Sunday, May 3, 2015

You Got To Have Friends: Ruby Shows Why Dogs Are Man's Best

As the Red Mug crowd gathered last night for the Northland screening of Magic Marc Percansky's Ruby the Dogumentary, no one had any idea what to expect. By evening's end, the two hour film had created infectious quantities of laughter. Suzanne Johnson's celebratory party favors -- dog-themed candies, popcorn and such -- were the perfect embellishments to a fun event that at times was also sentimental.

Friends of recent Dylan festivals all know Percansky as the Master of Ceremonies for the Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan concert last year and the upcoming MC for the Acoustic Salute that will take place May 23.

The three hour event at the Mug began at seven sharp. Magic Marc welcomed everyone who came out, introduced Ruby, and briefly talked about the film. Zane Bale shared a few words about the activities in the upcoming Dylan Festival followed by Nelson French, VP of the Armory Arts and Music Center board, who shared about this year's May 23 Acoustic Salute at the Sacred Heart, which is a fund raiser to save and restore the Duluth Armory. He also noted that Scarlet Rivera, who will be here that weekend, is performing in Finland (up the North Shore) on Sunday the 24th. Scarlet's special one night event is called the 2015 Bob Dylan Birthday Cotillion. (A cotillion is a "French country dance." My guess is you should be prepared to move your feet.)

Magic Marc then introduced Gene LaFond, who was asked to share a Bob Dylan story, began by noting that when Percansky was 14 he opened for Lafond and Larry Kegan once. Kegan was a high school friend of Dylan's who had a diving accident and became a quadriplegic. (LaFond and Kegan attended Dylan concerts together and performed music together for many years.) The story LaFond told was about a somewhat hilarious incident at Bob's farm when Larry and another wheelchair-bound friend said they would like to go on a canoe ride. It was quite the rescue operation, both hair-raising and hilarious.

Percansky then introduced Michael Johnson, who was brought onboard the Ruby project in the last year to assemble and direct the film which was four years in the making. Johnson shared that initially he wasn't interested at first but after reviewing the footage "I came up with a concept." It needed to be something he could believe in and went for a non-linear edit of the ten hours of footage Percansky had already captured. He said he truly enjoyed this past year getting to know Marc and working on this project.

The film is dedicated "For Ruby: April 27, 2007" but last night's screen was dedicated to John Bushey, and "anyone dealing with a life-threatening issue."

The film itself is really about a man and his dog, with dog stories, dog humor, and everything the constitutes the life of a dog, including being in a parade, and being a film star. Ruby's a Doberman, one of the smarted dog breeds. The film includes a brief summary of how Doberman had been developed in the nineteenth century by Karl Friedrich Dobermann in Germany.

One of the taeaways that I'd never thought of before was that in the Creation story, God created all the animals on the sixth day, then man and woman on the seventh. In other words, God made our pets first.

The real star in the film is Percansky himself. His uninhibited love for Ruby sparkles throughout. I've often noted that one reason why people will go see movies with their favorite stars is that they enjoy spending a couple hours with them, whatever their doing on the screen. Magic Marc has already won the hearts of his friends, and will win many more hearts as this film gets more widely shared.

Ruby, thanks for being willing to get out there in front of the camera these past four years. We never saw you complain once.

For the record, Ruby graduated dog training even if she doesn't like to "sit."

(L to R) Magic Marc, Gene LaFond, Amy Grillo
It only seems right to end with a couple dog quotes.

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." 
--Josh Billings

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” 
-- M.K. Clinton

“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.”
--Charles de Gaulle


Anonymous said...

I saw the first screening awhile back in Minneapolis under duress (I'm Michael Johnson's mother.) and expected to be bored and/or annoyed since I'm not a dog lover (or pets of any kind). Instead, I was delighted and amused throughout. Marc is indeed the real star; his wit, charm, and love for Ruby more than carry the film. Almost made me long for a dog.

Marc Percansky said...


Ruby just asked me why I left out these great quotes from the movie?

Ruby is also excited that I am excited about her first review!
Thank you for writing it!

I just knew that you would get and understand the main message of the movie that I set out to portray.

All the best to you!

Magic Marc and Ruby