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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Arizona Hustle On US Border, Russell Pearce!

This article was first published as Beware the Immigration Hustle on Technorati, by Tim Paynter

I was on the internet, Facebook, New Years Eve when a chat window popped up.  Have you seen my new video?  an unknown person asked.  No, give me the link, I will look at anything. 


Stop the hate, boycott Bud Lite!


Wow!  I was really impressed.  Here is a fresh approach to the immigration debate.  But who was this guy?  I was really surprised to find out he is not Latino, but Jewish.  Yet he has a tremendous compassion for a cause dear to my heart, immigration reform! 

But why?

We spent a lot of time discussing it.  As is typical with most people who have the GIFT of compassion, he didn’t even see it as a gift.

Tell me something.  If you have something that most everyone else lacks, what is it?  A natural talent, a gift from god, your destiny, these are all tag words.  You have something really special in my book.  The next question is:

How are you going to use your gift?  Are you going to waste it or are you going to use it for the benefit of others?  Andrew clearly has applied this rare gift with some other talents most others lack, an imagination, knowledge about film making, a few bucks.  The Arizona Hustle is the result!

Please enjoy the interview I did with Andrew.  Some of the conversation has been edited to make it flow.  The chat was flowing like a river so it was a little hard to follow!

Interview With Andrew Kuhlman

Singer-songwriter Andrew Kuhlman expressed his outrage over the unjust immigration laws in Arizona using a unique approach. He wrote and directed a video short called Do the Arizona Hustle.  Kuhlman, who appears in the film as "Officer Good Day" along with his pal "Officer Russell Pearce" (Rick Alderete) combines humor with his creative genius to spoof Arizona SB 1070, the most vicious anti-immigrant law in the history of the U.S.

I met up with Officer Good Day on New Years Eve 2010 and was able to get the following exclusive interview through Facebook chat. The photos are from the original movie shoot, reprinted with permission.

Do The Arizona Hustle

(Warning, the language and scenes are clearly "mature", although in today's world, rated for mature has a different meaning than when I was an innocent youth.)

I really liked the video you sent me. I didn’t see your name on the video. Who are you?

My real name is Andrew Kuhlman, and I work in pharmaceuticals developing new treatments for diseases - we work on Alzheimer's, depression, heart disease etc.. but creative projects are my passion, and I've been writing creatively since I was young, writing raps, filming, and stories.

What projects have you done before?

I ran an online horror series for two years before this that got around 3 million views.

What was the name of the series?

The horror series was called "The Human Pet".  It's on You Tube at thehumanpet1.  The original thehumanpet got shut down by You Tube because it looked too authentic.  After that we put disclaimers on the videos saying it was a work of fiction.

Thehumanpet1 is very realistic, so I can see why a disclaimer is needed!  Where did you find the inspiration for Doing the Immigration Hustle?

I have a lot of Latino friends. I definitely disagree with some of the discrimination going on in this country being written into laws, (SB 1070) and not allowing the children of immigrants who work hard to have opportunities they deserve.  (The Dream Act).  I'm not Latino, but I am a minority.  I'm Jewish, so I'm sensitive to this cause.

Tell me, why does a Jewish-American care about immigration?  Most people don't worry about it.

I'm a big student of history, and my own people have been discriminated against throughout history. We did it again in this country with the Japanese during World War II in internment camps.

hustle iv

And that affected you?

I've always been very liberal and was bothered by the clandestine racism behind some of these laws, which is definitely not the spirit of equality and democracy I think this country was founded upon. When you hear white supremacists back these laws, then that only bolsters my suspicions!

What has been the response to the video?

Once the video came out and I started getting overwhelming support from the DREAM activists, from people who are immigrants in this country and do not have rights and do not have a certain future, it definitely hit home about their plight and how much injustice is really going on.

The Dream Act is a narrow piece of legislation that would affect the children of undocumented workers to go to school or serve in the military. If they earn their degree or finish their military service, after 10 years, they can apply for permanent resident status, and a few years after that they can apply to become citizens. The law requires a background check, and the students have to pay out-of-state tuition and can’t use public health care during their 10 year period. A study shows they will have a positive impact on the US economy and create jobs. They will also help keep their families together.

Why do you care and most of America remains uninformed about immigration issues?  Most people don’t seem to care about poor people. Why you?

When I  hear their stories, where they came from.  So it affects me when I hear about these bills.  Because its not just some unknown group they're affecting.  Its my close friends. I got that honestly from living in Los Angeles, which is so diverse and multicultural.  The experience opened my eyes in many ways.

I've definitely seen and experienced anti-Semitism growing up.  It is not out in the open, but you see it. Luckily I live in a place where in general people act mostly tolerant, but behind closed doors people act differently.  It's sad but its human nature.  People don't like people that are different than themselves.

Your solution is so creative!

Thanks man, appreciate it!

Where do you find such knock out models?

Hah Hah Craig's list. They are all professional dancers

Ha ha ha!  How much did you have to pay them to do the video or did they volunteer?

No I paid.  I definitely put time and money into this video.

What does a film like this cost?

Heck, a few grand, but it would normally cost more.  I did things creatively as possible.  I have friends who help.

Did you write and direct and shoot?

We built the club in a friends production studio the night before, and then shot it all in 12 hours.   I wrote it,  and directed it.  We had a camera guy do the actual shooting.

hustle viWow! How much did you practice? How long did it take to write?

For the dance shots at the end, I just took a half day at work, went to downtown LA with a camera by myself, and got that footage from random people!


The writing was quick, there was really no practicing, we just went in and did it.

Elton John said he wrote Rocket Man in 30 minutes.

Ha ha! Yes, its possible if you're inspired at the time!


During the original chat interview, I asked Andrew if he could relate a personal story that might give us insight as to why he is so passionate about immigration reform.  He sent me the following response:

I was on a family vacation in Mexico a few years back. We stayed at A pretty nice hotel in Puerto Vallarta. My brother and I went running off the strip, up a mountain to this tourist exhibit called "the Terminator" zip line.  I guess this was in the Jungle where they filmed part of the original Terminator movie back in the early 80's, and it was still their claim to fame.

The poverty along the path was pretty shocking!   I remember specifically they had a very nice restaurant at the top, where waiters were getting it ready to open. It was on a hillside overlooking the jungle, a really beautiful place. Below it, just out of view, was a concrete slab, and tents.  Apparently (the tent city is) where the people who worked in the restaurant lived.

I just remember this young woman, about my age, rocking her crying infant, and living in this old tent hidden beneath this tourist restaurant. I was amazed at the level of poverty there.  It definitely made me more understanding of what some of the people there were dealing with, and why they would risk going elsewhere for a better life.

Dios te bendiga, have a safe New Years!

Read more:

Andrew is working on a new project which is in support of the Dream Act.  You can find him on Facebook as Good Day!

We must all work together to stop the racism that has befallen our country. 

Yesterday, Colorado Bill Ritter signed the Secure Communities Initiative, making Colorado a dangerous place for immigrants. 

He ignored the immigrant community in making this decision.  As such, we must make a strong statement to those who wantonly abridge the rights of minorities and those struggling for freedom. 

Please join our BOYCOTT of Bud Lite Beer, in support of the Arizona activist who are fighting for justice.  Budweiser Hensley is owned by Senator McCain’s wife.  We cannot continue to put money into the pocket of multi-millionaires and then have them attack the community!

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