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Log in: Help this man become an American citizen
Marcel Nunis will probably always be that damned foreigner. Don’t be shocked, it’s what he calls himself.
It’s good for a laugh.
He’s been living and working as an American for 30 years. In his pith helmet and trench coat, he’s a Tower District icon who helped create and foster an artist community from which sprang the Rogue Festival—among other things. But now it’s time to make things official with the government.
Of course, as is his style, he’s going to film it and blog it and put it out as a project piece, “Da Year I Became an American Citizen.” To help move the project forward—raise some money—he’s hosting a Webathon, 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday. This will be old-fashioned telethon fun with special guest appearances, a tally-board, even a balloon drop. We emailed Nunis to get some more information on the project and why he chose to take it to the web.
Tell us about the Webathon? How’d that idea come about and what can people expect?
Basically, I was wondering about a creative fun way I could widen the exposure to my Kickstarter project. Then I remembered that I spent my first ever weekend in America I watching the full 22 hours of the Jerry Lewis telethon. That's how the idea was hatched. If it was good enough for Jerry... why not any of us? With the technology available these days I could live stream it internationally. At the moment I'm still putting things together. Trying to tap some of my talented friends to perform. The line-up should be posted pretty soon. It will only run two hours and I'm hoping it will be fun, wacky and entertaining for the most part. Heck, Elvis may turn up.
Right now you’re also working on a documentary about becoming an American citizen. When did you decide you wanted to become a citizen (why now?) and why the choice to film it?
That's a loaded question. The short answer is that my Green Card is up for renewal, so I thought why not go all the way? Heck, I've been here for over 30 years - this is home now. The choice to film it stems mostly from the fact that most natural born citizens have little or no idea what the process entails. Hopefully this will also be of use to other new citizens as well. But there is also a deeper question that I hope to pose to those who watch it - "What does it mean to be an American?" Start with a loaded question and end with one, eh?
There is a lot of talk about immigrants right now (especially in certain other states). Will those issues factor into the project? Is this a political piece, I guess is what I am asking?
It will certainly touch on these issues. This is an interesting time socially, economically and politically. It is an extremely complex issue with no easy answers. I don't pretend to have the answers. It is not exclusively political piece. I'm shooting for entertaining and informative... with some thought to spare.
This is sort of self-explanatory, I know, but how is this project different from others that you have done?
The medium of video just extends another mode for me to tell stories. Until a few years ago, it was exclusively live theatre. Also, this being a documentary all I am able to do is a brief outline... then throw caution to the wind and see what happens. Real life is unpredictable. That's the exciting part. Then of course there is the challenge of cobbling it all together for structure and to see what story emerges. What I used to do was akin to landscaping a manicured garden... this is more like grabbing a handful of wild seed and tossing it on the lawn to see what dominates.
Is the documentary purely an artistic endeavor? What are you hoping to get from the experience?
I'm sure creativity will be involved, but ultimately I just want to tell a story - hopefully a good one. One that entertains and perhaps provokes thought. f it is good enough it will achieve wider exposure.
Are you working on anything else at the moment (this is a leading question, I know)?
There are a few projects in the works. Some three-minute movies. A couple of theatre pieces - one of which will deal with Alzheimer's disease. But that's another story (EDITOR’S NOTE: It sure is. An exciting one that might include a few Rogue Festival veterans. We will keep you updated).
Is there anything else you want to share?
I'll keep it plain and simple - watch the Webathon and help fund this project. The funding deadline is May 19. Give and give generously.