Thursday, September 26, 2013

When Things Fall Apart all fell apart after that.  .
 When we moved to El Paso, my parents bought a house that was reputed to be around 100 years old.  It was said that in the early 1900's the family would watch from the porch the battles of the Mexican Revolution, 3 miles away.  Entertainment in those days.  The house builders has buried a coin with the year somewhere in the house which we found  during one of our on going  remodeling projects.  It was a shiny, new 1881 silver dollar. The house had thick adobe walls and backed right up to the base of Mount Franklin just below Scenic Drive and very close to the turnout where the Manos family begins their journey. As a lonely child, I spent many, many days hiking up and all over that mountain.

Growing up, I was always referred to as Tom's daughter out in the world but in my neighborhood, I was just the different kid that equally seemed to fascinate and repulse the other kids.  They would friend me just long enough to get inside our house to see the crazy things we had.  Lots of nude art and sculpture.  A room with full floor to ceiling bookshelves.  Word would get back to conservative Hispanic Catholic parents and I would be banned from visiting and the kid would be banned from my house.  I was painfully shy but learned how being different had some benefits.  It became, let's watch Jackey and see what she'll do next.  I had a secret life and a very rich imagination.  I buried myself in books beyond my age.  I  first read  "The Pearl" at 12 and "The Last Temptation of Christ" at 13 but failed in school.  "Jackey is smart enough but just doesn't apply herself".  What no one seemed to get was that I was suicidal, and no one seemed to notice so I didn't bother anyone about it.  I first wanted to die after my mother began including me in her diatribes about my dad's suicidal tendencies and multiple attempts.
.  She would say things like, "Well, he's tried it again".  I was aware that he didn't want to be here and I couldn't see staying without him so I developed at least 4 suicide back up plans for myself.  If he succeeded, I would find a way to follow. I lived in a black hole from 12 to 19 years until I made a very clear decision to either get it over with or start living.  It's obvious which path I chose.  I've been told many times that I am an amazingly resilient human.  I call myself a Jackey in the box.  I always pop back up.

Doing Manos with my dad, my hero, was a magical time and I always kept those precious memories so tight in my heart.  It was one small tangible thing I could hold on to when there seemed to be nothing else.  My childhood and teenage friends will say they remember me telling them about this wonderful time.  I spent many years looking for a copy of  Manos: The Hands of Fate since we never saw it again after the November 15th 1966 premiere.  Just imagine my surprise when it showed up on television in 1993 on MST3000.  That was enough for me.  Everything beyond that is icing.  Now, I'm totally along for the ride and what a great trip it is.  I live my life on my terms in joy and with the deepest love, appreciation and gratitude for the experiences that Manos has brought and is bringing to my life.  Bring it on!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Before Manos

 Everybody has their stuff..  This isn't about "look at my stuff, it's worse/better/more interesting  than yours".  And you may already be asking...What has this got to do with Manos?  In my life, it all has an anchor in Manos.  Bear with me as I take you there with the expectation that something here may resonate in a meaningful way in your life.  Your journey of my words may be as linear or random as I myself am as I transgress this world.  The Manos story.  Past, present and future of Manos is and will be here as you choose to discover it.

When I was born in  Fort Worth, Texas in 1959, my father loved me very much.  My parents both went to Texas Christian University and my dad was a young Christian minister.   When my parents brought me home after birth, mom left me with dad and went to the University library to study.  Her education was paramount.  She loved me, I know, and she did all the proper things to raise me to be healthy but she wasn't the emotionally nurturing type.  Dad was.  He took the time to show me the magic of the world and when he tucked me in at night, would sing a little song that I still know.  He was my whole world and when I was 3, he disappeared for what seemed like forever.  Mom cried and told me he had left us.  When I was 4, he sent for us and we moved to El Paso. Mom became a teacher at Ben Milam school on Fort Bliss and dad became Director of the South El Paso Boys Club.  We bought a 100 year old adobe house just three miles from the Rio Grande River and Juarez Mexico.  You could see the border from our porch.  At night, the Rio Grande was a dark ribbon that separated the soft yellow lights of Juarez from the brighter white lights of El Paso. We lived in a neighborhood where no one looked or acted like my family.  We were a different color and my parents were progressive, artistic, bohemian types.  I was an oddity from the start.  I spent my entire childhood trying to figure out why no one liked me and I re invented myself regularly. I understand discrimination.  My happiest times were hanging out watching my dad paint, sculpt and create in his studio with powerful music playing.  My happiest times today are in my studio, creating with powerful music playing.  My soul soars.  I sought out other ways to be with him throughout my childhood, like helping him run lines for a play or just being at the theater during rehearsals and set building.  I was nearly 7 when he asked if I wanted to be the little girl in a movie he was doing.  I didn't hesitate long before realizing the opportunity it provided to having more time with him, so I said "OK".  I have so many sharp memories of the making of and the premiere of  Manos: The Hands of Fate because it was the best summer of my life for family togetherness.  It all truly fell apart after that.
Jackey Raye and Tom Neyman
April 1964

Friday, September 13, 2013

Debbie and The Master Watch Manos Together

This next series of stories will delve into areas thats I've talked at great length with my Creator about.  I've palavered and prayed, to decide the value (if any) of sharing them with the Manos fans and the public at large.  What purpose does it serve?  I'm a private person but I somehow believe that in doing so, at least one person may relate and benefit from my words.  I also know this to be cathartic in my relationship with myself, family and the world at large.  In the most surreal of ways, Manos has revealed more to me about myself   than any counselor could provide. I risk overstepping boundaries others may wish to impose on me and yet it feels important to do.  Time will tell. Here goes.

Jackey Raye Neyman Jones (Debbie) and her dad
Tom Neyman (The Master)

You would think that having time with my dad after believing I would never have any more, would be healing.  It has been and I'm more grateful than words can express and yet it never seems to be enough time.  I thought I was good with what I got until he didn't recover from recent surgery as well as he had hoped and then, when I saw him in a weakened state, I felt frightened at the prospect of losing him. But it didn't really hit until I heard he had returned to the hospital with breathing problems. I panicked, I dissolved, I couldn't breathe. The family situation is such that he and I only see each other by chance on the street or in neutral territory by appointment set up by a neutral party, a friend. I have said to this friend. "Do you realize you are the only person who is granted direct access to "The Master?"  He basically gets me access and I then pass on some of that to you all.  It's not easy, but it works in a weird sort of way.  It's been this way for years.  I don't feel able to contact him directly and can't imagine being invited to his home. So the realization that at some time I won't be able to ever see him because he won't be able to be out and about is devastating, to say the least.  I get what I can and cherish every moment.  Thankfully, my dad is looking and feeling better now.  He's one of the most resilient people I've known.  My fears are tamped down again for the meantime.

Manos: The Hands of Fate has been the catalyst to spending more time with my dad.  It seems to be the accepted activity we can do together.  I don't know why this is, but am very appreciative of it.  We recently had a wonderful visit while doing audio commentary for Ben Solovey and the Manos Restoration.  We sat down and watched it together for the first time since the 1966 premiere.  My favorite moment during the screening was when he turned to look at me and said "Oh Lord!  This is really bad."  Cracked me up.
I love my dad.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Debbie Does Seattle

I had the privilege of traveling  to Seattle in August to participate in cool Manos adventures.  The train from Portland was relaxing and beautiful.  What a great way to travel.

In Seattle, I stayed downtown just blocks from the Space Needle and the EMP Museum  of Entertainment, Music and Pop Culture.  Turns out a friend from High School works for the museum and gave me a personal tour.  Amazing place if you ever have the opportunity.
Jackey Raye in the Blue Room at the EMP

The first evening, August 7th, I went to a Manos Restoration screening at The Uptown Theater sponsored by SIFF, the Seattle Independent Film Festival.  Fabulously engaging audience.  Most hung around for a Q and A with me and had some great questions.  I got a bonus and personal thrill from seeing my name in lights. Could totally get used to this.

Jackey Raye with SIFF Cinema Programmer, Clinton McClung

On August 8th, after touring Seattle and attending a local art exhibit, I arrived at Scarecrow Video to check it out and hang around to visit with any Manos fans who wanted to stop by.  This store is most probably the largest independent video store in the country if not the world.  They carry over 117,000 titles.  Mind blowing place.  If you can't find any movie you're looking for, I would strongly suggest you contact  Scarecrow Video

On August 9th I attended the opening night of  Manos: The Hands of Felt and again on August 10 as a special guest for an after show talkback.  Rachel Jackson along with cast and crew created an overwhelmingly funny show.  I belly laughed till I cried...and I have to say, I love the Debbie portrayal. The Hands of Felt audiences were the most enthusiastic yet. Over the top laughing and foot stomping to boot.  

Throughout the visit, I had the pleasure of spending time with old Manos friends Ben Solovey of  The Manos Restoration and Bryan and Wanda Jennings.  Bryan is the original Sheriff's son.  Reconnected with other friends, made lots of new ones and had a wonderful time all around.

Thanks for reading.  If you are new(er) at reading my posts, go check out the early posts for the behind the scenes stories of the making of Manos in the summer of 1966.

Stay tuned.  Next post begins a new series of stories.