Taos Mountain Film Festival-The Shamans Apprentice

Taos Mountain Film Festival-The Shamans Apprentice

A number of years ago we were exhibiting in the South West U.S. and on our return trip we spent some time at the Taos (NM.) Mountain Film Festival.

There we met Dr. Mark Plotkin and watched the premier of his documentary “The Shamans Apprentice”.

Dr. Plotkin is an ethnobotanist from Harvard and has spent many years in the rainforest long before the public had understood its importance.

Dr. Plotkin also explored the social and societal changes that occurred when European medicines came into Amazonia and how it effected the social importance of their native shamans.

Taos is a place that many consider a place of some geo-significance. I find it a place of creative and artistic merit.

Earlier in the day I spent a small amount of time busking and performing in the city park, I enjoyed people watching me, as I was watching them.

After the premier movie was over and the fan fare had ceased the crowd left through the front doors , shoulder to shoulder down the walkway along the roped off corridors.

A sense of awkwardness overcame us as we felt we were separated from the throng of people and led down the direct pathway to the street.

We were now the only ones on the main pathway and were being led to a most curious transport vehicle.

A man fully bedecked in spastically flashing Christmas tree lights led us to his rickshaw bicycle.

His bicycle was adorned with a small forest of flaming tiki torches.

It was pitch dark and late at night, yet the city was still alive with people.

In front of the crowd it appeared we were being taken hostage by a group of people that we did not know.

We were being escorted to this torch burning, strobe lit, rickshaw man.

We had no concept of what was about to happen and felt a bit uncomfortable.

At this time the rickshaw man and his attendant asked us to get aboard and get out your guitar!

Flames were within inches of the headstock of my guitar and we nearly had to duck under the torches that were attached to the rickshaw.

An epiphany occurred and we then realized that we were now the evening entertainment in Taos.

The rickshaw went slowly blazing down the crowd filled streets of this charming village while we musically went along for the ride, entertaining the public all the while.

It was late and when the crowd dwindled we found ourselves in a cafe with our hostage takers.

They were long time residents of Taos and we got to visit with them about this curious community of artists and artisans.

In our conversation with them we found that it required effort to live in Taos.

The rich can afford it, but the commoners are required to have more than one job to survive.

The night was etherial and surreal, it seemed as remote Dr. Plotkins rain forest experience.

I recall this moment because today a newly released book has arrived on my doorstep, The Amazon by Dr. Plotkin.


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