wayanbalikWhen I hop in the car with Wayan Balik, my driver, I know within minutes we will have some outlandish conversation about Bali, life, or the Gods.  We egg each other on until some aspect of life becomes a take from my new film, “The Three Stooges Meet Fellini.”  Anything is fair game, no matter how serious the subject, and the goal is to make each other laugh.

Yesterday I asked Wayan, “What will the topic be today?”  He replied, “we’ll know in a few minutes when we’re not thinking.”  How true.  The conversation went something like this:

W: “I had to kill four chicken this morning for ceremony. I don’t like it.”

D: “Oh, right, it’s Metal Day, (the day when Balinese bless/honor everything made of metal, from cars to Kris knives).  I thought your father killed the chickens.”

W: “No. He bought the chicken, organic chicken (ha ha), but he is really bad chicken killer!  Last time he tried to kill one, blood everywhere, but chicken still alive running around. Bad.”

D: “So now you have to do it.  Are you a good chicken killer?”

W: “Yes, but I hate it.  At ceremony time, Bali is a legal killing zone.  (We both laugh, followed by a long thoughtful pause).  But such is life.”

D: “Can’t you just hire someone to do the killing?”

W: “No, Pak David, it’s bad in my village to do that.”

D: “Oh, you mean you look bad to the other people in the village, like you are a chicken, chicken killer?”  (Laughing)

W: “Yes, everyone would talk and my family would be hurt.  My sister came to help my Mother with the ceremony.  She knew she would get half the chickens!”

D: “Do you have to kill pigs for the big ceremonies?”

W: “No, for that we can hire professionals, thank Gods.”

D: “Thank Gods!  In America, if we had to kill our own animals to eat, I think we would be 95% vegetarian.”

W: “I would rather be vegetarian and not have to kill, but I do like chicken!”

D: ” Especially organic ones.”


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Having journeyed to the Far East and Asia over 20 times in the past 20 years, I’ve been intrigued and inspired by the ingenuity, craftsmanship, balance and human spirit that have gone into the making of those works I have seen and collected.

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