’t thank all the people involved enough for their help in getting it to me in a format that I could use. They all went above & beyond. I mean really, I’m just a nobody indie filmmaker, they didn’t even have to answer my emails….but no, thier response was quick and more then helpful. It’s really nice to see this kind of personal service, and genuine care from such a large corporation. Kudos to all involved!
Now… the only bummer is that I can only use 30 seconds of the footage in the film. It’s enough (it will have to be) but damn, it sure is fun to watch Brian work the speed bag into the rhythm he’s playing on the drum kit…all at the same time. I’d post a still, but I’m not allowed to do that either as per our contract, so you’ll all just have to wait for the film to be released to see this awesomeness. That is unless you were watching the shows when they aired or have gone to the VH1 web site to replay them (do it!).