Friday, February 03, 2012

Rodleen Getsic

"Do what motivates you. Follow your intuitive voice. This is for EVERYONE: If you have something to create, some art or message to give to the world, you’d better do it. Don’t think too much about it. Just do it. As long as your intention is pure, you will create something worthwhile."

Brave, unapologetic, driven, and painfully intelligent. These are all words that describe the singer whose passions would lead her to becoming an actress and producer, constant activist and performance artist called Rodleen Getsic.

She was born March 18th, 1975 in Wenatchee, Washington to parents Pamela, a guidance counsellor, and Edward Giecek, an artist. She would grow up in Granite Falls, Washington where music was her first passion, but a 'more realistic' job was suggested to her at the age of seven as opposed to the film and music that interested her by her grandfather. So she tried her hand at politics.

"I was five years old. I studied my own character in many forms in front of the mirror, and acting, pretending I was being interviewed constantly, while doing chores, while cleaning, carrying logs to wood pile, gardening, dusting, and even walking to the bus stop, or riding my Stu Thompson — What ever I was doing — I would pretend I was the lead actress."

She became a community leader at the age of thirteen and is known well for her compassionate civil service. At 17, Rodleen attended Presidential Classroom where she met President George W. Bush and his cabinet ministers, including Dick Cheney. This caused a brief hiatus, with Rodleen focusing on music and traveling, before returning to in 1999 to 2001 where she would work with Jubilee world relief efforts.

Rodleen would take on the role of Lead Coordinator for Perry Farrell's Jubliee's Freedom Foundation along side organization president, Aaron Cohen. Constantly giving back to the community, she has worked for Gettlove which feeds Hollywood's homeless, served as the Spokesperson and Public Relations Chair for the Community of Conchita, California following their deadly mudslide disaster in 2005, has aided in the relief efforts following hurricanes Rita and Katrina, even performing in New Orleans.

"I decided to go into public service. This lasted through my teenage years, until I got laughed at by Dick Cheney in DC (who at the time in 1992 was the Secretary of Defense) when I asked him why the US focuses outwardly on other country’s problems, rather than focusing on our own deteriorating issues. At that time, I lost interest in my political trajectory, and had another spiritual experience that brought me the Spirit of Music. I became a musician. Later, when disaster hit one of my hometowns, La Conchita (2005), I did return to public service as a community organizer in disaster response."

A talented singer whose voice has been drawn comparisons to Diamanda Galas and Clare Torry. Not only a singer and songwriter, Rodleen plays non-traditional guitar, piano, bass, upright bass, jimbae, amongst others as she is always learning more instruments. Rodleen was influenced to scream on stage from Gary Finneran.

Her musical career is ridiculously impressive. She has been a supporting act for bands like Hellride, Fishbone, No Doubt, Kottonmouth Kings, Ratdog, Hot Tuna, and Thelonious Monster just to name a few. She has worked in the studio and stage with Andy Dick and the the Bitches of the Century which she sometimes performs in his opening act in a song called 'Fucker' that she wrote for him.

What else? Well, she has performed on tracks for Tommy Lee of Motely Crew, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead (she also performed at his wedding), Stephen Perkins of Jane's Addiction, the Deftones, Dave Aron of Snoop Dogg, and Isaiah 'Ikey' Owens of Sublime and The Mars Volta just to give you an idea of how fucking impressive I meant by ridiculously impressive.

Rodleen would meet John Perry Barlow and Bob Weir in 1999 and leave quite the impression that would result in major interest from Grateful Dead Records to produce her original sound as their "first solo artist outside of The Dead" - but her original sound would prove to be 'not commercial enough' for their mother company, Arista Records.

Never one to let anything stop her, she went on to record her solo tacks as Bob's home studio as well as in The Grateful Dead Studios. In 2002-2003, she formed her band - Getsic - with rotating fucking epic all-star members that consisted of John Norwood Fisher (Fishbone): bass, Freddy Flint (Eek-A-Mouse): guitar, Spacey T (Fishbone): guitar, Kabade (HR): keys, and James Gray (Michael Franti, Spearhead): drums.

"I had record deal offers. I played in bands. One day, I had a dream, or a night vision, where my guardian angel appeared in white. He is a black man, and it was an all white room, so his face stood out in the picture. But then I noticed what he was holding. Linens. "What are those for?" I asked. He said, "They are for you..." "....I will take you to your cell." My heart dropped, and I gulped a 'really?' He said yes, and explained that I was going to be put into "jail" unless I shifted my dharma."

In a world where society went from free-thinking individuals - like you can see in the Bugs Bunny cartoons of yesterday where Bugs could take care of himself - to the beaten down flock of today - look at the cartoons, if a member goes off to do something alone there is only failure awaiting them, it is only when the character rejoins the group that success is possible - her ability to stand behind what she believes in is nothing short of extraordinary.

"Everyone has shadows. Some people are stuck in their shadows. A big part of what I was tapping into during the filming of The Bunny Game was the dark souls I have come into contact with here on Earth. There are really people in the world that hurt others, and I have seen them. We all see them in our government, battlefields, torture prisons, video games, news, and then on the streets, or in your neighborhood, maybe even you, people who prey on innocence. This is real life."

How I first came to know her is through her the film, THE BUNNY GAME, that she produced, and starred in as a prostitute named Sylvia Gray. This psychological independent thriller was directed by Adam Rehmeier - the concept was a collaboration of the two. The film is horror in its purest form and one of the most fearless projects I have ever heard of. This film is based on an actual abduction that Rodleen went through that was real life horror.

"Imagining that I do have a husband, or a wife.... Somewhere.... My Soulmate is entirely supportive of my art."

Now everything in this film is real. The abuse, the horror, the sexuality. There is a very dark feeling here and I watch the team that came together to create this film sharing and talking about their experiences and no one is crying, they have been changed by this experience, but they are still alive and well. What is my point? In real life, you don't get to cut to another scene and end the 'bad part'. You don't get to pan away from the inhumanity of a situation. In life, you have to endure pain, suffering is optional, but the pain is there and often when you least expect it. It's dangerous and leaves all kinds of marks on you.

"This film is my therapy."

How can a person come to terms with real life horror? I find art helps go through almost anything. In a film, you are no longer the helpless victim. As uncontrolled as the situation might seem on the screen, there is control there and in that there is power over what originally made you feel powerless.

"If you ask me, “Why should I seek out THE BUNNY GAME?” – I will tell you, if you are brave. If you are brave, and you want to experience real live art that has the capability of transforming your existence, then you want to watch THE BUNNY GAME. If you are a horror fan, and you are not afraid of seeing real horror happening, then you will want to experience THE BUNNY GAME. THE BUNNY GAME is art, and it is scary, horrific, and real."

Now this film is clearly not for everyone. It is not for minors and even if you are over 18, there is a very good chance that this film is not for you. Even if you can relate to this experience, this film may stir up things and take you to places that you do not want to go. That being said, I find a piece like this a hell of a lot more artistic and valuable in existence than the watered-down bullshit. Director Adam Rehmeier makes an excellent point with the pure absurdity how prostitution is depicted in films like PRETTY WOMAN that would lead viewers to believe that there is some happy rainbow at the end of selling your body to strangers for money.

Now, I've read about the BBFC ban of this film and how they made this decision on the fact that it may glorify violence to women. A film like this does not add glamor to what Rodleen's character goes through in this film, it disgusts and sickens you. It shows the true level of utter deplorable behaviour that humans inflict on others in the vilest form. It's real, it's dark, it will give you nightmares - and because of all those reasons, it is an inherently beautiful piece.

"We are all artists and singers, because these forms of creation come from our souls. We are all spiritual beings. By doing what motivates you, you are playing a role in the world. It may help you to understand your self, and you may inspire others. If there is anything holding you back, figure out what it is and release it. Release it into art. If you are afraid, take note. Journal about your fears. If you are afraid, there might be some genuine reason why. Or, maybe it is because you have a block in consciousness or confidence. Wake up. It is a crucial time for all of us to wake up, face the fear, and live life to the fullest."

To be so honest with the entire planet about what you have gone through as a woman and share it with an audience like Rodleen did is beyond badass and I respect the fuck out of her for it. She was awarded "Best Overall Individual Performance in a Film" at the Pollygrind Film Festival in 2011 and well fucking deserved. Never backing down, always speaking her mind, and with this being her first film, I look very forward to what is going to come next from this uncanny artist.


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