The bizarre story of how the Dumpster Archeology documentary got made.-
We were somewhere in midtown St Louis near SLU, a favorite college dumpster diving location of mine during school exodus. The Space was a wonderful smoothie/vegan/festival vibe business and I was there for the ambiance plus elixirs.
The top of the bar was made of recycled wood, and embedded with orgone, crystal pieces which the owner told me was a vortex of energy. I wasn’t sure what that meant but I was always down for magic.
After ordering a “heart wide open” elixir, which contained ceremonial cacao, and a mix of herbal medicines, I drank the mixture and waited for synergy in consciousness….my heart was happy when I made a new friend.
A young artist next to me doodles on a napkin, his art at that moment was using old napkins with stains as a poetry medium. His poetic words were carefully placed around rings, liquid drops and brown stains. We talked about art and magic.
I laid out the story of the psychic reel to reels, the haunted mansion and the dumpster diving stories. He called his friend the next day, and within a week, I had a meeting with a local Filmmaker.
“If you want to do a film, steal a camera, steal raw stock, sneak into a lab and do it!”
— Werner Herzog -documentary filmmaker
The Director and I shared a love of the work of Werner Herzog, the German director famous for his unique take on Cinema Verité, a philosophical way of making films. Werner would dive head first into a subject, filming along the way, as the environment, story and characters unfold on camera. Like the French journalists who don’t believe one can remain completely objective, that the storyteller is also a part of the story.
Ultimately this story is about a Film Director looking for a story and I had a strange one. My project Dumpster Archeology was at the center of what was to be an epic Show and Tell adventure into history, dumpster and into our collective sense of privacy.
The Director and his Cameraman met with me, mostly blind about the Project, my history and what oddness was happening. Cameraman took pictures as we talked openly about art, creativity, psychedelics and dumpsters in my living room. It was a bizarre night with strangeness as the Psychic Reel to Reel tapes got played and I ranted about my passion.
As hard as it is to explain the vast project into a bite sized story, one night is also far too narrow a medium to explain the rabbit holes of Dumpster Archeology. Narrowing the focus of the Film into a short enough narrative was the challenge faced by this young director.
On a warmish January day a few months later, my apartment filled with a large crew, cameras, lights, donuts, and a long day of filming. After the sun went down, we were still in the dumpsters near my place, filming night scenes without the permission of anyone.
This was Cinema Verité the action was organic as the Director and Camera crew dived into Dumpster Archeology, my strange stories and the bizarre universe I thrive in. It got odd is what I am saying and if you know…you know.
I still wasn’t in charge, as the ghosts are in charge of my Project, I’m just Willy Wonka falling in front of the cameras, reappearing with a smile, then disappearing back into Mystery.
It was a lot of fun for me to show off a lot of the odd things I have found, but also to express my heartfelt efforts as a form of honor. The poetic beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
COVID struck and everything to do with the filming was a giant question mark but somehow in the summer of 2020, more film work happened. A full day on the road, with 3 cameras strapped to my car. In and out of alleys, I talked, hunted and showed the Dumpster Diving skills I spent 20 years honing.
A lot of odd stories came out of that day, but it was the final, that was the most poetic moment for me. All day, I led the cameras, steering the direction towards a finale, and I felt it coming. We needed one last daytime shot and the dipping sun in the Soulard neighborhood was picturesque.
They set up the equipment as I headed for the last dumpster, a small crew followed with sound and lights and there it was…the Find…the Jensen Collection as I called it. A small box of paperwork, photos, and a cool story. I proved on camera, I could make significant discoveries using a finely tuned intuition I call metaphysical magnetism!
A lot of time passed from that day of filming, years went by and I moved on, finishing my work, wrapping the project up, then one day when I had completely given up on the Project, and moved on to new things, I got the message, one last day of filming.
The Documentary was being finalized and a few minor shots were needed. So I returned not alone, but with my family to film some amazing artistic and stylish shots. It inspired me to turn the eye once again, towards the Project and see if I had said… what I needed to say.
Does the website make sense… does the Art express what I wanted to say..what is Dumpster Archeology?
That was the extent of my time with the film. Everything in it is an expression of the Film maker, the Director looking at my oddness and trying to make sense. It is their Art, I am just a Muse.
Ultimately the film serves as an introduction to the strange work I have done. A minor glance at motives and desires that helped flesh out a Project, created by Ghosts for the Ghosts.
Like Willy Wonka, existing inside his own creation, unable to leave, a servant to the dream of the cacao people, building beauty, serving joy and hoping to find a worthy successor able to care and maintain the dreams of Others.
The final cut was only 14 mins long and absolutely beautiful. The complex story was narrowed down to short bites, one liners and a lot of humor. The future of the Project has always hinged on the outcomes of odd choices, intuition and the whims of strange circumstances.
Why would this Documentary be any different?