When was the last time you stopped a stranger in the street and smoked a joint with them? Evan and Kyle from Kansas film collective Brigade met a blind guy, sat down with him, lit one up and spoke about everything from his ‘casual safari lifestyle’ to his boat named the African Queen.
I caught up with the guys from Brigade last week to see what went down.
Who’s the Blind Guy? How did you find this legend?
Kyle – I remember seeing Jim “The Blind Guy” Hoschek for the first time a few years back. I lived behind a great little brunch spot in Kansas City named ‘You Say Tomato’. Turned out Blind Guy dropped in at least two times a day. I had seen and photographed him with my phone from afar several times before I realized I should just ask him to hang out and get the real deal. I asked the owners about him and they introduced the two of us. So a few days later, we kicked it and had lunch. After lunch he asked me if I wanted to go back to the “Villa” and “Dwadle”. (Jim calls his home the “Villa” and refers to smoking as a “Dwadle”) I recorded rough audio the entire time as a reference and a few days after that Evan and I were putting his story together over the phone.
Did you hang out with him for a while over the time you shot him?
Evan – We were lucky enough to have Blind Guy let us into his home and his beer stash for two days of filming. He couldn’t have been more loving and trusting. Walking into that guys’ house is a trip… from the African masks and Jello-molds to his amazing wardrobe and hat collection. We are now lucky enough call Blind Guy a friend and we have permission to stop by the Villa whenever we want.
Did you guys get on the pipe with him?
Kyle/Evan – Absolutely. Blind Guy thoroughly enjoys the art of ‘Dwadling’. Oh, the wild things you learn when burning one with Jim. From ex-lovers, to stories of billionaire Sam Walton doing the hula dance for his employees(seriously, Google it). Also, stories about his “Safari Casual” lifestyle and how he used to own a boat named the African Queen. Blind Guy is a bit of a self-proclaimed monolist, or one who loves to talk whether he cares that you listen or not. This is the real beauty that we found in him.
Oldies like this guy have seen it all and are incredibly content. There’s something amazing about telling their simple stories…
Evan – If you have a great subject it frees you to just shut the hell up and listen. With someone like Blind Guy, you just let him go and you try to hold on. Blind Guy told the story and we just had to be on our toes to catch it. We quickly learned that if we weren’t rolling, that’s when Blind Guy would let out some absolute gold. Being blind, he didn’t really know when we were rolling and when we weren’t… nor did he really give a shit. So we just made sure that sound and picture were on him the whole time.
Tell me about Brigade?
Kyle/Evan – Brigade is a Visual Support collective focused on making high-quality visuals and telling good stories… We do films, documentaries, commercials, travel and music videos. After some time in the advertising world, we just wanted to focus on what some people had started to ignore… the power and refinement of the image. In the end, we just want to stay wacky and have some great stories and beautiful stuff on the wall by retirement.
What side projects have you lads got in the works?
Kyle/Evan – We never know what the next two weeks will bring…. we’re firm believers of “If you don’t say ‘Hell yes!’, say ‘No.’” As of right now we have a pretty righteous piece in the works that will span the US, a music video, and hopefully another short doc. Also Blind Guy already has plans for ‘Blind GuyII’. It involves a luxury hotel a dance number and some blow-up dolls.
Do you know anyone called Dorothy?
Evan – I’ve never met a woman named Dorothy, a dog named Toto, or a flying monkey…. although I did meet a tin-man once. Seriously, a guy completely made of tin, that shit was crazy… man, I miss doing mushrooms.
Kyle – I know one. There is a gay club here in Kansas City called “Missy B’s” who’s hostess is aptly named “Dirty Dorothy”.
Is it fucking hot in Kansas?
Evan -Today is the first day it’s been bearable, most days we lock ourselves indoors and blast the AC and make sure there’s always cold beer nearby. Our tolerable two-weeks is coming up, so it’s time to pull out the decks for a short time until the snow moves in.
Did you guys grow up there?
Evan – I was born and raised on the Kansas plains. We’ve traveled extensively, but always return to the center of the US.
Kyle – I was born and raised on the Missouri plains. Folks from elsewhere hardly realize that it is actually two different states. Its fucking hot regardless. Unless it is winter, then it is fucking cold regardless.
What’s the state of the creative community there?
Kyle/Evan – The Midwest US state of film-making, is a very do-it-yourself community. We don’t have a deep enough well to dig from to find specialists to handle every task. So most artists cover a wide swath of tasks and specialties. Its a blessing and a curse. Builds character… so they say.
If your only options were to get 3 fingers removed from your left hand or get a Mike Tyson face tattoo, what would you do?
Evan – If you mean that Mike Tyson’s face would have to be tattooed somewhere on me, I choose the latter. In fact, I might go and get that later today…. Let’s all get matching Tyson portraits.
Do you have any questions for me?
Evan – Bugs Bunny can lift himself up by his own ears… Why can’t I?
Bugs is a freak of nature and was genetically engineered in the same research facility as Wolverine. Bugs was subject to zero gravity testing when he was a kit, and coined the phrase ‘What’s up doc?’ during one of these sessions.