Docufilm “Street Life” – Watch now
With Flavor Chris
Giammarco Argenzio Creators
Music provided by Epidemic Sound
“Docufilm “Street Life” – Watch now”
When i was attending the art accademy
When I was attending the art academy, my theatre teacher told us a Japanese tale. It was a story about a young man who went alone up a mountain in order to meditate and understand why all the things sourrounding us, sooner or later, are intended to die. At the end of this tale, through many obstacles, the guy came to the conclusion that “if you want to engage to universal wisdom, there’s a price you need to be willing to pay. Only the one who is able to overcome fear of death, allows himself to live a happy existence”.
At that precise moment my journey as an artist began. I was 25 and had just left Italy for Paris. A few months earlier I had finally just graduated from high school and the only thing I cared about was dancing.
I arrived in France with the only purpose to study and grow as an artist. I couldn’t work because I didn’t have the right documents, my one and only option was the street. I remember that day vividly. I walked out of my I home, with my Hi-Fi hanging off my shoulder and started walking towards Montmatre. It was the January 13th, 2016, exactly two months after the brutal attack on the Bataclàn theatre.
As I approached the side of Montmatre church, I cranked the music while hiding my despair, I started dancing.
At the end of my performance I had earnt 7 euros and a handful of pennies. I was the happiest person on the planet. From that moment, I started dancing almost everywhere. I still didn’t have a real show to perform: I’d play some random songs while i began dancing and watched people’s reactions.
I even bought a beautiful and elegant black tuxedo, a bright red tie, blues-brothers look alike sunglasses and a black trilby hat.
When I performed on the street, my idea was to play a character that didn’t actually represent who I am, but rather to show how society and Western culture perceive a man with brown skin.
And I wanted to do it in a bold, ironic and almost grotesque way. With this in mind, after looking long and hard, I found “O Sarracino”, written by Renato Carosone and Nicola Salerno (both Neapolitan composers), a song that expresses the concept of the “white gaze”.
I discovered that the authors’ intention was basically to represent the landing of a captivating “Saracene” who drives all the ladies crazy.
“Perfect” – I thought to myself – “This is just the song I was looking for”.
While performing it, I gained a lot of confidence and over time my self-esteem grew.
It was an incredible experience for me, as I was able to support myself financially without anybody’s help.
For somebody who had never really believed in his skills, well, it became. huge.
At the end of each performance, I’d see people were happier, after a long day they were looking for a distraction or something different.. This made me feel better and others too.
Looking back, I learnt that the best message you can share with people around you is: “everyone has the chance to grab their own dream. What’s really important is to gain the confidence and take action with one’s own way of thinking, and to never give up.”
No doubt my way of thinking has been influenced by Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. What always struck me was the fact that there’s no difference between Buddha and anybody else, we are all able to live our lives with joy. As a matter of fact any single living being has the inner potential to face toughness and difficulties that crosses their path.
I recall a particular moment as if it just happened an hour ago. I was standing in Rue Montorgueil, walking around the tables after my show, saying my usual “If you liked the show, put some bucks in the hat, otherwise a smile always works!. Da Napoli, la mozzarella, quella buona!”
Mocking a very strong, but not completely accurate southern Italian accent.
That night was different…a guy from Naples came up to me, he was pissed off, and instead of giving me a coin he asked with a harsh tone: “Hey kid, have you ever been to Naples?”
I was shocked. I had never been to that beautiful city! So after having rolled around Europe, I decided to buy a ticket to Naples. It was one of the wisest choice I ever made. There, I learned the importance of talking about pain, even a loss, with irony. It’s a signature of the people raised in that part of the “boot”. Laughing and making fun even when tragedies occur.
This, in my opinion, means being intelligent.
Napoli is a very welcoming city and people living here are even more special. I need to thank all of them, for all the love and the affection they showed me.
besides all the people who supported me here, I of course need to mention others who are not here. First of all my Mom and my former theatre teacher, Mbango Beer who convinced me to tap dance on stage my very first time. I thank Steve Zee – my first tap dance teacher; thanks to Guendalina Moraldi, Astrid, Ayoub and Vito – my roommates in Paris, who witnessed thefirst steps of my career, and shared the joy and sadness. Thanks to Sonia, who hosted me when I was in Nice, France. Thanks to my Brutal Force Crew, with whom I started dancing in Milan. Thanks to all the people who stopped by during my shows, who watched me and left either a coin or simply few words of encouragement.
When you are self taught, it’s hard. It’s hard to learn, to avoid mistakes and it’s even harder to achieve good results. Therefore it’s difficult to always guarantee the best performance. That’s my drawback: I’m totally anti-academic. On the other hand, do you know what the advantageis? When you are alone, with nobody teaching or supporting you, you need to always believe in yourself and in what you’re doing. This make you always focus on what is really important and helps put aside what is not.
This is why i feel way luckier than those spending their lives in that ivory tower.
When I find myself on that strip of land there’s only me and the audience.
You can bet on it, legs were trembling since for so long and your heart, you know, will sure be beating like a hammer. In that moment, you know in your gut, that the idea of failure is not even a possibility. Each one of them is there, standing and staring at you, waiting for you to make the first move. They are ready to pass you by if they feel you’ve failed or they are so willing to clap if you were able to impress them.
At the end of the show, having accomplished your goal, you feel something growing inside and that’s uncompareable freedom. I think that there’s nothing in the world I’d trade for it.
Before i begin, I always put a dollar in my hat for good luck (you may not believe it but passers by always wonder who put that specific dollar in there); whenever i finish, i love playing some classical music track, take in the view and the people, observing them i gamble with my self betting on where they are going.
I don’t know how in which direction this story might push itself. I ‘ve come to the point where I either need to earn money with my art to pay my bills or change carreers.
Anyway, i don’t have any regrets. I made my conscious choices and the only thing i can do now is face my future with faith and optimism, and work my tail off to make today a better day than yesterday.
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