Friday, March 9, 2007

Liquid Radio Live with writer/director Katherine Brooks about her controversial film 'Waking Madison'!

Well, the second show of Liquid Radio Live on BlogTalk has come and gone. Thank you Katherine Brooks for making this film 'Waking Madison' on such a taboo subject of 'suicide' and for coming on the show to discuss it so openly. Thank you to the fans and listeners who called in last night with their well wishes, comments and questions.

“Katherine Brooks is a young director who has an organic visual style that allows her work to be quietly powerful and boldly energetic.” - LA Weekly

Katherine has an extensive list of film and television credits. She has directed three seasons of the Emmy-Award winning show, The Osbournes, the highly acclaimed show Newlyweds, starring Jessica Simpson, and MTV’s groundbreaking The Real World. Katherine also directed and produced The Simple Life with Paris Hilton and the controversial pilot for FOX, Coming Out. She recently helmed He’s A Lady for TBS, Town Haul for TLC, MTV’s There and Back and the new season of Meet the Barkers with Blink182 drummer Travis Barker.

Now focusing on her film work, Brooks has garnered dozens of awards including The Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Italian Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize at the Chicago Film Festival. Her films have played at over 100 festivals around the world and she gained critical praise for her short films, Finding Kate and Dear Emily. Dear Emily can be seen on the compilation DVD entitled Watching You.

The recent debut of her first feature film, Loving Annabelle, is a story about a Catholic schoolteacher who falls in love with her student. Written and directed by Brooks, the movie made its premier at the prestigious Cinequest Film Festival in 2006. The movie stars Erin Kelly, Diane Gaidry and Academy Award Nominee/Golden Globe recipient, Kevin McCarthy.

Currently, in pre-production her film Waking Madison, a story that takes place in her home town of New Orleans and Los Angeles.
At the heart of 'Waking Madison' is a woman's journey from the dark into the light and a twist at the end that will leave you questioning your own sanity.

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This radio show is in dedication and memory of Becky Sue from Choctaw, Oklahoma. Becky Sue commited suicide on January 25th, 1990 aboard the USS Hunley AS-31. A sub tender docked at Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia. She was 21 yrs. old. Becky Sue hung herself with no apparent hesitation. She was my best friend. She left behind her mother, 2 sisters, a brother, 2 nieces, 2 nephews, her grandparents, and a whole lot of friends. Her funeral service was like that of a celebrity. The church, which was a large church was packed with people. So many, that many of them were standing in the back as well as out in the reception area. With so many people who seemed to care about and love would wonder why she seemed to feel so alone at times?! I'll never forget the sight of her casket being lowered into that seemly cold and dark grave. Her headstone has 'Mickey Mouse' on it. Becky loved 'Mickey', so much she had a tattoo of 'Fantasia Micky' over her right breast. She won a tattoo contest in the Navy down in Port Canaveral and beat out lots of individuals with tons of tattoos. Her cheering section cheered the loudest and was the smallest group of people of all the cheering sections. But, we had spunk and by goodness our friend was gonna win!! Her prize was $500, and I don't ever think I saw her ever smile as much as she did that day.

When I first met Becky I had already been on board for about a year. I was what they considered a little seasoned as a sailor. I had been 'Haze Grey and Under Way' a few times. And had my sea legs about me. Becky came on board all wide eyed and green. She said, "Hi there! I'm Becky Sue." in her Okie accent. I could not help but chuckle. I was designated to show her around and make sure she got comfortable with the way things were to be on board ship. Some newbies took it a little hard and others seemed to accept it a little better. Becky was excited, said this was really the first time she had been anywhere new. I could tell there was something about her that said she was on the run. I found out much later exactly what she was running from. Up until this point I had never met anyone like Becky Sue. She seemed fearless and with her I felt fearless!

I came from a military family, we were never in one place long enough for me to even scratch the surface in getting to know people. Oh yes, I had such wonderful cultural experiences. But, having to constantly start over in school and with forming friendships was a bit challenging to say the least. Out of a family of five children we were each others best friends. I was closest to my younger sister. When I went away to join the Navy, she was hit hardest as was I. Becky seemed to slip right in and fill that void somewhat.

She worked the grave yard shift and I worked day shift. On any days off we were always together. Just like 2 peas in a pod!! Because of our odd hours, to still be able to communicate with one another....I came up with the match book logs!! What gave me the idea was, Becky was a smoker and was always misplacing her lighter or book of matches. So, The first match book log.....was so she had a book of matches and it had a little note in it for her. A message! I would put it under her pillow so when she woke up she would have the matches for her first cigarette with out having to look for any as well as a note filling her in on stuff or telling a funny story, etc. She would leave me a note on regular paper wrapped up in an odd shape......hence began the match book logs! I never heard her complain about matches again. On days off we would sometimes head to the beach, we would drink wine in plastic cups and watch the hunky guys play volleyball while we got a buzz from the wine. We talked about life, death, love..... Becky once told me 'if I could just be me 100% of the time I would be the perfect everything'. She also told me she loved me, in my life she is the only one I have ever really believed.

When Becky would talk about death, and share some of the reasons she wanted to die. Even though I had attempted suicide in my youth and had wanted to die many times. I shyed away from the subject. I didn't know what to say to her. All I could say was I'm here for you, anything you need I'll do. To this very day, I carry a ball of guilt that sits in my gut and somedays weighs heavier than other days. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think of her at least once.

When I returned to the ship after her funeral. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion. It just didn't seem real, like maybe all of it was just a really bad dream. Sometimes, I even thought I saw her in a crowd or on board. I went to all the places we had hung out and I would just sit, going over in my head every conversation.....and I'd drink.....and eventually pass out!! Of course, the Navy held an investigation that lasted a little over a year. So, I got to relive every moment over and over and over!! They had found Becky's diary and in it she had expressed that she thought I might be 'gay'. Hell, she knew way before I ever knew. I found out several years later she was right. But, at the time I had no thoughts in any direction sexually and I had never had thoughts of her in that way. She was like a younger sister to me. I think she knew I had no such thoughts about her, but the Navy tried to turn our friendship into something ugly based on one little line she had written. There were other things, serious things I could go into but I do not want to take away from what this post and show are all about.

Becky left me a note. She said she would always be with me. She is! She sits on my shoulder like a guardian angel....and when I fuck up she thumps me in the side of my head. She wouldn't let me follow her. Believe me, I tried. When reality set in after the denial and the 'in shock 'clouds faded away. I was numb......I joined the Tide Water Suicide Prevention Hot Line. I visited teens in the local hospitals. I was looking for answers and a way to ease my guilt.

The Wikedia definition for suicide is; the act of killing yourself; "it is a crime to commit suicide". Is it a crime? We are unprepared and warped in how we deal with another's suffering. We do everything to keep it at arm's length.

Suicide is a major, preventable public health problem. In 2004, it was the eleventh leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 32,439 deaths. The overall rate was 10.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 people. An estimated eight to 25 attempted suicides occur per every suicide death.

If you are worried about a friend…

Ask directly if he or she is considering suicide. Ask whether he or she has made a specific plan and has done anything to carry it out. Listen openly to your friend, tell your friend that you care deeply, and that no matter how overwhelming his or her problems seem, help is available.

Then, help your friend to find someone trained to help or someone they may trust. Numbers for suicide hotlines and crisis centers should be available in your local phone book or call 1-800-784-2433 the suicide hotline.

If your friend has a detailed plan or appears acutely suicidal and will not talk, he or she could be in immediate danger and it is important to get help right away. Do not leave your friend alone, and seek help immediately, taking your friend to a hospital emergency room if necessary.

Even if it will anger your friend, talk with an adult you trust about your friend's situation so that you aren't carrying the burden by yourself. Do not try to "rescue" your friend or be a hero and try to handle the situation on your own. You can be the most help by referring your friend to someone with the professional skills to provide the help that he or she needs, while you continue to offer support. DO NOT ASSUME YOUR FRIEND IS JUST JOKING!

If you are thinking about suicide…
You may be feeling tired, alone, depressed, scared, angry, hopeless, or unloved, and it may seem that things will never get better. However, no matter how overwhelming your problems seem, stop and think for a moment.....think about your family, friends. They will miss you, and suicide leaves a scar of pain that always hurts. Tomorrow is another day, a day where things may make a little more sense than they do right now. Go find someone you trust and talk to them.

17 years gone....not one moment forgotten!

Becky Sue I miss you.
You are in my thoughts and my heart.

Cowabunga dude!!

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