29.10.07

Bringing Lenny Home

Journal Entry. Toronto
Monday, February 25th, 1980

Came in to work this morning to find we have a new Executive Producer - Gary Michael Dault.

Richard has gone to Bay Street to be part of a think-tank for a new TV show. No notice. No goodbyes. No party. Just gone. Here Friday - there Monday.

Sometimes this is a weird place.

The good news ? Dault's promotion has caused a shuffle in the producer hierarchy. Rob Prouse has taken over the Arts and Culture beat. My upstairs neighbour, Mary Francis has been given Quebec (plus all the Referendum planning), and I've been promoted to Senior Producer responsible for the entire "current affairs" corner of the show. This means I get to call the shots for the first hour of Canada's most listened to radio show.

And now that I have all this journalistic power - with the country falling apart ... the Liberals in turmoil ... and a US election on the horizon ... what will my first BIG debate be about ?

Dogs or Cats. Which is smarter ? Let the debate begin. Harron will love it.

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Journal Entry. Winnipeg.
October 28th, 2007.

A cold autumn night in Winnipeg. Turned both the furnace AND the baseboard heaters on today. I guess I'm looking at another three thousand dollar Hydro bill. But I like this town. I've lived in half a dozen Canadian cities and can honestly say that if you get off your ass and ENGAGE you'll find Winnipeg offers wonderful opportunities for writers and film-makers.

But it IS a hard place to live. Nothing comes easy. Tommy Douglas grew up in the North End and one of his saying was that "opportunity is often dressed in coveralls". To me, that pretty well sums up the place.

Winnipeg -- Canada's bravest city.

Tonight I'm writing a documentary pitch about a lost son - Lenny Breau.

And if you're asking WHO the hell is Lenny Breau ? You've just made my point. Lenny Breau was one of the greatest guitar players ever.

Ever.

He was our Clapton, our Hendrix. But no Hall of Fame for Lenny. Instead he lies buried in a pauper's grave on hooker row in L.A. -- dead these past 23 years.

Murdered. Buried. Forgotten. Shame on us.

There have been a couple of bios done on Lenny. TVO and Bravo stepped up to the plate. But those films were limited in scope and ended with his death. Which is where my story begins.

Let's get one thing clear right off the start Lenny didn't DROWN -- he was murdered.

How do I know ? I've seen the autopsy reports. People who drown aren't left with bruises on their trachea.

I once pitched the Lenny Breau story to Life and Times. Who's Lenny Breau they asked ?

In retrospect, they were probably right. It would have simply been another "boring" Canadian story and I doubt it would have brought in the numbers the Hockey series did. (Bad Don. Bad)

My angle on Lenny ? Let's bring him home.

Let's get him the fuck out of that pauper's grave and BRING HIM HOME to Winnipeg.

I am determined to do a little film about a grassroots movement of local guitar players who are lobbying and agitating and shit disturbing to get Lenny OUT of that distant Yankee grave and brought home to be given the honour and respect he is due.

Ask any - ANY - "A" list Canadian musician from Adams to Cohen to Bachman to Joni Mitchell to Oscar Peterson to Yo Yo Mah and they will tell you without pause, that Lenny Breau was God - not Clapton.

But we've forgotten him. Well, I'm going to try my best to change that.

Beginning with a little exercise I call --; "DOCUMENTARY MAKING FOR DUMMIES".

I'm going to post on this blog the entire process of pitching, funding, making, and (with luck) selling my Lenny Breau documentary.

I call the film - BRINGING LENNY HOME.

1 comment:

Allan said...

Hmmm ... I vaguely remember how good he was.
This is a laudable project. Certainly he deserves Walk of Fame.

On another note, the CBC going after Mulroney is All The President's Men and Woodward/Bernstein come to Canada.
An incredible story.