Categorized | Features, Media

Living in the Material World

 

The Amazing Transformation of Dr. Kitchin

Award-Winning VIDEO

 

Joshua Izenberg
Filmmaker

 

Slomo came into my life at an opportune moment.

Having just rolled into my 30s, I was looking for both a film subject and some wisdom on how to approach the encroaching “middle third” of my life– the years when youthful idealism is so often blunted by adult responsibilities.

Around this time, during a business trip to San Diego, my father had a chance meeting on the Pacific Beach boardwalk with John Kitchin, an old medical school classmate.

My dad barely recognized Dr. Kitchin, who was meticulously skating up and down the promenade, blasting inspirational music from speakers hidden under his shirt.  Disillusioned with a life that had become increasingly materialistic, he had abruptly abandoned his career as a neurologist and moved to a studio by the beach.

The locals called him Slomo, knowing little about his past life, but cheering and high-fiving him as he skated by in slow motion.  He had become a Pacific Beach institution.  

I was intrigued.

I’ve long been fascinated by people who make seismic changes late in life.  It goes against the mainstream narrative: “Grow up, pick a career, stick it out, and retire.”

I was also curious about Slomo’s concept of “the zone,” a realm of pure subjectivity and connectedness that he achieves through his skating.  The only thing Slomo loves more than being in the zone is talking about the zone, so it wasn’t hard to persuade him to take part in a documentary film.

Slomo’s combination of candor and eloquence made him a natural on camera, and his background as a neurologist legitimized his metaphysical theories about skating, lateral motion and the brain.  But like many of the people who saw him skating by, I couldn’t help wondering: was this guy nuts, or was he onto something?

And was his mantra – “Do what you want to” – translatable to those of us without the nest egg of a retired doctor?  But just like the throngs of Slomo fans on Pacific Beach, I couldn’t get enough of him, and was determined to capture the effect he had on people in a cinematic way.

With this film, we hope to create a window into the ecstatic experience that Slomo has every day, transcending the trappings of the material world.

And for my part, I continue to be intrigued by the particular joys and conflicts that define a person’s life once he decides to do exactly what he wants.

 

* * * * * * * *

Josh Izenberg is a filmmaker based in San Francisco.  “Slomo,” his first documentary, received more than a dozen awards including Best Documentary Short by the International Documentary Association and the jury award for best short documentary at SXSW.

This film blew us away on a number of levels.  We hope you like it too.

Oh, one other thing:  it’s never too late to reinvent yourself.

 

~For Herrmann and Cheyenne Spetzler, Bill Hunter, and Jim Bella; with the best wishes for happiness and health.

Please share this with others
and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

5 Responses to “Living in the Material World”

  1. Karen Thomas says:

    Awesome video, awesome story, very well done! Thank you!

  2. Brandon says:

    After being in the army my entire adult life and having to more or less start over with a brand new career, or a lack there of, I’ve been getting increasingly harder on myself. Honestly, I think you may have changed my entire outlook on life and what is important before I could finish my first cup of coffee this morning. I’m not giving up on chasing the career that I’m chasing, but I feel great anyway. I think I’ll be taking my hobbies off the back burner and establishing my own standards for success. Great job on the video and thanks so much for sharing it!

  3. Skippy says:

    Thank you, Brandon.

    We don’t suggest giving up on the career by any means. There are bills to pay and a family to feed and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

    One day I asked a very wealthy man his secret for success. He was a sharp and fascinating elderly gentleman who had done many things: he was a banker, owned the Pan American Bank, wrote bond issues, developed land in Florida during the 20s and the Depression, and did countless other wheeling-and-dealing projects over the years.

    He thought long and hard before answering me.

    He said: “Son, remember this: every man should have a trade, a hobby, and a profession. Having all of those and you’ll always be able to provide for yourself and fall back on something both during the good times and the bad. Ask yourself what yours are.”

    Looking back on my life and taking his thoughtful advice, he was right.

    We were inspired by Dr. Kitchin, too, who reinvented himself later in life. I guess he developed his ‘hobby’ after reviewing his career and values and what he was unhappy with. Granted, he had made his money and was able to pursue his pleasure. Rollerblading doesn’t pay much nowadays.

    Brandon, we wish you the very best in your endeavors. And thank you for your service. Good luck and Godspeed to you in your new career– wherever that lies and wherever it takes you.

  4. lost says:

    A message that touches all. nice video, inspiring idea. we all should be so lucky!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • Fox News pulled from Dish Network
    Slashdot  - Fox News and Fox Business were pulled by Dish Network over the weekend, as both continue to argue over a fee agreement. From the article: "Dish said in a statement early Sunday morning that 21st Century Fox had blocked access to the two networks after Dish balked when rates for other networks owned by the media conglomerate were made a part […]
  • NYC police declare war on mayor
    Melissa Melton, Activist Post -  The New York Police Department has declared “war” after two officers were killed Saturday in their squad car while taking part in an anti-terrorism drill by a gunmen said to be taking revenge for the death of Eric Garner.In the wake of the shootings, the NYPD’s union New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association issued this bul […]
  • Some memories
    PD JamesLauren BacallMaya AngelouPhilip Seymour Hoffman […]
  • Great moments with Jeb Bush
    Newsweek - The collapse of InnoVida Holdings LLC in 2011 didn’t get much traction in the media. Except in South Florida, where a small group of investors lost more than $40 million on a scheme to market hurricane- and earthquake-resistant homes assembled from prefabricated plastic panels. The company CEO had promised a highly publicized roll-out in Haiti fol […]
  • Word
    Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching. -- Satchel Paige […]
  • What's happening
    Back in May 2009, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life conducted surveys and found that the more religious an American is, the more likely he or she is to support torture.There are fewer Americans in prison, jail, probation, or parole than any time since 2003How well is your state doing? […]
  • Jazz break
    Chet Baker, "Autumn Leaves" […]
  • Pocket paradigm
    War is doing things overseas that we would go to prison for at home.- Sam Smith […]
  • Study: Red light cameras don't work
    Ars Technica - The Chicago Tribune released the results of a study it commissioned on injury crashes and red light cameras, revealing that while right angle crash incidents have been reduced, rear-end crashes that resulted in injuries went up 22 percent. The results of the study throw cold water on the booster efforts of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administrat […]
  • Five years of failure
    From 50 years of our overstocked achivesSam Smith, 1986 - I was asked to give a toast at the fifth anniversary celebration of the DC Community Humanities Council. Here is what I said: Five years ago the DC Community Humanities Council was formed, charged with the diffusion of ideas, the encouragement of thought and the inspiration of rational discourse withi […]
  • What's happening
    Science journals screw up hundreds of times each year. This guy keeps track of every mistake.Communities are celebrating three victories against fracking this week. Quebec, New York and New Brunswick all rejected fracking after years of opposition from communities calling for the protection of community health and the environment.In a move cheered by environ […]
  • Word: Palestine
     Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz, Israel - In his address from the White House, Obama said, “Let us leave behind the legacy of both colonization and communism, for the sake of the Cuban people, the American people and the world.”There is another hot-button issue in which Americans must leave behind the legacy of colonialism and communism, and that is the Israeli […]
  • There may be hope for our corporate and political psychopaths yet
    Vox - There’s evidence that psychopaths might have more of a cognitive-processing problem — that they have difficulty paying attention to more than one thing at a time — than an emotional problem. So they focus tightly on a goal (say, stealing money) and lose the contextual information around it (it will make the victim feel sad, it's socially unaccepta […]
  • Ferguson prosecutor admits putting liars on the stand
    Buzzfeed - In his first interview since announcing Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the shooting of Mike Brown, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch told radio station KTRS that he allowed witnesses he knew were lying to testify to the grand jury.    KTRS: Why did you allow people to testify in front of the grand jury in which you knew the […]
  • House Intelligence Committee taken over by Blackwater lobbyist
    Republic Report -  For the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees government intelligence operations and agencies, the changing of the guard means a lobbyist for Academi, the defense contractor formerly known as Blackwater, is now in charge.Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA), the incoming chairman of the Intelligence Committee when the House reconvenes in […]